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Help me pick an offroad touring bike.

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Help me pick an offroad touring bike.

Old 07-23-10, 08:07 AM
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Help me pick an offroad touring bike.

Hi guys. Looking seriously for an offroad touring bike. By offroad I mean logging roads, rail to trails, simple single track and double track and of course pavement. Not hardcore offroad over cliffs with panniers acting as sails or anything

The list so far:

Salsa Fargo

This is on the top of my list. I have no way to test ride it though, but it has what I want.. 29er, wide tires, MTB frame with a touring package. I read there are some issues with a squirrely front end when loaded but that's not an issue as I tour light and just putting a sleeping bag or light load up front is fine for me.


Rans Alterra or Dynamik


I am a Rans fan, and I enjoy my crank forward, but for offroad touring I would want a more upright bike then the crank forward I have now. The Alterra fits the bill. Also they are bloody comfortable.

Kona Sutra

Hoping to test this next week... seems like it would handle offroad fine with the right tires, more cyclo crossy though.


Norco Cabot


Another choice that would be more cyclocrossy offroad, good or bad?


Any other suggestions?
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Old 07-23-10, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Aquakitty View Post
Hi guys. Looking seriously for an offroad touring bike. By offroad I mean logging roads, rail to trails, simple single track and double track and of course pavement. Not hardcore offroad over cliffs with panniers acting as sails or anything

The list so far:

Salsa Fargo

This is on the top of my list. I have no way to test ride it though, but it has what I want.. 29er, wide tires, MTB frame with a touring package. I read there are some issues with a squirrely front end when loaded but that's not an issue as I tour light and just putting a sleeping bag or light load up front is fine for me.


Rans Alterra or Dynamik


I am a Rans fan, and I enjoy my crank forward, but for offroad touring I would want a more upright bike then the crank forward I have now. The Alterra fits the bill. Also they are bloody comfortable.

Kona Sutra

Hoping to test this next week... seems like it would handle offroad fine with the right tires, more cyclo crossy though.


Norco Cabot


Another choice that would be more cyclocrossy offroad, good or bad?


Any other suggestions?
I don't know that any of these would be suitable for what you want to do. For off-road touring, a conventional hardtail or a Moots YBB would be a better choice. Get them with a fork that can be locked out and you'll have a machine that can handle pavement and everything else you want to throw at it. If you go to Revelate Designs, you can even get bags that make off-road touring easier than dragging around a trailer or trying to loft a bike loaded with panniers. I'm planning on purchasing these bags for exploring old mountain railbeds here in Colorado (not smooth railtrails but rockier flatish roads)

I've done off-road touring like you are planning on a conventional rigid mountain bike with front and rear bags, as well as on a hardtail pulling a trailer and the Moots pulling a trailer. The rigid bike will beat you to pieces. The hardtail with shock is much more comfortable and the Moots takes enough edge off the rear hits (remember you won't be able to lift the bike over the bumps like you would an unloaded bike) to make it a worthwhile investment...especially if you can find a used one.
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Old 07-23-10, 08:36 AM
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If you're touring light, look a the Salsa Vaya. Same setup as the Fargo, but built lighter. Fargo's a tank.

I just rode 280 miles of the Great Divide MTB Trail on one last month - which is pretty much the same offroad conditions you describe - and was very happy with it.
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Old 07-23-10, 08:37 AM
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Surly Pugsley makes an awesome dirt/gravel road touring machine. It's also a super fun bike to mess about on closer to home. It can be run with the 4" wide tires which are no harder to pedal that a typical 2.1-2.2" MTB knobby. You can also run 29er MTB rims and any touring/MTB tires you feel like.



My buddy and I rode two fully loaded Pugsleys ~450kms on the CDN GDR last year...longest day was ~140kms uphill over a pass.

Don't let the big wheels fool you these bikes can roll fast and give a very cushy ride on rough roads.
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Old 07-23-10, 08:37 AM
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FYI, one person's bad experience with a Fargo, including a response by Salsa:

http://www.adventurecycling.org/foru...p?topic=6948.0

Near the end of the thread, another poster details his problems with the bike.
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Old 07-23-10, 08:44 AM
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Mine!! Or get a Thorn Sterling frame and build it up just the way you like it.

I'd love to have a 29er, but they're just too much of a liability of you're going anywhere adventurous (Asia, South America etc) - 26" wheels and parts are much more universally available.
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Old 07-23-10, 08:54 AM
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Wow read through those threads about the woman wrecking and dying from shimmy.

It struck home for me because on some of those rodes in Oregon, (and before lowriders but with front panniers) I had similary shimmy on my Paramount and just got into the habit of clamping my top tube with my knees on steep descents. Good to know that is a valid issue

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Old 07-23-10, 10:12 AM
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Check out www.bikepacking.net. They have write ups on setups and gear.

Kev
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Old 07-23-10, 11:50 AM
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How about a Co-Motion Pangea? It is pretty expensive but Co-Motion has a great reputation and seems to fit the bill.
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Old 07-23-10, 12:15 PM
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Vintage MTB is also a great way to go. All the braze-ons you need and totally bomb-proof.
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Old 07-23-10, 01:26 PM
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if you just want your bike for simple single track, plus whatever pavement lies in between, I think a conventional touring bike will do you just fine. I've done quite a bit of off-road riding with my loaded Trek 620, and it's never given me much of a problem. Just mount wider tires than usual, and go slow if the terrain calls for it. The real fun is how you set it up, dirt drop handlebars and a thin 29er tire (or fat cyclocross, depending on your viewpoint) can make it a pretty capable mountain bike, if you go gingerly.
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Old 07-23-10, 01:50 PM
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you can pretty much use any MTB for off road touring
it really depends on "how" you tour

personally I've been into the BikePacking method.
racks, panniers, etc... its a whole lot of stuff to carry, and if you ride a ton, there is a good chance that something will break
I mean to say...
that racks and panniers typically have some kind of slapping around that goes on in between the pannier and rack
so hot spots develop
and welds are prone to break.

ok...
ok...
ok...
ya right

I also have used my Pug for a ton of touring and it has racks and bags... never broke a rack
nor have i broken an Old Man Mountain Rack

but really...
In comparison to using frame bags...
and simply reducing your gear...

its a much better option.

when it comes to touring, the route, provisions, resources, etc...
its infinitely variable

I'd say, if you have touring experience
and if you have MTB experience
try your best to morph in the direction of MTB -> Touring
vs
Touring -> MTB


my current setup is a custom Hunter 29er that pretty much does everything
it has braze ons for racks, fenders, et al

But its the best with just frame bags.

the method with racks, leads to large baggage
most of the time, if you have the luggage, you will fill it

the question becomes what comfort do you want?
comfort in camp?
comfort on the bike?

I've done some touring on the cheap where I am literally living On The Road, lots of rain, little to no money, etc...
so I'd carry a 4 man tipi complete with wood burning stove.

The Big Dummy is more than capable to haul, even fire wood and an axe...

however, I will say that I really do like a 29er!

depends on your finance...

I'd consider a Surly Karate Monkey
a Salsa El Maraichi Ti
a Dos Niner

uhh... a Niner Carbon Air?!

the list is just about infinite...
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Old 07-23-10, 02:04 PM
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Thorn Sterling
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Old 07-23-10, 03:05 PM
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IM happy with my tout terrain silkroad. I built it with drop bars, and have ridden it on everything from paved roads, to fireroads, to rocky, rough singletrack since i finished the build 3 months ago. It has handled all these terrains admirably with a decent sized load. The integrated rack is incredibly stout, and makes my tubus logo look flexy. I have the rohloff version which is wonderful. pricey, but totally worth it for a nice balance of road/MTB characteristics. It can easily fit 2 inch marathon XR with 60mm fenders, but most of the time i use 40mm marathon supremes.

the handling is impeccable.
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Old 07-23-10, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by vik View Post


Surly Pugsley makes an awesome dirt/gravel road touring machine. It's also a super fun bike to mess about on closer to home. It can be run with the 4" wide tires which are no harder to pedal that a typical 2.1-2.2" MTB knobby. You can also run 29er MTB rims and any touring/MTB tires you feel like.



My buddy and I rode two fully loaded Pugsleys ~450kms on the CDN GDR last year...longest day was ~140kms uphill over a pass.

Don't let the big wheels fool you these bikes can roll fast and give a very cushy ride on rough roads.
Actually i was indeed eying the pug up, I have wanted one of those since I first saw them. My only concern is that it would be rather complicated to get built and theres zero tire choice with the large marge (to me the point of the pugsley is to use those rims). What is the deal with the special dishing required? is that for any pugsly frame or is it just if you use disk brakes.

Originally Posted by kbabin View Post
Check out www.bikepacking.net. They have write ups on setups and gear.

Kev

Thanks first time I heard of that site... I didnt know there was a name for offroad touring heh.

Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post

bloody gorgeous bike, i fear it is a bit more then i want to spend, looking at the $2000 range max... but that frame is certainly on the list!

Originally Posted by slaani View Post
Vintage MTB is also a great way to go. All the braze-ons you need and totally bomb-proof.

yes, that is another option i was considering. I picked up a nice late '80s Japanese MTB from a thrift store for $15 and restored it, it has all the braze ons for racks and 3x bottle holder lol. I have considered stripping the frame and using it. The only thing i dont like is the fact that I cant use disk brakes, also buying new stuff is fun! its still a possibility. i think I will brooks saddlze it and see how it goes.
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Old 07-23-10, 03:20 PM
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lots of choices out there
GT Peace Tour? http://www.downcycles.com/store/2010...ur-p-1128.html
GT Peace 9er? http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/ProductDisplay?storeId=10052&langId=-1&catalogId=10551&productId=1074268&cm_mmc=$(referrer)$-_-Bikes/Frames-_-GT-_-30-1470&CSE=GooglePS&mr:trackingCode=F918BC46-A681-DE11-B7F3-0019B9C043EB&mr:referralID=NA

http://www.rei.com/product/784254

lots to chose from
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Old 07-23-10, 03:21 PM
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oh..

what size?
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Old 07-23-10, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Aquakitty View Post


bloody gorgeous bike, i fear it is a bit more then i want to spend, looking at the $2000 range max... but that frame is certainly on the list!
Yeah, I know what you mean. They're pricey, but I'm not sure you can buy better.


yes, that is another option i was considering. I picked up a nice late '80s Japanese MTB from a thrift store for $15 and restored it, it has all the braze ons for racks and 3x bottle holder lol. I have considered stripping the frame and using it. The only thing i dont like is the fact that I cant use disk brakes, also buying new stuff is fun! its still a possibility. i think I will brooks saddlze it and see how it goes.
Not a bad idea. And I wouldn't worry about the discs, good V-brakes have serious stopping power. You could indulge your taste for new stuff by speccing up the wheels and other components...
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Old 07-23-10, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
Y. You could indulge your taste for new stuff by speccing up the wheels and other components...
or camping equipment...
or an airplane ticket...
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Old 07-23-10, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I don't know that any of these would be suitable for what you want to do. For off-road touring, a conventional hardtail or a Moots YBB would be a better choice. Get them with a fork that can be locked out and you'll have a machine that can handle pavement and everything else you want to throw at it. If you go to Revelate Designs, you can even get bags that make off-road touring easier than dragging around a trailer or trying to loft a bike loaded with panniers. I'm planning on purchasing these bags for exploring old mountain railbeds here in Colorado (not smooth railtrails but rockier flatish roads)

I've done off-road touring like you are planning on a conventional rigid mountain bike with front and rear bags, as well as on a hardtail pulling a trailer and the Moots pulling a trailer. The rigid bike will beat you to pieces. The hardtail with shock is much more comfortable and the Moots takes enough edge off the rear hits (remember you won't be able to lift the bike over the bumps like you would an unloaded bike) to make it a worthwhile investment...especially if you can find a used one.
First time I have seen the Revelate Designs stuff, which looks cool but dam this stuff makes Ortlieb look cheap. Probably pretty good stuff though.
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Old 07-23-10, 04:53 PM
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any bike will be fine.
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Old 07-23-10, 09:39 PM
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Regarding the Salsas, some of their official dealers listed on their website tell me by email they will pretty much build whatever components any desired Salsa frame.
Personally I use a vintage MTB for off road tours over trails not very rough and a Bruce Gordon BLT with 26 in wheels for pavement touring with only short side trips down logging roads (in order to camp in the forest away from the asphalt. Other more rugged bikes have been mentioned in this thread and if you don't mind ineffiecient pedaling over smooth surfaces, they would be a better choice for all round touring, I imagine. But I don't have the patience to drive a tanktruck down the highway.
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Old 07-24-10, 09:32 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by robmcl View Post
First time I have seen the Revelate Designs stuff, which looks cool but dam this stuff makes Ortlieb look cheap. Probably pretty good stuff though.
It's not that expensive, really. The frame bag is around $150 but it's custom made to fit your frame. The handlebar bag is very reasonable. The seat bag is a little expensive but not overly so considering what it does. I've priced out a whole outfit for around $450. Front and rear Ortlieb bags and an Ortlieb handlebar bag will cost about the same.
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Old 07-24-10, 09:54 AM
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seems to me you're covering a huge range of bikes for a fairly specific type of terrain. With front shocks you can go down a hill at 15mph that you might not want to go down at 10mph and with a lockout you have little penalty on hard roads and uphill. Folks like Asana Cycles who travel light and are probably pretty athletic off road can tolerate bouncy stuff with technique but if you aren't of like disposition front shocks will go a long way for making the ride pleasant and under control.
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Old 07-24-10, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
It's not that expensive, really. The frame bag is around $150 but it's custom made to fit your frame. The handlebar bag is very reasonable. The seat bag is a little expensive but not overly so considering what it does. I've priced out a whole outfit for around $450. Front and rear Ortlieb bags and an Ortlieb handlebar bag will cost about the same.
That's he first time I heard of that as well, very interesting idea to use only frame bags, I will certainly look into that.

Jeez a ti bike with framebags, it'd be like your tour was just one long session.
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