Touring - Upgrading a Giant Iguana Disc for East-West winter tour...
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10-01-06, 09:55 AM
I have an '03 Giant Iguana with disc brakes. Right now most everything on it is stock and I am pretty happy with it (I did put road slicks on it for commuting). However, I am soon going to convert it into an Xtracycle (http://www.xtracycle.com/) and would like to upgrade and replace some of the other components as well in preparation for a cross country tour I will be doing in January and February.
For reference, you can view the stock specs of this bike (http://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/030.000.000/030.000.006.asp?year=2003&model=10634).
I would like advice on which are the most sensible components to upgrade. The bike has probably about 3,000 miles on it right now. I keep it well cleaned and maintained and have changed the chain and rear cassette a couple times as well as the brake pads, but that's it. (I'm not super knowledgeable about these things yet).
I am thinking a new crank, a better seat for touring, a new cassette, new tires, and new cables are in order. Maybe a new rear wheel to better support the loads on the Xtracycle (something with more spokes? I need help here.)
What brands and parts would you recommend? What other components should I check/service/replace?
My budget is $400.
Thanks in advance,
10-01-06, 12:53 PM
I don't know if swapping out the crankset is really necessary. I would definitely get the bottom bracket checked out, but cranks can go a good long time before breaking. You might consider different gear rings, but I'd bet that your cranks are still good.
A new saddle might be a good idea, especially if you don't like the one that you have right now. If you haven't had any problems with your current saddle there may not be any need to replace it. Nowhere is it written that every touring cyclist has to have a Brooks B17. I've done a lot of touring on fairly crappy saddles and I've gotten on alright, although saddle sores have been an issue at times.
Definitely get a new cassette and a new chain before you start. Or if you depart with an old cassette and chain you should make sure to stop at bike shops periodically to keep track of the rate at which you chain is wearing, so that you can swap it with a new one when the old chain/cassette combo wears out.
I would strongly recommend new cables and tires. And it might be a good idea to carry a foldup tire with you. I've had two tires fail on extended tours, and let me tell you, it isn't fun to get stranded with a shredded tire.
A new wheel is an absolute must! Some people tour on 32 spoke wheels, but that's just plain silly if you ask me. And you are going to be converting to an xtracycle, which indicates to me that you intend to carry a whole lot of weight on the back of your bike. I would look to get a double eyeletted, 36 spoke touring rim for your rear wheel. Mavic makes good rims, but there are other good companies out there too. If you tell your LBS what you are looking for in a wheel, namely great load bearing capacity, they should be able to show you a few good options in a catalog.
I don't see any reason why most of the other components on your bike shouldn't work for touring. I prefer road handlebars myself, but you see a lot of people out there touring with flat handlebars. That's just a matter of personal comfort. Make sure to get your bike throughly inspected and tuned up by your LBS before heading out on the road.
Winter touring sounds pretty hardcore man. If you are going to be touring in sub-freezing temperatures make sure that you have lots of good equipment. Cold weather shoes and gloves could be the most important items, but good, warm biking clothes, a good tent and a very good sleeping bag are important too. If you make it across the country in February in the northern United States you will earn my undying admiration.
10-01-06, 02:45 PM
Thanks so much for the good advice. I will be touring in winter time, but I plan on going along the southern route. I would like to head up from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon and then over through Nevada to San Francisco, but I hear this is not particularly recommended during winter. I'm still trying to get more information on that. If it's too insane, I will just go straight through to San Diego and up the California coast.
A 3000 mile bike is new, as long as the pattern of use has been reasonable. So all you need to do is change anything that may not be touring worthy like certain gear ratios and the seat, and do the 3000 mile service package, which for me would be rebuild all the bearings, and relubricate or replace all the cables. Get new brake pads as required, rotors, whatever. Since you may need the chain and cassette anyway, either replace those or clean really well.
10-02-06, 07:31 PM
So does anyone know where I can find a 26", 36-spoke, 6-bolt disc rear wheel? I've looked and looked and looked but came up empty handed. Will ask my LBS soon, but they are always closed by the time I get done with class.
10-02-06, 11:29 PM
They're pretty pricey though, but they will build and send you complete wheels.
I think the way to go will be to find a twenty six inch, thirty six hole rim, and a seperate 36 hole hub. Your LBS should be able to build you a wheel if you get the rim and hub seperate.
I would look online for touring rims that fit the size and hole count specifications that you are looking for, and get price quotes. Ask your LBS if they have the rim you are looking for, or if they can order it, once you find what you like. Ask the wrench at your shop if he has any other recommendations.
Here's a rim that I found on nashbar.com that might be good for you:
10-03-06, 09:03 PM
10-04-06, 01:38 AM
My pleasure. If you have any other questions I'll be happy to help if I can.
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