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Overland Bicycle Travel Overlanding questions for two wheels, no motor!
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  • 1 Post By mark manley
  • 1 Post By DougieB
  • 1 Post By DougieB
  • 1 Post By DougieB
  • 1 Post By B1ke
  • 1 Post By pbekkerh
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  #1  
Old 26 Jan 2014
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MTB upgrades for touring

I have just been given a steel Marin Eldridge Grade. I fitted some new Tubes, tyres and peddles with the idea of doing some cheap touring. Other than fitting racks and maybe a more comfortable seat what else would you suggest to upgrade? Looking at the frame number it was built in 93, all the mechanics look original and hardly worn. Would you just ride and repair?

I'm new to cycle touring, I usually ride my Strom 1000 but Id like to slow it down, tour more cheaply, get fit and take more of everything in.

Cheers Jim
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  #2  
Old 26 Jan 2014
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Hi Jim,
I have done some cycle touring and it sounds like your bike is fit to go as it is. Wherever you are headed there are probably plenty of bicycle repair shops and spare parts. A good bicycle multi-tool and a few cable ties will come in useful.
Mark
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  #3  
Old 26 Jan 2014
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hey,

where do you plan to go ? I would just ride it. Plenty of bike shops along the way to get spares when things wear out.

You'll find friction (non-indexed) shifters more reliable and easier to maintain, so I'd consider them when the current ones die. I assume it's 7 or 8 speed ? You could stock up on components (cassettes/chainrings/chains) which will wear out first (try SJS Cycles).

Rather than spend money on replacing stuff, I'd spend money on decent tools (NBT cassette remover will be useful to you). I'd also have a read of Roger Musson's wheel building book, and look at trying to build yourself a front wheel (it's not that difficult, and is the ultimate cycle field-skill).

'proper' tourers tend to have 36 hole rear wheels, and 32 hole front. Ortleib panniers are pretty much standard, and last well if looked after (no sharp objects), but there are lots of alternatives. Don't carry a rucksack, it sucks. Make sure your bike fits you (play with the stem/bars/seat, and possibly crank lengths). A Brooks (or similar) saddle is well worth investigating, ignore the horror stories, to replace your plastic saddle. And consider a bar bag for valuables (removed whenever you leave the bike), and sling your tent under the bars somehow.

Out on the road there are people of all ages and sizes riding all sorts of bicycles on tour. You don't need any special equipment. Lots of cheap, yet good, stuff comes up on the CTC web forum.

cheers,
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  #4  
Old 26 Jan 2014
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Hi Mark, it's been a long time since we met in Cornwall. Hope you're well!
Hi DougieB, thank you both for your advice. Im just planning on a couple of long weekends at first, cycling Devon coast to coast taking in the Tarka trail etc, then venture further afield. Also thinking of lejog later this year, unsupported would be nice, but, Mrs Jim has mentioned tagging along with the car.

The ultimate for me would be head East and keep going, either till I get back to the start or run out of money. That'll have to wait a while untill my son is older.

From what I have read the Marin frame has excellent qualities and strength, it's also extremely light, lighter than my carbon fibre MTB. I did look at surly LHT frame and forks but the aim is to do a trip as cheap as possible with basic camping, cooking etc. so far it has cost £50 for rubber and peddles, the bike was donated by a fellow motorcyclist.

I will look into the wheel building, sound interesting!

All just for a bit of fun really.
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  #5  
Old 26 Jan 2014
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I have a LHT, really great off the shelf tourer. Quite a few people to lejog on mountain bikes, no problem.

Cycle touring is quite refreshing after the motorbike. Nicely different.

cheers
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  #6  
Old 26 Jan 2014
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I think the LHT would be my choice too. I'm really looking forward to my first trip, I'm not bothered about big daily miles, just enjoying it.

I've just got back today from a camping weekend on the Strom, very wet n windy, had I have been cycling I would still be in my tent now haha.

I would love to tour Scotland Dougie, if you ever plan a trip up there and would like company I could be interested.
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  #7  
Old 26 Jan 2014
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I'm a little spoiled as I also have a Troll, which I'm planning to take on a long Russia trip this year. Once I have my dates sorted out, I'll let you know. Always up for some cycling in Scotland, and I know a few good routes

I cycled to the Adventure Travel Film Festival (2010?) along the Tarka trail (I think...), as I was coming back up from Barcelona. That film festival is worth going to by the way, and nearby for you. It's in my plans for this year, so maybe see you there. I'll hopefully be the one on the 1967 Flying Scot, en route to the southern Alps !

the CTC forum is the premier resource for lejog. Also, for further afield, have a look at the eurovelo.org cycle routes. Some good ideas there, that you can build into your own preferences.

cheers,
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  #8  
Old 26 Jan 2014
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Sounds exciting, I'd love to travel through Russia.

I may well go to the film festival this year, I think last year it was held in Sherborne near my parents.

Good to be in touch, I'll check out the sites.

Cheers Jim
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  #9  
Old 2 Feb 2014
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Old steel mountain bikes make excellent tourers and Marins are no exception. Fit a decent rackand go for it

Sent from my GT-S5830 using Tapatalk 2
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  #10  
Old 2 Feb 2014
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Don't rely on multitools, they are not worth it. Take a look at your bike and then bring exactly the tools needed for your bike and they will not weigh much more than multitools.

Once I only got to the airport and had to remove the pedals and destroyed my multitool but didn't get the one pedal off.

I prefer to prepaire my bike before I leave then I can enjoy the ride, instead of worrying about what goes bad next and use a lot of energy and time on finding spares.

There isn't much stuff on a bike anyway. Put on a new chain and sprocket, new tyres and grease or change the bearings. Check all bolts maybe secure them with a mild threadlock and enjoy the ride. With a new casette when starting, you don't have to bring a casette tool.
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  #11  
Old 2 Feb 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbekkerh View Post
There isn't much stuff on a bike anyway. Put on a new chain and sprocket, new tyres and grease or change the bearings. Check all bolts maybe secure them with a mild threadlock and enjoy the ride. With a new casette when starting, you don't have to bring a casette tool.
You will need to remove the cassette if a drive-side spoke breaks. The NBT tool is precisely for this purpose.

One of the big benefits of bicycle touring is that it's cheap, especially if you come from motorbike touring. Keeping the machine in good order is much simpler too. A check every few weeks will let you know when things are about to wear out. Depending on how much you travel, replacing everything before you go, each time, will be a waste of money (you could always send me your second hand parts! ).

I replaced the chain/cassette/chainrings/rear-derailleur on my LHT after about 12,000 miles (and they were put on that bike second hand). I did it as a job lot, and it was about £80 (I think). Having said that, I went through 2 rear wheels and a front wheel in the same time (I tend to tour in bad weather, and up and down mountains, which chews rims/rim-brakes).

The terminal failures are (generally) frame breaking, or hubs/rims breaking. Breakages with things like spokes, chains, cables, bolts can all be fixed at the road side (assuming the right tools are on board). You can drop down to a single front chain-ring or single rear sprocket (if your derailleur/shifter packs up), for example. Everything else generally wears out very slowly, and you can see/feel it happening with enough time to do another 1000 miles.

I also agree about the uselessness of multi-tools. A proper set of L-shaped allen keys with ball-ends will make life much easier, for the same weight.

cheers,
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  #12  
Old 2 Feb 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim lovell View Post
I have just been given a steel Marin Eldridge Grade. I fitted some new Tubes, tyres and peddles with the idea of doing some cheap touring. Other than fitting racks and maybe a more comfortable seat what else would you suggest to upgrade? Looking at the frame number it was built in 93, all the mechanics look original and hardly worn. Would you just ride and repair?

I'm new to cycle touring, I usually ride my Strom 1000 but Id like to slow it down, tour more cheaply, get fit and take more of everything in.

Cheers Jim
Maybe good idea to replace all the cables and some new brake pads. Salmon koolstop is really good. If the bike has been outside for a long time(or even if it hasn't), maybe good idea to service the hubs, bottom bracket and headset. A bit of grease can do wonders.

I reckon by spending a little bit now on maintenance now wont be a bad thing. I have a LHT with straight bars, using the bar end shifter on top and absolutely love it. Using 26" wheels with Schwalbe mondial 2 inch tyres and it is very comfortable.
A very popular seat is the brooks B17 saddle. I use the Imperial, the one with a bit of cut out in the middle and also love it. The cheapest I've found is at Spa cycles in harrogate. You can order online. I think I also got my nbt from them as well as ortliebs. overall the cheapest place I've seen for those products.

We have travelled extensively by 4x4, motorbike and bicycle. I enjoyed cycling the most out of all the modes of transport.
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  #13  
Old 5 Feb 2014
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Hi Jim

I did 500km in 10 days last summer on my old MTB no problem. Front pannier racks (if you have suspension) can be tricky to find. I made my own with exhaust clamps and baking trays. Worked well and got plenty of admiring glances from the French locals!
If the bike seems OK with a bit of a check over then I reckon just go for it. You'll find out what you want/need along the way. Then just jump on ebay or wiggle and buy it!

Have fun now
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