Some help in finding a roadbike good for touring

stuzenz

Warming-Up
Sep 21, 2009
5
0
0
Meguro
#1
Hi,

A friend of mine suggested I posted my question to this forum of gurus.

I am ready to move from a crossbike (Giant FCR2 2008) to something a little more swish.

Inside the last year I have done about 8,000km, mostly touring on 2 or 3 day trips with a tent on the back carrier with a couple of friends. Mainly to places like Izu (Numazu to Izukogen) Fuji 5 lakes, Okutama etc. I also use the bike to get around instead of trains, and carry a change of clothes for work each day on the back of the bike.

So, I am caught in a bit of a bind, I don't want a touring bike, I would like a roadbike, preferably carbon, but something that can take the punishment of having a backcarrier with about 5kg of weight on it. I am 170cm, 80kg myself.

I quite like the 2009 felt z25, it sounds like a comfortable ride but has good performance, and the value-cost proposition seems good. I am just a little concerned about using a seat post-positioned back carrier adding about 5kg to the weight on a slightly different forcing against the bike than regular sitting would do - I am hoping someone can tell me that I am just being a little paranoid and all should be good.

Does anyone have experience with the Felt Z25, or their slightly racier counterpart the Felt F3SL? Are there some other options I should look at?

I appreciate any thoughts and advice.

Cheers,
Stuart
p.s. There is a wealth of knowledge in these forums, I will scavenge through them more later - after a quick ride. Thanks for all the efforts on the site.
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,514
213
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Noda
japanichiban.com
#2
With the clothes carrying... I had a TOPEAK bag on the back of my seat tube that also acted as a mud guard... and I used it for a while. It held my clothes for changing at work and a few other bits and pieces... in the end I found it easier to just use a back pack. You sweat anyway so you need to towel down before you change anyway.

It's also faster to get off the bike lock it up and head inside with a back pack rather than fiddle around with the bike bag (even thought the TOPEAK one clips off quick enough).

I could carry more stuff as well in my back pack. (sometimes my laptop).

With the heavy bike bag I also found the bike handles poorly when cornering and can even throw the back wheel off when cornering as the center of gravity is not over the saddle where it should be.

Back packs usually come with wet weather covers and the protection in rain and mud from the back pack is often better than a mud guard...

2 cents...
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#3
Im with Edogawakikkoman on this,

I commute 70km round trip everyday from Yokohama to Tokyo and I carry everything on my back. Luck for me I have a locker at work so I normally keep a weeks worth of shirts & suits there, I also use a back pack on Monday and Friday to ferry in my underwear so that I can be slipstreamed for theother days.

I have 2 types of bag, one rucksack that is extreme weather and then my Camelbak racing bag which is very narrow and has the capacity of about 4 jersey pockets and is great if I need some extra space but don't want to have a huge back pack on my back.

I would recommend you keep the roadbike as pure as possible, as it will enhance the ride and won't feel like just another tourer.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,512
639
133
Kanazawa
#5
I have an earlier, now discontinued, version of this bike: (5.2)

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/pilot/pilot21/

I haven't seen the new ones in person, but look closely at that page (hover your cursor over the bike)--it at least appears that on the seat stays there are attachment points for a rack. It might be worth an email to Trek or a shop visit to check on.

They're geared right for Japan, IMNSHO...

My older version (which does not have those attachment points) would handle fenders if needed--there's clearance and the front/rear dropouts have eyelets for that--and note the fender attachment point on the back of the seat tube above the front derailleur.

Add a backpack and you're in business.
 
May 22, 2007
3,591
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Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#6
Yes, a seatpost-mounted carrier does affect handling. I still prefer it to a backpack, though; I generate too much heat in back and shoulders and can't stand to have anything restrict the airflow there even in winter.

So I use a Topeak MTX "V" rack and their biggest MTX trunk bag. It's too big most days, but I'm too lazy and sleepy to transfer spare tubes, tools etc. around between bags first thing in the morning, and it holds a lot of luggage when I need it to.

A seatpost rack can't be used on a carbon bike - to much tension in all the wrong places. But if you get Al or steel it's an option.

--Mike--
 

stuzenz

Warming-Up
Sep 21, 2009
5
0
0
Meguro
#7
Thanks for all the advice

Edogawakikkoman, Fareast, Mike,

Thanks for your thoughts. I wish I could carry a bag on my back, but I do too much camp-based touring with a tent to make it practical.

Today I went off to the Y's Road in Kunitachi and got the same advice from one of the staff there about how putting a back carrier on a carbon wouldn't be the brightest move. Oddly enough, after test-sitting (I know how sad that sounds when making an investment like I am about to) on a Felt Z series bike, I went off to Nalsima Frends around Harajuku and was told it should be fine up to 7-8kg.

I know it isn't going to be a brilliant move, but I have caught the bug to buy a nice (well nice for me) carbon bike and I can't see too many options for taking my gear with me. I might buy a reasonable sized front bag, so I can redistribute the weight a little bit.

Jdd,
I hadn't considered Trek, but I will add it to the list.

The list of preference after being at Nalsima Frends is as follows:
Felt Z25
Merckx LXM
Look 566 with Shimano gears or with Ultera gears
2010 Pinarello FP2
Scott CR-1

maybe Trek - need to research first though

I wanted to take advantage of discounts on the 2009 models, so I will probably knock the 2010 Pinarello off the list, and I was not too taken with the Scott CR-1, so that is an unlikely contender too. The first 3 are high on the list. Merckx looks like it could be a nice bike, Look 566 is suppose to be a good bike, a little more than what I was going to spend though, Z25 feels good to sit on, and has good reviews.

By the way, Nalsima frends were fantastic, very detailed advice, and good attention to what kind of rider I am and what I currently ride in what kind of position etc.

Time to read some reviews and start looking and shaving some bikes off the list.

Any thoughts please add them to the thread.

Thanks for your advice everyone.

Cheers,
stu
p.s. I feel like a bit of a dropkick for practically ignoring the advice about not using the back carrier on the frame, but I already have an aluminium bike, and I test rode a steel one, but carbon seems to be singing the best tune at the moment.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,661
477
103
Japan
#8
seatpost rack hanging off the seatpost(clamped on just above the seat tube) that has plenty of post down the seat tube will not be a problem on a carbon bike. I know the image of carbon bikes is brittle but with a light load like the 5kgs you said there is no problem. It will handle like a bitch but at least the stuff is off your back.Re the forces coming from a different angle, bollocks. The seat post takes forces from the rear everytime you go over a bump. 5 kgs is less than 7% of your body weight. Unless the felt has warning stickers for fat people ride free from worry. If you are looking at light touring with the inevitable overloading we force our bags to do I would suggest a back pack like the others have suggested for daily commute and for the touring, get a rack that will go through the skewer on your QR and up to your brake bridge. Lowering the weight will give you a better handling bike cause the steeper geometries of a sports styled roadie will make it more of a handful than your current ride. http://www.axiomgear.com/products/gear/racks/rear-racks/streamliner-road-dlx/ gets everything down low.

The Topeak seatpost racks here http://www.topeak.com/products/Racks/RXBeamRack_w_side_frameV-Type work well but sit really high. If I were going the seatpost route I would buy an old metal post and really clamp the rack in good. I would swap out seat posts if were going to go on a fast ride. Good luck on the bike hunt.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#9
I'd agree with kiwisimon; carbon is a lot stronger than people give it credit and I don't see any reason why you couldn't mount a rack providing your seatpost is a good few cms into the seattube.

Longer chainstays will go a long way to solving handling issues with a Topeak-style mount; I don't have the geometry info in front of me, but it's possible that the Felt Z series and 566 in your list have them (being more comfort oriented models).

Like Mike, I can't stand wearing a backpack when riding. I have two Carradice bags, the smallest Barley and the largest Nelson Longflap. You need some kind of mounting adapter/rack if you don't have saddle loops that typically only come with Brooks saddles, but there are a number of options, from Carradice and others.

They look twee or pleasantly retro, depending on your point of view, but the reason I like them is they mount close to the center of gravity and don't swing around in the air like seatpost racks can. Even on my racier Ridley, they are pretty close to invisible in terms of their impact on handling.

The Longflap is plenty big enough for credit-card touring (up to a week, I'd say, if you go minimalist), but packing a tent etc might be tight.

Anyway, hth. Have fun bike shopping. :)
 

stuzenz

Warming-Up
Sep 21, 2009
5
0
0
Meguro
#10
Thanks Simon

Hi Simon,

Thanks for the good advice on carriers. I am feeling more and more comfortable with the decision as the minutes tick by.

I have spent the morning reading reviews on bikes, and trying to find a good deal on one of the bikes.

At this stage I think I am going to knock them all out of contention - except for the Z25. Maybe I am just being lazy, I like the idea of the lifetime guarantee on the Felt (Look is 5 years). I know that there is a bit of what the bold print giveth, the small print taketh philosophy, still it gives a little bit of piece of mind.

Also, without being able to test ride the models it becomes a bit of a guessing game anyway.

Will think about it for a day or 2 and then bite the bullet come payday.

cheers,
stu
 

stuzenz

Warming-Up
Sep 21, 2009
5
0
0
Meguro
#11
Thanks Phil

Hi Phil,

Thanks for the advice. I will check out the items you mentioned.

I don't know a lot about the physics/stresses on bikes. Still, due to the lack of anecdotal evidence in forums of damage being done by back carriers to carbon frames I think I will give it a shot. Chances are it will be alright.

Now the tricky part. Felt Z25 vs. the other models I mentioned. All the mentioned bikes seems to have their converts.

I think I will measure myself up and see what fits my funny looking shape best.

Thanks!
-stu
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,661
477
103
Japan
#12
Now the tricky part. Felt Z25 vs. the other models I mentioned. All the mentioned bikes seems to have their converts.
-stu
Re:the reviews: Anyone that has dropped over 2 grand on a bike is emotionally invested in the thing. Most negative reviews will probably be from folks who have moved on, usually to a more expensive model, or they "test rode" it. Seriously all the bikes you mentioned are good bikes. You need to look at geometries and graphics. The former should weigh more heavily in your decision but it's usually the latter that seals the deal. Groupsets - is all pretty much swings and roundabouts. Go for the best vibe you get, including the shop and the staff. Service counts(or it should) in this industry.
 

Philip

Speeding Up
Feb 15, 2007
765
7
38
Setagaya
#13
Hi Stu,

Take a look at the Tubus Fly rear rack. It is a lightweight rack that can be attached using a converted rear QR skewer and a single bridge to the rear brake bolt. This means you do not need to clamp anything to your carbon frame and the center of gravity is kept low.

These guys have done a write-up on it because many people ask the same question you have asked:

http://www.thetouringstore.com/TUBUS/Fly/FLY PAGE.htm

I also like Phil's Carradice depending on what you need to carry.

Cheers,

Philip
 

stuzenz

Warming-Up
Sep 21, 2009
5
0
0
Meguro
#15
Kiwisimon, Phillip,

Simon,
Thanks for the advice on reviews. I think I have made up my mind. I cut it all back to the Look 566 and Felt Z25. Out of those 2 bikes, the Felt Z25 was reviewed better by a couple of magazines who covered both bikes. Still not a very scientific means for the final selection criteria, but the Felt is going to be 60,000 yen less as well (if I kit it out the Look 566 with the same wheels.)

I was also happy with the sizing of the Felt when I sat on a lower end model.

I am going to call the shop today, and see if I can get a slightly better deal by going directly through to them with a bank transfer over going through rakuten and creditcard - worth a shot.

Phillip,

Thanks, that rack looks similar in design to another I was looking at. I am going to get the bike in about a week, so it gives me a bit of time to hunt around for all the usual bits and pieces to kit it out with. I can see another wiggle order being made... does anyone have other good online bike shops they think I should look at for accessories?

Thanks everyone for the abundance of help and suggestions. I look forward to doing a tokyo cycling club ride in the future.

Cheers,
Stu
 

Kaffekata

Warming-Up
Apr 27, 2008
51
0
0
Tokyo, Jpn
#16
Just as a suggestion, you might take a look at the Jamis Quest - available on-line at QBEI. Looks like it would do dble duty as tourer/racer, especially with its ultegra/105 combo.