Another newbie question... (was: Why are expensive bikes better than cheap ones?)



K

Ken Aston

Guest
After getting so much helpful information here
http://groups-beta.google.com/group...422e0fc4d58/f393e72de2466ab0#f393e72de2466ab0
I can't wait to buy a nice bike and get on the road. Yesterday I went
to the bike shop and almost bought a Marin Fairfax:
http://www.marinbikes.com/bicycles_2007/html/bikes/bike_specs/specs_fairfax.html
But after talking to the staff I got a little confused.

Mainly I will ride around the city, but next year I want to go on a
month-long road trip. I assumed that attaching front and rear racks and
going on the road with the extra 30 kg of weight would be OK. But the
shop staff told me that the bike is not suitable for this purpose. The
weight would be too heavy for the carbon fork and the thin tyres. And
besides I would not be able to attach a front rack.

My weight is only 70 kg so I don't understand why 100 kg would be a
problem for the bike. Does it mean that taller/heavier people would not
be able to ride the bike even without a load? I don't really believe
this point. But now I am worried that I won't find a front rack for
this bike. Here are some photos of the bike which I took at the store
yesterday:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

Do you think I will find a suitable front rack for regular panniers
which I can attach to the bike? Do you see any problems with the extra
weight or with taking the bike on a long road trip?

Thank you so much for the help!

Regards,
Ken Aston
 
S

squeaker

Guest
Ken Aston wrote:
>
> Mainly I will ride around the city, but next year I want to go on a
> month-long road trip. I assumed that attaching front and rear racks and
> going on the road with the extra 30 kg of weight would be OK. But the
> shop staff told me that the bike is not suitable for this purpose. The
> weight would be too heavy for the carbon fork and the thin tyres. And
> besides I would not be able to attach a front rack.
>
> My weight is only 70 kg so I don't understand why 100 kg would be a
> problem for the bike. Does it mean that taller/heavier people would not
> be able to ride the bike even without a load? I don't really believe
> this point. But now I am worried that I won't find a front rack for
> this bike.


All bike riders come with their own built in suspension system (arms,
legs, general flexibility) whereas luggage on racks doesn't :(
I suspect that the shop is correct - look at something a bit less
'racy' - others here will advise.
 
P

Peter Clinch

Guest
Ken Aston wrote:

> Mainly I will ride around the city, but next year I want to go on a
> month-long road trip. I assumed that attaching front and rear racks and
> going on the road with the extra 30 kg of weight would be OK. But the
> shop staff told me that the bike is not suitable for this purpose. The
> weight would be too heavy for the carbon fork and the thin tyres. And
> besides I would not be able to attach a front rack.
>
> My weight is only 70 kg so I don't understand why 100 kg would be a
> problem for the bike. Does it mean that taller/heavier people would not
> be able to ride the bike even without a load?


I think it's the carbon fork that's the problem rather than the bike
itself. It won't have braze-ons (obviously...) for dedicated racks and
the attachment systems of racks that don't need braze-on eyelets will
stress and crush the carbon in ways it wasn't designed for. If you're
going to use it as a tourer I think it'll work a lot better with light
loads, or you're compromising its fundamental design goals, and the
gearing will make you suffer badly on hills with that much extra weight
(gearing on my tourer goes about a third lower, and I use the lot!)

> Do you think I will find a suitable front rack for regular panniers
> which I can attach to the bike?


I'm not sure you can do it sensibly without replacing the fork for
something metal.

> Do you see any problems with the extra
> weight or with taking the bike on a long road trip?


Extra weight outside of the front fork should be okay, long trips will
be okay, bot lots of extra weight on a long trip will be better done
with other tools, specifically touring bikes built for that very joib
from the ground up.

Think of the good news though... you've a fine excuse for another bike!

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
K

Ken Aston

Guest
OK, I see. So would it be practical to change the fork shortly before
going on a road trip?

How about the 28 spokes of the front wheel? Will they make it?
 
K

Ken Aston

Guest
> Think of the good news though... you've a fine excuse for another bike!

That would be great but I just don't have the space to store the bike.
I live in a big city, if I want a place to put the extra bike, I have
to rent one.
 
M

Mark Thompson

Guest
> Do you think I will find a suitable front rack for regular panniers
> which I can attach to the bike? Do you see any problems with the extra
> weight or with taking the bike on a long road trip?


If the forks weren't carbon, then I'd say Go For It. My old racer has
coped perfectly well with several hundred miles of fully loaded touring -
wheels are strong!

However, the carbon fork will not be designed for the stresses of carrying
luggage. It'll probably be ok, but you dont want to risk breaking a fork.

If you're staying in hostels/B&B then you can probably get away with just
rear panniers. This will make the bike handle like a pig thobut.
 
K

Ken Aston

Guest

> Which means you *can* buy another bike!!

That's really a great idea... but where do a put the bike stand? I live
in a mini apartment in Tokyo... The spot I rent for my bike
unfortunately has no space for a bike stand. Renting another spot costs
as much as it costs to rent a car garage in smaller cities. So we are
back to one bike. :)
 
P

Peter Fox

Guest
Following on from Ken Aston's message. . .
>My weight is only 70 kg so I don't understand why 100 kg would be a
>problem for the bike. Does it mean that taller/heavier people would not
>be able to ride the bike even without a load? I don't really believe
>this point. But now I am worried that I won't find a front rack for
>this bike. Here are some photos of the bike which I took at the store
>yesterday:
>http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/


Easy!
You, personally, could add some pounds round your girth and not notice
but you couldn't carry that weight at arms length or on your head for
very long. A bike is a structure built to deal with certain forces in
certain places - just like you are. The more expensive the bike the
more research and technology has gone into removing 'spare' weight from
the structure and focussing on a single purpose.

So the bike shop is correct. If there are brazings on the frame then
they have been designed to enable stresses to be taken in/out of the
frame at that point. If not then you are probably going to be
overstressing that bit of the frame at that point and quite likely other
points of the frame as well.


>
>Do you think I will find a suitable front rack for regular panniers
>which I can attach to the bike? Do you see any problems with the extra
>weight or with taking the bike on a long road trip?


I would say more than "unlikely it could be done" because of the risk of
structural failure - "How much are you looking forward to your front
forks snapping at 25 mph? - Sounds reckless to me".


--
PETER FOX Not the same since the adhesive company came unstuck
[email protected]
www.eminent.demon.co.uk - Lots for cyclists
 
Hi,

Ken Aston wrote:
> .... Yesterday I went
> to the bike shop and almost bought a Marin Fairfax:
> http://www.marinbikes.com/bicycles_2007/html/bikes/bike_specs/specs_fairfax.html
> But after talking to the staff I got a little confused.
>
> Mainly I will ride around the city, but next year I want to go on a
> month-long road trip. I assumed that attaching front and rear racks and
> going on the road with the extra 30 kg of weight would be OK. But the
> shop staff told me that the bike is not suitable for this purpose. The
> weight would be too heavy for the carbon fork and the thin tyres. And
> besides I would not be able to attach a front rack.


It's not designed to carry heavy touring loads, that much is true.

> My weight is only 70 kg so I don't understand why 100 kg would be a
> problem for the bike. Does it mean that taller/heavier people would not
> be able to ride the bike even without a load?


No, as others have said it's the addition of "dead" weight to the
frame that's the issue (and using a backpack won't be a comfortable
alternative, BTW!)

> Do you think I will find a suitable front rack for regular panniers
> which I can attach to the bike? Do you see any problems with the extra
> weight or with taking the bike on a long road trip?


I'm sure you could work out some way of attaching a front rack, if you
absolutely had to, but it would be better to adopt a different
approach.

1) travel lighter:
30Kg is quite a bit of stuff. My personal preference is to carry as
little as practical (how vague is that?) and to that end I don't camp
and cycle, as this adds a load of gear that I can do without. I prefer
to stay in hostels or B&Bs and plan my trips around that.

On our tours my partner and I carried only one large and one small
pannier each (on the rear racks) and I had a bar-bag for camera, wallet
and sundries. You don't need much more stuff for a month than you do
for a week- you just have to wash or replace what you've used.

2) Get a touring bike
A decent touring bike is well suited for city use- It is comfortable,
stable and reasonably light. Unless you are going properly "off road"
(and by that I mean rough, muddy tracks with rocks & roots) then you
don't need a "mountain bike". I regularly ride on tracks and paths on a
touring bike with 700C tyres (25 front 28 rear), it just takes some
mechanical sympathy. In the other direction (where you're coming from?)
a more committed road bike will probably have a stiffer ride and less
extras (mudguards, lights, racks...). If you're going to be on the road
for a month the stiffer ride may not be an advantage...and the rest of
the stuff can come off when you don't want it.

If you want a stripped down bike for city use, then strip down the
tourer. You may be surprised at how light and responsive a touring bike
is without the extras (frame weights don't vary that much). If you want
a more focussed road bike, but need to use it for touring, then
re-assess your luggage needs and plan to tour fast & light- you can get
a long way from home with a few tools, a change of clothes, toothbrush
and credit card!

Cheers,
W.
 
P

Peter Clinch

Guest
Ken Aston wrote:
> OK, I see. So would it be practical to change the fork shortly before
> going on a road trip?


Don't see why not.

> How about the 28 spokes of the front wheel? Will they make it?


Depends on the surfaces... good roads they would probably be fine,
potholed ruins and tracks is maybe not too clever. You could always get
a second set of wheels, and have the rear with a wider ranging casette
for lower gearing as well as more spokes. Fatter tyres would give a bit
more suspension to your existing wheels (and your existing arms and bum!)

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
J

John B

Guest
Ken Aston wrote:

> After getting so much helpful information here
> http://groups-beta.google.com/group...422e0fc4d58/f393e72de2466ab0#f393e72de2466ab0
> I can't wait to buy a nice bike and get on the road. Yesterday I went
> to the bike shop and almost bought a Marin Fairfax:
> http://www.marinbikes.com/bicycles_2007/html/bikes/bike_specs/specs_fairfax.html
> But after talking to the staff I got a little confused.
>
> Mainly I will ride around the city, but next year I want to go on a
> month-long road trip. I assumed that attaching front and rear racks and
> going on the road with the extra 30 kg of weight would be OK. But the
> shop staff told me that the bike is not suitable for this purpose. The
> weight would be too heavy for the carbon fork and the thin tyres. And
> besides I would not be able to attach a front rack.
>


I think the staff are right.
This is very much a sporty town commuters bike.
Why not have a look at the Muirwoods, which could be used for both town riding in a stripped state but also has the ability
to be converted into a full blown tourer.
It has all the brazings for racks and guards, and a better range of gearing.
The Fairfax with its 52/42/30 chainset and 12/24 cassette may be a struggle when the bike is laden.
The Muirwoods has a more friendly 48/38/28 triple with 11/32 on the rear.

Wheels are slightly more sturdy (32 spokes front) but the tyres are still good for the road, being semi-slicks.

Its also in black ;-)

> Do you think I will find a suitable front rack for regular panniers which I can attach to the bike?


Possibly, but the bike has not been designed for them. I'd be wary.

> Do you see any problems with the extra
> weight or with taking the bike on a long road trip?


See comment on gearing above.

John B
 
K

Ken Aston

Guest
> Why not have a look at the Muirwoods, which could be used for both town riding in a stripped state but also has the ability
> to be converted into a full blown tourer.


I like this idea. Just, for me as a total newbie to decent bikes,
quality is equal to price. It's difficult for me to understand the
differences between the parts. When I see how much cheaper the Muirwood
is, I wonder, what I have to give up compared to the Fairfax. Why is it
so much cheaper?

The Fairfax felt really nice recently at the store. That's why I
thought it's perfect for my city rides. But maybe a Muirwood won't be
so much different. I'll check it out.

Or how about a Marin Novato?
 
P

Peter Clinch

Guest
Ken Aston wrote:

> I like this idea. Just, for me as a total newbie to decent bikes,
> quality is equal to price. It's difficult for me to understand the
> differences between the parts. When I see how much cheaper the Muirwood
> is, I wonder, what I have to give up compared to the Fairfax. Why is it
> so much cheaper?


Things like carbon forks will make the bike lighter and thus quicker and
more responsive, but also more expensive.

> The Fairfax felt really nice recently at the store. That's why I
> thought it's perfect for my city rides.


It may well be, but of course perfect for one thing generally means less
perfect for another: in this case loaded touring. If you want one
single bike to do everything it is bound to be a compromise.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
S

sothach

Guest
Ken Aston wrote:
> ... but next year I want to go on a month-long road trip.

How about getting one of them Y-frame trailers? They fold flat so
prob. won't take up any extra room, will carry loads of luggage for
touring (plus utility errands), and are more stable/comfortable than
panniers and racks.
 
J

John B

Guest
Ken Aston wrote:

> > Why not have a look at the Muirwoods, which could be used for both town riding in a stripped state but also has the ability
> > to be converted into a full blown tourer.

>
> I like this idea. Just, for me as a total newbie to decent bikes,
> quality is equal to price. It's difficult for me to understand the
> differences between the parts. When I see how much cheaper the Muirwood
> is, I wonder, what I have to give up compared to the Fairfax. Why is it
> so much cheaper?


I suspect most of teh difference is taken up with the carbon fork and slightly higher grade componetry.

> The Fairfax felt really nice recently at the store. That's why I
> thought it's perfect for my city rides. But maybe a Muirwood won't be
> so much different. I'll check it out.


I really think you should. Its a nice bike.

> Or how about a Marin Novato?


There are two main differences here. The Novato is an all Ali frame and fork, while the Muirwoods is Cromo - a rare and
pleasant-to-see breed amongst today's offerings from the major suppliers. An Ali frame may give a harsher ride, which is partly
why Ali frames often then have carbon forks (we are back to the Fairfax here).
The Cromo frame is likely to be more forgiving for touring.
Beware: here you may experience one of the big debates - Ali v Steel ;-)
<ducks>

The other difference, and the one which is probably the main reason for the price difference, is that the Novato has mechanical
Disc Brakes.
These are probably overkill for the uses the bike is intended for.

Again, it also oses points by not being black ;-)

IMO I'd sitill come down on the side of the Muirwoods for you needs, but have a look at both.

John B
 
P

POHB

Guest
Ken Aston wrote:
>
> Just, for me as a total newbie to decent bikes,
> quality is equal to price. It's difficult for me to understand the
> differences between the parts.


As a newbie maybe you should be considering a more general purpose
machine for now?
You may find you want to use the racks for shopping.
You may find some wonderful off-road trails.
 
S

Sirius631

Guest
squeaker wrote:
> Ken Aston wrote:
> >
> > Mainly I will ride around the city, but next year I want to go on a
> > month-long road trip. I assumed that attaching front and rear racks and
> > going on the road with the extra 30 kg of weight would be OK. But the
> > shop staff told me that the bike is not suitable for this purpose. The
> > weight would be too heavy for the carbon fork and the thin tyres. And
> > besides I would not be able to attach a front rack.
> >
> > My weight is only 70 kg so I don't understand why 100 kg would be a
> > problem for the bike. Does it mean that taller/heavier people would not
> > be able to ride the bike even without a load? I don't really believe
> > this point. But now I am worried that I won't find a front rack for
> > this bike.

>
> All bike riders come with their own built in suspension system (arms,
> legs, general flexibility) whereas luggage on racks doesn't :(
> I suspect that the shop is correct - look at something a bit less
> 'racy' - others here will advise.


Maybe you need to look at hiring a true touring bike for your trip. I
don't know of anyone who hires high class tourers for extended periods.

David
 
S

sothach

Guest
John B wrote:
> The other difference, and the one which is probably the main reason for the price
> difference, is that the Novato has mechanical Disc Brakes.
> These are probably overkill for the uses the bike is intended for.


ITYM 'underkill' - the mech discs I've tried have served a purely
decorative function, but at least on an urban bike discs won't be the
liability they are off-road.
 
P

Peter Clinch

Guest
John B wrote:

> Again, it also loses points by not being black ;-)


Far, far worse than that is it doesn't seem to be available in yellow or
orange...

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 

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