Author Topic: Bike recommendation - touring  (Read 2005 times)

Bike recommendation - touring
« on: September 26, 2020, 04:54:06 pm »
A few years ago I bought a Pompino (pic below) from Marcus OTP, and, with a few replacement parts it's accompanied me through 28 countries. I love it: it's simple, it's sturdy, and it's comfortable. I don't care when the baggage-handlers chuck it around (I use a soft bag).

However, age is getting the better of me and I'm enjoying the climbs less these days. It's also not ideal on unmade roads. I think a bike with gears might be more appropriate.

Requirements:
  • Gears: probably in a can, willing to be convinced otherwise
  • Mounting point for rack
  • Brakes: probably not discs, but willing to be convinced
  • Material: steel appeals because of ease of repair, but I've never actually broken a frame when travelling
  • Ability to take wider tyres
  • Budget: not an issue, but don't want to cry when the paintwork gets chipped the first time it's flown with

Recommendations? Ideas?

Quote from: tiermat
that's not science, it's semantics.

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2020, 09:41:01 pm »
suggestion; why not fit a simple IGH (eg a  SA 3s hub) into the extant bike to see if you like it or not, before buying a new bike?

Evolution not revolution?

cheers

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2020, 10:02:50 pm »
See if you can pick up a pompetamine? Brakes are disk, but BB7.  Only downside, I would definitely fit the Di2 instead of the microshift drop bar shifters. Gears inna can and drop bars don't mix well.


Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2020, 10:06:54 pm »
See if you can pick up a pompetamine? Brakes are disk, but BB7.  Only downside, I would definitely fit the Di2 instead of the microshift drop bar shifters. Gears inna can and drop bars don't mix well.

Though I hesitate to recommend the firm, JTEK do a bar end/thumby for Shimano IGH (and maybe others)
Never knowingly under caffeinated

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2020, 11:22:23 pm »
…. Gears inna can and drop bars don't mix well.

I've ridden six figure mileages on bikes with dropped bars and hub gears.  They mix just fine. 

I presume that the assertions above are borne out of the (entirely misguided IMHO) notion that the shifter should somehow be made part of the brake lever.....yeah, just like it is on every other vehicle.....not..... ::-)

The idea that Di2 and hub gears is a good mix is a bit barmy to start with. Letting baggage handlers near it? No thank you very much; the shift servos get broken in normal use often enough anyway.

IME an IGH on a drop barred touring  bike is best controlled using a simple shifter which is preferably mounted somewhere it won't get knocked about easily, eg under the stem, under the tops, or alongside the brake levers (eg similar to Kelly's take offs).

cheers

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2020, 11:39:52 pm »
The idea that Di2 and hub gears is a good mix is a bit barmy to start with. Letting baggage handlers near it? No thank you very much; the shift servos get broken in normal use often enough anyway.

Yeahbut you could reasonably take the delicate bit off and wrap it in baggage-handler-proof packaging, in a way that would be a complete pain with cable-operated gears.

I know someone who's swapping a wireless SRAM rear mech between bikes for races.  Not my idea of fun, but he has it down to a 5 minute job apparently.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2020, 11:45:06 pm »
Yeah, SRAM eTap would be better than Di2 from the baggage handler angle. But is there a suitable version for hub gears?

Anywayz, I do think putting a suitable hub in your current bike sounds like a good try-out plan.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Kim

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Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2020, 11:50:22 pm »
I'm deeply sceptical of the supposed advantage of wirelessness, other than from a practicality of cabling on an awkward bike perspective.  The Di2 stuff can, after all, simply be unplugged to remove the mech - it's not like disconnecting a mechanical cable in a way that requires re-adjustment[1].  One less battery, and much less to go intermittently wrong for unclear reasons.


[1] Which isn't actually a problem on a lot of hub gears anyway, as it can simply be unhooked.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2020, 08:11:50 am »
I'm deeply sceptical of the supposed advantage of wirelessness, other than from a practicality of cabling on an awkward bike perspective.  The Di2 stuff can, after all, simply be unplugged to remove the mech - it's not like disconnecting a mechanical cable in a way that requires re-adjustment[1]One less battery, and much less to go intermittently wrong for unclear reasons.


[1] Which isn't actually a problem on a lot of hub gears anyway, as it can simply be unhooked.

Actually I thought that with eTap there were batteries in the shifters too, so 4 vs 1 for Di2?
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2020, 08:26:17 am »
I'm deeply sceptical of the supposed advantage of wirelessness, other than from a practicality of cabling on an awkward bike perspective.  The Di2 stuff can, after all, simply be unplugged to remove the mech - it's not like disconnecting a mechanical cable in a way that requires re-adjustment[1].  One less battery, and much less to go intermittently wrong for unclear reasons.


[1] Which isn't actually a problem on a lot of hub gears anyway, as it can simply be unhooked.

Uttrup Luwig’s Race ( women’s world championship) was finished when her electronic gears failed. Somewhere isolated, maybe abroad, might be even more of a problem.

robgul

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Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2020, 08:47:57 am »
I'm deeply sceptical of the supposed advantage of wirelessness, other than from a practicality of cabling on an awkward bike perspective.  The Di2 stuff can, after all, simply be unplugged to remove the mech - it's not like disconnecting a mechanical cable in a way that requires re-adjustment[1].  One less battery, and much less to go intermittently wrong for unclear reasons.


[1] Which isn't actually a problem on a lot of hub gears anyway, as it can simply be unhooked.


Uttrup Luwig’s Race ( women’s world championship) was finished when her electronic gears failed. Somewhere isolated, maybe abroad, might be even more of a problem.

.... a friend doing the Brum Velo last year had his Di2 fail 300 metres from the start - made it a tough ride!

- to me electronic shifting is a solution looking for a problem - but then I'm also not impressed with hydraulic braking (yes I know it's supposed to be better - but a failure is hard to sort out on the road)

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2020, 10:13:38 am »
IMO first thing to consider with an IGH is how you're going to tension the chain, whether you're going to accept a tensioner or want a frame with dropouts to accommodate it.  If the former, then pretty much any touring bike will do just fine, spoilt for choice, I ran an Alfine 8 with a tensioner in a Sonder Santiago frame and it was fine, though the 35mm tyre size limit was, for me, it's downfall.   If you're looking for a frame to use without a tensioner, the Surly Cross Check is worth a look, seems to tick all your boxes.  Not an out and out touring bike, but at least as capable of luggage lugging as the Pompino.  I've only ridden one with derailleurs, but have seen several with IGH's from 3 to 14 speed. 

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2020, 01:41:14 pm »
…. Gears inna can and drop bars don't mix well.

I've ridden six figure mileages on bikes with dropped bars and hub gears.  They mix just fine. 

I presume that the assertions above are borne out of the (entirely misguided IMHO) notion that the shifter should somehow be made part of the brake lever.....yeah, just like it is on every other vehicle.....not..... ::-)

The idea that Di2 and hub gears is a good mix is a bit barmy to start with. Letting baggage handlers near it? No thank you very much; the shift servos get broken in normal use often enough anyway.

IME an IGH on a drop barred touring  bike is best controlled using a simple shifter which is preferably mounted somewhere it won't get knocked about easily, eg under the stem, under the tops, or alongside the brake levers (eg similar to Kelly's take offs).

cheers

The Pompetine came with microshit drop shifters that seemed to limit hub life to around 8K, it is notable that Shimano never have produced an IGH shifter for drops. Leaving prejudice aside for the moment, a Di2 mechanism would theoretically address all the issues of accurate registration inherent to brifters, so worth consideration.

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2020, 01:58:55 pm »
I'm deeply sceptical of the supposed advantage of wirelessness, other than from a practicality of cabling on an awkward bike perspective.  The Di2 stuff can, after all, simply be unplugged to remove the mech - it's not like disconnecting a mechanical cable in a way that requires re-adjustment[1].  One less battery, and much less to go intermittently wrong for unclear reasons.


[1] Which isn't actually a problem on a lot of hub gears anyway, as it can simply be unhooked.

I think battery life between charges is an issue for touring on sram axs as well. DI2 at least gives you 60 hours riding between plug points, so I’d have thought I could manage 3 days away from peeps. Having said that, cables for touring and DI2 for sunny days out;)

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2020, 02:13:59 pm »
…. Gears inna can and drop bars don't mix well.

I've ridden six figure mileages on bikes with dropped bars and hub gears.  They mix just fine. 

I presume that the assertions above are borne out of the (entirely misguided IMHO) notion that the shifter should somehow be made part of the brake lever.....yeah, just like it is on every other vehicle.....not..... ::-)


The assertion probably came from the early years of Rohloff, when no adequate shifter was available for drop bars. Every Rohloff user had to fiddle some homemade solution. Of course, this is now ancient history!

A

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2020, 03:07:20 pm »
The Pompetine came with microshit drop shifters that seemed to limit hub life to around 8K, it is notable that Shimano never have produced an IGH shifter for drops. Leaving prejudice aside for the moment, a Di2 mechanism would theoretically address all the issues of accurate registration inherent to brifters, so worth consideration.

The Pompetamine model you  refer to was called the Pompetamine Versa, because it had a Versa shifter fitted to it. Only latterly have microshift produced microshift branded shifters for A11, although the Versa shifter was (it seems) also from the same source.

The A11 hub is very clever for what it is but it wouldn't be my first choice for a touring hub gear, and that view is based on this insides of the hub, not the outsides.  The outside elements for the most part just add to problems not take away from them. The Di2 system uses a servo with the resolving element built into it, which means that mechanical backlash between the servo and the hub can corrupt the accuracy of the gear selection just as lash between the cassette joint and the  hub can, only you can't easily see that it is doing this. The servo is easily broken and it isn't perfectly sealed either.  Because there is a difference in the springing inside the hub, you can't easily convert a Di2 hub to a mechanical control or vice versa.

 I can see why shimano did it the way they did but this does not make for a happy arrangement; they could have had a low hurdle for would-be users of Di2 (or repairs going the other way) but instead you have to get the whole shooting match. The most common eventuality is that  when the electronic servo shags itself, instead of a ten quid cassette joint, a cable and a shifter that costs tens of pounds the servo alone is priced to make your eyes water. 'Never again' is the most commonly heard phrase in relation to this system.

cheers

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2020, 03:16:40 pm »
BTW the simplest IGH is a three speed gear; these usually have middle gear as direct drive, so traditionally the idea is that you set gear 2 to 'normal', i.e. the gear that you might use as a singlespeed, eg about 66".   This gives you a low gear for climbing and a high gear for easier conditions (downhill, tail wind).

However for touring there is much to be said for choosing a larger rear sprocket and setting gear 3 to the 'normal' gear ratio. This gives two lower gears for climbing, which many people find a more useful arrangement.

cheers

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2020, 03:21:49 pm »
This all sounds like very helpful information. Yes, I should try out an IHG set up with my current bike, I might hate it!

The tip about the Cross Check is a good one - I had been wondering about the long haul trucker, but you're right it ticks all my boxes, the LHT is more for properly fully-loaded touring, I tend to travel light. The Cross Check will be the top option now for when the Pompino is properly shagged, the latter can take 35mm tyres easily and 40mm at a pinch.

By the sound of the discussion above I have a lot to learn about IHG hubs!
Quote from: tiermat
that's not science, it's semantics.

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2020, 03:25:50 pm »
BTW the simplest IGH is a three speed gear; these usually have middle gear as direct drive, so traditionally the idea is that you set gear 2 to 'normal', i.e. the gear that you might use as a singlespeed, eg about 66".   This gives you a low gear for climbing and a high gear for easier conditions (downhill, tail wind).

However for touring there is much to be said for choosing a larger rear sprocket and setting gear 3 to the 'normal' gear ratio. This gives two lower gears for climbing, which many people find a more useful arrangement.

cheers

That sounds like good advice, though for that arrangement I might choose a slightly higher (70-72") for 'normal'. What are the losses like for gear 3 compared to direct drive?
Quote from: tiermat
that's not science, it's semantics.

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2020, 05:35:58 pm »
The idea that Di2 and hub gears is a good mix is a bit barmy to start with. Letting baggage handlers near it? No thank you very much; the shift servos get broken in normal use often enough anyway.

Yeahbut you could reasonably take the delicate bit off and wrap it in baggage-handler-proof packaging, in a way that would be a complete pain with cable-operated gears.

I know someone who's swapping a wireless SRAM rear mech between bikes for races.  Not my idea of fun, but he has it down to a 5 minute job apparently.

Yeah but ... you can just undo the deraillleur  from the frame and wrap it in pipe lagging or similar foam. Strapped to the chainstay it is relatively safe (as clubmates have done to travel around eastern Europe - and further afield). Not that I am not a fan of the IGH but it is not the only option.

Wowbagger

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Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2020, 08:01:15 pm »
If money is no object, I would probably buy a Thorn with S & S couplings, like Andrew C's. The frame is very good without being extra-special, and the couplings would make putting it on public transport a real doddle.

Thorn Nomad at the bottom of this page.

https://www.thorncycles.co.uk/bikes

I have the Thorn Raven Sport Tour (frame no longer made), and my only regret is that I didn't think to buy a model with the S & S couplings. I've had the bike for 14 years and done over 39000 miles on it, so I've definitely had my money's worth. But there have been a few occasions when just bunging it in a big bag and not having to make a bike reservation would have been fantastic.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2020, 08:44:44 pm »
Yeah but ... you can just undo the deraillleur  from the frame and wrap it in pipe lagging or similar foam. Strapped to the chainstay it is relatively safe (as clubmates have done to travel around eastern Europe - and further afield). Not that I am not a fan of the IGH but it is not the only option.

I've travelled many times with derailleur gear systems protected in exactly that way. I don't think there is a big difference with electric wires or cables although wires are presumably more easily broken.   With alfine di2 you have this piece of tupperware to worry about;



It is easily broken and not easy to remove from the bike. It is also difficult to find a replacement unit and nothing else will do.  When it breaks you may as well waste your time trying to find retail quality unicorn poop.

cheers

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2020, 09:25:22 pm »
The Pompetine came with microshit drop shifters that seemed to limit hub life to around 8K, it is notable that Shimano never have produced an IGH shifter for drops. Leaving prejudice aside for the moment, a Di2 mechanism would theoretically address all the issues of accurate registration inherent to brifters, so worth consideration.

The Pompetamine model you  refer to was called the Pompetamine Versa, because it had a Versa shifter fitted to it. Only latterly have microshift produced microshift branded shifters for A11, although the Versa shifter was (it seems) also from the same source.


Actually (not that it makes a huge difference), the original Versa and the one I had was A8. A11 had to wait quite a while. I got it at a time I was chewing through a chain and cassette a month in London commute, to be a fast bulletproof commute, I loved it but the shifters were shit. It's possible that the 52 tooth track ring I put on it (giving a 115" top gear) may have added to its stress :D

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2020, 10:01:17 pm »
Given your ( well founded) concern about flights, I’d personally spend buy a good ( Bike Box Alan or similar) Hard shell bike flight case, and save a bit if necessary on the bike. If yoI’ve ever seen baggage handlers loading bikes it would convince you!

Re: Bike recommendation - touring
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2020, 10:36:46 pm »
I was similarly getting through a chain and freewheel often, about once every six weeks or so, BITD.   I began to use IGHs for all the hard miles, winter training, commuting etc. and derailleurs for racing and summertime touring.  The amount of time and money I spent on bike transmissions reduced enormously.

I fitted a SA 5s hub ( a converted FW in fact) to my training bike on the basis that if it blew up, I could replace the innards with SA three speed parts. I even had a new internal sat there, lubed up, in a plastic bag, for years, but I never had to use it.    Well that hub finally broke properly about three years ago when the axle (which was old when I started using it) finally cried 'enough' and broke in half. It had done about 35 years service by then (in my hands alone plus whatever it has seen before that) and had eaten between fifteen and twenty chains/sprockets in that time.

  I normally let the chain go to about 1.5% and then change it and the sprocket. I find they last a good deal longer than on a fixed gear; I think that this is in good part because they can be run slacker (without problems) and this allows the rollers to 'climb' outwards radially until the pitch of the rollers best matches the pitch of the sprocket teeth. The slacker the chain, the lower the tension in the chain (catenary effect) and the easier the chain can assume the best position on the teeth.  This means less roller movement on the tooth faces under load, and this means less wear.  One of the things I am considering is using a single pulley to support the slack run of the chain (eg at the midpoint); I feel that this may let the chain run at even lower tension, so run more smoothly even when somewhat worn.

I've of course used many other IGHs too but the SA 3/4/5s hubs are still a favourite with me; simplicity is a good attribute to have, IMHO.  Ideally an IGH should (I think) use a direct drive ratio for 'tapping along', have one or two higher gears, and three or four lower ratios.  Ideally the ratios either side of the direct drive should be about 10" higher and lower respectively (so about 15% intervals).  The lower gears can be spaced more widely apart, be less efficient etc and it wouldn't trouble me overly.  Sadly few IGHs are made with this mindset and those which are tend to be expensive.   Everything else is a compromise of some kind; choose your poison...?

Older SA hubs will accept two 1/8" sprockets and you can engineer a half-step system or a one and a half-step system, provided you are OK with using a derailleur. Arguably Brompton 6s gearing is an acceptable compromise; the tensioner is there anyway because of the design of the fold  and the additional parts to double the gear ratios are not a major burden. If a non-dangling (cleaner, less easily damaged) 2s mech could be used on a large wheeler, it'd be a step forwards

cheers