Suitable bike set up for bridleways?

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1982john
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Suitable bike set up for bridleways?

Postby 1982john » 10 Sep 2019, 9:19pm

Was toying with buying a new bike for some offroad action - one close pass too many. However, I thought my current bike could do a pretty good job with maybe a couple of mods.

I have a thorn raven with 26-inch wheels and canti brakes. What I would love to know is how viable this bike is for something like sections of this new route put together by cycleuk. Most off-road bikes I see these days have front suspension, disc brakes and 29 inch tubeless wheels but I think mine could cope with a lot. What tires should I aim for tire wise? Should I keep the full mudguards? Are brakes going to be ok when things get a bit messy? Am I just going to end up pushing the bike up anything vaguely uphill?

Thanks for any helpful feedback

peetee
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Re: Suitable bike set up for beidleways?

Postby peetee » 10 Sep 2019, 10:15pm

I have converted a steel touring bike into a lightweight off-roader. Less mudguards I have squeezed in a pair of 30mm Schwalbe CX Pro tyres and they have excellent grip off road and low rolling resistance on road. I am in my early 50's and have only just returned to cycling after an 8 year gap so I have limited strength in my legs but can cope with a 30 tooth chainring and 25 tooth bottom sprocket. The brakes are Shimano BR CX50 and I find these perfectly adequate. Most touring specific brake set-ups are powerful enough for light trail work. Anything more demanding would be pushing the limits of the frame and tyres.
My bike can handle most of the trails round here which are rarely a muddy mess being predominantly hardpacked, well drained grit. I have a mountain bike too for the more steep or technical trails but neither bike has any form of suspension.
Current status report:
Latter side of fifty and feeling less than nifty.
Too many bikes on pegs and too few miles in the legs.

drossall
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Re: Suitable bike set up for beidleways?

Postby drossall » 10 Sep 2019, 11:56pm

Bikes have become more specialised over the years, but a general-purpose bike can do a lot. The Rough Stuff Fellowship, decades ago, were taking dropped-bar (steel) sports bikes up mountains and to all sorts of places, over the roughest of tracks. A steel bike with traditionally-built wheels should stand it just fine.

Suspension was invented for deep potholes and seriously rough surfaces. The kinds of gentle country bridleway that many of us enocounter, with sandy or pebbly, but basically fairly flat, surfaces can be handled by almost anything except a pure-bred racer, or possibly a folder.

Whether you have to push the bike uphill will depend on its gearing and your fitness. I don't know the new trail, but I imagine that there are some significantly steep bits.

Mudguards may be an issue off road, because of the possibility of their becoming jammed with dirt. Steel frames are likely to be most resilient, and carbon might be a concern, but of course there's an increasing trend towards racing road bikes over dusty trails, including by professionals. Those bikes are carbon and they don't seem to break, but then racing types may replace their bikes more often than you want to!

In summary, most people vastly underestimate the capabilities of ordinary, non-suspension bikes in dealing with the typical purpose-built cycle trail aimed at the general public.

PH
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Re: Suitable bike set up for beidleways?

Postby PH » 11 Sep 2019, 6:57am

I used to have a Raven, it’s a capable machine off road. Take the guards off, stick on some suitable tyres, lower the gearing and it’s ready to go.
The English part of the new route isn’t new at all but the long established Pennine Bridleway (Not to be confused with the Pennine Cycleway) I have seen parts of it that would need a full MTB and an experienced MTB’er to tackle and other sections that are much easier and I’d be happy doing on a tourer. You’d need to do some research before deciding on the right bike set up. Whatever that is, it isn’t going to be the optimal bike at all times and one that needs walking over some of the toughest sections might still be the best overall.
Enjoy it

Edit- just to add that traditional bridleways in general are very variable, they don’t even have to be a standard to ride a horse, only lead it - By the bridle, hence the name.

Carlton green
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Re: Suitable bike set up for bridleways?

Postby Carlton green » 11 Sep 2019, 7:13pm

1982john wrote:Was toying with buying a new bike for some offroad action - one close pass too many. However, I thought my current bike could do a pretty good job with maybe a couple of mods.

I have a thorn raven with 26-inch wheels and canti brakes. What I would love to know is how viable this bike is for something like sections of this new route put together by cycleuk. Most off-road bikes I see these days have front suspension, disc brakes and 29 inch tubeless wheels but I think mine could cope with a lot. What tires should I aim for tire wise? Should I keep the full mudguards? Are brakes going to be ok when things get a bit messy? Am I just going to end up pushing the bike up anything vaguely uphill?

Thanks for any helpful feedback


As a start point I suggest that you take a historical view of what people have managed to do on bikes in the past and then compare those bikes to your Thorn Raven. My best guess is that the Raven will be good for pretty much anywhere you want to go and more able than the explorers’ bikes of yesterday. The Rough Suff riders of the distant past also achieved much with adapted road bikes. I suggest that you should accept getting off and walking occasionally, have some moderately wide tyres, take care not to buckle your back wheel and just ‘go for it’.

From the Thorn Website:
https://www.thorncycles.co.uk/bikes

Currently there are several Ravens undertaking the “American end to end”, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. There are also over a thousand Raven Tours delighting their owners, as they go about their day to day business, with the least possible fuss.

The RAVEN is wonderfully stable; city streets, tow paths, bridleways, mountain passes, desserts and continents can all be tackled in confidence.

The NEW RAVEN is designed to provide a lifetime’s transport, as well as keeping the dream of that “big cycling adventure” well and truly alive!

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Wanlock Dod
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Re: Suitable bike set up for bridleways?

Postby Wanlock Dod » 11 Sep 2019, 9:03pm

A quarter of a century ago I rode very similar bikes, but with derailment gears, all over the Lakes and Dales. You should manage just fine with some appropriate tyres fitted.

reohn2
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Re: Suitable bike set up for bridleways?

Postby reohn2 » 11 Sep 2019, 9:34pm

You have a bike perfectly capable of riding bridleways and more besides.
As has been posted a change of tyres might be in order,a cheap and very capable tyre for such work are Schwalbe Landcruisers.Have fun :D
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1982john
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Re: Suitable bike set up for bridleways?

Postby 1982john » 11 Sep 2019, 10:01pm

thanks everyone for the replies. Best way to learn is to get stuck in!