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Recommendations: Modern MTB for Touring?

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Recommendations: Modern MTB for Touring?

Old 09-10-14, 09:43 AM
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Recommendations: Modern MTB for Touring?

Hi folks, got what I hope is a quick question....

I'm changing up my current bike stable -- too many road bikes, not enough room.

My current plan is to have a little bit of overlap between bikes, as follows:

1) Main road bike
2) Bike Friday NWT, for touring and as backup road bike
3) Some type of MTB with lockout suspension, for fairly basic off-road, off-road touring, and touring backup

The MTB will replace my current cross bike.

Road bike is set, and I know the Bike Friday specs I have in mind. But I don't know anything about MTB.

My main requirement is that the bike use 700c / 29ers, and have good quality components (equivalent in quality to 105). I'm OK with flat bar.

Any suggestions?
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Old 09-10-14, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
But I don't know anything about MTB.

My main requirement is that the bike use 700c / 29ers, and have good quality components (equivalent in quality to 105). I'm OK with flat bar.

Any suggestions?
There are loads of options. Here is one:

Fargo 2 Suspension | Bikes | Salsa Cycles

I wouldn't limit yourself to a fork with a true lock out. Most forks will have low speed compression adjustment and that's more than enough to make the fork efficient on smoother surfaces. I never bother to lock out a fork even on paved roads. You are hauling all that weight around you might as well get some benefit. If your fork is setup properly it shouldn't be bobbing all over the place.
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Old 09-10-14, 01:26 PM
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H'm... ~28 pounds isn't too bad. $2500 is doable, though a bit more than I expected.

So how critical is suspension? Last weekend I did a ride on my steel cross bike with 32c's on a flat packed dirt road, with maybe 10 miles of big chunky gravel, some ruts etc. I didn't feel particularly beat up, but I did think the cross won't be sufficient for rougher roads. However, I'm not sure if ultimately that's due to a lack of suspension, geometry, or both.
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Old 09-10-14, 01:38 PM
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Or, get two forks for your MTB/off-road bike. One suspension, and one rigid with low-rider braze-ons. With a cartridge headset like a Chris King they are easy to swap out in just a few minutes. Put a second CK fork crown baseplate on the "spare" fork, along with a second brake. Easiest to do this with V-brakes, but you could also do it with discs.

I have my 26" Co-Motion set up like this, with a Rock Shox suspension fork and a rigid fork from a Surly LHT. Great do-it-all bike (it even has S&S couplers)!
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Old 09-10-14, 01:42 PM
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If you're OK not having suspension, the Surly Ogre or Troll would make a great mtb/touring bike.
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Old 09-10-14, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
If you're OK not having suspension, the Surly Ogre or Troll would make a great mtb/touring bike.
Yeah, that's the tricky part.

I'll pester the MTBers.
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Old 09-10-14, 02:45 PM
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Tout Terrain , or Thorne?.


there are rigid forks to substitute for a suspension one so the frame geometry upfront stays sort of the same..

good , top of the heap suspension forks , cost what most people are expecting to get the whole bike for..





Any how I Own this http://www.cyclofiend.com/working/20...clark1008.html

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Old 09-10-14, 02:53 PM
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"touring backup"

So are you going to be carrying the MTB in your panniers?
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Old 09-10-14, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
H'm... ~28 pounds isn't too bad. $2500 is doable, though a bit more than I expected.

So how critical is suspension?


Suspension is not critical. I only suggested a suspension model because you mentioned you wanted it in your post at the top. ^^^ this is my only touring bike. Rigid steel with chubby 29er tires. I've done very rough singletrack tours with it, GDR style dirt road tours and spun along 100kms of paved roads to link up dirt sections.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/vikapp...7634412270724/

That doesn't mean suspension isn't beneficial. It comes down to how rough the surface you'll be on is and how fast you want to ride it plus how sensitive to comfort issues you are.

I bought a used fork to put on it for my next touring season. Partially for the added speed/control bombing rough singletrack, but also to slacken the front end for more stability coming down loose steep trails in the mountains.

Without suspension it's easy to get the cost for a decent build under $2K and you can always add it later.

The Fargo 3 is $1700: http://salsacycles.com/bikes/fargo/2...go_3/overview/
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Old 09-10-14, 03:14 PM
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Yet again, hmmm

So how much different is the ride feel / shock absorption of a Fargo-type bike, compared to a CrossCheck? Or is it more a matter of handling?

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Old 09-10-14, 03:42 PM
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Vic, you tour on that Pugsley? I am currently planning a trip down the East Coast Greenway and I want to get that bike because it'll be winter when I depart. How do you like it on pavement?
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Old 09-10-14, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
Hi folks, got what I hope is a quick question....

I'm changing up my current bike stable -- too many road bikes, not enough room.

My current plan is to have a little bit of overlap between bikes, as follows:

1) Main road bike
2) Bike Friday NWT, for touring and as backup road bike
3) Some type of MTB with lockout suspension, for fairly basic off-road, off-road touring, and touring backup

The MTB will replace my current cross bike.

Road bike is set, and I know the Bike Friday specs I have in mind. But I don't know anything about MTB.

My main requirement is that the bike use 700c / 29ers, and have good quality components (equivalent in quality to 105). I'm OK with flat bar.

Any suggestions?
There a some issues with using a mountain bike for touring. Their geometry is designed to tuck the wheel up under the rider so that the weight is over the wheel to keep traction on climbs. Many of them don't have any kind of rack mount and the ones that do can be tricky to get a rack around a hub mounted disc brake. You are also limited in terms of front racks because mounting the rack to a suspension fork can be tricky. You might be able to mount the rack to the lower legs but you could damage them. Putting weight on the lower legs may have a deleterious effect on their suspension capabilities as well...sprung vs unsprung weight. Tubus makes a rack that mounts to the upper legs but it is pricey. A trailer or Revelate bags is an option but the only thing worse than a trailer is everything else...including the Relevate.

I would suggest that you look down the line in most large manufacturers' lines. The Trek 3500 has a rear rack mount but not a lockable fork. The Specialized Rockhopper and Rockhopper Sport have a rear rack mount and a lockable fork but it's not a great fork. The Fargo is okay but as you said it's pricey. The Rockhopper would be worth upgrading for less money.

Don't get too hung up on 26" vs 29er. There are lots and lots of really good 26" mountain bikes out there that can be had for a song in both new and used versions. Some of the used ones are very high end bikes that are being dumped for 29ers. There are some advantages to 26" for touring...even off-road touring...as well. The gearing is lower which can be important when you are trying to huck even a small touring load up a dirt road that is filled with rocks. I picked up a Moots YBB frame for cheap because the owner was swapping over to carbon and 29". For rugged off-road touring, the YBB may be the ultimate machine. It has a simple rear suspension that can be locked out (you just tighten up the slider) and there are no pivots or bushings to wear out. It's light and bomb proof as well.

Originally Posted by vik View Post
There are loads of options. Here is one:

Fargo 2 Suspension | Bikes | Salsa Cycles

I wouldn't limit yourself to a fork with a true lock out. Most forks will have low speed compression adjustment and that's more than enough to make the fork efficient on smoother surfaces. I never bother to lock out a fork even on paved roads. You are hauling all that weight around you might as well get some benefit. If your fork is setup properly it shouldn't be bobbing all over the place.
I would disagree. I've owned the Reba that the Fargo comes with. There is lockout like you find on a Fox or a Manitou and then there is the suggestion of lockout that you find on the Reba. I could never set it up to do anything but bob constantly. Even with a shock that is properly tuned, there are times...smooth but steep dirt roads...where you want to get out of the saddle and/or you don't need the shock. When you get out of the saddle, the extra weight will cause the shock to bob. You can increase the air pressure...something which you should do over an unloaded bike...but I can still make just about any shock bob through most of its travel when out of the saddle.

Originally Posted by briwasson View Post
Or, get two forks for your MTB/off-road bike. One suspension, and one rigid with low-rider braze-ons. With a cartridge headset like a Chris King they are easy to swap out in just a few minutes. Put a second CK fork crown baseplate on the "spare" fork, along with a second brake. Easiest to do this with V-brakes, but you could also do it with discs.

I have my 26" Co-Motion set up like this, with a Rock Shox suspension fork and a rigid fork from a Surly LHT. Great do-it-all bike (it even has S&S couplers)!
While an okay idea, there are problems with this approach. You have to plan ahead. "Am I going to go off-road? Better take the suspension fork." "I'm not planning on going off-road so I'll leave the suspension behind." But what if you want to do both or if you change your mind? Sure, you can ride off-road without suspension but you can also ride on-road with suspension. Depends on how flexible you want to be and how much you want to beat yourself up on the ride.
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Old 09-10-14, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I would disagree. I've owned the Reba that the Fargo comes with. There is lockout like you find on a Fox or a Manitou and then there is the suggestion of lockout that you find on the Reba. I could never set it up to do anything but bob constantly. Even with a shock that is properly tuned, there are times...smooth but steep dirt roads...where you want to get out of the saddle and/or you don't need the shock. When you get out of the saddle, the extra weight will cause the shock to bob. You can increase the air pressure...something which you should do over an unloaded bike...but I can still make just about any shock bob through most of its travel when out of the saddle.


Sound like you have a problem setting up suspension or the damper in that fork was not working. I have a Reba and it's not an issue to set it up for use touring on smoother surfaces. I'm ~185lbs without gear so I'm not a featherweight.

My complaint these days is that most forks have too aggressive a LSC damper in them and most adjustments are nearly a lock out.
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Old 09-10-14, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by vik View Post


Suspension is not critical. I only suggested a suspension model because you mentioned you wanted it in your post at the top. ^^^ this is my only touring bike. Rigid steel with chubby 29er tires. I've done very rough singletrack tours with it, GDR style dirt road tours and spun along 100kms of paved roads to link up dirt sections.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/vikapp...7634412270724/

That doesn't mean suspension isn't beneficial. It comes down to how rough the surface you'll be on is and how fast you want to ride it plus how sensitive to comfort issues you are.

I bought a used fork to put on it for my next touring season. Partially for the added speed/control bombing rough singletrack, but also to slacken the front end for more stability coming down loose steep trails in the mountains.

Without suspension it's easy to get the cost for a decent build under $2K and you can always add it later.

The Fargo 3 is $1700: Fargo 3 | Bikes | Salsa Cycles
I agree, mostly, about suspension but it depends on how adventuresome you want to be. I did this route a couple of weeks ago. It's not one that I would want to do without suspension. I lost my camera so I don't have pictures but this video shows the west side that I went down (to be honest I had to walk much of it but the suspension made it so I could ride parts of it)


And this one shows Tin Cup that I went up (I had to walk most of it up as well but I did get a nice rough downhill on the east side)


You can see the lovely downhill bit at about 15 minutes.
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Old 09-10-14, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by vik View Post


Sound like you had a problem setting up suspension or the damper in that fork was not working. I have a Reba and it's not an issue to set it up for use touring on smoother surfaces. I'm ~185lbs without gear so I'm not a featherweight.

My complaint these days is that most forks have too aggressive a LSC damper in them and most adjustments are nearly a lock out.
Nope, I didn't have a problem setting up the fork. I even sent it to Push and had it revalved. That didn't make any difference. The lockout on the fork was still soft. My wife has SID and it seems to have the same problem...for me. With her lightweight it locks out fine. I much prefer Fox and Manitou over Rock Shox.
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Old 09-10-14, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I agree, mostly, about suspension but it depends on how adventuresome you want to be.
It has nothing to do with how adventuresome you want to be.



I ride a 6" travel FS mountain bike for fun rides so I am no suspension luddite.



I rode this very rough singletrack tour with folks on rigid bikes, FS bikes and front suspension bikes.



There was no correlation between speed or success based on suspension. Nothing wrong with suspension. It's just not essential.
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Old 09-10-14, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by freddy4130 View Post
Vic, you tour on that Pugsley? I am currently planning a trip down the East Coast Greenway and I want to get that bike because it'll be winter when I depart. How do you like it on pavement?
The bike I posted is a Krampus 29 x 3" tires. A Pugsley generally run 26 x 4-5" tires although you can install 29 x 3" wheels as a modification.

The Krampus handles pavement pretty well. I've done up to 100kms at a go. If I was going to do long road distances I swap in some slick tires.

I've done road riding on the Pugsley on tour as well. Again it's not bad. I wouldn't select a fat bike for a long road tour, but I wouldn't be afraid of some road riding.
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Old 09-10-14, 04:30 PM
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Old 09-10-14, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by vik View Post
There was no correlation between speed or success based on suspension.
Who said anything about speed? Suspension helps with control and comfort. Yes, you can do all kinds of rides on rigid bikes. You could do that ride on a carbon road bike but why? Just to make it harder? I've ridden all over on rigid mountain bikes...I had one in 1984...I've done 50 and 60 mile single day rides over 2 or 3 passes (I've even done Williams Pass on a rigid bike) and all it did was make me sore.

But I didn't do those rides on a rigid mountain bike by choice. We didn't have suspension. I spent 10 years riding without suspension and, like most things bicycle, I'm not nostalgic for the "good old days". They were pretty awful. If suspension is available, I'd suggest to anyone that they use it. The rocks really don't care. Can you provide a good reason why not to use suspension for Bacciagalupe purposes?
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Old 09-10-14, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by vik View Post
The bike I posted is a Krampus 29 x 3" tires. A Pugsley generally run 26 x 4-5" tires although you can install 29 x 3" wheels as a modification.

The Krampus handles pavement pretty well. I've done up to 100kms at a go. If I was going to do long road distances I swap in some slick tires.

I've done road riding on the Pugsley on tour as well. Again it's not bad. I wouldn't select a fat bike for a long road tour, but I wouldn't be afraid of some road riding.
Thanks. I am going to be doing tons of surf fishing along my way down the coast. The bike will basically be a surf fishing cart that will be ride-able if that makes sense. Although, there will be tons of road riding, it is in the sand that I will need the FB. However, I am more of a fisherman than a cyclist so I would head your advice. It is a 1300 mile trip from NYC to Pompano Beach. Would you recommend a Krampus or an Ogre with bigger tires? I am trying to stay steel since I rode bmx for so long. I'd feel like I was cheating on my roots if I went alloy, haha.
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Old 09-10-14, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by freddy4130 View Post
Thanks. I am going to be doing tons of surf fishing along my way down the coast. The bike will basically be a surf fishing cart that will be ride-able if that makes sense. Although, there will be tons of road riding, it is in the sand that I will need the FB. However, I am more of a fisherman than a cyclist so I would head your advice. It is a 1300 mile trip from NYC to Pompano Beach. Would you recommend a Krampus or an Ogre with bigger tires? I am trying to stay steel since I rode bmx for so long. I'd feel like I was cheating on my roots if I went alloy, haha.
I've just bought a telescopic spinning rod to take touring with me and I'm going to get a 7 or 8 piece fly rod next year so I understand the need to fish and ride.

If you want to ride on the beach get a fat bike no question. A Krampus or Ogre will stop rolling [with you on it] as soon as you hit sand. You might get away with some riding on really compacted sand, but that's not something I would count on.

So your real choice is 4" or 5" tires. You can make 4" tires work and they'd be better on the road, but 5" tires will let you ride more on the beach so you need to decide what's most important. Factor in how much you weigh and how much gear you'll have with you to determine if you need max floatation.

If you go 4" tires get Black Fyoyds or Larrys. They will roll well on pavement and sand. 4-8psi on the beach and 15-17psi on the road. A Pugs can rock 4" tires nicely.

If you go 5" tires get Big Fat Larrys. Similar pressures to above....a little less on the road pressure. A Pugs can fit 5" tires, but you may have some chain rub in the lowest gears. A Moonlander or the new Ice Cream Truck will swallow 5" rubber with no issues.

Have an awesome time. Tight lines!
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Old 09-10-14, 05:56 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by vik View Post
I've just bought a telescopic spinning rod to take touring with me and I'm going to get a 7 or 8 piece fly rod next year so I understand the need to fish and ride.

If you want to ride on the beach get a fat bike no question. A Krampus or Ogre will stop rolling [with you on it] as soon as you hit sand. You might get away with some riding on really compacted sand, but that's not something I would count on.

So your real choice is 4" or 5" tires. You can make 4" tires work and they'd be better on the road, but 5" tires will let you ride more on the beach so you need to decide what's most important. Factor in how much you weigh and how much gear you'll have with you to determine if you need max floatation.

If you go 4" tires get Black Fyoyds or Larrys. They will roll well on pavement and sand. 4-8psi on the beach and 15-17psi on the road. A Pugs can rock 4" tires nicely.

If you go 5" tires get Big Fat Larrys. Similar pressures to above....a little less on the road pressure. A Pugs can fit 5" tires, but you may have some chain rub in the lowest gears. A Moonlander or the new Ice Cream Truck will swallow 5" rubber with no issues.

Have an awesome time. Tight lines!
You are the man. Thanks for all the advice. I am actually riding for a charity called Heroes on the Water so I will be stopping to fish with their local chapters all down the coast. That will mostly be kayak fishing offshore so I am going to have to be very selective when it comes to rod selection. I am likely only going to be able to carry an all purpose inshore rod and two offshore rigs. Final destination is the Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament Battle in the Bahamas in late April so I will need offshore gear.
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Old 09-10-14, 06:39 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by freddy4130 View Post
You are the man. Thanks for all the advice. I am actually riding for a charity called Heroes on the Water so I will be stopping to fish with their local chapters all down the coast. That will mostly be kayak fishing offshore so I am going to have to be very selective when it comes to rod selection. I am likely only going to be able to carry an all purpose inshore rod and two offshore rigs. Final destination is the Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament Battle in the Bahamas in late April so I will need offshore gear.
Sounds rad. I have a 100+ days of kayak fishing under my belt. I love it.

I'm also retired army. No injuries thank God.

I'm getting a packraft so I can bike and hike then fish out of the raft.

https://www.alpackaraft.com/index.cf...rafts/YukonYak

Sounds like we have a lot in common. If you ever find yourself out on Vancouver Island the beers are on me and I'll show you the sweet bike and fish spots.

Have an awesome trip.
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Old 09-10-14, 08:25 PM
  #24  
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Consider the Camargue from Velo-Orange. 29'er with clearance for 60mm tires and it's specifically designed to be an expedition touring bike. It's not available as a complete bike but that just means you can build it up exactly the way you want.

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Old 09-10-14, 08:39 PM
  #25  
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Last year I rode across Africa using a Trek 4500. On return, I landed in Portland OR and spent the next five weeks cycling to Fort Collins, CO.

Following is a photo of my setup: http://www.bike2013.com/wp-content/g...x_dsc_0459.jpg
As you can see, I used an Extrawheel trailer in addition to rear rack.
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