Tour bike setup and Equipment

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Aquila
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Joined: 19 Jan 2019, 11:02am

Tour bike setup and Equipment

Postby Aquila » 19 Jan 2019, 1:35pm

Hi all my first post on this forum.

Last cycle touring i did went something like this: a few daft lads get on their bikes with a big rucksacks an OS map, puncture repair kits and peddle 50-70 mile with the reward of large quantities of alcohol. We'd go to sleep wake up in our ASDA sleeping bags colder than frozen pizza's with tongues and mouths liken to the bottom of budgie cages. Now I'm a bit older ( a lot actually) my mates and family seem to have lost their enthusiasm and sense of adventure so I've decided to go it alone..... A' la Billy no mates.

I'm looking at 1 maybe 2 weeks away in the spring/summer of this year with old yella (thats my bike, remember I now have no real mates) No idea yet on routes or destinations though given my proximity to North sea ferry's the Netherlands is looking favorite.

Old yella is getting on bit now just like his owner and requires an upgrade of his chain set which is presently Shimano XTR 3x9 should i just go like for like with the 3x9 or should i consider something else?

Also I'm going to ditch the 85ltr rucksack and six pack of lager, whats the best way for old yella to carry my equipment... Panniers look like the future but will old yella be able to take them and if so which ones for the budget conscious traveler ? old yella is a 26" hard tail GT avalanche 0.0 mountain bike now running semi slick tyres as he's grown out of knobbly tyres they are just for kids anyway....or so he tells me.

Thank you

MrsHJ
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Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Re: Tour bike setup and Equipment

Postby MrsHJ » 19 Jan 2019, 2:50pm

Hi, and welcome.

Your bike sounds maybe not ideal to tour the Netherlands as the infrastructure there is so good that most people use road bikes but perfectly Adequate. You could always hire a bike with panniers etc. Otherwise you can choose between a bike packing set up which doesn’t require panniers and, if your bike isn’t set up for a rack there are various mountain bike racks designed to workaround the problem.

HobbesOnTour
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Re: Tour bike setup and Equipment

Postby HobbesOnTour » 19 Jan 2019, 3:00pm

What a great opening post! If you can tap into your youthful spirit you'll be 3/4 of the way to having a great trip!

I don't know the bike, but there's no reason that it won't work for you.
The 2 most important things to consider are the length of the chainstays so that you are not hitting panniers when you cycle, and the availability of fittings to attach the rear rack.

If they are suitable, you're good to go. As for the drivetrain, I'd only change it out if it's necessary. If the bug bites and you want to do more, then is the time to look at those kinds of things. If you're thinking NL, it's pretty flat so gearing is less an issue - as long as your drivetrain works.
Maybe a new cassette and chain.

(If they are not suitable, an alternative to a new bike could be an ExtraWheel trailer that carries 2 panniers.)

You could look at bikepacking gear that does not depend on racks, but this means travelling lightly and decent gear is not cheap.

Speaking of which, do you want to camp, or is it more credit card touring staying in hotels etc.?
Camping implies more gear, racks and panniers. Hotels etc means that you can get away with a lot less.

When it comes to cycling gear, experience has taught me that you get what you pay for. If your intention is a one off adventure, then there's not a lot of point of spending vast amounts of dosh on long lasting gear. On the other hand, investing in good gear means that if the bug strikes you'll get the use out of it again and again even across different bikes.
Do a search here and you'll find many discussions on panniers etc.
Check out the second hand sites online. There are always lots of bargains.

As for routes, I highly recommend NL. Excellent cycling paths, easy navigation, lots of things to see and do, lots of campsites if you want them, minimal language issues. There are several long distance routes in NL, lots of possibilities for round trips and a great train service if you prefer a more straight line approach.

A quick search here will produce results for route planning, accommodation and things to see.

whoof
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Re: Tour bike setup and Equipment

Postby whoof » 19 Jan 2019, 4:21pm

A mtb with slicks is fine for touring. Why do you need to change the chainset? If some of the rings are worn you could just buy replacements.
The GT has a triple triangle and therefore low rear seat stays which may make fitting a rack more difficult but you can fit one of these on the seat-pin.

https://www.tredz.co.uk/.System-EX-Seat ... 4QQAvD_BwE
If you have disk brakes you will probably need a disk specific rack.

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foxyrider
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Re: Tour bike setup and Equipment

Postby foxyrider » 19 Jan 2019, 4:21pm

Check your frame for mounting points, AFAIR some Avalanche models had all the mount points, others not and it varied by model year.

+1 for NL for a first 'proper' tour, easy to do and you'll get a good feel for whether the whole idea is for you. You can do more adventure later if you want.

Anyhoo, welcome to the fellowship! :D
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

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foxyrider
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Re: Tour bike setup and Equipment

Postby foxyrider » 19 Jan 2019, 4:23pm

whoof wrote:A mtb with slicks is fine for touring. Why do you need to change the chainset? If some of the rings are worn you could just buy replacements.
The GT has a triple triangle and therefore low rear seat stays which may make fitting a rack more difficult but you can fit one of these on the seat-pin.

https://www.tredz.co.uk/.System-EX-Seat ... 4QQAvD_BwE
If you have disk brakes you will probably need a disk specific rack.


Most bikes with discs do not need specific racks - it's a con.
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

drossall
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Re: Tour bike setup and Equipment

Postby drossall » 19 Jan 2019, 4:34pm

Traditionally, luggage is carried on the bike. It's lower to the ground, giving better centre of gravity and balance, and it doesn't tire you carrying it (though you still have to pedal it up hills, except in the NL!). A trailer may be a good alternative, but is probably for the committed and experienced tourist (and no use off road, obviously).

Panniers are a good default on the road. You want a strong rack that won't flex. Cheaper, lighter racks are meant for carrying lighter loads. You also want four-point fixing (two separate mount points at the top as well as the two either side of the rear wheel), as that is also sturdier. Most racks these days are four-point, and the packaging often quotes load recommendations.

Off-road, the equation changes a bit because panniers can be difficult with mud flying in all directions.

It goes without saying that the first thing is to make sure you're not carrying too much non-essential kit. Good bags are expensive but, for a first try, medium-priced ones will serve well. Pack stuff in plastic bags in case it rains and the water leaks in.

There's a guide here.

pwa
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Re: Tour bike setup and Equipment

Postby pwa » 19 Jan 2019, 5:00pm

3x9 is what I would choose for touring. What would you "upgrade" to? Just because another set of stuff is newer and involves spending doesn't mean it is an upgrade. Having more sprockets isn't an upgrade unless it delivers a real benefit. What would that benefit be, if you lose a front chain ring in the process? 3x9 is ideal.

Stick a pannier rack on, get suitable tyres and make sure all parts are in good order. Job done.

drossall
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Re: Tour bike setup and Equipment

Postby drossall » 19 Jan 2019, 5:21pm

Subject to luggage carried, even a holdall firmly strapped onto a pannier rack will be better than a rucksack. Good enough for a first try, if you like it buy better kit.

MrsHJ
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Re: Tour bike setup and Equipment

Postby MrsHJ » 19 Jan 2019, 5:40pm

I’ve been looking at panniers a lot and for a starter set the Altura dry liner 56l are pretty good value at the moment. I haven’t tried them but they should be big enough to avoid using front panniers as well and shouldn’t break the bank.

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mjr
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Re: Tour bike setup and Equipment

Postby mjr » 19 Jan 2019, 6:03pm

drossall wrote:Subject to luggage carried, even a holdall firmly strapped onto a pannier rack will be better than a rucksack. Good enough for a first try, if you like it buy better kit.

This! I used panniers on my first tour, but a saddlebag and a compression bag strapped to the rack top since. And a handlebar bag for quick access stuff. I feel the better aerodynamics and incentive to pack light wins over a foot lower centre of gravity (at best) in most places and especially NL.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

simonhill
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Re: Tour bike setup and Equipment

Postby simonhill » 19 Jan 2019, 6:50pm

Lots of good advice about the bike here, so I won't repeat.

You seem a bit worried about going alone. Don't be. Many people here tour on their own and many of them prefer it. There are lots of advantages, but it boils down to being able to do your own thing when and how you want. If you are worried about security, etc then you can plan and mitigate for most eventualities.

What's more, you are more likely to meet other people when you are on your own.

I say this as someone who is just about to head off for 2 months on his own.

Go and enjoy.

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foxyrider
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Re: Tour bike setup and Equipment

Postby foxyrider » 19 Jan 2019, 8:08pm

MrsHJ wrote:I’ve been looking at panniers a lot and for a starter set the Altura dry liner 56l are pretty good value at the moment. I haven’t tried them but they should be big enough to avoid using front panniers as well and shouldn’t break the bank.


Of course they also weigh a ton, are difficult to get stuff like sleeping bags into and did I mention they weigh a ton? Whoever designed them has clearly never done any touring. :lol:
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

MrsHJ
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Location: Dartmouth, Devon.

Re: Tour bike setup and Equipment

Postby MrsHJ » 19 Jan 2019, 9:05pm

foxyrider wrote:
MrsHJ wrote:I’ve been looking at panniers a lot and for a starter set the Altura dry liner 56l are pretty good value at the moment. I haven’t tried them but they should be big enough to avoid using front panniers as well and shouldn’t break the bank.


Of course they also weigh a ton, are difficult to get stuff like sleeping bags into and did I mention they weigh a ton? Whoever designed them has clearly never done any touring. :lol:


Bugger, will scrub them from my list.

PaulaT
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Re: Tour bike setup and Equipment

Postby PaulaT » 19 Jan 2019, 9:47pm

Those Altura bags do look very narrow at 16cm. My Carradice Super C's are 22mm deep and I can just nicely fit my 2 season synthetic sleeping bag into that width. I can get my somewhat bulkier 3 season synthetic bag in there but it has to live at the top of the pannier. Obviously down bags will fit in more easily. I'm not sure that either the Altura or Carradice are within the OP's budget though.