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Touring Bike (rim brake) for Allroad Riding

Old 01-20-22, 08:34 AM
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Noonievut
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Touring Bike (rim brake) for Allroad Riding

Im looking for a steel bike, rim brakes (mini V perhaps), clearance for 40mm tires. I want something stable, and good handling without weight on it as I want to use the bike mainly for riding on paved and gravel roads, rail trails, and for 2-3 day credit card tours. Many gravel bikes have disc brakes but I want rim brakes; these are getting harder to find!

If this touring group has some recommendations I would be grateful. Thanks!
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Old 01-20-22, 09:20 AM
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My touring bike is lugged steel with a beefy fork designed to carry loaded panniers. The bike weighs 26 lbs without the racks. I find it heavy for fun rides on the road or gravel trails, is why I bought a gravel bike that weighs 22 lbs. The weight difference is noticeable. The tourer, tours great but's a beast otherwise. I also use this bike for commuting but only when I need to carry crap in the panniers, otherwise I'm on my lighter gravel bike.

Just curious why you don't want disc brakes ?. I have them on my gravel, they work very well, stop better than V's, and are as easy to deal with, especially changing pads.
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Old 01-20-22, 09:28 AM
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RH Clark
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I own about 12 bikes. Most are rim brakes, but I see no advantage of rim brakes over good mechanical disc brakes on a touring bike where a few ounces of weight doesn't matter.
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Old 01-20-22, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
My touring bike is lugged steel with a beefy fork designed to carry loaded panniers. The bike weighs 26 lbs without the racks. I find it heavy for fun rides on the road or gravel trails, is why I bought a gravel bike that weighs 22 lbs. The weight difference is noticeable. The tourer, tours great but's a beast otherwise. I also use this bike for commuting but only when I need to carry crap in the panniers, otherwise I'm on my lighter gravel bike.

Just curious why you don't want disc brakes ?. I have them on my gravel, they work very well, stop better than V's, and are as easy to deal with, especially changing pads.
Originally Posted by RH Clark View Post
I own about 12 bikes. Most are rim brakes, but I see no advantage of rim brakes over good mechanical disc brakes on a touring bike where a few ounces of weight doesn't matter.
I've only had luck with easy-to-maintain disc brakes on one bike out of about 6 that I've had discs on over the last decade. I've had Avid BB7, Spyre, SRAM hydro and Shimano hydro. I like the option of running two wheelsets. For whatever reason, I've had issues with pad rub, swapping between wheels, bent rotors, etc. In each case I've resolved the issue (sometimes only briefly) and/or have had a lbs help out. No doubt they stop better than most/all rim brakes. Take my road bike for example, it's had Ultegra/105/Ultegra brakes over the last 14 years...and I literally never think of the brakes. I've replaced pads (2 minutes a side) a few times. I generally don't ride in wet conditions, in an area or on trails or knarly gravel roads requiring the power and modulation of disc brakes; I basically ride these other 'gravel' bikes where I ride my road bike, but with a little bit of gravel roads and rail trails.
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Old 01-20-22, 12:39 PM
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Straight bars okay? 26" wheels okay? If so, repurpose an older non-suspension MTB.
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Old 01-20-22, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
Im looking for a steel bike, rim brakes (mini V perhaps), clearance for 40mm tires. I want something stable, and good handling without weight on it as I want to use the bike mainly for riding on paved and gravel roads, rail trails, and for 2-3 day credit card tours. Many gravel bikes have disc brakes but I want rim brakes; these are getting harder to find!

If this touring group has some recommendations I would be grateful. Thanks!
Soma,, Surly, Rivendell, Velo Orange ?
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Old 01-20-22, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
...
If this touring group has some recommendations I would be grateful. Thanks!
Watch Craigs list, garage sales, bike coops, bike charities, etc.

Last summer one of my neighbors that is a bike mechanic was admiring one of my bikes that I built up about five years ago. I said it was one of the last rim brake non-through axle bikes from that company. He said he wished he had stocked up on some frames a few years ago.

ADDENDUM:
And just in case what you are interested shows up, get ready to move fast, know the important measurements to a frame that would fit you.

I think that top tube length, at least for my size is more important than seattube length. I can adjust a bad top tube length a bit by changing stems, but there is not a lot of range for adjustment that way. But seatposts have a lot of range for adjustment.

And if you have the cash you would need if the seller wants cash, that is a good thing to have ready too.

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Old 01-20-22, 01:50 PM
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Sounds like you are describing my Bruce Gordon, Rock and Road Tour. It is steel, cantilever rim brakes on 36 spoke MAVIC rims 50mm tires if you want. Rides very nicely for recreation, and handles 40lb. loads with aplomb. One little snag, Bruce retired, and then he died, so you would have to find a used one. I have seen a few on the classified sections, here, CGOAB, and Adventure Cycling. The prices were great for the value.
Good luck.
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Old 01-20-22, 02:28 PM
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Used Surly LHT. (The LHT went strictly disc a few years ago.) I commute and tour fully loaded, both on and off road, on one since 2008. IIRC, i can handle 44c tires with fenders. As the now-worn decal read, "Fatties Fit Fine."
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Old 01-20-22, 02:32 PM
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Yep, rim brake touring frames are getting real tough to come by. I would probably build up a Surly Cross Check that would fit most of your requirements. I personally don't like the rear drop outs but that's my problem and not the bike's.
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Old 01-20-22, 03:50 PM
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I've bought all mine off Facebook marketplace. Just look every day and one will come up close enough to go look at. The good ones sell quick though so be ready as soon as one comes up. If a good prospect comes up start the conversation with, " I want it. When can we meet."? Look for any older touring bike or rigid fork MTB that can accept a rear rack. An older 26" wheel MTB with rigid fork 3X7 or 3X8 Shimano equipped is a good starting point. Just learn how to evaluate a used bike and go ride a few for sale. Good luck.

Last edited by RH Clark; 01-20-22 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 01-21-22, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Used Surly LHT. (The LHT went strictly disc a few years ago.) I commute and tour fully loaded, both on and off road, on one since 2008. IIRC, i can handle 44c tires with fenders. As the now-worn decal read, "Fatties Fit Fine."
Beat me to it!

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Old 01-21-22, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
I've only had luck with easy-to-maintain disc brakes on one bike out of about 6 that I've had discs on over the last decade. I've had Avid BB7, Spyre, SRAM hydro and Shimano hydro. I like the option of running two wheelsets. For whatever reason, I've had issues with pad rub, swapping between wheels, bent rotors, etc. In each case I've resolved the issue (sometimes only briefly) and/or have had a lbs help out. No doubt they stop better than most/all rim brakes. Take my road bike for example, it's had Ultegra/105/Ultegra brakes over the last 14 years...and I literally never think of the brakes. I've replaced pads (2 minutes a side) a few times. I generally don't ride in wet conditions, in an area or on trails or knarly gravel roads requiring the power and modulation of disc brakes; I basically ride these other 'gravel' bikes where I ride my road bike, but with a little bit of gravel roads and rail trails.
Interesting. I have had mixed results with rim brakes, Some were pretty trouble free and some were pretty high maintenance or at least fiddly. All of the fairly modern road bike brakes were completely trouble free. The Cantis and V brakes varied with some being a real pain to some being fairly touble free, but none were completely what I'd considwer completely trouble free.

My only discs (Tektro Auriga hydraulic) are on a mountain bike and have been trouble free. They have been used in rough conditions and required very littlte attention. Pads have lasted well and been easily replaced. Adjustments are easily set and stay put. I guess rotors can be bent, but I have not had any issues with that. I have not done a lot of rock bashing in WV and western PA since I bought this bike and I have since moved south from MD to FL where there aren't many rocks, so bending rotors is a low risk now

Anyway I personally would be inclined to shop for a bike with discs, but since you don't want to, I agree with those who suggested that shopping for used might be a good idea. Some of the standard touring bikes from a few years back or a converted MTB sound like a good fit.
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Old 01-21-22, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Used Surly LHT. (The LHT went strictly disc a few years ago.)
Or not so strict. You can put caliper brakes on a Disc Trucker, and I'm guessing at least some other disc bikes.
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Old 01-21-22, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Or not so strict. You can put caliper brakes on a Disc Trucker, and I'm guessing at least some other disc bikes.
I don't know first hand, but on the Surly page the Q&A section says no.
Can I still use non disc brakes on the Trucker? Are the mounts still available?
Asked by Marco Vincenzo 6 months ago
Verified Reply - Dann
Sorry, the Disc Trucker is for disc brakes only!
Do you have info that says otherwise? In the pictures it doesn't look like there are canti bosses. The holes in the fork crown and rear cross piece could possibly be used for caliper brake installation, but are probably intended for fender and maybe light, reflector, and possibly rack installation. If they intended the frame to support rim brakes I think they'd have added canti bosses.
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Old 01-21-22, 09:39 AM
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With my recent experience being able to swap two wheel sets on my endurance bike (700c and 650b) I am pretty well entrenched in the disc camp now. That allows me to use the bike for road or gravel. The flexibility of being able to swap wheels opens up multiple uses for one frame. The next wheel set I buy is going to be a 29x3" setup for my fat bike so I can use that frame for sand/snow (26x4.6) and more practical mtb/bikepacking (29x3). Two frames, four bikes.

So far I have found mechanical disc to be reliable and easy to adjust/replace.
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Old 01-21-22, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
With my recent experience being able to swap two wheel sets on my endurance bike (700c and 650b) I am pretty well entrenched in the disc camp now. That allows me to use the bike for road or gravel. The flexibility of being able to swap wheels opens up multiple uses for one frame. The next wheel set I buy is going to be a 29x3" setup for my fat bike so I can use that frame for sand/snow (26x4.6) and more practical mtb/bikepacking (29x3). Two frames, four bikes.

So far I have found mechanical disc to be reliable and easy to adjust/replace.
Agree with this. I've 2 wheelsets on my C-Dale Topstone. They have completly different cassettes (11-34 & 12-25) and have no issues, rotors dont rub either. I've no real preference of disc over rim brakes, though disc does seem to stop better than V brakes, and I've never had maintanence issues with 2 hydro disc brake bikes. I love the flexibility of a set of pavement wheels and a set of gravel wheels. The bike will take a 45mm gravel tire, which is a nice size. And the bike weighs 4 lbs less then my steel tourer, which is noticable.
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Old 01-21-22, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Yep, rim brake touring frames are getting real tough to come by. I would probably build up a Surly Cross Check that would fit most of your requirements. I personally don't like the rear drop outs but that's my problem and not the bike's.
Thanks, this one is on my short list. FWIW, what don't you like about the dropouts?
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Old 01-21-22, 11:46 AM
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I wish the Cross Check had rear vertical drop outs and not horizontal forward facing drop outs, as then most any quick release would be adequate. I realize why they don't, for the single speed-fixie crowd, but you just have to make sure you're using a well made internal cam quick release with nice serrations so the rear wheel (drive side) doesn't pull forward over time when you mash gears going up a hill and such. Just one less thing to worry about and I'm a worrier. It would not stop me from building up such a frame but I would just include in proposed costs, that of a Paul Internal Cam Skewer. Or if you don't mind carrying around a small 15 mm wrench, opt for serrated nuts. Btw, I have two friends that used their Cross Checks for the purposes you mentioned and they often toured fully loaded with them as well with no problems. I owned an LHT for a few years but enjoyed riding their Cross Checks better for most everything other than when loaded to the max, and that's where the LHT will shine.
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Old 01-21-22, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Do you have info that says otherwise?
I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure you can.

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Old 01-21-22, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Yep, rim brake touring frames are getting real tough to come by. I would probably build up a Surly Cross Check that would fit most of your requirements. I personally don't like the rear drop outs but that's my problem and not the bike's.
Totally forgot that they still offer the CC frame. Definitely a better choice than the LHT for what the OP wants to do.
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Old 01-21-22, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure you can.

Looks like the brake is mounted from the bridge and I assume it works okay. There are no bosses in the pictures of the disc trucker so that would be the only option. I don't know whether it is advisable or not. I'd probably shy away from it myself, but that is my choice. Mounting a brake there on a bike that may not be designed for it may or may not void the warranty. I'd ask first if concerned about that. Surly has been know to be finicky about stuff like that. They have reportedly voided warranties for mounting kick stands that clamp on the frame tubes for example.

If the OP likes Surly bikes the Cross Check does sound like a decent fit for their needs. It is a do everything bike with rim brakes. I had kind of forgotten about it too.
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Old 01-21-22, 04:31 PM
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Another one that I pondered about building up a while back for similar purposes was the Soma Double Cross frame, but they have since gone disc this year as well. You might still be able to find a past year's model sitting around somewhere. Beware they do come with a longer effective top tube length vs. most of similar sized frame.
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Old 01-21-22, 04:58 PM
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Several models of Rivendell frames would fit your requirements, although I think they don’t have much stock at the moment.
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Old 01-21-22, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
I wish the Cross Check had rear vertical drop outs and not horizontal forward facing drop outs, as then most any quick release would be adequate. I realize why they don't, for the single speed-fixie crowd, but you just have to make sure you're using a well made internal cam quick release with nice serrations so the rear wheel (drive side) doesn't pull forward over time when you mash gears going up a hill and such. Just one less thing to worry about and I'm a worrier. It would not stop me from building up such a frame but I would just include in proposed costs, that of a Paul Internal Cam Skewer. Or if you don't mind carrying around a small 15 mm wrench, opt for serrated nuts. Btw, I have two friends that used their Cross Checks for the purposes you mentioned and they often toured fully loaded with them as well with no problems. I owned an LHT for a few years but enjoyed riding their Cross Checks better for most everything other than when loaded to the max, and that's where the LHT will shine.
But ... high quality internal cam QRs are easy to get. Any cheap Shimano. I've had good luck with QBP QRs. (True, I haven't looked the last couple of years so maybe with COVID that has all dried up. But if that happened, I'd expect someone like Wellgo or Exustar to step up and make them. Nothing challenging bout those skewers.
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