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

Which bike for ALPs trip?

HendrefHendref Posts: 3
edited March 2012 in Tour & expedition
I`m doing a trip from Zurich to Milan over the Alps.

I am a mountain bike rider so I am not used to the road bike position so I am looking at hybrids.
I will be using panniers to carry about 15-20kg
Can anyone advise me which bike would be best and why.
I have been looking at:
Cannondale quick 4
Marin fairfax
Gt tachyon 3
Giant escape rx 2
Giant rapid 2
Cube sl cross pro

Any help would be much appreciated


  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    Hi hendref

    The problem is that most people don't buy bikes all that often so unless they work in the bike trade won't be familiar with the current models.

    Basically the important stuff is mountings for panniers, gear ratios that are suitable for riding in mountains (eg triple with a 44-32-22 or 48-36-26 chainset, and a decent set of wheels. Look for decent quality components (eg Shimano Deore). Beyond that it comes down to personal preferences: eg discs vs rim brakes, steel vs aluminium frames.

    There's nothing to stop you touring on a hardtail MTB if it has rackmounts (eg On-One Inbreds/456s) - rigid forks will save weight.
  • trekker12trekker12 Posts: 99
    As has been said you could put slicks on a mountain bike and take it touring (if your current bike has eyelets for racks).

    Have you tried drop handlebars? Touring bikes typically have a more upright position anyway as do many entry level or sportive road bikes designed for long days in the saddle (an entry level aluminum frame will take 15-20kg). Most riding is done with your head up and hands on either the top of the bars or on the brake lever hoods. The advantage you have is the ability to move your hands into different positions making a long day more comfortable and reducing cramp. You can also put your head down lower into a headwind!

    Alternatively Many touring bikes these days use butterfly style handlebars rather than drops for the same reason as above.

    On a hybrid at least ensure you have bar ends so you have more than one place to rest your hands.
    2007 Trek 1.2
    2014 Genesis Equilibrium 20
  • It does all come down to comfort. I could never get used to touring with drop handle bars on a Dawes Galaxy (and a particular annoyance being bar end levers, despite a few thousand kilometres of trying). Now I've got a simple hybrid - Trek 7.2 FX hybrid with bar ends and ergon grips. Cheap, pretty lightweight, good gearing, very comfy for me and all the necessary mountings for racks etc. And not so precious that I mind chucking it on a Ryanair flight.
    Funnily enough here in Spain, although there are lots of road bikes on the road, whenever you see Spaniards touring with panniers it's almost always on hard tail mountain bikes.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    How much luggage are you taking?
    Are you planning to ride roads only, or trails as well?
  • HendrefHendref Posts: 3
    Thanks for your replies.
    I will be cycling on mountain roads, so lots of winding and severe gradients so would I be right thinking more MTB gearing compared to the road geared hybrids like the Giant rapid?
    As for drop bars, I dont think i could get used to them.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,426
    I started touring 25 years ago with a rigid-framed mountain bike and it was fine. But I'd definitely advise bar ends to give another position and to stop your wrists and hands aching.

    Mountain bike gearing - a triple chainset with an inner ring of 26, 24 or 22 - is definitely the way to go with a loaded bike. "Road" triples with an inner ring of 30 don't give the sort of low bottom gear you will need for hours of climbing with a loaded bike up mountain passes. Strong wheels with 36 spokes are a good idea.

    I switched after four or five years to a traditional British touring bike with drop bars and got used to them immediately. The choice of hand positions makes long distance riding much more comfortable.

    I go touring in the Alps with camping gear, carrying around 15kg, almost every year and it's fantastic fun - as long as your gears are low enough. It's just a question of spinning easily in a low gear and pacing yourself for several hours of riding uphill. My gearing is 46/36/24 with a 13-28 cassette.
Sign In or Register to comment.