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  1. #1
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    I'm so indecisive, help me build a Bike Friday Pocket Llama!

    Hey there. So, i'm trying to build a Pocket Llama. So far, a few things are constant:

    The bike will have LX-XT level components.

    The bike will be used for intermediate, non-aggressive cross country riding, heavy touring, commuting, and travel. In some cases, cross country may be mixed with touring (expedition touring)

    I'm really indecisive on some things. Mostly, the bars.

    I can't decide between:

    WTB Mountain Road Drop Bar

    Nitto Moustache Bar

    Titec H-Bar (owned)

    Higher end standard riser bar (Ritchey WCS, Truvativ Noir, etc)
    (I see that the Truvativ Noir has less rise and more sweep than most risers, which interests me, comfort wise!)

    Has anyone used any of these bars?

    If you were to choose a set-up for a travel bike like the Llama for a bar that would be comfortable all day and able to handle rides across varying off-road terrain in the cross country category, what would it be?

    I am personally most familiar with risers and the Titec H-bar. I like the H-bar, but it is a difficult bar to mount everything you like to, easily.

    I am trying to decide between them, which will also determine some other parts (drops will need other parts, etc)

    Here is a rough spec of the bicycle as it stands:


    Headset: Chris King GripNut 1 1/4

    Stems: BF 25.4 Ahead for Adj Riser(size w/ bike)

    Bars, Single/front: MTB alloy bars with 4" rise/630mm

    Brakes: Avid Single Digit SL

    Brake, Levers: Avid Single Digit SL

    Derailleurs Fr: Shimano R443 Braze triple Ft Der

    Derailleurs R: Shimano SLX shadow (GS med. cage)

    Shifters: Shimano LX

    Cranks: Alloy 175mm 30/42/52 130/74 bcd 119mm axl

    BB bearing, F: 118.5mm BF Sealed 68xEnglish -oe

    Cassette: 11-26 9sp SRAM PG-950 Cassette (possibly PG-970DH as a substitute)

    Chains: SRAM PC-991 Cross-Step

    Hub Fr: BF Select 32o 100mm FRONT-Silver/black

    Hub R: BF Select 32o 130mm REAR-Silver

    Rims: Sun Rhyno Lite 20 x1.75 32o Black

    Spokes: DT 14 ga. Stainless w/ brass nip /

    Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 20x1.6 + Schwalbe Mow Joe 20x1.85
    (One set of each, for different rides)

    Pedals: Crank Bros. Eggbeater SL

    Seatposts: Thomson Elite 27.2 410mm

    Saddles: Brooks Flyer

    The cranks and wheels will eventually be changed, although in the long-term. I hope to do a review on them as well, to help new Bike Friday owners determine whether they would be content with them, or whether they should request something different with their bikes.

    Can you think of anything else you would change? Any suggestions on which parts here may be no good, or do you have a recommendation for something you find phenomenal?

    Any input is appreciated, thanks!

  2. #2
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Using the split drop bars makes it easier to pack.

  3. #3
    hipster traffic dodger ChiapasFixed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    Using the split drop bars makes it easier to pack.
    ...or split H bars
    IRO Mark V Pro, home made bamboo track bike, eddy merckx corsa extra, Airnimal Joey, UGADA Tikit

  4. #4
    I Fold bykerouac's Avatar
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    I'd like to see a Llama with an Albatross bar. You would require a face-out stem though for packing.

  5. #5
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I don't think we can tell you what kind of bars you prefer.

    I will say that H-bars are pretty much functionally equivalent to flat bars with bar-ends, and moustache bars are pretty close to drops.

    Seems like you have two choices:
    - buy bars (new or used) to find out what you like
    - find out if BF will let you swap bars once or twice, and be prepared for restocking fees

  6. #6
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    Oh yes, I should mention! The Llama has a standard MTB stem with a removable face, not a quill style. I could go with the splittable bars, but in this case the only bar out of my list which I think will be harder to pack will be the WTB mountain road drop bar. The others can just be disconnected and laid flat in a case, so they should not be bad. The drop bar will still have some height to it, of course. It could be the hardest to pack.

    An albatross crossed my mind, but I can not order the albatross from my supplier. The other mentioned bars can be had directly through my shop = )

  7. #7
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    I don't think we can tell you what kind of bars you prefer.

    I will say that H-bars are pretty much functionally equivalent to flat bars with bar-ends, and moustache bars are pretty close to drops.

    Seems like you have two choices:
    - buy bars (new or used) to find out what you like
    - find out if BF will let you swap bars once or twice, and be prepared for restocking fees
    I'm just looking for some feedback on each of them. Did you like a particular one, why, was it easy to mount things to, etc.

    I quite like the moustache bars. I see that most people are using them with road levers placed among the forward most position. Personally, I would be likely to flip them upside down and use mountain equipment on the ends, instead, like an albatross. The rest of the bar could still provide some nice additional hand spots.

  8. #8
    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    Abneycat

    How limited are you in money? Did you consider a Rolhoff hub for the rear wheel?

  9. #9
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    Limited in money for this year. I am a student, am planning on taking courses at college, going to UBI, and bike touring. Overall, I am attempting to spend no more than $750 on parts. $200 of which is already spent on tires and tubes, leaving about $550. I have the ability to order parts at a greatly reduced cost, making my "effective" parts budget about $1000.

    Rohloff is not available to me at the same discount as SRAM / Shimano. I did consider the SRAM Dual Drive, but it is apparently unsuited for continuous off-road application.

    The SLX Shadow was chosen in particular over the other offerings due to its nice, low profile. I think that will help keep the bike from being damaged if it is set inside a car and so on. The 35t capacity of the SLX mid-cage will allow a good gear range with almost all gears usable, and allow for a bit more ground clearance than a long cage will.

    I am considering running a compact road crank and short cage derailleur in the future, if the mid-cage still does not have good enough ground clearance.

    RE bars:

    I think its down to a riser bar or the moustache bar. The drop bar will be harder to pack and require a higher cost in components, and the Titec H-bar is a great bar but not very good for fitting lots of things to, I have found. It is particularly un-friendly towards twist / rapidfire shifters. I would like indexing on this bike, since it will be used for some MTB'ing.

  10. #10
    hipster traffic dodger ChiapasFixed's Avatar
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    skimp on the bars and go with the Rohloff man! Cut and bend a piece of copper pipe to your liking, dont spend any more on shifters/drivetrain, and invest where it counts!
    IRO Mark V Pro, home made bamboo track bike, eddy merckx corsa extra, Airnimal Joey, UGADA Tikit

  11. #11
    Idiot Extraordinaire
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abneycat View Post
    I'm just looking for some feedback on each of them. Did you like a particular one, why, was it easy to mount things to, etc.

    I quite like the moustache bars. I see that most people are using them with road levers placed among the forward most position. Personally, I would be likely to flip them upside down and use mountain equipment on the ends, instead, like an albatross. The rest of the bar could still provide some nice additional hand spots.
    The Nitto specifically requires road sized levers. There are other moustache like bars that can accept MTB style levers, but will most likely not accept bar end shifters.

    If you go with either the moustache bars or dirt drops, make sure you get a shorter and taller stem. You'll find them uncomfortable otherwise. Or maybe have BF send you one of those fitting stems to have a custom one made.

  12. #12
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    Thanks for that information, Sgynt! I appreciate that quite a bit.

    Based on elimination,
    I've decided on some standard risers for now. Ordered one which has a 4 degree rise and 9 degree sweep, which should be pretty comfortable. I'm going to be using some Ergon grips in combination with the bar in order to have an extra hand position and get some good all-day comfort. With the MTB set-up, I already have the Ergon, LX shifters, and brake levers lying around, so this is a good low-cost option.

    There is a short 500km tour I have upcoming, it will help to determine if that is good before doing some long stuff.

    Re: Rohloff

    At more than twice my total parts budget for the year, it will have to wait. SLX is a good compromise for now.

    Well, the bike will be here next week. I have some troubles to attend to, but hope to have some information and some photos here soon.

  13. #13
    Senior Member gregstandt's Avatar
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    Hi, I ride a Llama. I run albatross bars with barends and mtb brake levers cork wrap and grips. I also run the Flyer saddle.I like them but have never packed them. You also have to run a longer stem with the albatross. I'd suggest a 11-34 cassette. I went with a 11-32 8 speed and I wish I'd gotten the 11-34 9 speed, but I like really low gears. I'm even thinking of an intermediate crank set 26-36-48 just to pack the midrange gears where I spend most of my time. I'm sure you'll love it regardless.

    My tour this year is up in your neck of the woods. 1000 mile loop. Nakusp-Kamloops-Jasper-Radium-Creston-Kaslo-Nakusp. That's why I like low gears!
    enjoy
    Relax, it's a bike ride.

  14. #14
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    Gregstandt, that's a nice sounding Llama set up.

    Low gears are nice. I am wanting the GS derailleur to have more ground clearance. I suppose that it would be possible to run the GS with an 11-32 or 11-34 and simply have more unusable gears, but I would prefer to have most gears operable.

    This set up should provide a low gear near 21.5", which is pretty acceptable. I will be testing this out and reporting back on it.

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