Bonjour riders! Beginner asipiring light-tourer

Alain

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Oct 8, 2019
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Medicine start!

I am back! I was prescribed some thyroid suppressor medicine (Mercazole). As it is not my first time for those medicine, I am not surprised but still amazed how my metabolism can change so quickly. I'll do another blood test this Friday to see how my thyroid will evolve. I was very happy to hear that surgery was not recommended...for the moment. I can live normally, sport included. I have to watch out my thyroid level regularly I guess.

Thank you all for pushing me to the doctor ! It was a sort of "I know I have to go but I don't want to"

Week-end ride

I am sharing my joy here! As I felt that medicine helped a lot, I motivated myself to do a week-end ride in some cyclo-tourism style and trees! Although my Sunday was more like eat-ride-eat-ride-(repeat)-bath-pizza-sleep. And I surprised myself as I initially aimed for something like 45+45km:
- https://www.strava.com/activities/2868014871 Saturday was a trip to Kamakura / Enoshima, with a stop by Kawasaki to have a look at the Anato no Warehouse game centre before it closes, and I ended up in Hiratsuka. The ride along the sea, from Kamakura to Hiratsuka, was awesome!
- https://www.strava.com/activities/2870771791 Sunday was the way back. I challenged myself with some detour and not going straight back to Tokyo. When going to Isehara, my riding view was mountains, among which was the Mount Fuji. Wonderful! And then back to concrete and asphalt...

Now I just want to go back to the mountains :)

Bike choice

This ride, and remembering this thread, made me think about what I want. I am clearly interested into discovering / travelling style. Chilled-paced long rides to discover new places, enjoy various landscapes. If I do a multiple days trip, I think about sleeping in hotel / hostel or capsule hotel but I guess most of my long rides will be week-end rides so I will not need that much of storage.

- I would enjoy some rack and panniers! I am not really fond of riding with things on my back (sweat and comfort). Rack mounts are indeed welcomed
- When leaving cities, Google Maps drove me to some gravel road. If I go more off-road, without reaching mounting-bike level, I might need wider (thicker?) tires.
- I now understand the value of a breathing cycling jacket...
- It might not be rational / reasonable but I am still in for disc brakes
- With some additional weight, I indeed geared lower than usual. The granny was super helpful (life saviour?) when climbing.

Thinking of what @kiwisimon said (about rack mounts with the Giant Escape RX disc), I'd like to ask a bike recommendation. Should I ask it here or in a new #Tech thread such as "Touring bike question"?

Basically, @speedwobble summarized my question:
[...] the question now is whether you get a touring bike that is rack friendly or go bikepacking on basically any bike you choose [...]
 

pedalist

Maximum Pace
It's great, that you got your medical issue sorted.
And it looks like you already had a good time on the bike.
Also, it seems you're on the right track finding the bike you need/want.
Since there are different ways of letting your bike do the carrying (bike bags, rack and panniers), you can make almost any bike your touring bike.
I'd just look around and check out any bike that's appealing in some way.
Using tire size/width, riding position, and budget as limiting factors will most likely keep the list reasonably short without being too limiting.
What I do when wondering what bike I should get, I'm looking at what others ride who do rides I'm planning to do.
 
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Alain

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Oct 8, 2019
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@pedalist, Thanks for the suggestion. I have yet to visit some bicycle shop to ask for advice. I am also thinking about having some basic clothing such as a cycling jacket. That would limit my bike budget :)
 

Alain

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Oct 8, 2019
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Hello all!

After various web search, a Giant store visit and a "counselling session but struggling in Japanese" in a Y's road shop, my current short list looks like:

- Cannondale Topstone Sora
- Renegade Explore (I have not checked out properly Renegade S4 or Renegate expat Claris)
- Fuji Jari 2.3
- Giant Revolt 2

Few comments, on the fly, which lead me to this list:
  • Frame / Fork / Handlebar:
    • Tire clearance is nice! Most of the bikes in my short list are up to 42mm for 700c which I believe to be OK for my beginner level
    • Ideally, quite light as I have to carry the bike to get it home. Also, if I use it sometime for commuting, I have to carry it in the stairways
    • I might have some accessories (light, smartphone holder, GPS?) so some place on the handler bar for that would be nice
    • Riding position would be an endurance-like position, more upright
    • Rear rack mount is a must
    • Ideally not a black or white coloured frame
  • Components:
    • Sora groupset is fine. I feel a higher end groupset would be an irrelevant privilege for me for the moment
    • I am not too focused on the crankset size. Ideally, a 1:1 ratio would be nice for climbing with some bags on the back. I believe it leads to some compact 50/34T crank with some 11-34T cassette.
  • Brakes
    • Disc brakes. As for mechanical vs hydraulic, I guess my budget will make me focus on mechanical, which I don't mind
  • Wheel / Tires
    • Quick releases wheels, for going on the train I assume
    • If the frame has a nice tire clearance, some 35mm+ tires would be nice
    • Tubeless vs Tube: I do not mind either way
  • Budget:
    • around 180~200k yens for everything, including some clothing and some accessories, so I was thinking about 120k yens for the bike. I am tempted to try clipless pedals so I would need the pedals and the shoes.
    • I might have skipped some series / models. Specialized looked expensive to me so I did not have a deep look on the Diverge series. Merida Silex, apart from the Silex-100, price tag is quite high so I skipped. Etc, etc

I visited a Giant store but all Giant stores do not have the Revolt as testing bike and its geometry is slightly different from its Contend cousin so it's hard to try and compare.

I also went to Y's Road Shinjuku and there were no testing bike. I'll try another Y's road later on. After discussing quite a lot with a Y's road staff, he oriented me towards the Topstone Sora, mainly for its lightweight compared to the others. Some other points we discussed:
  • Giant Revolt 2 is the most expensive in the list and the mechanical/hydraulic hybrid adapter on the front which might prevent adding some accessories
  • I like the Jari 2.3 blue color. Both Renegade Explore and Jari 2.3, being steel frame, are a bit heavier than the Topstone.
  • The Jari handlebars, more curved than the others, looked quite nice! Apart from that, I feel like the Jari 2.3 and Renegade explore are quite equal.
I am not planning to buy it right now, still searching for opinion and stuff. If you have any comment / opinion, please share it!

Thanks a bunch

Happy rides all
 

pedalist

Maximum Pace
At one point I had all of those bikes on my list as well. Though I like steel bikes for the Jari I like the Jari 1.x series a little better, due to some of the more modern features like thru-axles. But those add a couple of hundreds onto the price tag.
Anyway, I've got no first hand experience on any of those or similar bikes. But I think you're on the right way. I'm curious what you'll get in the end.
 
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joewein

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In my experience test rides can be difficult to have at Japanese bike shops.

I understand about weight while carrying a bike on a train, but ultimately a kg or two make little difference even then. On the road, the weight will add maybe a couple of minutes in a long day of riding. If you're serious about climbing performance, your first consideration should be rider fitness and body weight.

Sora is a decent group set. Not the lightest and only 9 speed, but it works well as long as it's properly maintained (same as for Tiagra, 105 and Ultegra).

I like the 46/30 crank with 11-34 cassette gearing of the Cannondale Topstone for its decent gear range. I never heard of the model of disk brake it uses though. Most likely that's somewhere they cut cost. Make no mistake, all four bikes use entry level disk brakes. Through axle is a good match for disk brakes. On the downside, it doesn't have the rack mounts on the fork. But a handlebar bag, seatpost bag and triangle bag have worked very well for a lot of bike packers.

The Renegade has rack mounts on the fork but significantly higher gearing (50/34 with 11:32). Its disk brakes are also low budget.

The Fuji Jari goes up to 47c with 650B, which is nice. Rack eyelets on the fork. Through axle on the front, QR on the rear is fine. The front is where it's most useful. Same 46/30 FSA crank as on the Topstone, but an 11-36 cassette for even lower gears sounds great. I prefer cro-moly over aluminium (Topstone, Renegade) though people tell me aluminium can ride as smooth and be as long lasting as steel. Having experienced a chainstay broken from metal fatigue on an aluminium frame (admittedly only after years of use), I'm not convinced. The Jari is 2 kg heavier than the others, which should not be a knock-out criterion, but it makes me wonder a bit if it may be built for fully loaded touring with thicker walled tubing. I would prefer something a little less stiff than a fully loaded touring frame.

The Giant Revolt 2 has a 48/32 crank with 11-34 cassette. Not quite as low as the Jari or Topstone but lower than the Renegade.

Regarding Tubeless vs. Tubes, I am not convinced of the benefit of tubeless except on MTB trails. For road (and limited gravel) use they seem more hassle than they offer benefits.
 

Alain

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Thanks @pedalist and @joewein for checking out!

If I need to carry something on the front, I planned to use a handlebar bag. I said "I don't want it" to skip a criteria on the fork. Also, I have the impression having both rear and front, also adding some weight, are for quite a touring: two rear bags are more than enough for some week-end / few days ride.

Weight is mainly for my luxury so the Jari 2.3 is clearly not excluded: purely from an aesthetic point of view, my preference goes with the Jari 2.3, blue version.

Good point for through axle / quick release. I haven't checked in detail the axle question. I was set on quick release, maybe for my laziness, but after reading on the web, it appears that thru-axle is not that complicated for removing the wheel, just being careful not to rush back the installation. It's not like I have to remove it everyday anyway.

As for tubeless, I never experienced it. I'll maybe see the need that tubeless later.

I'll keep those point in mind when going back to check bikes. Thanks for the insight!
 

jdd

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If I need to carry something on the front, I planned to use a handlebar bag. I said "I don't want it" to skip a criteria on the fork. Also, I have the impression having both rear and front, also adding some weight, are for quite a touring: two rear bags are more than enough for some week-end / few days ride.
I'm not a touring expert, but I think fork-mounted bags are supposed to be the best place to carry weight (e.g., put your heavier stuff there if you also have rear pans). Maybe less convenient or accessible, but best for handling/ride.
 
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