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  1. #1
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    building a touring bike...

    So as title says "building a touring bike..." Guess what I'm doing! So the advantage to building a bike is you can go as expensive or as cheap you want. My question is what parts on a touring bike could one go "cheap" with? I'm building up a Surly LHT. I'm planning on some weekend overnighters. Nothing too far... at least not yet. I mean it seems every part you'd want good not cheap, so...? Also this will be my first touring bike and who knows maybe I'll be weird and not like touring. I highly doubt that but ya never know... So maybe I should skip building my own and just buy complete? Any advice or price comparing would be helpful? One more thing sorry for the horrible question... It's my first post.

  2. #2
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    Check out the Trek 520. It has been the "standard" touring bike for decades and is an excellent starting point for both price and equipment choice comparisons.

    It's track record is so well established that anything that works on it should be suitable for your build. You might find you can buy a complete 520 for the same or less than what it will cost to buy and build up the LHT. The's particularly true if you don't already have any components you can use.

  3. #3
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    I'm with Hillrider on this one...

    There are several rationales for building up your own bike - but "cheaper" isn't really one of them unless you've got other bikes to plunder or lots of components lying around.

    If you've never toured before, then getting a (complete) 520 or a LHT will at least give you a truly economical starting point that is well thought out (and well thought of).

    Just my .02

  4. #4
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    Kinda' hard to go wrong with HillRider's suggestion.

    So we're clear ... do you already OWN the LHT frame??

    I just looked at my local Craigslist. Near me, there are -- right now -- several 520's of different ages and frame sizes for sale, between $250 and $1200.

  5. #5
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    sLook at the LHT complete and you'll get the idea of where to go cheap.

    I consider XT hubs cheap, and I wouldn't recommend them. But, you can save a lot of money using them. So, there's a contradiction to ponder.

    You don't need an XT RD. A Deore will work fine.

    Bag the Tektro Oryx, get the CR720's or something better.

    Go cheap on the seatpost and stem.


    Whatever you choose, don't cut your fork too short. The bikes in the photos are anything but touring friendly to me. The bars are always too low.


    Full "custom" and "cheap" don't go together very well.

  6. #6
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    The fully built version of the LHT is a great value.

    Sure, it's not a custom, but you might save enough to change things to your liking.
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  7. #7
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    as others have said, unless you have half-a-bike's worth of parts laying around it is difficult to get a bike as good for as cheap as you can get a pre-built bike like a LHT or 520 (or others).

    But if you insist on building one yourself-

    go cheap on derailleurs, bars, stem, seatpost, crankset, and bar-end shifters instead of sti.

    Get good quality hubs, rims and spokes (and a professional hand-build for maximum durability), tires, and spare no expense for the saddle that is most comfortable for you (yours might be a $200 brooks or a $5.99 Bell from Mega-lo-Mart).

    Good luck!

  8. #8
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    Jamis Aurora, complete; assembled by a competent shop. Should be around the $1k CAD mark, excellent bike for that price,.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  9. #9
    on your left.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
    go cheap on derailleurs, bars, stem, seatpost, crankset, and bar-end shifters instead of sti.

    Get good quality hubs, rims and spokes (and a professional hand-build for maximum durability), tires, and spare no expense for the saddle that is most comfortable for you (yours might be a $200 brooks or a $5.99 Bell from Mega-lo-Mart).

    Good luck!
    I wouldn't go cheap on the derailleurs, having good quality will cause you a lot less hassles in the end. but yes to everything else he said.

    also, that saddle thing is definitely true. my saddle of choice is a Bontrager "race" saddle i picked up at a bike swap for $10.
    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    I learned this the hard way. They say that experience is the best teacher, but I would have been preferred to just read about it on the internet.

  10. #10
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garthr View Post
    sLook at the LHT complete and you'll get the idea of where to go cheap.

    I consider XT hubs cheap, and I wouldn't recommend them. But, you can save a lot of money using them. So, there's a contradiction to ponder.

    You don't need an XT RD. A Deore will work fine.

    Bag the Tektro Oryx, get the CR720's or something better.

    Go cheap on the seatpost and stem.


    Whatever you choose, don't cut your fork too short. The bikes in the photos are anything but touring friendly to me. The bars are always too low.


    Full "custom" and "cheap" don't go together very well.
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with XT hubs. Remember they are one step below the top of Shimano's mountain bike line. There's nothing wrong with them. Finding a 36 hole XT could be problematic, however.
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  11. #11
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    Ok , first off let say thank you for the advice and quick responses. Now, secondly, let me say that I'm not building this bike to be "cheap". I know building a custom and staying cheap is like driving a Lamborghini and saying "I only want it to commute...no speeding."... Yeah right... I used know a thing two about bikes. I've just never gone touring. So I don't know really if theres little things ya cant trim down on and other things to work up good. I know I'm not trimming down on wheels, tires, and rear derailer. But what about the front derailer? Or the brakes? Thats more along the lines of what I was asking. I guess it boils down to a price jump question... If were to go down on some parts how much more is it to build your own LHT compared to the complete.

  12. #12
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    front derailers are pretty much useless, just ditch it entirely and shift with your heel.

    Brakes, you can't beat cr720's for price or effectiveness

    Spend as much on wheels as your frame

  13. #13
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    Thank you for this response... A good tip on brakes and wheels. I was thinking the front derailer was less used thank you.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by lilolme View Post
    Thank you for this response... A good tip on brakes and wheels. I was thinking the front derailer was less used thank you.
    If you use barend shifters, the front derailleur choice is much less critical since friction shifting will cover a multitude of sins.

    If you are going to use STI or similar indexing brifters, matching the fd to the crank and chain configuration is much more important.

    I wouldn't minimize the need for good front shifting. When you need low gears RIGHT NOW, it's better if the fd works properly.

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