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Photo by Adam Coppola
There are few touring components that have been neglected by the industry more than wheels. Most stock touring bikes incorporate their own custom-built wheels to accommodate the rugged conditions they will face. This is great if you're purchasing a new bike; however, it can be frustrating if you're searching out a new wheelset for your existing bike. While discouraging, there are still ways to obtain the perfect wheelset in this situation, a custom build being among the best choices.
I just attended the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas for the fourth time, but this year I decided to go early for the “outdoor demo days” in Bootleg Canyon, about 30 miles outside of the city. Understatement of the year: it was a great decision.
When you see or hear the words "Laramie, Wyoming," the first thing that comes to mind might be things like guns, horses, and classic westerns—say, The Man from Laramie, a great 1955 shoot-'em-up starring Jimmy Stewart.
Designing a touring tire with the optimal mix of puncture resistance, durability, a plush feel, and a low rolling resistance is nothing short of difficult. Fortunately, Schwalbe has put out a plethora of touring style tires that balance out the different tire characteristics to fit a wide variety of rider preferences and terrain. On the flip side, having a large quantity of options can also be intimidating. Instead of running down all of the tires in Schwalbe's Marathon lineup, I'll hit three tires that provide a good representation of what they have to offer.
Few things are more frustrating than having to fix a flat tire on the road. If the weather is ideal, it's little more than an interruption to an otherwise excellent day. But if the weather is miserable, prepare to prolong your misery. No matter what the situation is, you want to get the tire fixed as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, a good frame pump or mini-pump will never compare to a good floor pump, but there are some out there that come close, and will get you back on the road in a hurry. Here are a few pointers to help you select the right pump for your needs.
The Trekk Seat Collar by Axiom is an excellent fix for riders who want to add a rear rack to their bicycle, but whose bikes lack the necessary eyelets. The seat collar provides two threaded eyelets that can be reached by most rear racks. The seat post clamp doesn't take on a great deal of load, so you can continue to figure your maximum load based on the recommendation of your particular rack. The only requirement for your bike is a set of fender eyelets near the rear dropouts, which most non-racing models will have.