Building A "touring Bike


New Member
Jun 10, 2015
I was wondering, out of curiosity, if I wanted to take my stock Trek CrossRip LTD cross-country (NY to Cali) with somewhat light bags (no more than 30lbs) how would you prepare a bike for such a trip? What changes would you make? Outside of "get a touring bike"
May 9, 2015
If you are carrying only 30 pounds, IMO the question is not the bike but the rider, and I don't say that to be insulting, just don't know you or your background.

That bike is more than capable of going cross country carrying only a rider and 30 pound of luggage without significant modification.

It has some features that make it not a great choice for touring in a third world country, where the carbon fork, hydraulic disc brakes and even 700c wheels and tires might be hard to repair or replace, but for any North American trip that bike is more than enough. Again, just my opinion.

The limiting factor will be the rider's ability to do significant saddle time day after day, and if you already have that background, you'll be fine.

If on the other hand you are a weekend only recreational rider who puts in less than 30 or 40 miles a week, you might have issues with saddle soreness, knee pain, etc. going cross country on any bike, no matter what geometry.

I'm not sure that bike can take a front rack, but if you are going to carry a lot more than 30 pounds, it would be nice to divide that load between rear and front panniers for better handling, especially when climbing steep hills.

But for only 30 pounds, heck, there are riders who carry that much more than you just in body fat you'll likely see every day.


New Member
May 26, 2015
one option Old Man Mountain uses the Axle QR to mount their racks . the Cantilever brake's bolts offer an upper mounting point.

Thule bought a Company that made strap On Racks ..

Bike Packers like Frame and large behind the seat Bags .

and the British Classic large transverse saddle Bag and a Good sized Handle bar Bag has been used by many..


New Member
May 9, 2015
It's pretty easy to figure it out; put a rack on the rear, load it up with everything you want to carry, and take it for a spin. If you like the way the bike handles, you're good to go.

My worry is fork shimmy. I think you will want some way to carry stuff on the fork. A bike loaded with too much stuff on the back, and not enough on the front, can develop a frightening shimmy. But it's not a matter for speculation; give it a try.


New Member
Feb 22, 2015
I have GT grade alloy 105, which is similar to your Trek CrossRip LTD, and it makes wonderful light tourer. BTW I carry no more than 20lbs on my rear rack. Yours being a 10 speed drive train, I would replace the crankset with Grand Cru 50.4 BCD Crankset MK II. Grand Cru 50.4 BCD Crankset MK II 46/30 rings will make hills easier to climb. If in doubt, get a Shimano Deore Rear Derailleur (9-Speed, Long Cage) that is compatible with your STI shifter, and 11-36t 10 speed cassette. Also change the tyres to 28mm Panaracer Gravel King. That would be all I'd modify the Trek CrossRip LTD.


New Member
Jun 10, 2015
Lots of good advice here and definitely doable. Gearing may be an issue. Even when I was super fit, I wouldn't have done a cross country with only a compact crank.

In terms of weight distribution, putting weight up front is a bit more of a challenge because of the carbon fork. I'd look to what the ultralight backpackers do as a means of saving weight and packing your bike. Look at the bags sold be revelate and others for some ideas of how to pack your bike (esp. on your handlebars and perhaps also an internal frame bag).

The chain stays are probably not that long on the cross rip so you will also want to think about bag design to help eliminate heel strike. A tall skinny pannier is what you want. The Jandd mountain pannier for example might do the trick and it's expandable which can be very useful when loading up on groceries at the end of the day


Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
NE Indiana
You don't want to put anything more then just a handlebar bag on the front of the bike, and in that bike you keep lighter weight stuff. Jandd makes a pretty good one called the Touring Handlebar Pack 1, it comes with a map case on the top and has 828 cu in of interior space, its not as watertight as a Arkel but it cost $110 less! You should do this in your rear bags too, if you don't want something to get wet put it into a ziplock bag just to be safe.

The weight distribution thing won't be too critical because you're packing light for a cross country trip, so to have 30 pounds on the rear and another 5 pounds in the front you'll be fine, but I wouldn't put more than 5 pounds on the front.

The ideas about the Deore derailleur and the crank are solid ideas if climbing hills is a worry for you..

Not sure what tires you're wanting to use but the best touring tires for lighter touring is probably the Vittoria Randonneur Pro and go with a 700 35 which should fit since your bike came stock with 32's, see: Also this tire is foldable so you could easily carry a spare in your bag if you're concerned about losing a tire somewhere west of Bumfalk, S. Dakota where people have pointed ears and can't understand what you're doing on a bike. These tires are well known in the touring world, the Panasonic Gravel King is not as of yet but they do make good tires; if you don't plan on doing any off road stuff or long distances on gravel I don't see the point, besides I ridden on gravel with less capable tires then either of those and never had an issue.

If flats are a concern for you Panaracer (Panasonic) makes a non replaceable tire liner called FlatAway that is lighter than a Mr Tuffy but is tougher than a Mr Tuffy by far! And because it has a sticky back you can place the Flataway liner into the tire and not worry about it moving while you try to install the tube, but it's this sticky backing that makes it all but impossible to take it out of a tire and put into another.

Your bike has bosses already for pannier rack, you don't need to connect something to your QR to do this, besides I knew a guy who tried this on a touring trip and the fastening system for the rack broke while touring.

Obviously make sure the bike is completely tuned up and any even remotely questionable items replaced. Make sure you have some spare parts like a set of brake pads, Fiber Fix spokes (these are easier to use on the road then a real spoke) see: ,chain lube, two spare tubes, flat repair kit of course, and don't forget a good mini tool like the Park MTB2 if you don't already have one, this place has the best price: Make sure you tell your LBS exactly what you're going to be using the bike for so they can understand the critical nature of making sure the bike is completely ready to go. Once you get the bike back from the LBS take the bike on a 50 shake down ride to make sure they didn't screw something up, you don't want to find that out a 50 miles into your trip.

Look into adding a third water bottle carrier to the underside of your down tube; see this: Make sure there is room, usually there is enough room for at least a small bottle. Anyway the mount mounts to your down tube then a cage mounts to it.

You have a nice bike, you don't need a lot to get it ready, you just have to decide from all our opinions what fits your needs the best.


Jul 6, 2015
As you're only carrying 30 lbs of gear bite the bullet and get a set of front Ortlieb Bikepacker Plus panniers. They're COMPLETELY waterproof. 25L each. Also, an Ortlieb handlebar bag. Get a 6L. They're completely waterproof as well. You'll plunk down 250-300.00, but everything you pack will remain dry. Your grandchildren will use them, too.

Any well made TOURING SPECIFIC rack will do. Planet Bike makes a nice one. It's what I use.

Also, a 12L kayaking dry bag. It'll hold a pup tent or daily rations a light sleeping bag, etc. Bungee cord it to the top of the rack between the panniers.

My personal recommendation for tubes/tires are Forte Puncture resistant tubes and Schwalbe Marathon Plus 28mm tires. Supposedly a heavy combination, but I'd wager no flats on your trip. You'll adjust to the extra weight easier than 3-4 flats per week.
Whatever you get don't cheap out on your equipment. You'll be blissfully unaware of problems you've avoided by investing in quality gear.