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Would you choose a "cheap" flat-bar touring bike?

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Would you choose a "cheap" flat-bar touring bike?

Old 11-11-21, 12:19 PM
  #51  
Calsun
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Flat bars are fine for flat country travel. Going up a hill I want the added power afforded by the use of drop bars and doubly so with any load on the bike as with touring. The alternative is having to walk the bike up the hills and this is not something I would recommend.
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Old 11-11-21, 12:40 PM
  #52  
Happy Feet
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
You missed my point entirely. I wasn’t addressing a “fear of welding steel” but the fear of not being able to weld an aluminum frame for repair that causes most bicycle tourist to choose steel in the first place. In addition to that fear of aluminum being weak, the common bicycle tourist thinks that steel frame repair is so simple that any idiot with a arc welder can do it. Here’s what an idiot with an arc welder can do to BMX handlebars which aren’t really known for how thin the metal is...

I don’t care about steel or aluminum either. As you say both are strong enough (now). I would agree that touring isn’t “high performance racing” but not in the way you think. It’s far more rigorous than racing. Race bikes only need to carry a fairly lightweight rider. Touring bikes usually carry heavier riders and more load. It’s harder on the bike (and rider) than racing.
Nobody misses your point. You have argued consistently throughout this thread that it is harder than most people think to weld steel bicycles and others have said it's more common than you would suggest. I agree with their sentiment. Those who care to reread for clarity will easily see that. Posting a picture of an idiot's bodge job (as you yourself describe it) does not support your claim. A cherry picked outlier does not justify a point. As stated, there is a plethora of evidence in multiple forms of aftermarket fabrication in various forms to suggest welding steel (or as others note braising) isn't that difficult. People do both all over the world.

This is a recurrent theme you often argue based on a fundamentally false premise. You position yourself as a "lone wolf" in terms of being the only one who thinks aluminum is ok for touring and then argue its merits. The false premise being that most people posting also think modern aluminum frames are fine for touring. Your position isn't singular at all. The argument is 20 years behind the times and people have moved on.

Where you are alone is when subsequently insisting steel is somehow hard to repair and beyond most people. It's not, especially in the developing world where people are very used to repairing steel machinery and tools. I give those resourceful and skilled people due credit. Try watching a few videos from Pakistani Truck on Youtube as an example


I imagine going to a bicycle repair shop would produce similar results.


Lastly, you say that "touring is not high performance - but not in the way I think..." and then make the same point I did. Again, trying to position yourself as a lone wolf while holding the common opinion.

Top tier drive trains are built light because weight is a determining issue while racing and the bike only needs to last one race (and they have mechanics with spare parts on hand if they don't) - but shifts within that one race are critical. Precision and light weight are sought out over the robustness that comes from being overbuilt. A common idiom: "Strong, lightweight, affordable - choose any two" comes to mind.

In contrast, most tourers operate on a constrained budget without immediate access to support so we tend to select for strength and affordable. Precision is a second tier consideration because we shift less frequently and the overall outcome does not depend on the precision of each shift - but it does depend on completing the tour with bike intact. Strength over precision within a reasonable budget is the common sweet spot for most.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 11-11-21 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 11-11-21, 04:31 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Nobody misses your point. You have argued consistently throughout this thread that it is harder than most people think to weld steel bicycles and others have said it's more common than you would suggest. I agree with their sentiment. Those who care to reread for clarity will easily see that. Posting a picture of an idiot's bodge job (as you yourself describe it) does not support your claim. A cherry picked outlier does not justify a point. As stated, there is a plethora of evidence in multiple forms of aftermarket fabrication in various forms to suggest welding steel (or as others note braising) isn't that difficult. People do both all over the world.
Those after market fabrications aren’t usually done on bicycles that are as thin as the metal used in modern steel touring bikes. If you look at most of them, they are using bicycle frames that are of very low quality with very thick frame tubes.

This is a recurrent theme you often argue based on a fundamentally false premise. You position yourself as a "lone wolf" in terms of being the only one who thinks aluminum is ok for touring and then argue its merits. The false premise being that most people posting also think modern aluminum frames are fine for touring. Your position isn't singular at all. The argument is 20 years behind the times and people have moved on.
What world do you live in? Everyone that I talk to about touring is horrified at the idea of touring on a “fragile” aluminum bike. Even people who are looking for bikepacking bikes will generally turn their noses up at the idea of using an aluminum bike. They are less likely than road tourists to do so but there is a substantial number of them out there. Point me to a traditional road touring bike in aluminum. Not some “sport touring bike” with short stays that is more at home at cyclocross but a traditional long wheel base bike capable of carrying a touring load in the traditional way. You won’t find any new ones…not since Cannondale stopped making them.

Where you are alone is when subsequently insisting steel is somehow hard to repair and beyond most people.
You are still not getting it. Steel isn’t any harder to repair than aluminum. Steel isn’t hard to repair at all. But if someone doesn’t have experience with thin steel walls and doesn’t know that the bike has thin steel walls, they are going to make a bodge of the job. You cannot see into the tube to see how thick it is. Most welders probably won’t take the time to figure out how thick the metal is. They will just weld away and probably do a lot of damage in the meantime.

I imagine going to a bicycle repair shop would produce similar results.
A bicycle repair shop, sure. But most people have this idea that any welder can do the job. They likely aren’t going to do as good a job as someone who is at least passingly familiar with the material.


Lastly, you say that "touring is not high performance - but not in the way I think..." and then make the same point I did. Again, trying to position yourself as a lone wolf while holding the common opinion.
I didn’t make the same point as you did. Reread what I wrote.

Top tier drive trains are built light because weight is a determining issue while racing and the bike only needs to last one race (and they have mechanics with spare parts on hand if they don't) - but shifts within that one race are critical. Precision and light weight are sought out over the robustness that comes from being overbuilt. A common idiom: "Strong, lightweight, affordable - choose any two" comes to mind.
Not getting what your point is here. Bicycle components, even for racing, aren’t made “to last for one race”. They aren’t that delicate. You can make the strong and light. They can still be relatively affordable.

In contrast, most tourers operate on a constrained budget without immediate access to support so we tend to select for strength and affordable. Precision is a second tier consideration because we shift less frequently and the overall outcome does not depend on the precision of each shift - but it does depend on completing the tour with bike intact. Strength over precision within a reasonable budget is the common sweet spot for most.
Again, I’m not getting what your point is. Precision isn’t part of that “strong, light, cheap…choose 2”. Inexpensive parts move with the same precision as expensive parts. They just happen to be heavier. On the other hand, there’s a corollary to the Bontrager’s Law: “Strong, light, cheap…choose 2. Or wait awhile.” Cheap, light, strong components are available a few years after they are brand new.
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Old 11-13-21, 12:55 PM
  #54  
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Well.. I can see why saddlesores needed to take a break from banging his head against the wall.

Part of the reason you may think people hold such polarized positions is that engaging in theoretical online debates doesn't often reflect what happens in the world. Most bike tourers I know haven't heard of Bike Forums. Online, people tend to amplify minor differences into major objections or necessary determinant factors. In the real world people tend to get by through adopting more middle ground ideology.

You also assume some untrue givens to buttress your positioning. Most people don't think just any welder can weld a bicycle frame in the same way that they don't think any old backyard mechanic can rebuild a transmission. I actually own a welder but don't think I could weld a frame. That's a false premise. Without it, looking at welding bike frames becomes more realistic.

When we look at the particular circumstance where welding in the field may be a necessary requirement, it is probably in a remote or developing region where access to timely shipping and replacement is otherwise problematic. You can't get by without making a repair. In those circumstances, local tradesmen are probably well versed in repairing things like bicycle frames. As with the Pakistan Truck video series linked above, they usually have a well established set of skills based around the need to repair rather than replace. I would probably trust them far more than a welder in the developed world who rarely finds the need to repair a bike frame. In the developed world or close to civilization I could probably also find an alternative solution to the problem.

So you then argue.. They may be able to weld - but not thin steel tubing! Again a faulty premise. On the one hand you argue people will not choose an aluminum touring frame because it is too fragile and difficult to repair but then try to assume they will alternatively choose a fragile and difficult to repair steel frame. Why? Anyone who is looking specifically at frame material for strength and repair ability will probably also consider build quality and select for robustness within the material subset.

Will you next argue that such frames don't exist in the same way you argued aluminum touring frames don't? Surly you don't think that. btw, here is an answer to that earlier statement: https://www.koga.com/en/bikes/trekki...veller?frame=H

The whole argument about group sets and tiers is just too much of a rabbit hole to pursue deeper. Most people understand that lower tier components can be strong and affordable but are somewhat clunky (less precise) because they are less refined. As you ascend the tiers you get strength and lighter weight (which also creates precision through refinement) but at a higher cost. They also understand that for racing one might require such precision but for touring that is not a driving factor to the same degree.

Everybody also knows race bikes can last more than one race (but don't feel the need to state such an obvious thing). Yet they also get that race bikes don't "need" to survive more than one race, in the same way that a expedition touring bike needs to survive an entire tour in a remote region. When we watch racing we will occasionally see a person who is eliminated due to some failure pick up the whole bike and smash it on the ground, destroying it. The need for that bike is finished. On a remote tour people don't pick up the bike and smash it on the ground because of some failure. They need the bike to last longer than that moment. The show must go on. The bike must survive longer. Subsequently they prioritize selection for robustness rather than lightweight precision.

Tying this all back to the core discussion: In a remote region where repair becomes a necessity rather than a choice, more people will probably have the skills and tools needed to repair steel over aluminum and to repair either of those over carbon fiber. The degree where this transcends the theoretical in an online discussion depends upon the degree to which that access will be required, and how necessary that access is to the survival of the tour (and I suppose how necessary survival of the tour is to survival of the person). It's a sliding scale of anticipated need, and the people at the far end of the spectrum will probably put a lot of thought into it and not assume such things like: "everybody can weld it" or "because it's steel choose thin walled tubing".

Last edited by Happy Feet; 11-13-21 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 11-13-21, 01:19 PM
  #55  
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My first bike frame took the builder 3 weeks to put together with a lot of time spent on custom fitting the lugs. He eventually got it down to one frame per week and if you look at the pricing for custom frames you will get some idea of the labor involved.

What breaks on bicycles on the roads are the spokes, the cogs, the chain, and the brake and gear cables. Beyond that it is a matter of replacing punctured tubes while on the road and doing so as quickly as possible. Long trips on bicycles do require that the cyclist be far more self sufficient and able to make basic repairs than would be the case in town. Often one can be a couple hundred miles or more from a bike shop. A long delay in making repairs can mean having to ride to the next destination in the dark which is dangerous.
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Old 11-13-21, 05:46 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
I've ridden bikes with a mix of Alivio/Deore and Sora/Tiagra. And those might be fine to ride and fun. But when I bought a cheap Canadian Tire bike once and installed Shimano Altus shifters, I found the bike worked well enough even with Tourney derailleurs. So I was thinking if you could find a bike with flat bars, front and rear racks, fenders and Shimano Atlus or Acera components, would you go for that?
Some people like to buy an inexpensive bike to tour on, They'll fly to the area that they are starting from, buy an inexpensive bike, add whatever they need to it there and then ride it on their tour to their end point. they then take off anything they want to keep from the bike and leave the bike for someone to take.

Also, some people need a very upright position in order to be comfortable on a bike. That could be due to previous injury or other health related issues.

I find that something that helps me a lot of times when I'm riding my MTB on long rides is to have a pair of bar-ends mounted inboard of the brake levers and shifters. Having a pair of bar-ends in that area means I can get a more aero position if pedaling into a stiff headwind or if I just want a different position on the bike.

Here are a couple of images on a rigid frame/fork MTB I had that i mounted bar-ends inboard of the brake levers and shifters. I could have had a second pair of bar-ends mounted at the end of the handlebar but I felt I didn't need them there. I did a lot of long rides on that bike and really appreciated the location of those inboard bar-ends.




Happy riding.

Cheers
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Old 11-13-21, 09:13 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
...........

You are still not getting it. Steel isn’t any harder to repair than aluminum. Steel isn’t hard to repair at all. But if someone doesn’t have experience with thin steel walls and doesn’t know that the bike has thin steel walls, they are going to make a bodge of the job. You cannot see into the tube to see how thick it is. Most welders probably won’t take the time to figure out how thick the metal is. They will just weld away and probably do a lot of damage in the meantime.

......
dagnabbit! i just fixed the hole in the wall!
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