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Recommendations: Modern MTB for Touring?

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Recommendations: Modern MTB for Touring?

Old 09-10-14, 09:24 PM
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I'd keep the pieces to 3 or 4 on the flyrods. Just don't like too many joints, not even sure who makes a serious 8 piece flyrod. Normally a 4 piece will tie in with your tent, but it depends how long it is I guess.

Googled, and in a thread where a guy was being told not to get more than 4 pieces, someone mentioned Orvis makes a 7 piece, so I guess you could get one.
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Old 09-11-14, 10:39 AM
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I should've known that "suspension vs rigid" was yet another flame-war in the bike communities

I think the only way to know if I need suspension is to put some low-pressure tires on my cross bike, and do a trail. If I can't hack it, I'll benefit from suspension.

That said, I'm still not clear on one point. What is the likely difference between the steel cross bike, and something like the Fargo or other tour-oriented MTB?
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Old 09-11-14, 11:18 AM
  #28  
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A suspension seat post like Cane Creek's is nice .. to suspend just your butt.

the mass in 4 panniers is an effective dampener of a lot of smaller bumps..


Consider .. how will you field repair a suspension fork when it fails in the middle of nowhere..

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Old 09-11-14, 11:47 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
I should've known that "suspension vs rigid" was yet another flame-war in the bike communities

I think the only way to know if I need suspension is to put some low-pressure tires on my cross bike, and do a trail. If I can't hack it, I'll benefit from suspension.

That said, I'm still not clear on one point. What is the likely difference between the steel cross bike, and something like the Fargo or other tour-oriented MTB?
I think fargo with medium width rims and a locking front sus fork would be a great option. You could run tires from 40-60 mm depending on terrain. I have 35 mm wide rims on my Karate Monkey and run 29x 2.3 geax tattoo tires. They have a mostly smooth surface with a little texture and ribbing. 30-35 psi off road, 40 -50 psi for pave, works well for an all around set up. The tire suspension for all but the rockiest trails works pretty good.
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Old 09-11-14, 12:17 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
That said, I'm still not clear on one point. What is the likely difference between the steel cross bike, and something like the Fargo or other tour-oriented MTB?
Tire clearance, BB height and steering geometry are some important differences. The other thing I'd look at is compatibility with a suspension fork if you think you might want one.

The MTB I tour on has nothing in common with a cross bike and I wouldn't take my cross bike anywhere near the trails I tour with it.

However, I find it works well for easier dirt/gravel touring and since I want to do both types of rides that style of bike made sense for me.

The Fargo is a bit of a cross between the two. I wouldn't buy one for technical MTB touring, but for dirt road touring and less demanding singletrack it would be a good choice.

You'll need to look at the geo charts and frame specs for the bikes you are interested in and compare them to highlight all the differences. As boring as it sounds [and it is boring] put all the key info in a spreadsheet for your top 3-5 bikes for easy comparison.
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Old 09-11-14, 01:26 PM
  #31  
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If you will pardon my specificity...

Assuming both use the same tires, the comfort will be roughly the same. However, handling, control, clearance will be different. Suspension will increase comfort, a little bit of control, a little bit of performance, but will also make the bike heavier and more complex. Right?
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Old 09-11-14, 01:28 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
I should've known that "suspension vs rigid" was yet another flame-war in the bike communities

I think the only way to know if I need suspension is to put some low-pressure tires on my cross bike, and do a trail. If I can't hack it, I'll benefit from suspension.

That said, I'm still not clear on one point. What is the likely difference between the steel cross bike, and something like the Fargo or other tour-oriented MTB?
It's not a so much a flame-war as a disagreement about some minor points. I'm of the mind that you, Bacciagalupe, might be better off to start with suspension than arrive at it after some painful hours in the saddle.

Also, don't get hung up on the steel/aluminum thing. Aluminum mountain bikes are every bit as capable and every bit as rugged as steel. A steel mountain bike doesn't ride like a steel road bike. The frame is usually stronger so it's stiffer. And the terrain that you are riding makes any slight differences in the ride basically unnoticeable.

That said:

Originally Posted by vik View Post
Tire clearance, BB height and steering geometry are some important differences. The other thing I'd look at is compatibility with a suspension fork if you think you might want one.

The MTB I tour on has nothing in common with a cross bike and I wouldn't take my cross bike anywhere near the trails I tour with it.

However, I find it works well for easier dirt/gravel touring and since I want to do both types of rides that style of bike made sense for me.

The Fargo is a bit of a cross between the two. I wouldn't buy one for technical MTB touring, but for dirt road touring and less demanding singletrack it would be a good choice.

You'll need to look at the geo charts and frame specs for the bikes you are interested in and compare them to highlight all the differences. As boring as it sounds [and it is boring] put all the key info in a spreadsheet for your top 3-5 bikes for easy comparison.
I agree with pretty much everything you have to say here. About the only difference is that I probably wouldn't buy a Fargo for any purpose. A good hardtail mountain bike (or softtail like the YBB) will do everything that the Fargo does in all conditions so I don't really see the point of the Fargo. The adjustable dropouts are interesting but they're just another thing to worry about coming loose out in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 09-11-14, 01:31 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by MassiveD View Post
I'd keep the pieces to 3 or 4 on the flyrods. Just don't like too many joints, not even sure who makes a serious 8 piece flyrod. Normally a 4 piece will tie in with your tent, but it depends how long it is I guess.

Googled, and in a thread where a guy was being told not to get more than 4 pieces, someone mentioned Orvis makes a 7 piece, so I guess you could get one.
A four piece, 9.5' Sage rod fits nicely on the handlebars with a Relevate Design Harness. It's about as long as the handlebars of my bike.
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Old 09-11-14, 03:32 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I agree with pretty much everything you have to say here. About the only difference is that I probably wouldn't buy a Fargo for any purpose. A good hardtail mountain bike (or softtail like the YBB) will do everything that the Fargo does in all conditions so I don't really see the point of the Fargo. The adjustable dropouts are interesting but they're just another thing to worry about coming loose out in the middle of nowhere.
The Fargo has quite a following. It doesn't speak to me either, but my idea of MTB touring involves very techy riding so I'm not going to use any drop bar bike.

I don't think the dropouts are an issue. I tend to run IGHs and I'm building a SS 2nd wheelset for my touring MTB so some sort of chain tension mechanism is desirable.

I posted the Fargo link because the OP seemed to favour drop bars based on his initial post.

I agree a mountain bike can be quite versatile. I've been riding a rigid steel MTB for the past 2 seasons and it's great for both GDR style chill dirt tours and real singletrack mountain biking.

I think a Fargo style bike helps folks who want to get off the pavement and tour, but are avid drop bar riders find a rig that offers them some familiarity with added options for exploring dirt.
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Old 09-11-14, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by vik View Post
... I'm not going to use any drop bar bike.
I'm with you there. I'm both brave and stupid but not that brave nor stupid!
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Old 09-11-14, 03:48 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
A four piece, 9.5' Sage rod fits nicely on the handlebars with a Relevate Design Harness. It's about as long as the handlebars of my bike.
I have a 4 piece Sage rod and its sections are ~27" long which is long enough to get in the way when I carry it on my bike's front bag.

A 6 piece rod I was looking at has sections that are 17" or 18" long and as a bonus costs 25% of my Sage rod. So it carries much easier and I'm less concerned about what happens to it when crash or a drag/carry/throw my bike around during bushwacking hike-a-bike moments.

The Orvis 7 piece rod is a tad shorter and priced between the Cabela's model and my Sage.

I've seen Tenkara rods that are around 20" long and even simpler so I may go that route.

My tent poles are ~18" so that's a convenient length to shoot for for my bikey fly rod.
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Old 09-11-14, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by vik View Post
I have a 4 piece Sage rod and its sections are ~27" long which is long enough to get in the way when I carry it on my bike's front bag.

A 6 piece rod I was looking at has sections that are 17" or 18" long and as a bonus costs 25% of my Sage rod. So it carries much easier and I'm less concerned about what happens to it when crash or a drag/carry/throw my bike around during bushwacking hike-a-bike moments.

The Orvis 7 piece rod is a tad shorter and priced between the Cabela's model and my Sage.

I've seen Tenkara rods that are around 20" long and even simpler so I may go that route.

My tent poles are ~18" so that's a convenient length to shoot for for my bikey fly rod.
Again, I have no pictures to show you but I carried my rod in front of my sleeping bag with the Relevate Design Harness. It was only slightly longer than my tent and never got in the way. I did carry it in a good case which protected it when I crashed.
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Old 09-11-14, 04:28 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Again, I have no pictures to show you but I carried my rod in front of my sleeping bag with the Relevate Design Harness. It was only slightly longer than my tent and never got in the way. I did carry it in a good case which protected it when I crashed.


I'm sure you do fine with that rod. I'm continually lightening/streamlining my touring setup. The gold bag in the photo above contains my 18" tent poles and anything longer is a PITA.

I won't have a proper case or anything else like that around it. That sort of weight/bulk is just not in the cards.

I also spend a decent chunk of time not riding the bike, but carrying it, pushing it, dragging it or throwing it over/under/through obstacles.

At 18" it's well protected by my tent poles and bar bag. If it's closer to 30 there is lots to damage/snag and it's the delicate tips and connectors that are getting beat up.
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Old 09-11-14, 04:39 PM
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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!
Or get a duel purpose rod... Eagle Claw Trailmaster Pack Rods
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Old 09-12-14, 06:46 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
Or get a duel purpose rod... Eagle Claw Trailmaster Pack Rods

Unfortunately, I do not do any fly fishing. I am sure it is awesome fun but I've been spoiled by big pelagics off shore. The fishing I will do down the coast will mostly be salt/inshore but I will take no less than 8 trips offshore in kayaks on my way to an offshore kayak fishing tournament. So my selection of rods is pretty much offshore medium action stuff. A couple of companies make offshore rods that break down but unless I can get all three of the rods I need before the trip, it will be pointless to have just one or two of them that break down. I will post pics of the setup once I get the bike I will be riding but it's not going to look very conventional, to say the least.
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Old 09-12-14, 06:59 AM
  #41  
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Are MTB wheels heavier duty in the spoke area usually? I'm pretty sure the salsa wheels would be ready on purchase.
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Old 09-12-14, 09:12 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by intransit1217 View Post
Are MTB wheels heavier duty in the spoke area usually? I'm pretty sure the salsa wheels would be ready on purchase.
I've never bothered with high spoke count wheels for touring. I run 32H on everything and I tend to carry less weight and don't beat up on my wheels. So aside from having a human check the tension on them I'd ride the stock Fargo wheels without a second thought.
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Old 09-12-14, 01:41 PM
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Alrighty, so I'm now looking at the Kona Rove or Rove AL:

KONA BIKES | 2015 BIKES | FREERANGE | ROVE
KONA BIKES | 2015 BIKES | FREERANGE | ROVE AL

The AL has Claris (meh but functional), mechanical disc, fairly wide cassette range, 29ers which can take up to 2". Compared to my CrossCheck, the reach is shorter, chainstay & wheelbase is longer, it has more bb drop. It doesn't have the insane handlebars on the Fargo. List price is $900 for the AL version....

Edit: I figure if I really need suspension, I can add a Thudbuster. Not sure whether it is wise to add a suspension fork, but I'll worry about that if that really becomes necessary.

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Old 09-12-14, 02:54 PM
  #44  
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If going thudbuster, you could get a suspension stem also. https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=7331
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Old 09-12-14, 04:20 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
The AL has Claris (meh but functional), mechanical disc, fairly wide cassette range, 29ers which can take up to 2". Compared to my CrossCheck, the reach is shorter, chainstay & wheelbase is longer, it has more bb drop. It doesn't have the insane handlebars on the Fargo. List price is $900 for the AL version....
Have you considered the 700c Surly LHT or Disc Trucker?
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Old 09-12-14, 08:28 PM
  #46  
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If going thudbuster, you could get a suspension stem also. https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=7331
but stem stem is no longer made .. for many years (+ they are very long reach) you can still buy the seatpost, new.
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Old 09-13-14, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by vik View Post


I'm sure you do fine with that rod. I'm continually lightening/streamlining my touring setup. The gold bag in the photo above contains my 18" tent poles and anything longer is a PITA.

I won't have a proper case or anything else like that around it. That sort of weight/bulk is just not in the cards.

I also spend a decent chunk of time not riding the bike, but carrying it, pushing it, dragging it or throwing it over/under/through obstacles.

At 18" it's well protected by my tent poles and bar bag. If it's closer to 30 there is lots to damage/snag and it's the delicate tips and connectors that are getting beat up.
Even with a shorter rod, I'd still suggest carrying some kind of carrier for the rod. A good lightweight carrier is a florescent light tube guard . It doesn't weigh much and you can find them at Home Depot. Cut them to fit and use a vinyl cap to seal them
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Old 09-13-14, 08:22 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by intransit1217 View Post
Are MTB wheels heavier duty in the spoke area usually? I'm pretty sure the salsa wheels would be ready on purchase.
Not necessarily. If you are talking about "normal" wheels...not low spoke count or boutique wheels but 32 and 36 spoke wheels...the spokes used for a machine wheel are the same for mountain and road. They usually going to be 2.0mm (14gauge) straight spokes.

You can make the wheels much stronger by building them yourself and using a spoke with a 2.3mm head. That increases the strength by about 50%.
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Old 09-14-14, 08:24 PM
  #49  
Bacciagalupe
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OK, now that I have a concept for the bike, next question is tires for this kind of setup.

Any tips? Ideally, something a little wider than a 32c, where I can keep a reasonably low pressure for off-road (50?) and around 80 on the road.
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Old 09-15-14, 08:59 AM
  #50  
cyccommute 
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
OK, now that I have a concept for the bike, next question is tires for this kind of setup.

Any tips? Ideally, something a little wider than a 32c, where I can keep a reasonably low pressure for off-road (50?) and around 80 on the road.
Again, it depends. If you are planning on riding mostly smooth, graded dirt roads or rail trails for example, just about any tire will do. I've ridden 23mm race tires on smooth dirt roads and trails without problems...but you have to ride them carefully and gently to avoid rim damage. I've the Katy Trail in Missouri a couple of times on 32mm tires with a touring load without issue and I've done dirt roads in West Virginia on the same tires. They aren't the best tires (nor are 23mm) if the road goes soft but they work.

If you are planning on touring where there is a lot of sand or the roads are very rocky or where it is likely to be muddy, you probably want to go to a wide tire that provides lots of floatation and/or grip. In other words, you probably want a 50mm tire and probably a knobby. That doesn't work as well on pavement but it works a whole lot better off-pavement. Look at vik's bikes for examples that fit the kind of terrain that he is riding.
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