Are there any touring frames that will allow you to use MTB tires ...



Ricitius

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Jul 26, 2005
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...and front suspension?

Me and my friend are planing a tour. However we don't think that we'll find paved roads everywhere along our way. Which is why we're wondering if there was a cycling frame that could use a front suspension fork and MTB tires. I know there are FS forks that lock when you aren't riding harsh terrain.

Thank you kindly for reading.
 
Thank you all kindly for you helpful responses,

I'm leaning towards the Surly Long Haul Trucker frame. I was wondering if the 56 cm and larger frame sizes can use 26'' wheels? Or are there road type wheels for 26'' wheels?
 
There are road type tires that can be used with 26" wheels. They are called slicks. But you can also buy wide knobby tires for 700c rims as long as you are sure to buy wide rims such as that found on 29" (29'er) wheels. The latter are for practical purposes the same diameter as 700c wheels even though the arithmetic doesn't work out. To learn about this consult:

http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html
 
Hey Ricitius, just my 2-cents worth: are you sure you're in need of that front suspension? I had a touring bike built a while back, and the general consensus was that the point of the touring frame was to maximize strength+stability while minimizing weight. That front suspension almost doubles the weight of the frame alone. Of course, everyone's different, and you know your needs best. The front suspension might be necessary if you're doing extensive rough riding rather than occasionally unpaved. In that case, I'd also give some serious thought to the strength of the harness/hook system on your panniers too... Thought I'd bring the point up, especially since you're building your own bike. Good luck!
 
I agree. If you are off-road to the extent that you need suspension buy a mountain bike. A steel front fork will take you anywhere a 2 wheel drive car can go - including packed gravel - as long as you have wider (~ 35mm) tires.
 
I've been leaning towards the Long Haul Trucker or the Cross-Check. But then I realized that these frames did not have any disc brake mounts, so we cannot use the Hope brakes planned. The Surly Karate Monkey indeed has disc brake mounts. However if you are planning to use the rear disc brake, then you will not be able to use the regular rack eylelets (since they are being used by the rear disc brake); you will have to use a rack that mounts to your seat stem.

Here're two a quick solutions to the problem at hand :

1) Use the Cross-Check or Long Haul Trucker frame, but swith out the stock fork with one that has disc brake mounts. For the other brake, I can use a rear cantilever brake.

2) Or I can just look for a touring frame that has disc brake mounts. But I don't know if there are any other frames with as much carrying capacity as the Long Haul Trucker. I am looking for a frame made out of steel. That way if there is an accident then it can be fixed.

Tell me what you think.

Obrigado.
 
Two ideas.

One, get a rack that fits. The Old Man Sherpa racks would likely fit over disk brakes. If not, there could be some "customation".

http://www.arkel-od.com/tips/rack.asp?fl=1&site=

Two, another touring frame that takes disk brakes is the Co-Motion Americano. You would need to contact them for ideas about which racks would fit. My guess is that the Sherpa would work, but also the Turbus.

http://www.co-motion.com/Amerc.html

The latter option is pricey. The former is doable.
 
So why not just use a mountain bike? Most have front suspension and MTB tyres out of the box, though you might want to swap the knobbies for something a little slicker eg Schwalbe Marathon. You might need to look around a bit to find mtbs that have rack mounts but a few examples are Specialized hardrock, Cannondale F series, Jamis Eclipse (steel frame).

For mounting racks on bikes with disc brakes there are other options. You can get racks that have built in spacers or just add spacers to any rack. Also Axiom have a rack that allows mounting to the disk mount, and another that can be mounted to a full suspension frame. Much cheaper than OMM and have a lifetime warranty.

My current tourer is a Cannondale MTB which has rack mounts for both a rear rack and a front rack on the Headshok suspension. I can fit skinny slicks for road touring, Marathons for dirt roads, semi-slicks for some off road or full knobbies if doing off-road touring.

I have a custom-built 531 touring bike that has been round Australia and the world, but that hasn't seen use for over 5 years now.
 
Sure. But the premise was that there would be more use on pavement than on dirt. When that constraint is removed, then a mountain bike would be the better choice.
 
Now this is very much a mountain bike, but built up the right way they make excellent expedition touring bikes:

http://www.zedsport.com/pages/mountain/onone/inbred.htm

(This is what mine looks like: http://www.pbase.com/canyonlands/image/57074694)

Steel frame, tough as hell (I've done about 14,000km on African dirt roads with mine), suspension corrected frame, disc mounts, eyelets for rear rack.

I agree with others in that suspension is unnecessary on a touring bike even on the roughest of roads. Also, you avoid the rack mounting issues by only having a disc on the front (where you actually might need it) and putting a good v-brake on the back.

If you've got a lot of cash burning a hole in your pocket then Thorn make some rather fine bikes that I think are available in the US now.
 
Amaferanga, do you think it would be comfortable to ride with drop handlebars? Or any MTB/Cyclocross frame for that matter?
 
Ricitius said:
Amaferanga, do you think it would be comfortable to ride with drop handlebars? Or any MTB/Cyclocross frame for that matter?

Its quite long in the top tube so if you did want drops you'd need a very short stem. It could be done, but I've no idea whether or not it'd be comfortable.
 
amaferanga said:
Its quite long in the top tube so if you did want drops you'd need a very short stem. It could be done, but I've no idea whether or not it'd be comfortable.
Speaking of comfort, one option you might want to consider (if you like the drop position) is fitting your bike with Aero bars. I didn't, used bow bars instead, and ended up padding the outside ends of my flat bars so I could lean my elbows on them. I found it relaxed my back, shoulders and wrists, while moving the source of power from my quads to my glutes. Great for long distances. Next tour I do will definitely have the aero bars.

A challenge here is that they can interefere with front panniers.

If you're not sure, ask to try it out in a local shop first before you buy. My cycling partner for example, had a different opinion entirely.
 
Cool, thank you for your feed back. I've never used drop bars. I figured they would be more helpful than regular flat bars for long distances. I can't believe that I completely overlooked aero bars. They even have good clip on ones. I might just run a flat bar with a clip on aero bar.
Has anyone had this set up before?
 
When you get this bike built, please post a photo. It's gonna be hilarious! I can just imagine the aerobars paired with front suspension.
 
The Surly Long Haul trucker suffers from a long top tube, extremely short head tube, and a very short cut off on the fork tube. This is painful unless one has arms like an ape.

Of course, by replacing the forks, you could then choose to put several stack rings--several sets of stack rings to get the handlebars in reach.

Since we used Surly's short, cut off forks, we had to make a slightly homely adaptation. Using a long, black, Delta Stem Riser in addition to the set of stack rings, plus a black 90mm stem, we were able to fix the ergonomics to a normal (racing), but by no means relaxed position.

Upon trying a frame of a larger size in the attempt for handlebars to be above knee level, we found that the top tube was even longer and not usable for our application.

It is a nice, light frame with racing areo, but it is not a long distance machine without some serious attention to the handlebars. Perhaps trekking bars or North Road with their back swept grips in addition to the stem riser and short extension stem, could possibly make this frame go the distance.

At this point, it becomes nearly ridiculous in comparison to other options.

There are plentiful, sturdy, and inexpensive "flat bar" road bikes with touring attachment (compare Schwinn, complete at $350), and there are plentiful 29'er mountain bikes with touring attachment, ready to go through the rough country. These are instantly usable for touring after you mount racks and touring tires.

One often-overlooked accessory is a front disc or drum brake. Drum brakes can be fitted on anything with metal forks. They can also come with a generator light built into that same front hub. The Nexus "Sport" version does not increase drag while the light is off, and it can mount a drum brake. Popping one of these onto one of the above bikes can give durable brakes that don't melt tires in the mountains like rims brakes can.
You also don't have to carry batteries if you go with the generator (dynohub) model, and the "brushless" or "Sport" models do not interfere with speed.
 
I've been riding a 56cm Long Haul Trucker for about 9 months and have been on many gravel, dirt and terribly damaged pavement roads with 700 x 28c tires on wheels with 36 spokes and mountain bike gearing. It does just fine. I've got almost 3000 miles on it and haven't even had to true the wheels. Use 35c tires and you should have no problems whatsoever with bad pavement, gravel and hard packed dirt; definitely no need for front shocks with this bike but be aware that the frame is long and low and does not handle fast, tight rurns well. If you get a 54cc Trucker frame it will come with 26" wheels, so you'll be more easily able to find off-road tires for it if you want them. My wife has one of those and likes at as much as I like mine.



Ricitius said:
I've been leaning towards the Long Haul Trucker or the Cross-Check. But then I realized that these frames did not have any disc brake mounts, so we cannot use the Hope brakes planned. The Surly Karate Monkey indeed has disc brake mounts. However if you are planning to use the rear disc brake, then you will not be able to use the regular rack eylelets (since they are being used by the rear disc brake); you will have to use a rack that mounts to your seat stem.

Here're two a quick solutions to the problem at hand :

1) Use the Cross-Check or Long Haul Trucker frame, but swith out the stock fork with one that has disc brake mounts. For the other brake, I can use a rear cantilever brake.

2) Or I can just look for a touring frame that has disc brake mounts. But I don't know if there are any other frames with as much carrying capacity as the Long Haul Trucker. I am looking for a frame made out of steel. That way if there is an accident then it can be fixed.

Tell me what you think.

Obrigado.
 

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