Results 1 to 25 of 25
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nomadsanity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    10

    Bike suggestions...

    Okay, I am planning a trip to Alaska from Vancouver next May. Round trip could put us as high a 4500 miles when all is said and done. This will be a supported tour as there are those going who are not really in any kind of shape to do a fully loaded tour. We would like to build up some touring rigs biased more toward off-road duty. We are also leaning toward a 29 inch wheel. Were you in this position, what would you take on such a trip. Would you modify something prebuilt or build something from a bare frame? Spare no details, I am looking for ideas...

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    254
    Surly Ogre or Krampus might be good to start from, or a Salsa Fargo. The Fargo has about the most touring bias of the aforementioned, but still has good off-road ability.
    There are enough good bikes in the world that I would just look for one that fit me and modify the build kit to suit my specific needs.
    I think to get more specific, I would want to know more about what you are planning to ride. There is a big difference between a road and an off road tour and there are lots of different styles of off-road touring.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nomadsanity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    10
    Coldbike,
    Those three bike you mentioned are among those we are considering. Most of the mileage will likely be on the road. This was part of the rational for the 29" wheel, the rim is the same size for that or a 700c so we could switch between them depending on the terrain and intended route. The off-road-ability of the rides would really only come into play when we found something fun to ride along the way. We don't really have a set destination in Alaska. Instead we want to really get some exploring in along the way. From where I stand, this means we need a rig that can shift roles fairly easily.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    433
    Swapping wheels is not something I have done personally, but it strikes me that you will want to be certain about tire clearance issues as well as hub spacing. Diameter is not all you need to consider in swapping wheels. But if you can pull it off and are supported on the trip (ie someone will carry them for you), it could work out very nicely. At the kind of mileage you are looking to ride, a more road-appropriate wheel will really pay off over the long haul.

    Hope it all works out. Sounds like a tremendous trip!

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    254
    If the Fargo fits you well, you could set it up with some wide general purpose tires (Schwalbe has some) and though you would be a little slow on smooth pavement, you could manage most other surfaces. There are a lot of dirt roads on the way...

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    480
    i have toured extensively on my Fargo, both on and offroad. I can't say enough good things about it. it has never let me down in over 7000 miles. I would go anywhere on it, and plan to. Harry

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nomadsanity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    10
    Coldbike,
    I rode a fargo for a while a few weeks ago. I spent time on pavement, gravel, sand, and rocky single track. I have to say that in the stock trim it climbed like a champ! It was pretty useless for the downhill side of things though. I haven't written it off at this point because my experience with the woodchipper bar is still pretty limited. Being use to a riser bar might have made the ride too different to get a feel for in the short time I had.

    I hadn't really planned on swapping wheels per se, instead I would just swap the tires when the need arose. More a pain, yes, but less to carry. Chances are there won't be as many tire swaps as I hope (I love singletrack but who doesn't!) so the road meats will likely be the ones that get used the most. You are right when you say they can'e be beat of the long distance. Right now the planned daily distance falls somewhere between 40 and 70 miles. There may be some hundred milers too.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    2,002
    Never having owned a fat bike, if I were heading up north, I would think something like a Pugsley or Mukluk would be on the short list. It just seems like they would be one of the best all-terrain machines. Only negative would be if you slashed one of the tires, as they are not readily available out in the sticks. But since you've got support vehicles, that's not an issue.

    Having said that, people have toured in various places in a wide range of bikes. Like that one old Chinese dude who pedaled (and camped in) his trike all the way to England for the Olympics. 2 years and 87k miles. Oh, and it's a singlespeed.

    Rickshaw driver cycles across the world from China for London Olympics 2012 (VIDEO) - NY Daily News

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    254
    I have not ridden a ton of miles on the Fargo, but I have a Cross Check with Woodchippers, I have auxiliary brake levers on the flats. It is my bike for touring most places that aren't primarily single track. I will probably one day replace the Cross Check with a Fargo, it seems to have better touring geometry for me and I don't feel so folded up on it.
    If you aren't comfortable on the Woodchippers, then all is not lost. Long distances can be ridden on all types of bars. I prefer bars with some back bend to them such as on-one Mary bars or Jones bars. My cousin had aerobars mounted to flat MTB bars for a ride across Canada.
    I do own a fat bike, and while I love it and it is my main bikepacking rig, I think it would fall out of its element on a trip like this. If you were touring self contained, with luggage, I might change my tune. I know also that some of the roads up North get really muddy and wheel-clogging mud is to me the fatbike's Achilles heel.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    198
    If you like drop bars, I would really lobby for a Fargo with extra tires (or even better, an extra wheelset-grab & go switch) in the support vehicle. It isn't the best machine for singletrack, but is still fun and way better on road (with slicks) than a bike with front suspension (and we won't even discuss full-sus on-road).

    I have ridden mine in a variety of set-ups. It started with nano raptors on dyad rims, spent some time with 32mm paselas (same rim) when my commuter was broken down, and wore a pair of cheap 2.25" CST tires on stan's flows (wide) for some tame snow biking this winter. A great gravel/doubletrack bike and okay ride on pavement and singletrack.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nomadsanity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    10
    Psycle,
    A fat bike is definitely in the running, I would love to build one (especially with the deepening snow here!!) but because most of the miles will likely be on-road, it probably is not worth it for this trip (soon though). If I decided to tend toward the fat bikes then I would probably build a Krampus. It has plenty wide tires bu won't look as silly with a skinny tire for the roads.

    Coldbike,
    You raise an important point (albeit between the lines), this is going to be primarily a touring rig. This tour might not have much for on-bike load but those tours are coming so I need to be ready. All things considered, it would probably be in my best interest to choose a ride that is geared more toward touring and less toward single track. The Fargo fits this bill pretty well. I could always run a straight bar with attachments if I can't get used to the Woodchipper. An Ogre might also be an acceptable choice (finding one to test ride is a joke though). The Fargo did ride very nice.

    fotooutdoors,
    Thanks for your input. It sounds as though you have put some miles on a Fargo. At this point I am inclined to lean that direction. However, Fargos are sold out already this season so finding one (much less 5) is going to be a chore. This is made doubly true by yet needing to pull the money together to buy one. I do agree with you about the merits of having two sets of wheels for easy swapping. I have this arrangement for my Giant with semi-slicks for town time, and knobbies for the dirt. Great way to go if you can afford it.
    Statement: "I'm bored!" Translation: "I am lame and lack imagination!"

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    176
    You might want to consider a Fargo with a Jones bar or something similar...

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nomadsanity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    10
    AKCeesehead,
    I have a friend that runs a Jones bar on his bike (a closed loop if I recall correctly). I have considered these but having never ridden one, its hard to decide I want to spend that kind of money on a bar. I will have to bug my friend about his first. Perhaps he will let me borrow it... ?
    Statement: "I'm bored!" Translation: "I am lame and lack imagination!"

  14. #14
    @adelorenzo
    Reputation: anthony.delorenzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    1,658
    A couple things to consider. A lot of gravel or chip seal roads up here that can be pretty rough so don't run your skinny tires. 28mm would be a minimum but your typical 32-35mm touring tire would be best.

    The rough roads are hard on tires. I used to work at a bike shop up here and every person who came through either had Schwalbe Marathons or we sold them a pair to replace the tires they had destroyed on the way up/down the highway.

    Personally I would ride a cross bike with 28-32 road touring tires on it. The highway miles are long and I wouldn't want to be slogging along on anything close to an MTB. That would be enough for any off-road exploration that you want to take in terms of mining roads or whatever. Or since you have a support vehicle throw a set of knobbies in there.

    If you want to hit some sweet singletrack you could always rent. Stay in Whitehorse for 3-4 days, rent full suspension bikes and hit our trails. You could do the same in places like Anchorage or Smithers.

    Oh yeah, I don't know your route plan but I recommend the Cassiar rather than the Alaska Highway.

  15. #15
    @adelorenzo
    Reputation: anthony.delorenzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    1,658
    Oh yeah and I would shoot myself in the head if I had to ride a fat bike on a road tour. Fat bikes are for snow, people!

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    2,002
    Quote Originally Posted by Nomadsanity View Post
    Psycle,
    A fat bike is definitely in the running, I would love to build one (especially with the deepening snow here!!) but because most of the miles will likely be on-road, it probably is not worth it for this trip (soon though).
    D'oh. Yep, not worth it. I thought in my head that this would be strictly all off-road, biking across snow-covered lakes, summertime muck and all that mess.

    Quote Originally Posted by anthony.delorenzo View Post
    Oh yeah and I would shoot myself in the head if I had to ride a fat bike on a road tour. Fat bikes are for snow, people!
    And sand.

    Canning Stock Route by Bike 2005

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Unchewable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    73
    I think the Kona sutra would fit you best especially for the money i love my jones bar but it completely changes the geometry of your bike and rides way more like a beach cruiser depending on your grip Anthony sounds like a expert in the area and i would heed his words. Adventure bicycle touring around the world; cycle travelling advice, photography and videos from Tom Allen has a review somewhere of the kona sutra and he has toured all around the world, it already comes with fenders and racks! a huge cost if you were to buy another bike without them just my 2 cents. just for your convenience here is the link to the bike KONAWORLD

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Unchewable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    73
    found the review he did. It is the 2012 model and Kona took his suggestions and made it even better in 2013 Kona Sutra 2012 Touring Bike - Road Test Review :: Tom's Bike Trip this is touring rig i want to get but i am getting my race bike first.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    345
    I've been doing some looking - not quite researching at this point - Salsa Fargo TI frameset, Lefty Fork adapted to 80mm travel and the Left for All kit / project 321 adapter Jones H-Bar.

    Maybe.. we'll see. First I need to put a few thousand miles on my current bike.
    Last edited by RandomGuyOnABike; 04-26-2013 at 08:13 AM.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation: PhatRoller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    67

    Bike suggestions...

    Have you considered a Salsa Vaya? Especially the 'Travel' model? For a road-weighted tour I would go that way over a Fargo, and the Vaya is very capable off-tarmac as well. Vayas are very stable under load. Fargos are great but clunky-er on road. If you're fenderless you can fit up to a 42mm tire on a Vaya. Just a thought.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nomadsanity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    10
    Sorry all, its hell week here at school (last week before finals) and I am not sure which way is up most of the time.

    Anthony...,
    Thanks for you suggestions! I take it that you live in that region of the world? The main reason for the more mtb leaning stems from other future plans as well as this trip. I understand completely what you mean about chip roads. The tire choice will be made with this in mind. I have had the Schwalbe tires recommended from several sources so it is looking up for them.

    unchewable,
    I had not considered (or heard of) the Kona. Thanks for pointing it out to me. I will have a look at it and see. I like to try to ride before I buy and there is a pretty good Kona dealer here.

    RandomGuyOnABike,
    A few thousand miles on any bike right now would be glorious! Especially now that it seems spring has found us at last (Western SD).

    PhatRoller,
    I have looked at the Vaya. It has excellent reviews and is definitely the right type of bike for the job. One of the crew members for this trip rode one a few weeks ago and didn't much care for it (I think she just didn't ride it long enough to get used to it being so different from anything she had ever ridden before. She has only aver ridden MTB so...). I have not ridden one myself but I hope to do so next week to get some perspective for myself. Thanks for the suggestion!
    Statement: "I'm bored!" Translation: "I am lame and lack imagination!"

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Unchewable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    73
    Make sure you look at the 2013 model glad i can help the vaya is nice as well but bang for your buck nothing is gonna get close to the Kona imho.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Unchewable's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    73
    any update?

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    1,194
    Putting the horse before the cart...I would first decide what tire you are going to run and then pick the bike/bikes. Same wheels sized make sense, but if you are supported not necessary.

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nomadsanity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    10
    Unchewable,
    I do like the sound of the Sutra but I would like to ride it for myself before I decide what bike to take. Sorry for taking so long before getting back on here, the summer has made things even more hectic than hell week at school!

    Yogii,
    This is kind of the route that I was taking to begin with. I would really like to set up a touring rig with a 29 inch tire (it is all I think they are good for, you take maximum advantage of the reduced rolling resistance but the sluggish response feel won't make that big of difference).
    Statement: "I'm bored!" Translation: "I am lame and lack imagination!"

Similar Threads

  1. New bike suggestions help?
    By chidoc in forum Bike and Frame discussion
    Replies: 60
    Last Post: 02-18-2013, 10:22 AM
  2. Bike suggestions for big guy
    By wade-19 in forum Clydesdales/Tall Riders
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 09-22-2012, 06:08 PM
  3. Looking For Bike Suggestions
    By blown240 in forum Bike and Frame discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-29-2012, 09:34 PM
  4. AZ DH bike suggestions
    By DAM in forum Arizona
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 05-24-2011, 10:54 AM
  5. new bike suggestions?
    By RabbitHole in forum California - Norcal
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 03-28-2011, 12:20 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •