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Old 05-08-13, 12:09 PM   #1
Amazonia
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Component Overload Question

I have gotten to the point in my cycling life that I want to do a semi-custom bike or at least swap out some components on my existing bike.

The choices are overwhelming and I am not certain why one would pick what.

As simple background, I mostly like riding for practical reasons (i.e. errands, visiting, going to the park, etc.). In the past, I have ridden for pleasure/exercise (fast loops and long rides) which I will likely not do again, and commuting, which I may do again. I don't want drops anymore and my current bike has whatever a flat bar with slight upswoop is called (look like wings to me). I am dyslexic so gears have always been confusing for me as my brain processes things like that in reverse but my mind sees things forwards (hard to explain if you haven't lived it). I am tall. I currently have a Terry Valkyrie Commute but I have been pining for a step-through / mixte frame because as tall as I am (5'10" 35" inseam), the seat is pretty high up and I would like the option of not swinging my leg over it all the time. I may opt to just change some components on my Terry rather than trying to change to a whole new bike and live with the cross bar height for now. I want the ability to rack the bike, fenders, etc. My current bike has that.

My wish list:

1. Shifters that have numbers. I am drawn to the twist shifters but am not opposed to other ideas. I would think 8 speeds would be sufficient and I would shy away from more as it only makes it more complicated. I gather changing the shifter means changing the derailleur.
2. I love steel frames. Ideas on other bikes or frames?
3. I know it is a potentially controversial topic but what manufacturers are known for what? SRAM, Shimano, Suntour, etc.
4. I had a bike with disc brakes before and liked them. Is it possible to convert to them afterwards?

I would love a resource that explains how bikes go together and what variations in the parts do and why someone who select one over the other. I have always loved bikes and owned a ridiculous number of them in my life but have never really understood the relationship between certain aspects of geometry, what benefit component variations have, etc.

Thanks for your collective wisdom!
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Old 05-08-13, 12:21 PM   #2
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Old 05-08-13, 12:39 PM   #3
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Rohloff gear hubs have 14 speeds on the twist shifter.

my new favorite bike , Bike Friday .. that hub , front dyno hub and disc brakes ..
Pocket Llama .. 406_ 20" wheels .

Functionally it is a step through , because the frame tube is Low.

they can built one with Shimano's Alfine 8 speed hub , if you wish.
http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/catego...disc-hub-31670

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Old 05-08-13, 01:39 PM   #4
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Amazonia,
I'd recommend that you spend a bit of time in you local library. There have been many books written on the subject of basic bike designs, the parts and their relationships. Some have large color illustrations. You can find modern ones in your local large chain bookstore, too.

Although we're in a high tech age, sometimes books are still best for some, but maybe not for you. If your dyslexia doesn't allow you to concentrate and read for any length of time comfortably, then maybe you can locate a bike coop nearby. The volunteers there may be able and willing to discuss the differences and show you examples. Using the question-answer format, you might learn what you need.

Good luck.

PG
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Old 05-08-13, 04:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amazonia View Post
1. Shifters that have numbers. I am drawn to the twist shifters but am not opposed to other ideas. I would think 8 speeds would be sufficient and I would shy away from more as it only makes it more complicated. I gather changing the shifter means changing the derailleur.
If you mean a full set of numbers,instead of just a couple numbers and bar markings,then that depends on the specific shifter.

Twisters are available for most drivetrains. Your shifter controls your indexing,so it must match the number of rings(front) or cogs(rear) you have. SRAM and Shimano pull different amounts of cable for their derailleurs,so you must use SRAM shifters with SRAM derailleurs. Shimano derailleurs need Shimano-compatible shifters;SRAM,SunRace,Microshift,and others make Shimano-compatible shifters,and of course Shimano has their own. If you want to swap a twist shifter for a trigger,then as long as the pull is compatible and it has the same number of gears,you're good-to-go.

You can also sometimes use the same derailleur if you change the number of gears,like if you go from 8spd to 9spd,but it depends on the specific derailleur. Some modern ones are designed to handle only a certain width chain(8/9/10spd chains are all different width).

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2. I love steel frames. Ideas on other bikes or frames?
That's opening a can of worms. Steel,alloy,titanium,and carbon fiber all make excellent frames depending on what the bike is intended to do(despite what Rivendell would have you believe).

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3. I know it is a potentially controversial topic but what manufacturers are known for what? SRAM, Shimano, Suntour, etc.
You'll get people promoting their fav brand,but really it depends on the component level and not the manufacturer. SunRace's top shelf parts are way better than the bargain crap Shimano makes for dept store bikes. Personally,I prefer SRAM's double-thumb trigger shifters to Shimano's thumb-and-finger triggers,but that's my personal taste.

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4. I had a bike with disc brakes before and liked them. Is it possible to convert to them afterwards?
Converting a bike to discs requires different wheels(or the wheels rebuilt with disc hubs) and a disc-specific fork. It is possible to have a frame builder add disc tabs to a steel or ti frame,but it won't be cheap. There are conversion kits out there,but I wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole or recommend them to anyone I gave a fig about. Unless you just want to add a disc to the front(70% of your stopping ability is in the front brake),then it's a good idea to get a bike with discs or frame that is designed for them.

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I would love a resource that explains how bikes go together and what variations in the parts do and why someone who select one over the other. I have always loved bikes and owned a ridiculous number of them in my life but have never really understood the relationship between certain aspects of geometry, what benefit component variations have, etc.
You have it;these forums. Hang out in the Frame Building forum and you'll get your geo answers. Ask questions in the Mechanics forum as to how things work.
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Old 05-09-13, 01:41 PM   #6
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Amazonia,
I'd recommend that you spend a bit of time in you local library. There have been many books written on the subject of basic bike designs, the parts and their relationships. Some have large color illustrations. You can find modern ones in your local large chain bookstore, too.

Although we're in a high tech age, sometimes books are still best for some, but maybe not for you. If your dyslexia doesn't allow you to concentrate and read for any length of time comfortably, then maybe you can locate a bike coop nearby. The volunteers there may be able and willing to discuss the differences and show you examples. Using the question-answer format, you might learn what you need.

Good luck.

PG
Thanks. I used to spend hours in the library but not anymore. I will look for a reference book that I can get from Amazon and keep on my iPad. My hard drive is full so new information doesn't stick as well as the old. What did I do two days ago? Dunno. But just ask me the names of teachers, where I used to live, the names of the kids I babysat for... I'm all over that. I even know just about every breed of dog by sight, but new information... Sigh.

As far as learning, kinesthetic. I'll remember facts I hear, but for as far as the ways things work, I have to at least see it and preferably experience it.
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Old 05-09-13, 02:04 PM   #7
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How cool is that? Mine is a 2009 Valkyrie Commute so the components are somewhat different and I have a flat bar but I enjoyed watching and learning. Thank you for the link.
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Old 05-09-13, 02:24 PM   #8
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Rohloff gear hubs have 14 speeds on the twist shifter.

I like the Rohloff idea but how the heck much do these cost? I would love German parts but they are probably too expensive for me. After all, I drive a VW....

Oh, I have no interest in a low bike. Too much is lost with small wheels and with my height I think I would look really odd on it but thanks for adding it to my visual database of bikes!
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Old 05-12-13, 01:11 PM   #9
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Thanks for all your input here! After noodling options around in head all week, I decided I am going to re-dress my Terry Valkyrie tour in the components I want until I can afford a custom frame or Betty Foy (assuming it fits when I ride it). My personal geometry is unusual enough that a custom mixte frame may be my future. In the meantime, I will start with the handlebars, shifter, derailleur & brakes on my Terry (I don't see how to separate those into separate changes), selecting components that can move to my custom frame in time. I also had the 'ah ha' moment that grip shifters will never work when I change out the handle bars! I need swept back bars to make up for the fact that my thigh to arm proportions are off enough to make it impossible for me not to have over reach for flat bars. So, I am going to try bar end shifters and see if I like them.
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