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

Which Bike Shall i get?

defuzed28defuzed28 Posts: 6
edited April 2013 in Tour & expedition
I like to go cycle camping so i sometimes go off-road. i use my bike daily for shopping and stuff. i currently have a mountain bike with pannier racks that has worked OK for my trips but would like a 29er.

i am totally confused as to whether i should get a rigid or suspension fork? yes the rigid fork would be great for road and touring but suspension bikes can do the same right?

i haven't done any long haul touring yet but am planning to.

If i do go for a more traditional touring bike i would like to have fatter tires so i have more grip off-road.

Any thoughts?..


  • something like this comes to mind. ... -adventure

    there is much much to be said on travelbikes and everyone (travelling anywhere) will give you a different advice. I worked in a shop were we sold a lot of Santos bikes which (equipped with rohloff, belt and all the goodies you can get) seem to be ideal long long (I mean word travelling) rides regardless what terrain. More casual rides and holiday trips require a less specialized but still equally suited rig. Fixed (steel) forks are great and have plenty options to hang your bags on the back and front on lowrider panniers. Bikes like the fortitude that sport them are just great fun to ride and seem to meet most of your demands for some adventure. Give it a look and tell us what you think!
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,388
    I'd go for a touring bike/29er with rigid fork. It would be significantly quicker and easier to pedal for long distances than a mountain bike with suspension fork and would provide the perfect platform for carrying low-rider front and rear panniers.

    Suspension forks are good for proper mountain biking (although I used to get on fine with rigid mountain bikes in the 80s and 90s) but they just add weight and complication for cycle camping and daily use. Even the best suspension forks have a certain amount of play in them to enable them to move up and down and I find the resulting bouncing and knocking annoying on road compared with a high quality rigid steel fork which provides the perfect combination of comfort, rigidity and sharp handling.

    I've done plenty of off-road trails in Wales, Scotland and the Pyrenees on my classic touring bike with camping gear on 32mm and 28mm tyres and it copes fine. You don't need big fat tyres to ride off-road. I reckon 32mm tyres are the best compromise for a combination of easy road pedalling and off-road ability with camping gear. Wider tyres are too sluggish for my taste on road.

    There's several good rigid 29ers or expedition bikes on the market. They're basically the same as a touring bike but with clearance for wider tyres and maybe facilities for fitting disc brakes.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,226
    MTBs work fine for on/off road cycle camping trips.
    There is not a whole lot to chose between the 2 wheel sizes apart from size, so small riders use 26", large riders use 700c. Many 29ers are cross country race bikes, not built for touring and they sometimes lack the eyelets for rack, mudguards and 3 waterbottles that you find on expedition bikes.
    Why cant you use the bike you have?
  • pletplet Posts: 34
    I'd also go with the rigid forks. The theory (not sure I really buy it!) of a 29er is that the larger wheel makes for a smoother ride over rough terrain so there's less of a need for a suspension fork.

    Another consideration would be whether you'd be planning to have panniers on the front. If yes, a suspension fork would be a bad idea.
  • I have a number of bikes including a 29er singlespeed hardtail. The off-roading I generally do is in Epping Forest. A lot of the time it is with the kids, towing a trailer and when I do this I use my touring bike, a Thorn Nomad which has a rigid fork. I have also used this bike off-road in Greece on mountainous terrian, loose gravel, rocky paths, fully loaded.
    Obviously if I want to blast then I use the dedicated mountain bike. However, the Thorn is not just adequate, it is brilliant off road, solid, and still fun. I am running Marathon XRs on it. If I had only one bike it would be the Thorn. I agree with the sentiments other have expressed in the other posts about the rigid forks. The first "mountain biking" I ever did was on a BMX, followed by rigid forks on proper mountains and it was never boring!
  • sswisssswiss Posts: 354
    MichaelW wrote:
    MTBs work fine for on/off road cycle camping trips.

    Yep just built up an old MTB, set of slicks and it packs up fine...never gonna be lightning quick loaded up but rides well, and a lot cheaper that some of the alternatives out there!
  • RowanMRowanM Posts: 20
    I have toured about 6000 miles on a MTB running slicks, carrying everything all through the Alps and Pyrenees. Worked fine, but for my upcoming trip around Italy I just bought myself a cyclocross bike - am going to change the gearing, add slicks and a rack and use it to tour. Then change everything back and use it to race!
    I'm riding the Giro d'Italia for charity in 2013. Check it out at!
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