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Turning a touring bike into a road bike

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Turning a touring bike into a road bike

Old 12-05-20, 09:08 AM
  #26  
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This is a roadbike:


You cannot turn a Volpe into a roadbike. Just because you can ride a bike on the road, doesn't make that bike a roadbike.
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Old 12-05-20, 09:50 AM
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If you phrased your question with a bit more inflammatory intent ie:"Will the cool kids accept me if I show up with a drop bar hybrid?" You still would have gotten the same answers. I have a similar project intended, and as the bike in question is my primary ride right now, I have plenty of opportunity to think about what I'll change. I'm going to call my bike a "Sports Tourer with a high bottom bracket a bit to much trail for 38mm tires" when I'm done. My 2 cents for you would be to purchase a set of 25mm Continental GP-5000 tires and ride the heck out of this bike while the weather permits. If you love it carry on with the tweaks, If not pick up another frame and use the tires as common base line for how the different bike's ride.
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Old 12-06-20, 01:06 AM
  #28  
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So I ended up removing the rack, swapping the seat and wheels and it definitely felt lighter. Also this was the first time I've really been able to test the difference between steel and aluminum (with the same tires) and wow it was night and day. It's tough to say if I preferred one to the other, but the difference was immediately noticeable. Steel really does a better job at absorbing those bumps during a ride.

I must admit I'm not too fond of these cantilever brakes. Are calipers out of the question with these little nubs that stick out of the frame and attach to the cantis?

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Old 12-06-20, 02:08 AM
  #29  
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In its new incarnation it kind of resembles a Spa Audax Bike, that's not a bad thing.

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Old 12-25-20, 06:04 PM
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I really like this one.
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Old 12-25-20, 06:25 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by zachleft View Post
Are calipers out of the question with these little nubs that stick out of the frame and attach to the cantis?
Kinda yes. Canti's have to set up properly, like any other brake. Sometimes, a canti design isn't a good match for the rim width or lever throw. Tweak some more or find a different set to work with. They can be great.
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Old 12-26-20, 11:02 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by zachleft View Post
I must admit I'm not too fond of these cantilever brakes. Are calipers out of the question with these little nubs that stick out of the frame and attach to the cantis?
Most of the time, yes, but you could probably fit a long-reach Tetkro dual pivot on the Bianchi - question is how long. There's a fair distance between the rim and the crown; possibly more than an R559 has reach for.

You could swap over to short-reach V-brakes, which don't require changing the lever pull, though this may hurt your fender clearance (you may discover that there are certain benefits in having a wet-weather ready road bike).

However, I'd recommend a pair of Tektro CR-710's above anything else. They're cantilevers, but they use modern, threaded pads which aren't as irritating to adjust as the unthreaded type that you're working with now. They're also better at holding their centering adjustment. Drop in fit, and they use the existing frame studs.

Mind, you can probably get equal results to the CR-710 with the existing cantis that you have now; it'll just take a lot more fiddling to get those pads perfect.

-Kurt
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Old 12-26-20, 01:10 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
And it seems badly suited to cyclocross. It has cantilever brakes so that makes it cyclocrossy. A sport touring bike is a funny term which, to me, means lowly enough not to be a real competition sport bike and yet not a real touring bike, either. So it's in between in many ways.
I have a 1981 Fuji America, which was a sport touring bike, and they are a kind of odd category, which was really supplanted by the Hybrid bike in the late 80's early 90's from what I can gather. As far as I can tell, they are best suited for the following:
  • Commuter bike with a road bike geometry, but with low trail for more stable handling
  • Light touring / Clubman - I look at this as some moderately self-supported rides such as Brevets and other rides where carrying extra water, food etc.... plus clothing may be necessary, but your not doing multi-day, overnight touring requiring bikepacking gear. I would not however consider this a "fast" club ride style bike.
  • Single Speed Grocery Getter Conversions - flat pedals (or pedals like Crank Brothers Double Shot which offers modern clipless on one side and flat on the other), shorts and flip flop type bike that is great when you want to just grab and go, and want convenience vs. fast. Can also work in this form as a commuter as well, but you forgo the extra gears and complexity that comes with it.
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Old 12-26-20, 01:49 PM
  #34  
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Interesting thread, sorry I missed the start. imo, distinguishing between road/touring/touring sport/light touring/cyclocross/grocery-getter/commuter/hybrid is just plain dumb. While not optimal, all will work. Yes, the will feel different, but so what. There is way too much effort to quantify feels good or feels bad, which again is just plain dumb. You can prefer something, but in no means is it "better". The likes of Bartali and Coppi raced bikes that today would be considered a slack touring bike, They would crush the souls of everyone here riding a touring 3 speed with you people on the "best" road bike. So don't delude yourself in thinking one bike is better over another.

So ride a bike, any bike. If you like it, call it whatever you want, it doesn't matter.
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Old 12-26-20, 06:19 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Interesting thread, sorry I missed the start. imo, distinguishing between road/touring/touring sport/light touring/cyclocross/grocery-getter/commuter/hybrid is just plain dumb. While not optimal, all will work. Yes, the will feel different, but so what. There is way too much effort to quantify feels good or feels bad, which again is just plain dumb. You can prefer something, but in no means is it "better". The likes of Bartali and Coppi raced bikes that today would be considered a slack touring bike, They would crush the souls of everyone here riding a touring 3 speed with you people on the "best" road bike. So don't delude yourself in thinking one bike is better over another.

So ride a bike, any bike. If you like it, call it whatever you want, it doesn't matter.
Thank you for making that point!
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Old 12-26-20, 07:23 PM
  #36  
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Bravo.
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Old 12-27-20, 12:48 PM
  #37  
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I've been meaning to have a discussion about the differences between various types of bicycles for a while -- this is as good a place as any, I reckon.

Like most of us, I rode a lot as a kid. When I turned 15, it was mopeds, and later a small motorcycle. At 22, I turned back to cycling, and since I was a student with no money, I got a low-end Peugeout of the (I believe) carbolite variety and rode that for everything; mostly commuting and some loaded touring.

I've never had a proper high-end road bike; the closest is probably the 87 Moser with Aelle frame, sew-ups, and Triomphe groupset.
Presumably the ride and handling wouldn't be much different with the higher-end models.

Exactly once in my life, namely the first time I rode a proper 'racing bike' -- a late-70s Peugeot -- did I get spooked by twitchy handling. That lasted about until the end of the street, then I started getting used to it. I've ridden lots of different bikes, and while I can tell slow handling from fast, a few hundred yards down the road I tend to forget about it. Once a bike fits, it's mostly just a bike, and nobody builds anything really crazy anyway, so we tend to get absorbed in the minutiae.

To read, as an example, Grant Petersen's writing on geometry, you'd be afraid to get on bike with crit geometry at highter speeds. Ad copy for randonneur bikes make similar points. But in my younger years, I'd take the Moser downhill at 45 mph and surely was contemplating things like tubulars coming unglued, but the handling wasn't a concern. Last year I got a CAD3 Cannondale and rode it a few times, even just across town as an errand bike. Yeah it feels a bit different than my touring bikes, and the aluminum bikes feel different than steel, but none of this seems a big deal to me.

The one requirement I have is that my bike go straight down the road when I ride no-hands, and they all do, with various levels of stability.

Here are some shots of my stable.. the long-winded message is that I'd ride any one of these anywhere, and the decision which one to take on a century would depend on the weather and the need for fenders, or super-low gears, and maybe most of all, whether I can get the handlebar high enough so my neck can take it. That property known as "handling" would be somewhere lower than "weight" and higher than "paint color."

Can you-all relate, or does that just mean I'm numb to the finer points of cycling?
No need to be gentle.

cheers -mathias




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Old 12-27-20, 01:50 PM
  #38  
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Good to know I can do a loaded tour on my '80s crit bike.


.
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Old 12-27-20, 06:37 PM
  #39  
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I am glad you noticed a difference in your bike's character, @zachleft . What about cantis are you not particularly fond of? Aesthetics? Setup? Function? Feel? I know that decent dual-pivot side-pull calipers are great to set up and feel good to use, and you could try them here, but may have to go for something like a Tektro R559 (very long reach) caliper or similar, which may not have the braking power you'd be looking for (or that those cantis could deliver). You could try V-brakes as they look like they should fit. A little easier setup and great braking power. Some here may call for "specific brake levers" with regard to pull ratio, but I haven't really found that to be an issue. YMMV, of course.
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Old 12-27-20, 07:21 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by steine13 View Post
I've been meaning to have a discussion about the differences between various types of bicycles for a while -- this is as good a place as any, I reckon.

Like most of us, I rode a lot as a kid. When I turned 15, it was mopeds, and later a small motorcycle. At 22, I turned back to cycling, and since I was a student with no money, I got a low-end Peugeout of the (I believe) carbolite variety and rode that for everything; mostly commuting and some loaded touring.

I've never had a proper high-end road bike; the closest is probably the 87 Moser with Aelle frame, sew-ups, and Triomphe groupset.
Presumably the ride and handling wouldn't be much different with the higher-end models.

Exactly once in my life, namely the first time I rode a proper 'racing bike' -- a late-70s Peugeot -- did I get spooked by twitchy handling. That lasted about until the end of the street, then I started getting used to it. I've ridden lots of different bikes, and while I can tell slow handling from fast, a few hundred yards down the road I tend to forget about it. Once a bike fits, it's mostly just a bike, and nobody builds anything really crazy anyway, so we tend to get absorbed in the minutiae.

To read, as an example, Grant Petersen's writing on geometry, you'd be afraid to get on bike with crit geometry at highter speeds. Ad copy for randonneur bikes make similar points. But in my younger years, I'd take the Moser downhill at 45 mph and surely was contemplating things like tubulars coming unglued, but the handling wasn't a concern. Last year I got a CAD3 Cannondale and rode it a few times, even just across town as an errand bike. Yeah it feels a bit different than my touring bikes, and the aluminum bikes feel different than steel, but none of this seems a big deal to me.

The one requirement I have is that my bike go straight down the road when I ride no-hands, and they all do, with various levels of stability.

Here are some shots of my stable.. the long-winded message is that I'd ride any one of these anywhere, and the decision which one to take on a century would depend on the weather and the need for fenders, or super-low gears, and maybe most of all, whether I can get the handlebar high enough so my neck can take it. That property known as "handling" would be somewhere lower than "weight" and higher than "paint color."

Can you-all relate, or does that just mean I'm numb to the finer points of cycling?
No need to be gentle.

cheers -mathias
The geometry matters greatly after getting fitted to the bike. As Grant might posit, the "crit" bike is really poor for commuting and such because it handles poorly if the rider is fitted into an upright position with a taller and/or shorter stem extension. I've done this with a few short-coupled, steep angled racing frames and they pretty much sucked in terms of the rider's mental relaxation.

Steep geometry makes the bike more responsive to quick changes in direction and to acceleration efforts, as the rider isn't fighting the bike as much under harder efforts. There is a lot to explain here, but long chainstays act as levers that allow hard pedaling efforts to push the front end around more. Longer and slacker-angled bikes also tend to drift wide in corners within a surrounding group of riders, which is dangerous when the group is riding close together.

Faster roads that have any side-wind or that aren't perfectly smooth will may leave the rider of the "crit" bike unable to reach for their water bottle, change gears or even change hand position until the speed and/or conditions change. I have certainly experienced all three of these things riding some of the great variety of bikes that I've owned.

So I think that Grant is right to caution against his readers using a steep-angled "crit" bike for more-utilitarian use and especially when fitted into a more "upright" rider's position.

A worst-case situation can arise either from the "intended use" variable, or from the "fitted configuation" variable (as when an upright Guerciotti racer is perhaps fitted with "townie" handlebars).
And a best-case scenario perhaps shapes up when a Schwinn Varsity with barely 70-degree frame angles is fitted with a townie upright handlebar and short stem extension (A popular and great combination, the 27"-wheel 10-speed Suburban that Schwinn sold with such an upright handlebar).
Even my original 1970 Supersport with it's 73-degree frame angles is a twitchy bike with it's factory-spec upright bars. It's great for walking the dog on leash on serpentine trails at low speed, but feels too nervous out on the road at speed.




All that said, riders do naturally adapt to a pretty wide range of geometries, and it's only those who ride different bikes regularly who might find geometry differences so pronounced.
Recumbents I've ridden seem to be the worst, but then I don't ride these every day.
And sometimes it's just the headset bearings being rough or over-tight (or perhaps some ancient radial tires) that makes a bike feel nervous-steering and awful-riding.

Last edited by dddd; 12-27-20 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 12-27-20, 07:30 PM
  #41  
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I'd frickin love to have a bike like that Volpe. Keep the thing and ride it if you aren't into it for large coin. You'll go plenty fast on it. The Expedition etc are nice too, but too old (need something younger).

Given the choice of a speed demon like that Litespeed which I'd certainly like to own or a bike like the Bianchi, for the type of riding (overwhelming majority of the time) I do I would take a road touring style anyday. They are just too damn useful overall.

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Old 12-27-20, 09:43 PM
  #42  
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I wouldn’t say it doesn’t matter, but it might not necessarily matter. I’ve taken loaded tours on racing bikes. It’s not for everyone, but you can do it.
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Old 12-27-20, 11:03 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Good to know I can do a loaded tour on my '80s crit bike.


.
Ha. I get the point, but yeah you probably could do a loaded tour on a crit bike. Change the gearing, strap on some racks, put on the fattest tires you can and your set. I've seen stranger set-ups work just fine. A sport touring (ie. entry level touring), bike will handle a little quicker and you may need to push your panniers back a little but it'll work fine as a touring bike or grocery getter or club rider or....
On changing out the canti's, why? They work pretty well, are easy to figure out AND are already there. I've seen them replaced by varies side pull brakes but in order to generate the same braking force, dual pivots are probably a good idea. Then you are left with the bosses that you absolutely, positively cannot file off. The bike gods will throw you off into a ditch at every opportunity if you do.
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Old 12-27-20, 11:11 PM
  #44  
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Oh, and the reason to get different bikes for different jobs is because we want them not because they're necessary.

😁
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Old 12-27-20, 11:23 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by steine13 View Post
I've been meaning to have a discussion about the differences between various types of bicycles for a while -- this is as good a place as any, I reckon.

Like most of us, I rode a lot as a kid. When I turned 15, it was mopeds, and later a small motorcycle. At 22, I turned back to cycling, and since I was a student with no money, I got a low-end Peugeout of the (I believe) carbolite variety and rode that for everything; mostly commuting and some loaded touring.

I've never had a proper high-end road bike; the closest is probably the 87 Moser with Aelle frame, sew-ups, and Triomphe groupset.
Presumably the ride and handling wouldn't be much different with the higher-end models.

Exactly once in my life, namely the first time I rode a proper 'racing bike' -- a late-70s Peugeot -- did I get spooked by twitchy handling. That lasted about until the end of the street, then I started getting used to it. I've ridden lots of different bikes, and while I can tell slow handling from fast, a few hundred yards down the road I tend to forget about it. Once a bike fits, it's mostly just a bike, and nobody builds anything really crazy anyway, so we tend to get absorbed in the minutiae.

To read, as an example, Grant Petersen's writing on geometry, you'd be afraid to get on bike with crit geometry at highter speeds. Ad copy for randonneur bikes make similar points. But in my younger years, I'd take the Moser downhill at 45 mph and surely was contemplating things like tubulars coming unglued, but the handling wasn't a concern. Last year I got a CAD3 Cannondale and rode it a few times, even just across town as an errand bike. Yeah it feels a bit different than my touring bikes, and the aluminum bikes feel different than steel, but none of this seems a big deal to me.

The one requirement I have is that my bike go straight down the road when I ride no-hands, and they all do, with various levels of stability.

Here are some shots of my stable.. the long-winded message is that I'd ride any one of these anywhere, and the decision which one to take on a century would depend on the weather and the need for fenders, or super-low gears, and maybe most of all, whether I can get the handlebar high enough so my neck can take it. That property known as "handling" would be somewhere lower than "weight" and higher than "paint color."

Can you-all relate, or does that just mean I'm numb to the finer points of cycling?
No need to be gentle.

cheers -mathias




Cool, cool. I would love to try to throw on some racks on my Gios Compact Pro. Except.....it has no mounts (so there is issue #1). Issue #2 - is an extremely twitchy bike. Riding it "no-hands" is an art, and tire clearance is non-existent. Trying to convert that to a touring bike would be ridiculous, much less even a daily commuter with any racks or fenders at all.

Certain bikes were clearly created for such specific purposes (another example - I have a custom Tiemeyer track bike that, outside of riding on a velodrome, would be miserable trying to ride that in any other situation (even in a fixie commuter due to the geometry, it would not be comfortable nor safe).

I do agree, that there is a range within the middle between say, track specific / crit specific bike and full suspension downhill MTB that exists where it really could be a do all bike. The early 1990's MTB's are an example of a bike that, outside of racing in a crit or road race, could be modified to basically do almost anything. Same for actually most cross/gravel bikes. But please, do not think that all bikes are the same, and it is just perception.
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Old 12-28-20, 12:10 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I wouldn’t say it doesn’t matter, but it might not necessarily matter. I’ve taken loaded tours on racing bikes. It’s not for everyone, but you can do it.
I toured on mine a lot. I also raced on it, a Peugeot PX10
Early 1970s-- It wasn't perfect for touring, but it was fast. I did a little over an 1100 mile tour in 11 days.




I've also gone through two Volpes, and did everything on them except race. If you ever ride a dedicated touring bike, you will tell the difference between it and your Volpe. I still ride one but it is a relatively new one, 2007. It will do a lot of things well. I used a Volpe to ride across the U.S.

Last edited by Doug64; 12-28-20 at 12:30 AM.
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