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trainer/tourer - where's the line?(6 posts)

trainer/tourer - where's the line?Notaroadie
Sep 30, 2001 5:19 AM
Hey all... new to this road thing... prefer spending time on my mtb (sorry), but I'm looking into getting a road rig for training and improving overall fitness. I'd also like to take this bike on some extended trips with a decent touring set-up. So... I'm looking for the compromise between decent road performer and sturdy long distance tour bike. I want something light and quick enough that I won't feel sluggish if I want to go out for a spin, but well built enough so that I don't have to worry about popping spokes and bending the frame under a load. I know... you always loose something in the compromise... Road frame with braze-ons? Cross frame with road groupo?? HELP!



re: trainer/tourer - where's the line?davet
Sep 30, 2001 6:31 AM
I have a Trek 540, which is an Aluminum tourer. I have a set of light 'training' wheels that I use when I want road performance and the standard set of 'touring' wheels that came with the bike for loaded riding. A touring style bike isn't going to be as sprightly a ride, as you know, but it will never let you down miles from nowhere either. I have used my Trek in many long charity rides, and it is quite comfortable in that role. Not slow either. I guess you pays your money and takes your choice.
I vote for a cross bikeclub
Sep 30, 2001 6:33 AM
with skinny road tires, it's equal to a road bike. you can run fatties for dirt roads and even ride singletrack to improve your mtb skills -- after singletracking on cross tires, you can practically ride your mtb with your eyes closed. it's got canti studs for powerful braking even with a touring load. plenty of clearance for road touring tires even with fenders. lively handling, more fun than a stretched-out pure road touring bike.
A 'cross or cross/touring frame is a good ideaRich Clark
Sep 30, 2001 7:43 AM
Although hardcore tourists scoff at the stability you lose by raising the bottom bracket higher off the ground.

I have an Airborne Carpe Diem that sounds exactly like what you're talking about. It has rack and fender mounts, cantilever brake bosses, and clearance for fat tires. You can equip it as you like.

Mine is set up with a road crankset and FD (Ultegra) and a MTB rear (XTR) with a 12-32 cassette. This lets me climb the hills of eastern Pennsylvania with a moderate load. And it has touring wheels (Mavic T519, 36-hole Ultegra hubs, 14/15 spokes, Conti 700x32 TopTouring tires).

The same frame could be set up with an all-road group, lighter wheels and skinnier tires, and be a very fast sport-tourer. Or with an all-MTB group, all-terrain tires, and flat bars and be a cross-country bike. Or with 'cross tires, bar-end shifters, and a double crankset and be a cyclocross bike.

Even if you don't want to consider Airborne, using their configurator at is a fun way to play with the possibilities.

The main issues with regular road bikes, in addition to lack of mounting points, is tire clearance (many road bikes won't clear more than a 28 between the seatstays, if that).

What's your budget? That would help narrow things down.

re: There is no line, more of a spectrumdzrider
Oct 1, 2001 6:12 AM
I have Jeff Lyon Excursion that seems like the type of bike you want. I enjoy it greatly for fast recreational riding as it's light enough to be fun and goes down the road nimbly and comfortably. They're available thru GVH bikes which is a fine place to buy, good prices and service, if you're comfortable buying sight unseen.

Gunnar Cross-Hairs is another model I looked at and liked. I'm sure there are others and that you will be able to find one that fits both your body and your wishes.
Airborne Carpe DiemChris Zeller
Oct 1, 2001 1:17 PM
I was looking for something similur and found it in the Airborne Carpe Diem. First a little about Touring vs trainers. Touring bikes are designed to cary heavy loads over long distances. Typically are heavy steel frames, longer wheelbases, often MTB components. Have braze-ons for racks, rear and sometimes front too. These bikes typically ride and feel like a truck, because they are so stable esp with loads. IMHO worse than a mountainbike with road wheels. I didn't like the feel of these bike.

Trainers are usually just cheap roadbikes. They are reasonably efficient on training rides (not usually longer than a race) and are durable in so much as their heavy steel components are beefier than lightweight high performance ones. They will perform pretty well on road, but usually not well as a tourer even though they may have braze-ons because their frames were not designed to cary the weight and remain stable (read: will not break just ride uncomfortably) and they don't have appropriate gearing to get you up big hills fully loaded.

I found a cross of these in the Airborne Carpe Diem. This is a less expensive Ti frame designed to fill the needs of both cyclocross and touring, but it also makes an excellent competitive level roadbike with the correct choice of options. I bought and speced mine as a recreational bike/trainer and tourer. It came out at 19 lbs with pedals and computer in a 58" frame whith the added durability and comfort of a touring bike. This is pretty light even for a pure roadbike. With this setup, I do 20 mile lunchrides and weekend rides, sometimes pulling my 1.5 year old in a trailer. I can add a rack and do light tours, or add wider cyclocross tires and go offroad. The great thing is that Airborne lets you pick all the parts yourself to minimize weight, maximize performance for your pricepoint. This makes it easy to build your own bike from scratch if you are not knowlegable enough to build your own frame. On the downside, Ti bikes, even budget ones, are possibly more expensive than you may be looking for. Mine was $2600 complete. Prices start around $1500.

I'd also look at the Litespeed Blue Ridge frame and build it up. It's nearly the same as the Airborne, nearly identical geometry, composition, and weight, but with perhaps better name recognition if that is important to you. Also about $800 more. I would buy the frame only and build up the bike in this case as the stock parts are unsatisfactory in my view.