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Which Bike to take?(19 posts)

Which Bike to take?Len J
Jun 21, 2001 1:58 PM
I am going on the 6 Day Aids Vaccine ride from Fairbanks to Anchorage in Late August. The Bike will be outside (as I understand it) the entire 6 days (nights). Having never been thru this I am not sure either how to prepare a bike for this or which Bike to take.

I have two Bikes, a Lemond Buenos Aires (steel) Bike (with full 105 components including a triple, 12X25 cassette and Rolf Vector Wheels)and a new Trek 5500 (carbon) Bike (with full Dura/Ace Double, 12X23 Cassette and Rolf Sestraile (sp?) wheels). My thought was to change the cassette on the Sestraile wheels to a 12X27, put them on the Lemond (along with my regular Seat & seatpost) and use this bike for the Alaska Ride. Logic is as follows:

1.)Don't intend to ride Alaska for Speed rather want to enjoy the ride & the scenery. Weight of steel won't matter.
2.)Sestraile wheels use standard spokes, so repair if necessary can be handled easily.
3.)Triple with 12X27 should get me up anything I will encounter as we go over the Alaska Range. (I am currently traveling to PA. to do hill intervals using the 39X23 low gear on my Trek so I think that I'l be OK with the gearing I suggested).
4.)If Bike gets messed up in weather, it's my backup bike anyway.

2 Questions:

1.)How's my logic? what Have I missed?

2.)How do I prepare my bike to be in the elements for 6 days? (last year they had everything form fog to Freezing rain)

Thanks for any insight. (I'm a newbie at this overnight stuff)
Lemond w/conventional wheelsHank
Jun 21, 2001 2:08 PM
the steel bike will be less likely to have trip-ending damage in a possible crash or in shipping. That's what I'd take, anyway. If you're worried about rust, pull out the seat post and bb and shoot Boeshield down the tubes. Have fun. Sounds like a great trip.
I would sell both and get a Litespeed.railer
Jun 21, 2001 2:55 PM
Just kidding. Have a good trip.
LOL Thanks.(nm)Len J
Jun 21, 2001 3:08 PM
A man after my own mind.....RedDog#1
Jun 22, 2001 12:07 AM
Just joking too...really.
Jun 21, 2001 4:05 PM
What a great trip!

Unfortunately, I don't have any information that will help you, but I was wondering whether you might help me. Your spare bike is my only bike. Like most everyone else, I want a better ride. Could you please compare your two bikes?
I'll try........Len J
Jun 22, 2001 6:42 AM
I'll start with Components.
Lemond Buenos aires has Shimano 105's Triple, 5500 has full Dura Ace double. I have to say that the D/A are markedly better (Duh) Shifting is butter smooth & Quick. 105's are, I guess the best word is extremely functional. No real complaints, I think that the best Shimano for the money is proably Ultegra. I will honestly probably never get the full benefit of the D/A but I just like high quality. One other difference, D/A Front der is capable of small adjustments between rings, this allows for elimination of most chain rubs on front Der.


Old has Rolf vectors, New has Rolf Sestriele. Weight difference and Hub Quality is markedly better in the Sestr. Other than that, Both sets have been bulletproof. Vectors thru about 5000 miles, Sest through about 1,500 so far.


Lemond is Combination of 853 (main triangle) and 525 (seatstays & chainstays) steel. Trek is Carbon fiber. Lemond is silky smooth steel ride but (at 165 lbs.) I can flex the BB if I relly mash up a hill. Trek is horizontally stiff & responsive. Crank input is immediatly felt in acceleration. It is not as silky smooth as the Lemond, however it is still all day ride comfortable.


The Lemond is a great bike for serious riding on a Budget. ($1,300 new $900 1 year old) Its combination of smooth ride and good componentry make it a great workhorse. The Trek is (IMHO) a great buy for the money ($3,200). Great componentry, low weight coupled with a responsive yet compliant frame at this price was a steal (based on my shopping) Trek is about 3 lbs lighter and seems to want to climb hills.

These are two different price point Bikes. I was lucky enough to have a wife who bought the Trek for me as an annivarsary gift. Othwise I would be happy with the Lemond. (probably would upgrade to Ultegra though- seems to be the best Shimano for the money)

Hope this answers your question.

BTW Honestly the engine is not quite up to the chassis and the transmission of the Trek but I'm working on it.

Good Riding.
Jun 22, 2001 7:12 AM
You must have lived well to have your wife give you that.

Interesting comments, particularly on the front der as that is the one part of my 105 group that is driving me nuts. The trim feature rarely seems to work as advertised.

I can see the need to upgrade wheels, and you have confirmed that.

As for upgrading to Ultegra, my plan was to buy this bike to see whether I liked the sport well enough that I am still actively riding in two years. If so, I will buy a better bike. I still have 18 months to go, but I can't help but wonder what better bikes offer, and so thanks for your comments.
Bike sounds okay....MeDotOrg
Jun 21, 2001 5:01 PM
First of all, congratulations for taking the challenge. Not to freak you out, but I heard that one day of last year's ride had sleet, snow and rain. Most of the riders sagged that day.

I definitely think using a 12-27 triple is okay for this type of ride. It is NOT a race. Having all the gears you need for going uphill is going to be a lot more important than how fast you can go downhill. Given last year's weather problems I would also make sure I had tough touring tires that handle well in the wet.

I'm sure some riders from our Northern climes can give you some suggestions as to what kind of clothing to wear.

You can also sign up for ride updates:

Try to get into a discussion group with riders to share ideas. I'm sure those who went on last year's ride will have some suggestions.

Best of luck. The Vaccine Rides are a great cause.
ThanksLen J
Jun 22, 2001 6:44 AM
Already signed up and on Listserver. I just felt there was a more experienced rider base on this board.

Thanks for the encouragement.
re: Which Bike to take?cycleguy
Jun 21, 2001 9:35 PM
Two great bikes to have. We should all have such a choice! :) As for which one I would ride in the extremes you might incounter I would go with the Lemond. If you are nervous about your wheels, maybe get a pair of mavic pros and any shimano hub on sale. Very reasonable and you can still switch most of your gears etc. Also very easy to get repaired. For most climbing a triple and 12-25 will do. As for rain and such that can be taken care of when you return and clean your bike etc.
re: Which Bike to take?Lone Gunman
Jun 21, 2001 10:02 PM
Newbie, You chose the right equipment for a week long tour. Comfort RULES on a trip like this. I did the Cycle North Carolina last year, a week long tour that started in the mountains and went to the coast.
Tips: Get to a Army/Navy store and buy a surplus nylon poncho, head hole covers seat, grommets can be bungied to bike. Dry bike every AM.
Camp gear tips: Throw everything made of cotton that you planned on bringing on this trip away and replace it with nylon or synthetic fiber stuff. Cotton gets wet and stays wet...for days. Nylon lined wind pants and hooded jacket are great after ride gear. A 15 or 20F nylon, synthetic fill sleeping bag, comfortable sleep pad, bomb proof water tight tent and ground cover. Do not sleep with clothes on (naked)except your head if cold, excess condensation will make sleeping bag wet as well as the inside of tent so ventilate it well at night. Consider buying rubberized wet dry bags to transport clothes or pack them in garbage bags, squeezing out the air and sealing to compact for packing. Same for the sleeping bag.
Other niceties tips: Bring a set of silverware, shower sandals, plastic insulated coffee mug, stocking cap, nylon/alum tubing folding chair, extra flashlight bulbs and batteries. Riding gear tips: clothes for six days, wide clear tape to cover vent holes of front of helmet if it is cold, use chamois butter religiouly every day, extra shoes(wet), extra cleats(break), cycle lube, extra tires and tubes, allen wrenches for minor repairs, shoe or sock booties, tights or knickers, lots of pain relief meds, icy hot gel or mineral ice stuff, bags for ice packs, put a few drops of mouthwash in water bottles for a minty taste every morning, wind breaker jacket for riding, extra sunglasses, favorite snacks or drink mixes like hot chocolate powder mixes ummm... Did I forget anything? Yes I did. For a test of what the week will be like, pick a weekend and ride the average day mileage, come home and set up your camping gear, shower, eat, sleep in your camp gear that night, get up next morning, eat, tear down and pack up camp, and go ride the average day miles. Time yourself how long it takes to tear down and set up so you know the drill. The order listed is the normal order of how your day will go for six days.
Sleep with the bike4bykn
Jun 22, 2001 12:46 AM
I've done a few week long tours (TRIRI) and my bike would "sleep" in the tent with me. Pull off the wheels, and it doesn't take up much room. The bike will be dry, and you will have a little peace of mind.
Sleep with the bikeJay H
Jun 22, 2001 7:04 AM
Unfortunately, that's not an option as the bikes all get corraled into a staging area every night..

I too am taking a '98 Lemond Zurich (Reynolds 853 tubing) with Ultegra Triple with a 12-27 cassette. I just bought a lightly used set of Speeddream Aerolights so I'm going to use that on the tour and move the 12-27 cassette over. I also just bought a used set of 2001 Zipp 404's (again, practically brand new) and I just bought a 11-23 cassette for that but that's staying on the flatlands and races that I do. The Aerolights are replacing the stock Open Pros that came with the Lemond (Now the Lemonds all come with Rolfs, another Trek company).

Hi Len J, I recognize you from the AAVR Yahoo group...

Hello....Len J
Jun 22, 2001 7:24 AM
We'll have to hook up in Fairbanks. Good Riding.
Hey LenJay H
Jun 22, 2001 10:54 AM
Sure thing Len, I'm meeting two ladies who are riding the AAVR in Anchorage and we're going to Wonder Lake, Denali for some hiking before but I presume since they're friends from before the race, they'll probably tent together for the ride so if you don't have a tentmate, we can share one. I'm bringing my own tent (A Walrus Zoid 2.0) and if the tents they provide are crap (I've heard two different stories on this) I'm using my own tent which you are welcome to share.

If you bring your Lemond, we can be Team Lemond!!! :-)

Thanks....Len J
Jun 22, 2001 11:09 AM
My daughter has volunteered to crew so we'll be Tenting together. I've also formed a team of "Lone Riders" (riders that don't have anyone else Within 2 hours doing the Alaska Ride ) and we intend to ride together. So far there are 4 of us. You're more than welcome to ride with us. As we get closer to the ride, let's try to set up a meeting.

I've driven that routeLazy
Jun 22, 2001 7:19 AM
I lived in AK for 3 years and have driven from Fairbanks to Anchorage several times, but never ridden. So, all of these recollections are from a car and I'm sure you know how a car has a way of flattening the road.

Assuming you'll be riding along the highway (I don't think there's any other road) you should be fine with either. There are some pretty good climbs coming out of Fairbanks for about the first 60 miles or so. Then it's mostly rollers until Denali. A couple more pretty good ones right around the park, then mostly down hill into Anchorage.

The weather in late August can do anything. It could be sunny and 80 degrees one minute and blizzarding the next, so be prepared for anything. The road is pretty good. You will come across some frost heaves though. If you happen across some on a descent, make sure you slow down. Some of the gnarlier ones will throw you in a heartbeat. Also, there always seems to be lots of construction along the road. They should be mostly done with it by then though.

Man, that is one beautiful trip. You're gonna love it. Make sure to stop in at Skinny Dick's Half Way Inn. If you haven't guessed by now, it's about half way between Fairbanks and Anchorage. Have fun!!
re: Another hint..Jay H
Jun 22, 2001 10:58 AM
For those of you who have mid-v to deep-v rims (Ksyriums, Sun Venus, Hed, Zipps, etc) make sure you bring a valve extender so if you run out of 60mm stemmed tubes, you might be able to borrow one from somebody on the ride without having to wait for SAG or a patch. Not everybody carries the long stemmed tubes. If you have a deep-V, don't know why, seems pointless to take a deep-v aero wheel to a hilly tour IMO, but if you do, make sure you definitely have a long valve extender cause nobody is going to have 80mm stemmed valves, not sure if even SAG would bother to carry those. (Zipps can have a 58mm tall rim, too tall for even a 60mm stem)