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Old 12-16-21, 09:34 AM
  #26  
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My wife's touring bike is a 26inch wheeled bike, and the advantages are a lower stance overall, never having toe strike where your shoe hits the front wheel in tight corners, and slightly lower gearing compared to a bike with bigger wheels and with exactly the same gearing components, chainrings and rear cassette.
But a bit of a moot point, hardly any 26" bikes anymore, but 27.5 bikes a plenty.
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Old 12-16-21, 08:54 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Not everyone will like the feel of front only panniers, but I do. I don't find steering difficult even for tight turns, just different. I did a tour with front only and about 20 pounds of stuff and it was okay. Also did some with a similar load but a little weight on top of the rear rack, also okay.
My Surly front rack set up is about 7lbs with a 20lb dog and the front weight feels ok. Albeit, I climb as few hills as possible with the dog but the bike also isn't really geared for it. Steering-wise, the bike feels more stable with that kind of load in the back but I'll see where the weight feels best and where it'll fit. Your point about using front panniers in the rear to save space is a useful tip!

Originally Posted by djb View Post
My wife's touring bike is a 26inch wheeled bike, and the advantages are a lower stance overall, never having toe strike where your shoe hits the front wheel in tight corners, and slightly lower gearing compared to a bike with bigger wheels and with exactly the same gearing components, chainrings and rear cassette.
But a bit of a moot point, hardly any 26" bikes anymore, but 27.5 bikes a plenty.
I'm actually leaning more towards a 27.5"/650b wheeled bike if this whole bikepacking thing works out. That's partially why the Niner is appealing, it can take both 650b and 700c wheels. It seems like mountain bike components will be best for that low gearing you mentioned in another post. I'll have to see if either REI or my LBS has some panniers and racks I can play with.
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Old 12-16-21, 08:59 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
a small frame bike may be too cramped for full size rear panniers.
possibly consider replacing the fork with one suitable for touring with front bags.
would that surley fork be correct geometry?
I'm not sure how you mean "correct geometry" but the fork does have rack mounts. The Pack Rat was designed as a 26" front loader. Again, I'm not really looking to swap the forks out but it is one option.

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Rear panniers will just make your bike feel heavier and less responsive. Front panniers will initially feel like you can't steer the bike anymore because the extra weight that you have to move when you try to turn the handlebars. But with a few hours on a bike with panniers, you get used to them and can handle a bike well. But you do not want to try to go around fast corners with heavily loaded panniers, just like a semi-truck driver has to slow down for sharp turns.
I take turns wide and slow with the Surly so I don't tip the dog over. However, that weight is actually fixed to the frame and doesn't move with the handlebars. I'm not a huge fan of putting heavy weight attached to the steering but it sounds like most of this will just be practice and getting used to.
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Old 12-16-21, 09:12 PM
  #29  
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Someone put a bug in my ear about Lynskey bicycles. Obviously have to dip my toes in the touring waters first but those bikes sure are nice. I kind of want to build frame up and source and spec with a mountain groupset - apparently I'm leaning more towards getting a dedicated bike if it all works out as well. There's a lot to consider.

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Old 12-16-21, 09:40 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
I'm not sure how you mean "correct geometry" but the fork does have rack mounts. The Pack Rat was designed as a 26" front loader. Again, I'm not really looking to swap the forks out but it is one option...
some light reading:

Dave Moulton's Blog - Dave Moulton's Bike Blog - Trail, fork rake, and a little bit of history
https://www.singletracks.com/mtb-gea...means-for-you/
https://www.mbr.co.uk/news/fork-offs...e-trail-342679
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Old 12-16-21, 11:34 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
I'm not sure how you mean "correct geometry" but the fork does have rack mounts. ....
The fork needs to be the right fork for the frame as the frame designer specified. The two key factors besides wheel diameter is the axle to crown headset race distance, and the fork rake or offset.


Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
Someone put a bug in my ear about Lynskey bicycles. Obviously have to dip my toes in the touring waters first but those bikes sure are nice. I kind of want to build frame up and source and spec with a mountain groupset - apparently I'm leaning more towards getting a dedicated bike if it all works out as well. There's a lot to consider.
I am pretty happy with my Lynskey touring bike, model name is Backroad. It has a Surly LHT front fork with rack mounts, steel fork. When I bought the frame, the fork was not included. Lynskey wanted over $300 for the fork, but I had a LHT fork in the basement that had the correct rake and axle to crown length, so I decided to use that fork. That is why it has rim brakes on front, disc on rear. But the Backroad can only take 37mm tires if you are running fenders.

First photo with panniers, second photo without racks.





I built it up myself, so the parts were what I wanted.

But a titanium touring bike is not cost effective, a titanium frame instead of a steel frame only knocks a few pounds off the total weight, and when you are piling on a bunch of camping gear, a few pounds of weight savings is not noticed. So, only think about a titanium touring bike if you really want it, not because it will make your load lighter as it won't.
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Old 12-17-21, 12:28 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
My Surly front rack set up is about 7lbs with a 20lb dog and the front weight feels ok. Albeit, I climb as few hills as possible with the dog but the bike also isn't really geared for it. Steering-wise, the bike feels more stable with that kind of load in the back but I'll see where the weight feels best and where it'll fit. Your point about using front panniers in the rear to save space is a useful tip!

I'm actually leaning more towards a 27.5"/650b wheeled bike if this whole bikepacking thing works out. That's partially why the Niner is appealing, it can take both 650b and 700c wheels. It seems like mountain bike components will be best for that low gearing you mentioned in another post. I'll have to see if either REI or my LBS has some panniers and racks I can play with.
I set up all my families' touring bikes (6) with mountain bike gearing. We all run triples, 44/32/22 cranks, 11-34 cassette, mtn. rear derailleur, and road front derailleur, which will still works well with road brake/shift levers. It takes a shorter bottom bracket to maintain an 45-46 mm chainline. Using the same parts on all the bikes makes things simple for maintenance and parts. Most shops can do that for you.

A couple of my touring bikes.


The LHT was built from the frame up.

Last edited by Doug64; 12-17-21 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 12-17-21, 08:19 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
The fork needs to be the right fork for the frame as the frame designer specified. The two key factors besides wheel diameter is the axle to crown headset race distance, and the fork rake or offset.

...

I built it up myself, so the parts were what I wanted.

But a titanium touring bike is not cost effective, a titanium frame instead of a steel frame only knocks a few pounds off the total weight, and when you are piling on a bunch of camping gear, a few pounds of weight savings is not noticed. So, only think about a titanium touring bike if you really want it, not because it will make your load lighter as it won't.
Very pretty! I'm definitely not buying a titanium bike anytime soon though I'd probably go for a road bike if I were to buy one.

I'd assume the Surly fork that came with the frame is the correct one, although the one I had manufactured for the kit matches all those angles exactly, just with a 20" wheel. If the first couple of trips work out, I think I'll probably build frame up so I can get the gearing I want.

Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I set up all my families' touring bikes (6) with mountain bike gearing. We all run triples, 44/32/22 cranks, 11-34 cassette, mtn. rear derailleur, and road front derailleur, which will still works well with road brake/shift levers. It takes a shorter bottom bracket to maintain an 45-46 mm chainline. Using the same parts on all the bikes makes things simple for maintenance and parts. Most shops can do that for you.
Nice set ups. I've never thought about running a mountain drivetrain with road shifters. And now you've got me considering a LHT. That's awesome you've got your whole family touring! I'm trying to see if any of my friends would join me.

I'm not too worried about the mechanics, I love to work on my bikes. If I worked in a bike shop, I could probably save myself some money rather than needing new projects to tinker on all the time . . .
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Old 12-17-21, 10:12 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
...
I'd assume the Surly fork that came with the frame is the correct one, although the one I had manufactured for the kit matches all those angles exactly, just with a 20" wheel. If the first couple of trips work out, I think I'll probably build frame up so I can get the gearing I want.
... . .
I apparently was not clear. Lynskey sold the frame and also sold separately a fork that was not a Surly fork. I do not recall where Lynskey sourced their fork, that was four years ago.

But I already owned the Surly fork, so I saved $300 by not buying the Lynskey fork and probably another $70 or $80 by using a $10 Tektro rim brake instead of the more expensive disc brake unit.
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Old 12-18-21, 07:29 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I apparently was not clear. Lynskey sold the frame and also sold separately a fork that was not a Surly fork. I do not recall where Lynskey sourced their fork, that was four years ago.

But I already owned the Surly fork, so I saved $300 by not buying the Lynskey fork and probably another $70 or $80 by using a $10 Tektro rim brake instead of the more expensive disc brake unit.
Sorry, I was referring to MY surly and swapping out the 26 stock fork for a 20 one.

Do you ever wish you had disc brakes, even mechanical ones on YOUR surly fork or do you find the v brakes good enough?
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Old 12-18-21, 09:40 AM
  #36  
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A few caveats, the setup Doug has used, and me too but with Gevenalle shifters, is with 9 speed stuff. When you get into 10 speed, you start getting into tricky details of shifters and rear derailleurs that won't work with each other, mountain bike stuff is "dynasis" (could be mispelled) and road brifter shifters have different cable pull.

there are numerous brifter setups that can use large cassettes and some doubles, but what you want to look into about gearing is using charts that calculate "gear inches" of your gearing, specifically your low gear.

but until you 've ridden with a bunch of stuff/ weight on the bike, in hills, all day , it's really hard for you to get an idea of what low gearing you need.
The old recommended range of 20-100 gear inches is still a pretty good one and covers a good range of touring and touring weights.
Off road or places where you'll encounter steeper hills and looser surfaces, it's nicer to have lower gearing.

and to repeat again, there's never a downside to low gearing, you might only need your lowest gear a few times a day, but when you do, it's great and you save your legs. Especially if you're having an off day (you will) or hungry and you hit the always present surprise steep bit here and there.

Sheldon brown gear calculator
html gear calculator

both good and allow you to play with numbers, here are two examples of bikes of mine
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Old 12-18-21, 09:58 AM
  #37  
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The tricross is a cross bike with a triple, but I have 28mm tires and a closer cassette, and it's low is nearly 26 gear inches.
Any touring with any weight is tricky when hitting steep hills, but I don't tour on it like this.
The other bike with the mtb gearing was set up specifically for touring in mountainy terrain in other countries, with unknown surfaces and steeper gradients expected, and carrying more weight than usual due to circumstances of the trip, so it's really low nearly 17 gear inch low got used often, and boy was I glad to have it.
When not needed, you don't and shift up, easy peasy.

hope this gives an idea of what to look for in gearing setups.
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Old 12-18-21, 10:50 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
Sorry, I was referring to MY surly and swapping out the 26 stock fork for a 20 one.

Do you ever wish you had disc brakes, even mechanical ones on YOUR surly fork or do you find the v brakes good enough?
In dry conditions, I think the V brake on my Lynskey front is just as good as the 160mm TRP Spyre disk on the back. If I recall correctly, my front V brake is a Tektro that has 110mm long arms. I am running road brake levers what have the wrong pull ratio for those V brakes, thus use travel agent to compensate.
https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair...and-adjustment

I am using Koolstop Salmon pads in the V brake.

In wet conditions, the disc is better than the V brake but not so different to cause me to want to change.
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Old 12-18-21, 02:17 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
A few caveats, the setup Doug has used, and me too but with Gevenalle shifters, is with 9 speed stuff. When you get into 10 speed, you start getting into tricky details of shifters and rear derailleurs that won't work with each other, mountain bike stuff is "dynasis" (could be mispelled) and road brifter shifters have different cable pull.

there are numerous brifter setups that can use large cassettes and some doubles, but what you want to look into about gearing is using charts that calculate "gear inches" of your gearing, specifically your low gear. . . . . . . . .
Good points! It is getting difficult to find 9 speed parts even before the pandemic. Setting up a 9 speed setup is a little tricky, but the complexity increases going to 10 or 11 speed setups.

Using linear/ V-brakes also adds complexity when using road shifters.

My wife wanted linear pull brakes and road shifters on the new custom frame I was building up for her (her retirement present), so I used travel agents to install the brakes. They stop better than my cantilever brakes. She reached 26,000 miles on the bike this summer. The travel agents have not been a problem during the 10 years she has been riding the bike.

Travel agents used with road shifters and linear pull brakes.

Last edited by Doug64; 12-18-21 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 12-18-21, 07:34 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
The tricross is a cross bike with a triple, but I have 28mm tires and a closer cassette, and it's low is nearly 26 gear inches.
Any touring with any weight is tricky when hitting steep hills, but I don't tour on it like this.
The other bike with the mtb gearing was set up specifically for touring in mountainy terrain in other countries, with unknown surfaces and steeper gradients expected, and carrying more weight than usual due to circumstances of the trip, so it's really low nearly 17 gear inch low got used often, and boy was I glad to have it.
When not needed, you don't and shift up, easy peasy.

hope this gives an idea of what to look for in gearing setups.
Thanks! This gives me an excellent idea of what to look for in gearing. I recently climbed an 11% 0.4mile hill on my road bike with 29 GI naked (as in just me on the bike, with clothes). Had to stop once but didn't have to get off. The gearing I'm looking at now ranges from 115-20 GI with a GRX 2x drivetrain, 105 brifters and TRP brakes. I'd love to get it down to 99-17 GI with a 36/26t crankset but finding the corresponding front mech is a bit of a pain.
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Old 12-18-21, 09:24 PM
  #41  
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No problem, glad it helped a bit.
One thing with touring is accepting that your average speed is just going be less. Even working your ass off, a heavier bike is just going to be slower, and you have to balance out all day effort so that you're ok the next day, and next day and next day.
Sometimes you have a kickass day, a crapload of climbing lets say, so its nice to have a shorter day or a rest day afterwards.

but this is all stuff you have to figure out what works for your body, and of course, we toughen up and get stronger during a trip, but you still have to ride and listen to your body.

oh, re going fast downhill and gearing, i spin that 111 g.i. bike out at about 70kph.
My expeditiony 103 g.i. bike to a bit over 50kph, but have ridden both bikes to 80kph, so going fast isn't about tall gearing, and anyway it's really damn rare that you can hold even 30kph on a touring bike, so spinning out at 50/55k is fine for me. Plus panniers and stuff are a real drag aero wise anyway, and our average speeds are pretty slothlike pretty much in the big scheme of things.

hope you find some good info on recent combos. The dude on pathlesspedalled does lots of gear hacking with recent stuff, so you should be able to find reliable sources for possible options.
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Old 12-19-21, 06:32 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
I have a 42cm Surly Pack Rat
Just looking at the pictures of your Pack Rat, I'd say make that the lead candidate and just swap the front end out for your tour. It's meant for carrying weight, it's a bike you know, it's comfortable, has extra bottle cage bosses, and you're already used to riding it with extra weight up front.

Regarding the Pack Rat's brakes...well-adjusted rim brakes are fine 95% of the time, and discs also lose stopping power when they get wet. My little touring group is split 50-50 on disc vs. rim and we've all been stuck in the same rain storms...
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Old 12-19-21, 08:41 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by sdimattia View Post
Thanks! This gives me an excellent idea of what to look for in gearing. I recently climbed an 11% 0.4mile hill on my road bike with 29 GI naked (as in just me on the bike, with clothes). Had to stop once but didn't have to get off. The gearing I'm looking at now ranges from 115-20 GI with a GRX 2x drivetrain, 105 brifters and TRP brakes. I'd love to get it down to 99-17 GI with a 36/26t crankset but finding the corresponding front mech is a bit of a pain.
I have three touring bikes, light, medium and heavy.

Light touring, the Lynskey (photos previously posted in post 31) gearing ranges from 20.7 to 115.5 gear inches with 700c 37mm wide tires.

Medium touring, 19.3 to 107.7 gear inches with 26 inch tires, 50mm wide.

Heavy touring (bike in last photo in post 12 above) range from 16.2 to 85.2 gear inches with 26 inch 57mm wide tires. This lowest gear gives me 3.5 mph with a cadence of 72.

I think a good range for what you are planning is around 20 to a bit over over 100 gear inches. Lower is nice but on paved roads you will probably not need it much lower than 20 inches.

I pushed my bike up this 13 percent grade hill (photo below), lower gearing would not have helped because if I was going fast enough that I could have maintained directional stability, my heart rate monitor would have told me to stop. Pushing allowed me to maintain a sustainable speed up the hill.



My point is that having a gear low enough for any hill you ever will encounter is impractical, I have seen 20 plus percent grade hills. You have to draw the line somewhere.
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Old 12-19-21, 09:07 AM
  #44  
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Note: All of this lower gears/ lighter bike discussion classifies as "defensive thinking". If you go to a gym and do the leg press 3 x a week, you will end up in a much better place for bike touring.
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Old 12-19-21, 11:05 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
Note: All of this lower gears/ lighter bike discussion classifies as "defensive thinking". If you go to a gym and do the leg press 3 x a week, you will end up in a much better place for bike touring.

i would suggest the lower gears/lighter bike discussion classifies as "realistic thinking."

going to a gym and doing the leg pressers 3 x a week won't do squats getting you up a 10km long 8% grade with a fully loaded (50kg in four panniers) 90 gear inch fixie......nor even a 28gi gravel bike.

cut that weight in half, add in some decent gearing with a 16 or 17" low gear, and..........
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Old 12-19-21, 01:03 PM
  #46  
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Well, doing the leg press must have done something for me as I was able to tour across the USA at 17 mph (average) doing 42 - 100 mile days (average) on a bike with 34 x 25 tooth sprockets/ (37" low gear), including riding over hwy 120 through Yosemite, across Colorado, and the blue ridge parkway on the way to Atlanta
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Old 12-19-21, 01:10 PM
  #47  
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I don't do Touring, but I ride often through a State Park just down the way. There I see riders doing tours on all kinds of bikes. Touring, Road, Gravel, even Cruisers and Trikes... They all have more things in common than differences. Some times gear is arranged on the bike or often in a back pack secured between seat and rear wheel. Some have come through on Thousand mile routes and others just for a day camp. Your light gear experiences will be a true gem of knowledge. Personally I would fix up a gravel bike for touring and go from there. Ride Ride Ride... Happy Happy, Joy Joy...
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Old 12-19-21, 01:16 PM
  #48  
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Fred Tipps did a 2000 mi ride camping the whole way on a $60 bike. AZ to FL to see his sister.
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Old 12-19-21, 04:11 PM
  #49  
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This is what I decided on (more or less):

Trek Domane AL 3 44cm
Tubus Logo Classic Rack with Ortlieb BackRoller panniers
Ortlieb Handlebar bag of some kind

Current gearing is Shimano Sora 50/34t and 11-32 rear. I'm planning to switch the rear cassette and derailleur for a 12sp Sram NX Eagle 11-50t cassette. That'll give me a range of 18.5-123.5GI with 50/34t in the front.

I'm swapping the stock handle bar to a 40cm Easton EA50 AX and the shifters are Sram Rival 2x11. I bought a Ratio conversion kit to run the 12sp mountain setup and for the cable pull issue. So a mullet drivetrain.

I'd like to keep the Sora 165mm crankset if possible. However, my current front derailleur rubs just the slightest when I'm cross-chaining, even with the shifter trim. If I switch the Sora derailleur to the 11sp Sram Rival front derailleur, could I potentially still use this with the Sora crankset? In other words, can I use a 9sp Shimano crankset with a 11sp Sram front derailleur, 12sp rear mech, and with Sram 2x12 brifters? The Rival don't come in 165mm but the bike fits with its current dimensions so I'm hoping this can work.

Also swapping the Conti GP5000 for Schwalbe Marathon Mondial.
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Old 12-19-21, 05:16 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
Well, doing the leg press must have done something for me as I was able to tour across the USA at 17 mph (average) doing 42 - 100 mile days (average) on a bike with 34 x 25 tooth sprockets/ (37" low gear), including riding over hwy 120 through Yosemite, across Colorado, and the blue ridge parkway on the way to Atlanta
a 27kph average speed and riding a 37" low gear bike shows that you are (well, were anyway) a very strong rider, waaaaaay stronger than I have ever been, even back in my 20s.
I figure I'm a pretty average type rider and certainly not a powerhouse, but a lot of regular people fit into this averagey area.

I believe you, I have a friend who did a cross Canada trip at bonkers speeds and daily distances (up to 300k in a day, 185mi) but he could have been a pro or an Olympic athlete, I am and always have been just a regular Joe Blow average rider, but have no problem with that and accept and enjoy myself with that reality.

I think we've had this back and forth before, I bring this up really more to situate newcomers to touring with (what I think) more realistic expectations.
But hey, everyone's just gotta ride their own ride at their own pace, 17mph or 10 mph, its all cool.
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