I am tentatively looking for a long distance bike which can also carry a medium load. My thought was that this would be a touring bike. There is the prospect of a 160+ mile ride on the continent next year spread over 3 or 4 days. Dunwich Dynamo is a possible dream but 200k in one go is a lot more than I have ever attempted.
My current (working) steed is a steel no-suspension mountain bike from around 1995 with fat road tyres. On this I cycle locally, usually on road but with some excursions onto bridle ways (where the fat tyres are invaluable, although other riders with skinny tyres seem to cope). Distance of ride is usually around 20 miles but in the past I have been cycling a regular 50k/30 miles without too much discomfort. Flat bars with good bar ends - fitted a long time ago to allow me to change wrist positions to avoid the dreaded wrist ache and also give something extra to pull on going up steep hills. I like the low mountain bike gearing (because going up hills) but would like a higher top gear (because hills going down and flat bits with a tail wind). When I was fitter I used to be frustrated because I was spinning out in the top gear.
I went for a wander in a new branch of Evans which has opened up locally and was introduced to the concept of an adventure bike, which helped to complicate the whole thing.
So can I solicit some advice on the differences between the current fashionable trends:
- Cyclo Cross
Adventure/gravel bike (are these the same?)
Traditional touring bike
Also I have an alloy framed hybrid which is lighter, faster and with better brakes but which does not fit me. [Threads passim.] The difference in frame weight tempts me towards aluminium as long as it is strong enough for a decent touring load but still significantly lighter than steel.
My requirement list is roughly
- Circular rides of 25 miles +
Occasional longer distance rides
Occasional touring rides with luggage
Mild off road ability
Very low gearing for wimping out on steep hills (especially if laden)
Reasonably high top end gears for comfortable and speedy long distance rides
I suspect a traditional tripe chainset might be best - somewhere around 3 * 9 - because the singles and doubles with 10 or 11 cogs at the rear seem worryingly skinny to get all the cogs to fit the rear wheel which makes the chain very skinny as well
At least V brakes - disc preferred
The biggest issue is deciding on the type of frame/bike - after that it is just restraining myself with the accessories.
All advice most welcome.
I feel the urge to visit Spa Cycles because I have relatives not that far away. However I would like to be informed as possible before undertaking an expensive weekend away.