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what bike, and panniers or trailer?

MannmanMannman Posts: 22
edited April 2009 in Tour & expedition
I've recently returned to cycling (on a Revolution Continental Race bike) in my 50's after a heart problem and a need to exercise - and I'm enjoying it! My plan is to go on a short camping tour later this year, and hope to upgrade my present bike next year with the goal of further continental camping trips and also some audax rides. Two questions: firstly, what types of bike should I be looking at (with a budget of £750 - £1000) - and I'm not a great climber, and secondly should I invest in panniers or a trailer for my trips?
Thanks in anticipation

Posts

  • tardingtontardington Posts: 1,379
    Well I've got a Tricross Sport and I love it! went up to thurso last summer on it, with the basic spec (and blackburn racks), it was fine.

    No one seems to like trailers above panniers. I guess you could keep your current bike and add the trailer to it? I can't think of another reason! NB I've never tried a trailer.

    Oh and I did camping on my wee tour. It was fun! What's your (vague) route? We included a youth hostel in the middle for clothes washing etc.
  • dilemnadilemna Posts: 2,187
    If you're returning to cycling and have health considerations I would go for a touring or hybrid bike as they have a more relaxed geometry and easier riding position. Also the gearing can be more suited to your needs as race road bikes tend to have higher gearing which is not best suited to those who are not out and out road racers who can turn heavy high gears. If you are looking to tour which you say you are and to carry or pull luggage go for a tourer such as a Roberts, Thorn, Dawes Galaxy. For audax you could use the Dawes or a Ribble from Ribble bikes who do a good Audax bike all in your price range.

    Riding with panniers is different than pulling a trailer. With panniers you have all the weight on the bike which can make it slow to manoeuvre and heavy to control or with a trailer you always feel you are pulling a weight especially uphill. I think I would have a trailer, a Yak, if I had a lot to carry as you can also carry panniers. It is of course always better to travel as light as possible but I suspect you will need at least a compact road chainset or a lower MTB gearing so you can winch yourself and loaded bike up hills if necessary.

    As regards panniers go for seam sealed and totally waterproof for serious touring and durability. The best are the hard back Vaude Aqua Pro series and Ortliebs Classic series or Packer Plus range. They are both excellent but for me Vaude have the edge for everyday use having used them both side by side. Both do waterproof bar and kit bags. They are fairly pricey but they are robust, will last ages and they are genuinely waterproof. You get what you pay for.

    For pannier racks I would go for Tubus, the Rolls Royce of racks, and the choice again for serious touring cyclists. I am also impressed with the Madison Summit rear racks. I have just bought one. Don't get Blackburn expedition racks as I have had two of these where the welds have broken. First EX-2 rack after 2.5 years of general commuting and the replacement again after 3 months of general commuting and shopping. I am not impressed. Blackburn only weld part the way around the tubing where as Madison and Tubus weld all the way around theirs so a weld is a lot stronger. Pity as Blackburn promise so much with their racks. Also the Blackburn front low loaders aren’t that well designed as the rails converge at the front so you cannot get a pannier hook any nearer then half way along the rail length as the gap is too small which is pants.

    Hope this has been of help. :D
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
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    half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.
  • hisokahisoka Posts: 575
    I'm one of the odd ones and i use a trailer, I have yet to do my big tour but on longer distances I swear by the two wheeled carry freedom y-frame. Just because i have done panniers and I find they do make your bike alot heavier, trailers make it harder to start off but you turning is about the same feeling as without a loaded bike. Also I have put a large amount of weight on the trailer (to try it) and doing ten miles with it wasn't any different feeling to doing ten miles without really, other then stopping distances do increase.
    But I am a heavier rider, so taking weight off the bike onto a two wheel trailer was more sensible for me I felt and now I prefer it greatly.
    All a personal preference, but from the trailer camp I would give them a thumbs up.
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  • will3will3 Posts: 2,173
    tardie wrote:

    No one seems to like trailers above panniers. I guess you could keep your current bike and add the trailer to it? I can't think of another reason! NB I've never tried a trailer.

    Que? How do you figure that out? But then if you've never tried it :roll:
    hisoka wrote:
    I'm one of the odd ones and i use a trailer, I have yet to do my big tour but on longer distances I swear by the two wheeled carry freedom y-frame. Just because i have done panniers and I find they do make your bike alot heavier, trailers make it harder to start off but you turning is about the same feeling as without a loaded bike. Also I have put a large amount of weight on the trailer (to try it) and doing ten miles with it wasn't any different feeling to doing ten miles without really, other then stopping distances do increase.
    But I am a heavier rider, so taking weight off the bike onto a two wheel trailer was more sensible for me I felt and now I prefer it greatly.
    All a personal preference, but from the trailer camp I would give them a thumbs up.

    I'm with Hisoka on this. Did a 1000 mile tour last year camping with a CF Y-Large. It included going through the peak district and through Lancashire (Rochdale>Bacup>Burnley), Shap, and Wanlockhead. So lots of hills. Although there's more weight in total, your unfettered bike is much easier to handlle at slow speed on the hills than a panniered one. On the down hills, the CF Y frame is solid as a rock if loaded slightly nose heavy. The manual says something about max speed = 15kph or something, but ours seemed OK at 40mph ;-).

    Your wheels don't get loaded up by the extra baggage so you're less likely to break spokes. (And you can in prinicple use any bike to tow)
    In addition to the unaffected bike handling, there's many benefits to a trailer. IT's a helluvalot more verstile in terms of loading, access to your stuff etc etc. On the other hand, it's not so easy to park up.
  • dilemnadilemna Posts: 2,187
    Other thing to consider when deciding whether to pannier or trailer is that touring in dodgy places surrounded by people it is easier to keep an eye on panniers than a trailer.
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
    Think how stupid the average person is.......
    half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.
  • GyatsoLaGyatsoLa Posts: 667
    I've toured with both trailers and panniers.

    So much depends on the type of bike and the type of touring you like, but in my experience most people end up with a proper touring bike and panniers as the best solution.

    For me, trailers are only the best option in the following situations:

    1. When you are carrying quite heavy loads with a bike that isn't designed for it - e.g. an mtb or lighter road bike.
    2. Off road touring (single wheeled trailers only).
    3. When touring with several people of different riding abilities (trailers give greater flexibility to swap loads around so stronger rides can carry more than weaker riders).

    It sounds to me like what you want is a fairly lightweight tourer - with maybe two sets of wheels, a light one for audax and a heavier pair for camping touring. There are plenty of bikes of that type out there, ones from Paul Hewitt or Thorn seem to get good reviews, I've not ridden them so I can't comment.

    Just one further point - you don't say if you already have your camping kit. When spending your budget, you might find that investing in lightweight kit means that you can have a lighter bike, and maybe not need a trailer - but this all depends on your particular circumstances. I've done camping trips on a light roadbike, but it meant being very rigorous with packing and using only the lightest kit I could afford - this approach isn't for everyone.
  • WooliferkinsWooliferkins Posts: 2,060
    Personally panniers for me. I have a Hewitt Cheviot, it's over your budget but a fabulous ride. I cycle camp and work on the premise that if you take a trailer you'll fill it. A good friend of mine did E2E on a full sus MTB with a BoB Yak at least she had the excuse of being ceoliac and to ensure safe food every day took most of it with her. Lone touring with a trailer it can be an unwieldy thing to manoeuvre when not riding. If you are more than one then a trailer comes into it's own for larger tents. When packing I return to old military habits. Lay everything out you intend to take, reduce it by half then decide what you really need. Wish I'd done this on my first big tour, I lugged stuff around for a month which never saw the light of day. The lightest tent and smallest bag you can afford is a good investment.
    Neil
    Help I'm Being Oppressed
  • tardingtontardington Posts: 1,379
    will3 wrote:
    tardie wrote:

    No one seems to like trailers above panniers. I guess you could keep your current bike and add the trailer to it? I can't think of another reason! NB I've never tried a trailer.

    Que? How do you figure that out? But then if you've never tried it :roll:
    /quote]

    Ah ha - the trick is to read the exact text. Which you even quoted. 8)

    I did pretty well with four panniers - probably the biggest issue was the extra weight on the fork from the front panniers/ bar bag (not really possible if you are keeping the road bike), but you get used to it fairly quickly.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    Mannman wrote:
    I've recently returned to cycling (on a Revolution Continental Race bike) in my 50's after a heart problem and a need to exercise - and I'm enjoying it! My plan is to go on a short camping tour later this year, and hope to upgrade my present bike next year with the goal of further continental camping trips and also some audax rides. Two questions: firstly, what types of bike should I be looking at (with a budget of £750 - £1000) - and I'm not a great climber, and secondly should I invest in panniers or a trailer for my trips?
    Thanks in anticipation

    Thinking a bit laterally, rather than buying a new bike you could buy a trailer for use with your existing bike. And then see how you get on - you still leave open the option of buying a pukka tourer.

    The Edinburgh cycles trailer is only £145 - OK it's probably not as good as a Bob, but you could probably get a reasonable price for one if you decide trailers aren't for you or if you decide to trade up to a Bob.

    Personally, I think a a trailer would be over the top for short camping trips in the UK - the trailer is likely to weigh more than all of your kit put together. For longer continental trips it would be a different matter.
    tardie wrote:
    No one seems to like trailers above panniers.

    Loads of American cyclists use them.
    GyatsoLa wrote:
    For me, trailers are only the best option in the following situations:

    1. When you are carrying quite heavy loads with a bike that isn't designed for it - e.g. an mtb or lighter road bike.
    2. Off road touring (single wheeled trailers only).

    While some MTB frames my be pretty delicate others are pretty tough - my On-One 456 frame seems considerably stronger and more durable than any touring frame I've ever seen. A trailer is probably the best option with a full suspension MTB.

    Plenty of people (including me) successfully tour off road with panniers, I think the arguments are pretty finely balanced.
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