Jack of all Trades Bike?

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by gregkeller, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. gregkeller

    gregkeller New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2003
    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Let me preface this by saying, i have no knowledge of touring, so please bear with me. I'm a racer with a bunch of bikes (alright only 3, but i live in a small apartment). I'm trying to get a small touring trip together with my girlfriend. We are thinking about doing the C&O canal from georgetown to cumberland, MD. Most of this ride is on crushed gravel road, and from reports i've read it seems like a bike running 700x35's would be ideal. This to me sounds like cyclocross bike territory to me. I've never raced cyclocross, but am somewhat interested in giving it a shot. I'd also like to have a winter beater bike that i could put fenders on, isn't running dura-ace, etc. So i'm basically looking for a complete bike that will handel all of these, a "jack of all trades bike". And i don't know where to start. I'm looking for any ideas for frames. On gruppos i'm pretty much thinking 105 10-speed stuff, because all my other bikes are 10 speed and i like to maintain similar parts. Basically the bike would need to be able to handle light panniers, because we would be staying in hotels/b&b's along the way, so no need for camping gear. I was actually thinking i would only need a seatpost rack, but that might be cutting it a little short on what i foresee as a 4-5 day trip. Since i'm a stronger rider than my girlfriend i figured i could put panniers on my bike and she could carry a seat post rack. Sorry for the long winded question, so basically i'm looking for a cyclocross bike that can do double duty as a touring bike, fire away, any and all opinions welcome. Thanks.
     
    Tags:


  2. ndbiker

    ndbiker New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    Check out the Bianchi Volpe. It doesn't have the 105 equipment as it has the compact triple crankset. It uses Deore componentry. It's not overly expensive so you wouldn't be worried about getting your multiple thousand dollar bike dirty. It will take fenders and rear racks; I'm not sure about front. You can use wheels up to 38 I believe. It is not, however, a full fledged touring bike either. Good luck.
     
  3. Lizbids

    Lizbids New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have the Volpe, and my LBS recommended it as a touring bike. Yes, it can take front and rear racks. I haven't used it for touring yet, but that's what I bought it for! :D

    Also, check out the Jamis Aurora, if you want bang for your buck. I read some CrazyGuyOnaBike journals where someone used the Aurora and were pleased.
     
  4. strummer_fan

    strummer_fan New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    0
    A group of us did this same trail from Pittsburgh, PA to Georgetown last September. Two guys were on touring bikes, the other three of us on 'Cross bikes. You can do this tour on any decent cross or touring bike that takes 32c tires. Fenders are a must. Unless you can guarantee dry conditions for weeks, you'll find that some of the puddles on the trail could be classified as navigable waterways. Without fenders, you and your gear will be soaked.

    I would recommend that you pick a decent bike based on your budget / taste / prejudices and you'll be fine. If it fits your budget and takes 700 by 32s with fenders, you are all set.

    If you have any flexibility in your route selection, I'd recommend the trail portion north of Cumberland over the portion from Cumberland to DC. In my opinion, the C & O Canal portion is much less interesting both in terms of riding and scenery. The Georgetown to Cumberland portion is flat, straight, pot-holed, and offers little in the way of stops or amenities. If you live in DC, it is worth doing, but if you are traveling to the ride, I'd investigate the upper portion.

    http://www.atatrail.org/maps/map.cfm

    Cheers!
     
  5. gregkeller

    gregkeller New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2003
    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks guys for the ideas. I'm really looking for something with 105, or maybe a few ultegra parts thrown in. I was looking at Jamis as we've got a good deal going on my team with them. Also was looking at the ibex cyclocross bike, which for 1100 bucks is a sweet deal for a bike with complete 105 group. I guess all i have to make sure is that the bike i get has got the little loops to mount a rear rack. that i would hook panneirs to. Seems like it's pretty simple. Just tons of options.
     
  6. badger_biker

    badger_biker New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    You might want to look at the Specialized Sequoia. I have a 2004 Elite and it has full 105 (9 spd), rear rack braze ons, triple bottle bosses, room for fenders and 32c tires, great ergonomic bars and carbon fork and rear stays with zertz inserts that really soak up the road chatter. That may be a big plus on an off road trail.

    I love mine. It is as close as I could come to a all purpose bike. Light and pretty responsive for everyday rides and will handle a rear rack and panniers. I took it on a 6 day sagged tour last summer using a Topeak trunk bag with fold our panniers and I have never had less discomfort on a tour in my life. No neck, shoulder or hand pain from a long day in the saddle.
     
  7. Europa

    Europa New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was after just such a bike. Something to do a bit of everything. I bought a Trek520.
    Steel frame - good ride, long lasting and repairable.
    Touring geometry
    Wide range of gears (that I'm widening by lowering the granny) - 9 speed mix of Ultegra (I fitted brifters), 105 and Deore LX
    Comes with a carrier that's good for anything bar heavy duty weight carrying.
    Can fit a front carrier.
    Widish tyres - I often ride on gravel tracks and can cruise at 30 km/hr with full control
    Good, strong wheels with colletted spokes
    Mtb (deore lx) hubs for better dust and water protection = longer life

    She's a good choice. Carefully thought out though the gearing should be lowered overall if doing heavy touring (which you aren't). Well made. The bits are a carefully thought out mix to give the best performance.

    But the new ones are Black :( They look stunning in your dining room but what possessed Trek to paint their touring bike (ie, out in the dirt and muck and dust) the colour that shows the dirt most?

    Richard
     
  8. drfish

    drfish New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2003
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    A specialized tri-cross expert may be just what you want, take a look.
     
  9. strummer_fan

    strummer_fan New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    0
    When we did the C&O trail ride, one of my friends was on a specialized tri-cross comp. He had no problems at all, and really enjoyed the bike. Here is a photo of all of the bikes (Specialized in Front):

    http://whelans.smugmug.com/photos/93887307-L-1.jpg
     
Loading...