Beginner Endurance bike (Building up to LEJOG)

Uke22

New Member
Hi all,

I’m new to this incredible sport but I’ve set my eyes on building up to do LEJOG someday. Endurance cycling really appeals to me for a lot of reasons. I’ve been doing some research and I’m thinking about getting the GIANR CONTEND AR3. It’s over my initial budget but I’m happy with it as an investment .

I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how this bike would be for endurance, if it could handle panniers etc. Would be really appreciated, cheers!
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
Most of the geometry looks fairly sensible for comfortable riding, but the chainstays seem a bit on the short side if you want to fit panniers. If you look at the geometry of traditional touring & utility bikes, they tend to have more heel clearance. The Giant also comes without mudguards, which is absolutely useless for anything other than fair weather cycling. Any bike which is seriously aimed at distance riding is going to come fully equipped for it, the Giant is going to need more money spent on making it suitable for what you want it for, and it is already over your budget to start with.
Bikes bought new are never an investment. They depreciate horrendously just like luxury cars. In a couple of years it will be worth less than half what a new one costs. I buy all my bikes secondhand, and let someone else lose money on them instead.
 

Edwardoka

Prolix Maximus
Hi,

LEJOG is a really excellent adventure, so good luck in your training. I'm jealous!

This bike doesn't have rack mount eyelets so will not be able to carry panniers, though you would be able to have a bikepacking setup where luggage is mounted on the seatpost, handlebars and inside the frame triangle.

As John says, the lack of mudguards will make for some unpleasant riding when the weather turns foul, but the frame seems to have enough clearance for a decent set.

Aluminium is considered to be one of the worse frame materials for endurance, because of the material thickness the frames tend to be very stiff, although that's not to say that it's impossible - I've done a couple of tours on alu bikes with panniers (including JoGLE on an aluminium mountain bike), but my steel tourer was just so much better suited and more comfortable when riding day after day.

Finally, you'll definitely want a larger range of gears than those offered by a compact double, if you'll be carrying lots of stuff.

Cheers,
Ed
 

YukonBoy

The Monch
Location
Inside my skull
Seems to be only 24 spokes per wheel unless I’ve mis counted. If a spoke fails, those wheels will get seriously wobbly if not unrideable. For something like Lejog I’d suggest something with more traditional spoke counts for reliability.

As above not setup for mudguards or a rack to carry gear. Bike packing stuff is available but it’s not necessarily as accessible as traditional touring setups. If you want a bike for touring why not look at something designed for it?

What are you riding at the moment? Lejog has been done on all and every variety of bike.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
Seems to be only 24 spokes per wheel unless I’ve mis counted. If a spoke fails, those wheels will get seriously wobbly if not unrideable. For something like Lejog I’d suggest something with more traditional spoke counts for reliability.
I wouldn't be riding anywhere on 24 spoke wheels for the reason you state, lack of redundancy in the event of a failure. Nothing I ride has less than 32 spokes, and that is a front wheel which is not so heavily loaded. All my rear wheels are either 36 or 40 spokes.
 
Location
London
Agree on spokes - I am generally trying to standardise on 36 these days - makes things simpler for rerimming. And carrying four "extra" spokes on the front will help my rigorous training regime.

(Luckily on a dahon sports bike I managed to swerve on eof their options with a ludicrously low spoke count)
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
Agree on spokes - I am generally trying to standardise on 36 these days.
Harmonising front and rear wheels at 36 spokes apiece seems to have been done with mass production in mind, so only one rim variant needs to be stocked rather than two.
From an engineering perspective, a 36H front wheel is probably a bit over-engineered and a 36H rear, has a bit less in reserve than might be ideal. For most riders, they are not going to be loading their wheels right to their limits, so the mismatch isn't critical.
However, if you look at old-school hardcore utility bikes such as my Raleigh 3-speed, the rear wheel is 40H, and I don't think Raleigh just did that on a whim because back in the days when they were building a million or more bikes a year, saving four spokes per wheel could have added up to a substantial amount of material and assembly time annually. The fact they went the whole hog and specified 40 spokes in the rears even though doing so increased their production costs, suggests there was a meaningful strength/reliability advantage.
 

CanucksTraveller

Macho Business Donkey Wrestler
Location
Hertfordshire
If you're buying a bike with the intention of distance touring and LEJOG, get a tourer. Something like a Genesis Tour de Fer, same price roughly but you get stronger 36 spoke wheels, racks and mudguards are already included and fitted, 3 bottle cages, longer stays for pannier clearance, triple chainset for varied terrain, thicker tyres that will provide more comfort and will handle gravel tracks... it's just designed to do what you're planning and the Giant isn't. What you're doing at the moment is roughly equivalent to buying a Mini Cooper to take your large family across the UK. It'll do it, but it's far from ideal.
 

gzoom

Well-Known Member
Humm steel frames, wheels with 40 spokes, triple rings....gosh some you guys must enjoy going as slowly as possible:laugh:?

I did the LEJOG on this, no triples, no mudguards, no silly massive rear cassette. Wouldn't have wanted to do the ride on a heavier/slower bike!!

8934189191_d3d1d0aebd_c_d.jpg
 
Location
London
Humm steel frames, wheels with 40 spokes, triple rings....gosh some you guys must enjoy going as slowly as possible:laugh:?

I did the LEJOG on this, no triples, no mudguards, no silly massive rear cassette. Wouldn't have wanted to do the ride on a heavier/slower bike!!

View attachment 552321
and what were you carrying?
nice-ish pic by the way, but no real info on the bike or its gearing.
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
I think this bike does have rack and mudguard mounts. At least according to this review it does: Rack and mudguard mounts add versatility making the Contend a great choice for commuting and winter training. https://www.tredz.co.uk/help-advice/guides-reviews/reviews/bikes/road/giant-contend-range. And this one too The Contend also gets integrated rack and fender mounts, https://www.bikeradar.com/news/giants-new-entry-level-road-bike-the-contend/

It takes up to a 40mm tyre so it should have a ton of clearance.

Spoke count is too technical for me to comment on, but note that wheels are replaceable, so you can consider that a matter for tuning nearer your expedition.

As for gearing, only you will be able to know what you need. Take suggestions that you will obviously "need" a triple with a pinch of salt. That bike goes down to a 1:1 (34/34) bottom gear which may not be sufficient for lugging a massively loaded tourer up a mountain but it may well prove to be perfectly fine for you.

One thing I would say is that if you are starting out you don't know what you want yet. You don't know what your gearing preferences are, what your preferred way of carrying stuff is and so on. So you might want to be prepared to replace (or add to!) your bike once you have found these things out. I don't really know what your budget is - and it's none of my business anyway - but one approach would be to buy something well below budget to begin with, then when you've figured out your own personal preferences are, what you particularly like/dislike about your low budget bike, and what you do/do not want and need, and what kind of cyclist you are - then you will be choosing on the basis of your own knowledge not some randoms on the internet.

It's also worth bearing in mind that LEJOG can be all kinds of things. It can be a camping expedition lugging a tent and cooking equipment and goodness knows what else, "bikepacking" TCR-stylee, B&B hopping with minimal luggage or lightweight with a support vehicle. They're all perfectly valid ways and have different requirements.

Lastly, your bike needs to be fun to ride. You may have LEJOG in your mind as an ultimate goal but it will be a small proportion of the total miles you cover on your overall cycling journey. Who knows, you may get more into cycling and decide that LEJOG/ multi-day touring is not for you but something else is. If you go all-in on a LEJOG-specific bike now you may find in 2 years time that you wish you had bought something else.

I would add that I've never done, and don't intend to do, LEJOG so I'm speaking from a position of total ignorance of the specifics of that.
 
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Uke22

New Member
Thanks everyone. Unfortunately I didn't get a notification that there'd been responses to the post so I thought no one had responded. Really useful tips, thinking of going for a slightly cheaper bike as someone said and then working with that to see what my preferences actually are. Thanks for all the help!
 
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