Road bike for touring: urgent help needed!

cyclewizard Posts: 5
edited February 2013 in Road general
Hello all,

I am new on here so a big salute to all my fellow cyclers.

Ok, so I have question which will no doubt encourage a variety of different opinions but after spending two days searching the web for an answer I couldn't so here I am turning to all you cycling nuts!

I have a Bianchi Via Nirone 7 2012 and absolutely love it, I actually downgraded a specialized tarmac elite for this bike as I simply preferred the ride. After 6 months of some fierce riding I have decided to up the stakes and do something I have been planning to do for a while which is to cycle from London to the South of France for charity in just 10 days, no frills or slap up meals just me, a bivvy bag and cups of rice to keep me going. The bike says 'coast to coast' on it so I'm hoping it will be well suited to this journey.

What I need to know is this, apparently the wheels on my bike are, well, pretty naff although I have got by for the last 6 months riding pretty much everyday and weekend. Nevertheless, for this trek to the south of France I'm worried they're not going to be up to the task. They are reparto corse with michelin hubs I believe and everyone has told me to upgrade the wheels and tyres if i'm planning on cycling 1600km in just 10 days.

Now, I'm 6ft and weigh around 172llbs (78kg) I will be carrying a rucksack but just the essentials, bivvy bag, sleeping bag, clothes and other bits n' pieces etc, I need wheels which will not break with the load but bearing in mind I need to do this in 10 days so will still need something fairly quick.

Places likes evans cycles and cycle surgery have been trying to flog me all sorts of wheels such as campagnolo and fulcrum but to be honest I'm at a loss of what wheels I should get, how many spokes, what tyre, what width etc...

Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.



  • Grill
    Grill Posts: 5,610
    DO NOT carry a rucksack. You will absolutely ruin yourself. Get panniers.

    For wheels get some 32h Mavic Open Pros built up. Factory builds are not what you should be looking at.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    Grill wrote:
    DO NOT carry a rucksack. You will absolutely ruin yourself. Get panniers.

    Why? Genuine question - I do have a rack that'll go on the back, but I usually ride with a daypack on the back - not even 1/4 of what the OP would be carrying - so I guess there's a point where it's better to use panniers - but why?
    Is it just down to being used to carrying the load? I know there's the issue of stability - 15-20kg up in the air as opposed to around the wheels ...
  • Grill
    Grill Posts: 5,610
    I speak from a touring/long audax standpoint. If you've just got a few things in a pack and it doesn't weigh much you can get away with it, but the stress adds up as even the most upright riding positions are hunched.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • cycleclinic
    cycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Yes a rack is the way to go for touring. Get a bike with proper mudguard mounts and rack mounts.

    In fact by a frame like the Tifosi CK7, Kenesis (whatever it is) Surley Trucker or perhaps something from Salsa.

    If you buy a frame/fork then you will have to by wheels seperatley. This is how I sell most of the bikes I do, I often don't sell them in the spec I keep. Alterations are often made and that is the way it should be.

    Also get a frame with good tyre clearance with mudgaurds (at least 25mm tyre with mudguards)

    The wheels are important here. Good touring wheels could use Mavic Open Pro rims on Miche or Shimano hubs. 32 spoke front and rear. The rear wheel should have Sapim Strong spokes or DT Swiss Apline spokes on the drive side for durability. The OP rim is good but the Velocity A23 or H plus Archetype would be better.

    Miche hubs are very durable. In fact Archetype rims, Miche hubs Sapim Race spokes (double butted) front and Sapim Race spokes non drive side rear with Sapim Strong (single butted) on the drive side rear would be perfect for what you are planning.

    Drive train can be what every you want but the Miche hubs would allow Campag drive trains. Incidently the standard spec Tifosi would not be ideal for loaded touring. Frame only is available though. The Surely Trucker and Kenesis frames are frame only as well. All of these frames are different. Take alook and see which one you like is any. -wheel building and other stuff.
  • Thanks for this feedback but I'm not looking to change the bike, I have certain sentimental attachment to it now and I know it will get me to where I need to go.

    I'm purely talking about the wheels and tyres and what I should upgrade to.

    The mavic open pro rims look good!
  • bianchimoon
    bianchimoon Posts: 3,942
    cyclewizard, more than likely your existing set up will be up to the job, less than 1,000 miles depending on route. If you want new wheels buy some, but you'll manage on your existing wheels, unless you're taking the kitchen sink with you. Sort out your tyres, inner tubes and pressures for comfort and just enjoy the experience
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • Grill wrote:
    DO NOT carry a rucksack. You will absolutely ruin yourself. Get panniers.

    For wheels get some 32h Mavic Open Pros built up. Factory builds are not what you should be looking at.


    I'd suggest a saddlebag or seatpack for someone in your position, though. Look at the Carradice range. Cycling with a backpack is mediocre at best. There are so many better ways to carry luggage on a bike.
  • Mikey41
    Mikey41 Posts: 690
    I'm also of the opinion that your current wheels will be good enough, but I also urge you not to carry the rucksack. Panniers are the way to go for that kind of light touring. I commute with a small 10l backpack, it usually just has my lunch in it, but if I have to carry some clothes in it as well... I wouldn't want to carry it for much more than the 20 mins.

    If I had to carry some light luggage on my Giant, the rack would go straight on. Some clothes, snacks etc. would be reasonably light and the bike would take it no problem, even on the 23mm tyres.
    Giant Defy 2 (2012)
    Giant Defy Advanced 2 (2013)
    Giant Revel 1 Ltd (2013)