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Overland Bicycle Travel Overlanding questions for two wheels, no motor!
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  #1  
Old 3 Jan 2008
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bicycle equivalent of an XT (in your garage?)

Seems the same sorts of problems (should that be progress..?) are happening in the cycling world, as in motorbikes. Steel bikes are becoming a thing of the past, as aluminium is everywhere. Not good for travelling far away from a modern bike shop.

I am looking for old steel mountain bikes, around 19" frame or for a 6ft'er. If you've got one you no longer want (in the UK/or Spain), let me know. Make, model, age, condition.

Give your old bike a new (recycled!) lease of life as a Southern & Central America tourer.

gracias...

Doug
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  #2  
Old 4 Jan 2008
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Wink What's wrong with aluminum?

I'm travelling for 20 years and thousands of kms on alu bikes, much of the time on gravel roads. Iceland, Patagonia, Canada, Alpine tracks etc. Didn't come across any probs up to now.

Admittedly the first frame broke after jumping from a loading ramp, but that was more than 15 years ago. Materials have improved considerably since then. The frame I bought after that (Kettler) seems to be indestructable ;-)

Hans
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  #3  
Old 5 Jan 2008
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yep, true, alu has come along way. but I'd prefer steel because

a) I'm not a light-weight, so a frame that has some give in it is a good thing for me.
b) I prefer the more compliant, and less stiff, ride of steel.
c) I do tend to do things like jump off loading ramps, so repairability is in my mind.
d) if I do c) the frame may bend (and can be un-bent) rather than break.
e) if the frame breaks there's a chance of welding it.

Having said that, modern steel bikes over the past few years have been getting lighter. So, with those very thin gauge steel tubes, I'm looking for an older steel bike.

I also don't want to spend much money, and I think cheap steel is better than cheap alu.

Which frame are you using?

cheers
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  #4  
Old 13 Jan 2008
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Bike Frame

I've got a German frame (KETTLER Bike - unfortunately no translation).

They used to have real good mountain bike frames somewhere inbetween trekking and race bikes. Perfect for travelling on bad roads. But I agree - it doesn't flex, but it is stiff enough to carry my weight plus heavy luggage summing up to about 110 kgs.
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  #5  
Old 24 Jan 2008
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good steel frames can be sourced from ebay if you are uk based have a look at Genesis bikes they do some lovely steel frames and they also do a nice 8 speed hub geared mtb for around £800. Maybe a bit pricey but should go on forverer.
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  #6  
Old 27 Jan 2008
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It may require shipping but surlybikes.com make some very simple steel bikes that are used frequently for expedition riding.
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  #7  
Old 29 Jan 2008
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Steel still rolls (rules in some cases)

I just saw one parked up outside our fruit shop in Grenoble. I once did quite a bit of touring, and have to say that the Surly I saw today is absolutely what you're looking for (and what I'd get for a really long unsupported RTW)
I asked Google about it and got this: SURLYVILLE

Look beyond the silly photo at the top, the frame is clean, simple and just what the long distance tourer would want.

I have a history of fatigue failures on ally bikes (Cannondales, specialized & Proflex/K2), I've gone to carbon, which may feel fragile but I have field repaired (handlebar end through top tube) with a good epoxy and an alu patch.

Happy trails
Luke
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  #8  
Old 30 Jan 2008
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Thumbs up Informative webpage

Quote:
Originally Posted by mirage View Post
It may require shipping.
In the webpage via the link that Luke found is a pretty good distribution network of shops for those nations that can afford such new bikes in the first place - Canada, Aus and most of Europe basically, + one or two more such as NZ!!
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Last edited by Walkabout; 4 Feb 2008 at 17:36.
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  #9  
Old 4 Feb 2008
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The Bike Station

Hi Dougie,

You could try these guys:

The Bike Station - Home

You never know they might have some higher quality bikes that have been donated. I agree with you about steel, far prefer it to aluminium for feel (I've a Reynolds 853 mountain bike, it's luverly). Although modern alu bikes are much less harsh then they used to be. Plus all the issues surround re-welding etc. if you are going off the beaten track, make steel a good choice.

An older mountain bike would be better (if you get one in good nick) for another reason. The old mountain bikes had a geometry far more suited to touring than the very short seat tubed modern bikes which are designed for handling in technical trails.

You could do a lot worse than an old Specialised Stump-jumper or Rockhopper, maybe a Giant Escape? I think the old Orange P7s were nice bikes too. One issue you may have to deal with is that older mountain bikes (and we are going back 15 years or so) often had 1" head tubes, meaning that if you wanted to fit new forks, say with suspension, you would struggle to get ones with the correct width steerer tube. 1 1/8" is the norm now.

Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #10  
Old 4 Feb 2008
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hey,

Yeah, I used to have a P7 about 9 or 10 years ago. The new P7's are 'thin-walled', and nothing like as good as the old P7's. I'd love a stumpjumper, but I'm trying to find one (or a rockhopper, etc) and then finding on in the right size.

And yeah, I know Surly bikes. But my spec is (currently) as cheap as possible. Surly's are perfect, but quite a few £'s. Then again, being able to carry spare spokes on the frame might just sway me!

the search continues...
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  #11  
Old 4 Feb 2008
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Keep an eye on Ebay, I've seen a few older steel MTBs on there. Don't forget Marin as well, a few of them still about.
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  #12  
Old 8 Feb 2008
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It's a shame Dougie, I've a 1990 Rockhopper languishing in my garage which would have been ideal but I've recently discovered a crack in one of the chainstays!

Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #13  
Old 24 Jun 2009
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So... I have been through a few bikes since this first post, and found my ideal.

first up, forget 'ideal travel bike' nonsense. what a daft question 'what is the ideal/perfect travel bike?' I mean, come on, don't you see why it's daft? I guess if you don't see why it's a silly question, you never will.

so, my perfect travel bike is a Surly Long Haul Trucker, 58 cm in olive green. It's steel, it's heavy, it's long. It's not gonna fall apart, bend or crack. it doesn't pretend to be in the dakar, it's not loud, it's not a bike for wannabes. You don't have to wear matching clothing...

what's good? the ride, ooohhhh the ride. think of the best ride you've had, and then think how it would feel to just keep on riding. the LHT understands that your last ride was (maybe) good, and doesn't put it down. but it fills all the gaps and more.

I tried the whole MTB thing. short chain stays (bad for panniers), and you need to upgrade the chainset to make it more long road friendly (£££). and the position is just not 'long haul'.

I also tried another Surly (a Cross-Check), which was sold as 58 cm (you tyke CS!) but was actually a 60 cm. but it sold me on Surly's.

I tried a Raleigh R100, but it was way too racer like.

I tried a Kona Dew, nice enough but aluminium and disc braked. and not as comfortable as the LHT.

I tried (and own) a Thorn (the geeks travel bike), but found it spindly and a bit of a cliché.

I've tried an Orange P7, Marin Muirwoods, etc, etc..

I guess to the 'what is the perfect bike' silly question. try lots, and find what's right for you.

the baggage. oh, man. Carradice. the only option. these bags are fantastic, and made in the UK by some old dears who sign the bags with a biro. they really are the business. waterproof, and superb functionality (especially the courier bag).

I also worked out that I can do my 'work' on the road, while on the bike. I've just done a week of testing up the Highlands, and with laptop in tow I can work from anywhere. cool. trip across the US, and then heading south is on the agenda now.

I picked up a power monkey (adventurer, *puke*) solar charger for the phone. It works great, 40 hours of charge stored in the battery, and it charges of internal lights too.

this is the bike, loaded for non-stop touring. yep, everything is there that I need. and I also have my laptop so I can work. so, light touring we go...
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  #14  
Old 27 Jun 2009
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Nice report DougieB and a pleasant change to get some considered opinion based on facts in the HUBB - I don't spend nearly so much time on here nowadays: as others have commented, the input has been "suspect".

Cheers!
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  #15  
Old 27 Jun 2009
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That's a little harsh, Mr Walker-about
There are many people from all over the world who contribute valuable information, research, time and effort foc to help others.
- it is up to the individual to check/do his/her own research to verify whatever is offered.
Who knows? you might need a hand on your travels one day and post up...
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