Forum home Road cycling forum Tours, routes, audaxes & organised rides Tour & expedition

"Light Tourer": How light is light?

HebdenBikerHebdenBiker Posts: 787
edited August 2010 in Tour & expedition
Following advice on this forum I'm going to get an audax-type "light tourer", almost definitely the Ribble winter/audax bike, which is basically a 7005 racing frame with braze-ons, but standard 23mm wheels, etc.

Would this bike be suitable for carrying a rack and panniers containing tent, sleeping bag etc for a multi-day expedition?

Thanks

Posts

  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    It may well be okay, the alu frame should be rigid. However I have been touring on my audax bike (a Dawes Audax Reynolds 531c steel frame) and when carrying camping loads the rear triangle flexes all over the place and makes things unpleasant, particularly the wobbling induced when trying to accelerate hard in traffic.

    I have now got a proper tourer (Condor Heritage) for these types of tours. It isn't much heavier but it is solid as a rock loaded up and under power. The audax is still great for day rides or very light loaded "credit card" tours.

    The Ribble may or may not suffer from this but if the rear stays are fairly slender it could be an issue, though as above, alu should be stiffer than my steel frame.
  • unixnerdunixnerd Posts: 2,864
    It's about the wheelset too. The wheels on my steel framed tourer have more spokes than a normal road wheelset to help carry the extra load. I run 28mm tyres with a fairly thick outer tread to help puncture resistance. I think it's one of the main reasons my tourer feels slower than my road bike though.

    It partly depends where you're going. If I cycle the A9 cycle path through Drumochter Pass I always take the tourer as parts of it are in very poor condition, it's almost like being off road in a few small bits. If I took my road bike with it's skinnier tyres there's bit of it I'd probably walk on to avoid punctures.

    It also depends on your own weight. Camping load plus 10 stone cyclist is a lot different from camping load plus 15 stone cyclist.
    http://www.strathspey.co.uk - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • mrolimroli Posts: 3,622
    Just for comfort's sake I would rec you go with as big tyres as you can get on your bike without fouling the brakes/rear triangle. You'd be amazed the difference 25s or 28s can make to 23s - esp if carrying a load.
  • blorgblorg Posts: 1,169
    In my opinion 700x23c is not suitable for loaded touring at all, no. I have done saddlebag credit-card touring (bike weight 7.5kg+bag 3.5kg) with 700x23c; even there I would take 700x25c in the future. Had some issues with slight buckling to the wheels. Thankfully just about any bike will take 700x25c though. Even that is insufficient if the road quality isn't good. 700x28c would the minimum I would want if carrying a tent, etc. and even that is on smooth roads.

    Your weight does come into it, e.g. if you are an absolute whippet yourself you may get away with narrower tyres... but you need to bear in mind that weight strapped to the bike goes straight into that pothole while weight on the rider isn't as bad as the rider can get out of the saddle etc.

    It is the back wheel you want wide BTW, the front really doesn't matter- unless you are off road where you want a wide front for cornering grip.
  • Mr SmoothMr Smooth Posts: 70
    I think the shorter chain-stays may be an issue - longer ones will give a longer wheelbase, and make the front wheel less likely to lift on steep climbs when loaded.

    I've got a Spesh Tricross which I tour and commute on and it's fine, but I'd like another set of wheels with 25/28c on for commuting, and a road cassette (12-25) rather than the 32c and MTB cassette (11 - 34) I currently run. I need that lower gear when touring, but not for commuting. Maybe if you've got the budget, 2 sets of wheels would make one frame more versatile?
  • GyatsoLaGyatsoLa Posts: 667
    Its possible to tour on a very light bike if you distribute the weight very carefully. Piling it on the back won't work, but if you use a good combination of barbag, front and back carrier and/or seatpost bag, etc., you can get away with it, but not full expedition loads obviously. There are some interesting combinations shown on this site:

    http://www.revelatedesigns.com/index.cf ... tegoryid=6

    Although those pics are mainly of loaded mtb's, the same principle works well on lighter road bikes.
  • priorypriory Posts: 743
    we all need several bikes
    I have always achieved this by not throwing away the deposed number one

    I have toured on a giant scr2 but the plan was changed to hostelling when I tried a full load on it. It just did not feel good. The frameflexed under strain and the front felt light and unstable. This year I had tent food s.bag etc on a dawes super galaxy . Totally different ride. Comfortable, stable at speed and on bends, robust wheels and tyres.
    You do not need to spend a lot on the tourer. a raleigh royal is quite good enough and seems to be available for less than 500gbp. My previous tourer was an assembly of spare parts on an old 7005 hybrid frame.It works very well under load.
    When you have the luggage on it a couple of pounds weight saved on the frame and wheels is probably a mistake if it compromises handling and reliabilty.
    TerryJ
    Raleigh Eclipse, , Dahon Jetstream XP, Raleigh Banana, Dawes super galaxy, Raleigh Clubman

    http://s189.photobucket.com/albums/z122 ... =slideshow
  • Enigma Etape with 28c on the back and 25c on the front running on Mavic Open Pro Rims with Ortlieb Sports Panniers on a Tubus Fly - does everything you could ask of it
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    It's important to look at the specs for the length of the chainstay. IIRC My bike has 405mm chainstays and I can just about use 25mm tyres. If I were buying a new frame I'd look for one with say 420mm chainstays* to give more flexibility to fit wider tyres. Don't skimp on weight when it comes to speccing the rear wheel.



    (*Someone correct me if I've got these numbers wrong - I'm relying on my dodgy memory)
  • C_SharpC_Sharp Posts: 20
    I might be showing my ignorance here, but would a 25c tyre require longer chain stays than say a 23c tyre ? Surely the extra two mm is in the width of the tyre and the profile of a 25c tyre is no greater than that of a 23c tyre.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    C_Sharp wrote:
    I might be showing my ignorance here, but would a 25c tyre require longer chain stays than say a 23c tyre ? Surely the extra two mm is in the width of the tyre and the profile of a 25c tyre is no greater than that of a 23c tyre.

    Probably not - but to fit a 32 or 38c tyre you would. You can tour on a wheel with skinny tyres, but if you're buying a new bike rather than making do with what you have, then it makes sense to get one that gives you the option of runing a bigger tyre - and also a wider rim.
  • andrew_sandrew_s Posts: 2,511
    I've used a 531c audax bike for cycle camping tours on several occasions (a predecessor to the original Thorn Audax from St John Street).
    It's not ideal - there's quite a bit of frame flex, and it takes 2 or 3 days to feel confident getting out of the saddle. It's OK once you are used to it though.
    Getting a good stiff rack (eg Tubus) helps a fair bit.

    If possible, you would be better off getting one of the older style of audax bike, that has longer reach 57mm drop dual pivot brakes and clearance for 28mm tyres and mudguards.
    The Ribble is basically a standard road bike with added rack and mudguard mounts.

    The narrower your tyres, the more you will want to stick to good road surfaces. 28mm is good for most unsurfaced roads, provided you don't try to go too fast.
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Following advice on this forum I'm going to get an audax-type "light tourer", almost definitely the Ribble winter/audax bike, which is basically a 7005 racing frame with braze-ons, but standard 23mm wheels, etc.

    Would this bike be suitable for carrying a rack and panniers containing tent, sleeping bag etc for a multi-day expedition?

    Thanks

    Yes. Its possible. My roadie got me to Rome at a rate of 80 miles a day for 18. As long as you have a triple crankset (I didn't, mistake at times!) you'll be fine. I'd just consider sticking some 25s on over 23s although my touring buddy managed ok on his.

    IMG_5898-PS.jpg
    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... t=12702169
  • blorgblorg Posts: 1,169
    @iPete- it can be done, you can tour on anything, but that doesn't mean it is the best idea. If someone already has a bike and doesn't want to spend money I would certainly suggest they give it a go on that, but if they don't have one yet buying a road bike to tour would not IMO be ideal.

    I have toured on everything from a lightweight road bike with 700x23c tyres to a dedicated tourer with 700x35c. Including off-road heavily loaded (carrying both my and my girlfriend's stuff) on 700x25c! So yes, it can be done, but I learned from the experience not to do it again :)

    Light 700x23c: th_bike.jpg

    Loaded (these are 700x25c, I have learned to use wider tyres the hard way):
    th_IMG_0826.jpg
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Very true and I see the OP is buying specifically for touring. Personally, I like to travel fast and far whatever the weight on the back so would prefer an Audax. I certainly wouldn't recommend a double cranked road bike specifically for touring, especially loaded! Lessons learnt also! :twisted:
  • bigjim wrote:

    Good link, super info, ta.
  • Wow - just been away for a week and got back to all the responses on this thread. Thanks chaps. I'm thinking that the Ribble bike might not be such a good idea after all...
Sign In or Register to comment.