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  1. #1
    aho
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    What kind of bike should I be looking for? Touring / normal road use.

    Hi all,

    I am a mountain bike rider and I've been thinking of getting a road bike for quite some time. It will be use when I'm too lazy to go mountain biking but still want to exercise. Will be mainly used on the road.

    There is one problem which makes finding the type of bike to get even harder. I plan on bringing the bike on 2 bike packing / touring journey overseas. Because of this, I am unsure what kind of bike will be good for road cycling when im back home but still have a little more relaxed geometry to allow me to cycle long distance with load for the 2 trips AND fit load, mainly bags on the handle bars, on the top tube and on the back of theseat.

    I do not plan on going on any other bike packing / touring trips besides the two that I will mention.

    The main trip will be a little more than a year from now. It's a rather ambitious trip where I plan to cycle from the bottom to the top of Japan, it would be around 4000km depending on route (Tho I might not be going Hokkaido so it would be around 3000km instead) over the span of 2 months.

    But, I feel that going on such a trip blind would be dangerous (Might not being the correct items) so I plan on going on a smaller trip to Taiwan to bike pack for a week.

    I was wondering what kind of bike would you guys recommend me to check out? Over the past couple of years, more and more road bike categories have appeared, it honestly makes choosing a bike a lot harder as some of them seem to overlap one another.

    I have been researching a little and I've been looking into gravel bike. As the geometry is more relaxed compared to ultralight or the more race-y road bikes. The tyres is also wider which would give me more comfort and I can swap between slick road tyres or more aggressive off-road tyres.

    There is also cyclocross bikes which seems to be between road bikes and gravel bikes?

    Thank you very much for reading, all advice is greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by aho; 03-08-2018 at 01:38 AM.

  2. #2
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    IT's nearly impossible to answer this with any specifics without knowing a lot more details.

    Have you picked out your travel gear? What kind of bags? How will they attach? Trailer? Frame bags?

    Are you travelling 'light' and staying in hotels? Or are you going to be carrying all of your food/water/camping gear?

    How fit are you and how much riding are y you planning per day? Will there be a lot of down time? or just riding, eating and sleeping?

    Most importantly, what is your budget for the bike itself, not including bags, camping gear, etc...?

  3. #3
    aho
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finx View Post
    IT's nearly impossible to answer this with any specifics without knowing a lot more details.

    Have you picked out your travel gear? What kind of bags? How will they attach? Trailer? Frame bags?

    Are you travelling 'light' and staying in hotels? Or are you going to be carrying all of your food/water/camping gear?

    How fit are you and how much riding are y you planning per day? Will there be a lot of down time? or just riding, eating and sleeping?

    Most importantly, what is your budget for the bike itself, not including bags, camping gear, etc...?

    Hi,

    Thank you very much for the reply.

    I will try my best to reply to each of your question tho, tbh, I have not thought out clearly about how I am going about to pack my items, and how much of it to pack. I plan to be on the road for the most part and not go off road. Maybe I should have mentioned touring instead of bike packing. My bad on that part.

    I am hoping to get some advice on that part.

    I have looked a little into bike packing and ultra light bike packing peaked my interest. I do not know if this is viable for such a long trip tho.

    I am planning on putting my items bags, the normal 3 bags, frame, seat and handle bar. I also plan on light camping on most of my trip. I am planning on not cooking and stocking up a little food from convenience store when possible, tho I am unsure if this is a good idea. I have done some mini camping trips in the past and I know that packing a mini stove and a canister for boiling water doesnt that up that much space.

    This is really rough calculation, but I have to do an average of 70km a day. Which is really doable with breaks along the way to sight see, enter temples etc.

    Lastly, as for the price of the bike, it would be really hard for me to answer and I live in Singapore and price would vary greatly (I assume)

    I would say my budget would be alittle more than the price of the Giant TCX SLR 2, which would be around 1.4-1.8k usd

  4. #4
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    "Frame, seat and handlebar" bags ain't gonna hold enough for anything but 'supported touring'. You'll need side bags on a rack, possibly even front fork bags.

    Also, keep in mind that most posters here live in the U.S., and bike brands here may not exist where you live.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by aho View Post
    Hi,

    Thank you very much for the reply.

    I will try my best to reply to each of your question tho, tbh, I have not thought out clearly about how I am going about to pack my items, and how much of it to pack. I plan to be on the road for the most part and not go off road. Maybe I should have mentioned touring instead of bike packing. My bad on that part.

    I am hoping to get some advice on that part.

    I have looked a little into bike packing and ultra light bike packing peaked my interest. I do not know if this is viable for such a long trip tho.

    I am planning on putting my items bags, the normal 3 bags, frame, seat and handle bar. I also plan on light camping on most of my trip. I am planning on not cooking and stocking up a little food from convenience store when possible, tho I am unsure if this is a good idea. I have done some mini camping trips in the past and I know that packing a mini stove and a canister for boiling water doesnt that up that much space.

    This is really rough calculation, but I have to do an average of 70km a day. Which is really doable with breaks along the way to sight see, enter temples etc.

    Lastly, as for the price of the bike, it would be really hard for me to answer and I live in Singapore and price would vary greatly (I assume)

    I would say my budget would be alittle more than the price of the Giant TCX SLR 2, which would be around 1.4-1.8k usd
    I would strongly suggest holding off on your bike selection until you have a solid plan.

    Understand that if you plan to camp and be self sufficient, that means carrying camping gear, cooking gear (heavy), water (heavier), and all of the clothing and toiletries you will need to self-exist, even on days when you are staying in hotels. Assume the worst in terms of hostile weather (wet, cold, hot, windy, etc...) and have what you need to deal with that. This rig is going to be HEAVY. Are you prepared to ride something this heavy up steep hills? What about descents? None of these things should be taken lightly.

    You don't do this kind of loaded touring on a cyclocross bike. You need a bike that has geometry designed to be ridden with a lot of weight on it, and with wheels and brakes that can deal with those kinds of weights in all kinds of conditions.

    Consider your frame material wisely. Carbon is great for fast, race bikes, and it's plenty strong enough, but one small crash, or even just tipping it over and it hitting something can damage your frame and render the bike unrideable. Steel is considered ideal for touring. It's strong, durable, comfortable, and most importantly, repairable in the event something cracks or breaks. You can find someone with with welding tools in even the smallest of towns.

    Choose components that are durable, compatible, and readily available. Weight should not be a high priority here. Fortunately, there is a large selection of this kind of gear available, and it's fairly affordable.

    Once you figure all of this stuff out, you need to get your rig built, and loaded up, and take it for some local dry runs, to make sure you have everything you need, and your equipment is all serviceable, and you know how to use it.

    There are tons of videos on youtube that might help. Look for how-to videos for bike packing and touring. There are also some vloggers who have documented their personal experiences, which can help you learn from their mistakes (which is much better than learning from your own).

    Good luck and have tons of fun.

    Be sure to post some pictures of your trip here when you are out on the road!

  6. #6
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    Having more rack/fender mounts than you'll use, slower handling then necessary and more durability than you 'need' isn't really a problem other than seconds climbing and not 'feeling' as fast/snappy in a sprint.
    Having less of those traits than you need would definitely be a problem for rides such as you mention.

    I agree it's impossible to give solid advice without more details but my point above is error on the side of touring is a much safer bet than to error on the side of sporty.

    You can always sell and replace a touring bike if after the tours you find at home you get into crit type road riding at home or whatever. Not much you can do if you're under biked in the middle of a tour.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by aho View Post
    I have been researching a little and I've been looking into gravel bike. As the geometry is more relaxed compared to ultralight or the more race-y road bikes. The tyres is also wider which would give me more comfort and I can swap between slick road tyres or more aggressive off-road tyres.
    I think a gravel bike would be a good way to go. Many gravel bikes have attachments for loaded touring which include attachments for rear panniers and multiple water bottle holders. As one other poster said, you will need rear panniers if you will be carrying any significant gear. And as you said, gravel bikes are generally more upright.

    Quote Originally Posted by aho View Post
    There is also cyclocross bikes which seems to be between road bikes and gravel bikes?
    Cyclocross bikes are designed for racing and have a much more aggressive geometry - probably not what you are looking for. They also have a higher BB which would be a disaster for loaded touring as it would raise your center of gravity and possibly be unstable.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  8. #8
    aho
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    I think a gravel bike would be a good way to go. Many gravel bikes have attachments for loaded touring which include attachments for rear panniers and multiple water bottle holders. As one other poster said, you will need rear panniers if you will be carrying any significant gear. And as you said, gravel bikes are generally more upright.



    Cyclocross bikes are designed for racing and have a much more aggressive geometry - probably not what you are looking for. They also have a higher BB which would be a disaster for loaded touring as it would raise your center of gravity and possibly be unstable.
    I was mainly thinking of getting a gravel bike because it seemed like the "best" option for me. Geometry would suite longer riding and would still be able to fit a decent amount of items on it.

    Do you mind linking brands or companies that sells rear panniers for gravel bikes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Having more rack/fender mounts than you'll use, slower handling then necessary and more durability than you 'need' isn't really a problem other than seconds climbing and not 'feeling' as fast/snappy in a sprint.
    Having less of those traits than you need would definitely be a problem for rides such as you mention.

    I agree it's impossible to give solid advice without more details but my point above is error on the side of touring is a much safer bet than to error on the side of sporty.

    You can always sell and replace a touring bike if after the tours you find at home you get into crit type road riding at home or whatever. Not much you can do if you're under biked in the middle of a tour.
    I guess my only option (or best) would be going for a touring bike? The main reason why I do not want to get a touring bike is because it would be close to impossible to sell it. I live in Singapore and touring is really uncommon.

    Which was why i was thinking about a gravel bike as it seem like it would be able to do touring. I guess not.

    I would love to give as much information as possible, what kind of details would you like to know?

    Quote Originally Posted by Finx View Post
    I would strongly suggest holding off on your bike selection until you have a solid plan.

    Understand that if you plan to camp and be self sufficient, that means carrying camping gear, cooking gear (heavy), water (heavier), and all of the clothing and toiletries you will need to self-exist, even on days when you are staying in hotels. Assume the worst in terms of hostile weather (wet, cold, hot, windy, etc...) and have what you need to deal with that. This rig is going to be HEAVY. Are you prepared to ride something this heavy up steep hills? What about descents? None of these things should be taken lightly.

    You don't do this kind of loaded touring on a cyclocross bike. You need a bike that has geometry designed to be ridden with a lot of weight on it, and with wheels and brakes that can deal with those kinds of weights in all kinds of conditions.

    Consider your frame material wisely. Carbon is great for fast, race bikes, and it's plenty strong enough, but one small crash, or even just tipping it over and it hitting something can damage your frame and render the bike unrideable. Steel is considered ideal for touring. It's strong, durable, comfortable, and most importantly, repairable in the event something cracks or breaks. You can find someone with with welding tools in even the smallest of towns.

    Choose components that are durable, compatible, and readily available. Weight should not be a high priority here. Fortunately, there is a large selection of this kind of gear available, and it's fairly affordable.

    Once you figure all of this stuff out, you need to get your rig built, and loaded up, and take it for some local dry runs, to make sure you have everything you need, and your equipment is all serviceable, and you know how to use it.

    There are tons of videos on youtube that might help. Look for how-to videos for bike packing and touring. There are also some vloggers who have documented their personal experiences, which can help you learn from their mistakes (which is much better than learning from your own).

    Good luck and have tons of fun.

    Be sure to post some pictures of your trip here when you are out on the road!
    Thank you very very much for the solid advice. Do you know of any bike touring websites for me to check out?

    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    "Frame, seat and handlebar" bags ain't gonna hold enough for anything but 'supported touring'. You'll need side bags on a rack, possibly even front fork bags.

    Also, keep in mind that most posters here live in the U.S., and bike brands here may not exist where you live.
    Haha, i must have been watching too many ultra light bike touring videos and got sucked in. I will have to check on essentials of bike touring for such a long trip

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by aho View Post
    Do you mind linking brands or companies that sells rear panniers for gravel bikes?
    Topeak makes an excellent system:

    https://www.topeak.com/global/en/pro...nier-drybag-dx

    Quote Originally Posted by aho View Post
    I guess my only option (or best) would be going for a touring bike? The main reason why I do not want to get a touring bike is because it would be close to impossible to sell it. I live in Singapore and touring is really uncommon.

    Which was why i was thinking about a gravel bike as it seem like it would be able to do touring. I guess not.
    That depends on the gravel bike. Nothing wrong with either a touring or a good gravel bike. Touring bikes are slightly heavier. I would go for a steel bike regardless of which category you choose. Carbon would be a definite no-no for touring. I would also choose a bike with at least 32 spokes per wheel. Some gravel bikes have 28 spoke wheels. I wouldn't go there for loaded touring.

    It also depends on how much you weigh. If you are 150lbs. and carrying 50lbs. of gear, that's the same load as if you are 200lbs. and carrying no gear.

    Take a look at one of the Jamis Renegade steel gravel bike options:

    Renegade® Escapade

    Renegade® Exploit

    There is also nothing wrong with a touring bike. They do weigh more so if speed is important to you, this may not be the best choice. However, they tend to have lower low gearing for going up steep hills with a heavy load. And they really aren't bad daily riders either. Here is a good one:

    https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...olorCode=black

    This is one of Trek's better efforts and has a good reputation.

    All this being said, I don't know what is available to you in Singapore. Do you have some bike shops available to you in your area or are you limited to online ordering?
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  10. #10
    aho
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    Thank you everyone for your reply.

    I will continue to research more on bikes and gear I will need for such a long trip. If anyone has any sites or facebook group you'd think will be good for me to check out please do let me know.

    I'd appreciate any more advice.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by aho View Post
    Thank you everyone for your reply.

    I will continue to research more on bikes and gear I will need for such a long trip. If anyone has any sites or facebook group you'd think will be good for me to check out please do let me know.

    I'd appreciate any more advice.
    Gravel/touring. A gravel bike with mounts for racks and panniers will work fine for you. Without mounts, no.

    A touring bike will be more stable and a bit heavier, but you will be able to ride it fine on the road for exercise. A gravel bike will be a bit quicker handling, generally speaking, and a bit more fun on the pavement.

    A touring bike might be harder to sell as a touring bike. But as a commute/shopping bike? Maybe not.

    The issue you face is that you need a bike to do the touring, but that's going to be a very small fraction of your total hours on the bike. To get things right for loaded touring means compromise for the other 95% of the time.

    So my suggestion would be to look for a gravel bike with mounts for racks. At least given your plans now. That seems the best compromise to get you a touring capable bike that is fun enough on the road.
    .
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  12. #12
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    Most modern bag makers are making bags that don't require racks to mount. Revelate, Apdiura, etc.. all make nice, high volume bags that don't require traditional racks. Of course there are compromises with them, so do your homework. Having rack and fender mount bosses is ideal as it gives you the ultimate in flexibility. If you choose not to go that route, you can just not use them, but if you have them, you will always have that option.

  13. #13
    pmf
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    I was riding out on the path near DC a few summers ago when I came upon this British guy who was nearing the end of a bike tour across the U.S. by himself. I asked him if there was anything he'd do differently he immediately said 'get a trailer instead of all the bags on the bike'. I know a guy with a BOB trailer who uses it when he goes on vacation sometimes. Kind of a clever accessory.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    I was riding out on the path near DC a few summers ago when I came upon this British guy who was nearing the end of a bike tour across the U.S. by himself. I asked him if there was anything he'd do differently he immediately said 'get a trailer instead of all the bags on the bike'. I know a guy with a BOB trailer who uses it when he goes on vacation sometimes. Kind of a clever accessory.
    This is a really good point. I've heard good things about BOB trailers. It appears you can get adapters for 12mm thru-axles now too.

    IBEX | BOBgear


    Thru Axles for BOB Trailers | The Robert Axle Project

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