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  1. #1
    Senior Member Juilin's Avatar
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    LHT build, New Tourer Advice

    Hello,

    Let me start off by saying I'm new to touring and anything more than occasional recreational cycling trip. But thanks to stumbing on to this forum and reading about various experiences I cant think of anything else I'd really rather get into. That said, I have a lot to learn (just bought Zin's Guide to Road Bike Maintenance) and am hoping to could get a little advice.

    I want to build up an LHT frame and know that my LBS can custom order and build the bike for me. The part I am unsure about, and conincidently know the least are the types of cranksets and gear ratios typical to touring bikes (or any bikes for that matter -- sorry starting from a ground up knowledge base ) Also is there a build kit out there someone would recommend?

    The reason I am trying to to build a bike up is for one because I have the patience and that I feel I am learning far more of what I need to know by taking it slowly piece by piece.

    Juilin

  2. #2
    it's my road too, dangit sydney_b's Avatar
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    You're ambitious. I take the route of having my LBS build it up and me learning to do common repairs. I'd rather be riding than wrenching. Good luck to you tho. Your local community college might have a course, or perhaps you know someone willing to mentor you. I have a couple of knowlegeable friends who have been wonderful about that.

    /s

  3. #3
    'Mizer Cats are INSANE Mentor58's Avatar
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    Welcome to the LHT club. ZINN's is a great book, I really like the fact that most of the illustrations are line drawings rather than photos. Makes things a lot clearer for me.

    I totally identify with your desire to build it up from scratch. That way you know what each part does, how it fits together, how it works, so when something isn't right later on you can quickly and easily diagnose the problem, and then fix it. (well, that is how it works in theory anyhow)

    There are a couple of jobs that I'd let the bike shop do, one is setting the headset into place. It's not hard, but for the few bucks they charge it's worth it to me to let them do it. Others here and on the mechanics forum may disagree, but that's what makes the world go round. In any case, you wouldn't be pressing a new headset on out in the field, so as long as you know how to assemble and adjust it you are fine.

    The sticky on touring has some good info, and I'll give you my 02 cents worth.

    Much depends on WHAT kind of touring are you doing. Fully loaded self supported carrying camping gear and sleeping out? Staying in motels and eating in restaraunts (aka 'credit card touring'), supported tours where all you have to do is ride, and they carry everything for you (aka 'fully supported touring'). The terrain will also factor in.

    Basic bike gear checklist.
    Cranks. Three main kinds, Road gearing, MTB Gearing, Treking Gearing.
    ***Road cranks are your traditional 52*42*30 or so chainrings. Many of us consider that too high a gear, and not suited for loaded touring.
    ***MTB gearing is usually a 44*32*22, That is what I run in my LHT. Some folks say that it's too low and you are giving away some speed at the top end. My argument is that a fully loaded touring bike will pick up more than enough speed coming down the hill without my helping it.
    ***Treking Gearing is sort of half way between road and MTB, usually around 48*36*26 Gives you a bit lower end then the road, but not as much as a MTB crank. My Bianchi, (which I use for light touring) has that.

    Rear Gears. Most touring bikes are set up with a MTB rear cluster, usually a 11-32 or so. Gives you a broad range of gears, that is pretty much a standard.

    Wheels: Stronger is better. This is not the place for the 24 spoked radial laced ultralight wheels. The standard here is usually a 36 spoke wheel, but 40 is also available. More spokes = more strength.

    Tires: You're going to be carrying extra weight, so you need some good tires to handle the load. Wider tires tend to give a smoother ride than narrow one. Figure 28's as your smallest size to look at, with 32's probably being the most popular. In tires you want something with a good durable casing (I like the Pasla Tour Guard's with Kevlar belts), but Continental, Schwalbe, Specialized and others all make a good product.

    Saddle: I'll just say one thing BROOKS B-17. The most perfect combination of form and function ever created by the hand of modern man.

    Shifters: Brifters (combination brake and shift levers) are popular, easy to use, but can be fragile and not repairable if broken while riding. Bar end shifters are rock solid, traditional and more maintainable. I use Brifters, just because I'm used to them. What ever works for you is best.

    Brakes. Cantilever ('Canti's') are considered the standard for touring bikes, give you clearance for big tires and provide clearance for fenders. They work with regular brake levers. V-Brakes (aka 'linear pull brakes') are also common, but require some finess and extra bits when used with regular road levers due to the amount of cable pull that is required.

    Well, I'll end up here, let others add their bits, and beside, it's time to stop working and go home.

    Steve W.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Juilin's Avatar
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    Mentor 58,

    I couldnt not have asked for a better reply, thanks! I've read the stickies at the top of the forum as well. More research for me I guess, any more information is welcome!

  5. #5
    LHT Commuter wsexson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juilin
    The reason I am trying to to build a bike up is for one because I have the patience and that I feel I am learning far more of what I need to know by taking it slowly piece by piece.
    I built up my LHT myself, and I can confirm that it is a great learning experience if you are mechanically inclined.

    Mentor58 did a great job describing what a typical touring bike build would be. The only point that I would disagree with is that saddles are a very individual thing. Brooks saddles are very high quality and well regarded for good reason, but I just love my San Marco saddles because they fit my anatomy wonderfully. I would not trade the Regal on my LHT for anything.

    Personally I would recommend that you have a shop install your bottom bracket and headset. I installed both of those myself, but if you haven't done it before and don't have the fairly specialized tools involved they can be a little intimidating for some people. Everything else is pretty straightforward to install and not difficult if you have good tools and a torque wrench.

    I cannot recommend a build kit to buy for a LHT because I am not aware of a build kit that is generally available for a touring bike build. I picked and bought each component individually based on function, price, and durability. A build kit is simpler and cheaper in theory, but one of the best things about a LHT is that you end up with a bike where every single part is chosen according to your specifications.

    Here is how I build mine:
    Frame: 62cm Utility Blue LHT
    Headset: Cane Creek S3
    Stem: Salsa Moto Ace SUL 100mm 105*
    Bars: Salsa Moto Ace Bell Lap 46cm
    Tape: Cinelli cork ribbon
    Brakes: Tektro Oryx cantilevers
    Levers: Tektro R200A
    Shifters: Dura Ace 9sp barcons
    Saddle: San Marco Regal
    Seatpost: cheap Kalloy I had laying around
    BB: UN-73 113mm
    Cranks: Sugino XD300 175mm 46-36-26
    FD: 105 triple
    RD: Deore M510
    Chain: Nashbar/KMC 9sp
    Cassette: SRAM PG-950 11-32
    Fenders: SKS 45mm 700c
    Racks: Blackburn Expedition rear and Nashbar low rider front
    Hubs: C201
    Spokes: DT 14ga (36 per wheel)
    Rims: Sun CR18
    Tires: Panaracer Pasela TG 700c 28mm
    Pedals: Shimano SPD campus (no idea what model)
    generic front brake housing stop, headset spacers, and inline cable adjusters

    I use mine as a commuter, but I built it like a touring bike.

  6. #6
    LHT Commuter wsexson's Avatar
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    and one more thing...

    Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance was invaluable to me in building my bike. A great resource.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Juilin's Avatar
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    Great, thank you so much for the advice. My fiance is no doubt getting tired of hearing me go on and on about my bike. Men and their toys she says.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Juilin's Avatar
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    I am stuck between a 58cm and 60cm LHT frame. They both seem to fit well, with the 60cm having approximately 3/4" lift while standing over. The 58 slightly more, maybe 1" perhaps a bit more. I am 6 to 6'1" with a 34" pants inseam. The LBS guy I talked to recommended the 58 but admitted the 60 would not be a bad choice either. I'm curious what you guys think, I dont know that I'd be disapointed with either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Juilin
    I am stuck between a 58cm and 60cm LHT frame. They both seem to fit well, with the 60cm having approximately 3/4" lift while standing over. The 58 slightly more, maybe 1" perhaps a bit more. I am 6 to 6'1" with a 34" pants inseam. The LBS guy I talked to recommended the 58 but admitted the 60 would not be a bad choice either. I'm curious what you guys think, I dont know that I'd be disapointed with either.
    If the only issue is standover height -- how did you measure it? It depends a lot on tire size (low-profile tires will give you more SO height). Besides, 3/4" isn't bad, I wouldn't be put off by that on a touring bike.

    At least on the LHT's smaller sizes, the ones that use 26" wheels, the SO height seems to be spec'ed for fatter tires. I was a bit apprehensive about SO height when I ordered an LHT for my wife, but when I put slicks on, her standover height was no longer an issue.

    'Course, there are other measurements besides SO height. Such as stem reach. I'd look at those specs, too, they really determine the best fitting frame.

    -- Mark

  10. #10
    LHT Commuter wsexson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juilin
    I am stuck between a 58cm and 60cm LHT frame. They both seem to fit well, with the 60cm having approximately 3/4" lift while standing over. The 58 slightly more, maybe 1" perhaps a bit more. I am 6 to 6'1" with a 34" pants inseam. The LBS guy I talked to recommended the 58 but admitted the 60 would not be a bad choice either. I'm curious what you guys think, I dont know that I'd be disapointed with either.
    I am 6'4" and have a 34" pants inseam. I ride a 62cm LHT and have no problem with standover. The low bottom bracket of the LHT means you can stand over a larger frame than you would be able to with most bikes.

    IMO you should pick your LHT size based more on the effective top tube length than on the seat tube length.

    I sized my LHT using the fitting formula in Zinn ATAORBM and I am very comfortable on it. Have you put your measurements into Zinn's formula?

  11. #11
    Steel is Real. markw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juilin
    I am stuck between a 58cm and 60cm LHT frame. They both seem to fit well, with the 60cm having approximately 3/4" lift while standing over. The 58 slightly more, maybe 1" perhaps a bit more. I am 6 to 6'1" with a 34" pants inseam. The LBS guy I talked to recommended the 58 but admitted the 60 would not be a bad choice either. I'm curious what you guys think, I dont know that I'd be disapointed with either.
    With the saddle at the correct height, what's the bar height in relation to the saddle? I'm maybe an inch taller than you with an inseam of 91cm measured by standing against a wall with a thin book wedgie, stepping off and measuring from the floor to the top of the book. See http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/htm...framesize.html on how to do this. I was doing the debate between the 60 and 62, went with the 62. Bars have a 10mm spacer above the stem and are level with the seat. Standover with 28mm tires is not an issue. I'd say for you, a minimum of the 60, and you might consider a 62. Wouldn't even think of the 58. Check out Rivendell's chart, and remember they size their frames a tad large, so their 64 is about the size of the 62 LHT. The important part is to get the seat height set, then look where it puts your bars, you don't want your bars low on a touring bike, you want them about the same height as the seat, or slightly higher.

  12. #12
    Hello from Canuckistan! saanichbc's Avatar
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    I have some pix up of my LHT build, with a parts list, located at: http://saanichbc.net/
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  13. #13
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saanichbc
    I have some pix up of my LHT build, with a parts list, located at: http://saanichbc.net/
    Interesting site. Are you going to add some pics of the entire bike? Did you have a link to a group with a number of such builds? I am interested in someone who had to decide between a 26 inch wheel 54 cm and a 700c 56.

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    Gery, I think the 26 inch wheels are better I wish they were available all through the line-up. There isn't any performance advantage to 700c wheels over 26 if either is built with the same grade of materials, it could even tilt to the the 26. Mainly a mater of proper road rims. You gain lower gearing with lighter parts with the 26; more 26" tire choices are available in touring to expedition range product, but this has to be ballanced against the availability of narrow tires if you intend to time trial the bike most week ends; you get a better chance of spares almost anywhere; you also get a little more room in the frame for whatever needs fitting in there. However, I would let the chips fall where the fit says they should, not the tire.

    Juillin, you have received some good part recomendations. My 2 cents on top would be to look seriously at the tighter shifting package you might get with halfstep gearing, which means like 46 42 24, vs. the 48 36 24. Play around with Sheldon's gearing calculator. What most people initially think is the ANSWER with touring bikes is the widest possible range, because they don't know what gears they may get caught needing. But once you learn your preference what actually works are tight hops, you need more options not less with a load. So if you can narrow it, and you won't need the big end, then getting tighter shifts should be your objective.

    My other suggestion would be if your pocketbook allows, look for something a little better in racks. I actually run the Blackburn front and back, but while the most copied, they are not really a good choice. Capacity, and a top to the front rack are not there. I would prefer something like the Surly or Jandd front and back. You are building a big bike and you will find that what you get from a lot of racks is whatever they can squeeze on the smallest frame. Your bags will need to be bigger and one ends up with a lot of unsupported stuff. Yes, it all works, but at the margin more rack is a lot more options.

    I'd go for the 58 juilin, but as others have said it does depend on your reach. My guess is at your height (same as me) if you need the 60 for reach then you are really going to need the 58 for standover, because you should only need the 60 if you have short legs and tall upper body. I run 38 tires so if you stood over a 23 or something, try shiming it up by the difference. A 38 should be about 5/8" higher again, 32 would be about 3/8" higher. Also check the LHT web page for the anomlities in top tube and seat tube leght at the long end. The average touring bike will be 56/56, 58/58, but as one gets out to the ends of the chart, things change, so check the fine print.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Juilin's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice everyone, I am indeed going with the 58 Peterpan1, the standover and reach are just about right for me. Not to mention over 4 of my LBS sales and parts people recommended it (yeah, I went a little crazy on making sure it was right). Now I just have to decide on the finer points.

    One of these being, for those with the B17 or B17N, which do you prefer and why?

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    It's a sizing thing. I bought the B17, it is really comfortable and was right out of the blocks, but it definetly isn't too big for me it is either perfect or possibly a touch small. I would guess it's perfect.

    I just now took two blocks of maple that happen to be 1.25" square by 1.75" long. I placed these on my chair so that the long dimmesion was forward and aft, and narrow width was aligned with the right left axis of my chair. When I set these blocks so they are 4" on center, meaning the gap would be 2.75", they fit under my sit bones. When I spaced them 3.5 inches on center they were uncomfortable, and if I moved side to side slightly, my bones would fall off to the side of the blocks in sequence. In the narrow spacing the maximum width of the blocks is 4 3/4 inches wide and was not comfortable to sit on.

    So try something like that for yourself and see if you are comfy on the narrow spacing. If so, then you are maybe a candidate for the B17 Narrow.

    I can be comfortable on a much narrower saddle. But one needs to distinguish two things, posture on the bike, and sit bones. In theory, the more forward the posture, and the more forward the pelvis is rocked, the more narrow the seat style can be. The more upright the posture, the wider and more sprung the seat needs to be (because your legs at some point are no longer effective at being shock absorbers). Within those guidelines, you still have narrower and wider sit bone spacings. So the B-17 seems ideal for people touring on drops but fairly upright (focus on the road, but not tire of the guy you are drafting as in racing) and maybe you can model my results to see where you fit in the sitbone width.

  17. #17
    Hello from Canuckistan! saanichbc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv
    Interesting site. Are you going to add some pics of the entire bike? Did you have a link to a group with a number of such builds? I am interested in someone who had to decide between a 26 inch wheel 54 cm and a 700c 56.
    Yep. Shortly. The combination of my time off, and the weather hasn't cooperated in that respect yet. However, I'm hoping this weekend will be better.
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  18. #18
    Urban Biker jimmuter's Avatar
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    I heard some interesting advice today, though I'm not sure it would work well. He said to buy a Trek 520 which has very good components, take those components, put them on the LHT frame then sell the still new 520 frame. He said if you try to buy the components separately, it will cost a lot more. It's an interesting idea anyway.

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    Steel is Real. markw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    I'd go for the 58 juilin, but as others have said it does depend on your reach. My guess is at your height (same as me) if you need the 60 for reach then you are really going to need the 58 for standover, because you should only need the 60 if you have short legs and tall upper body. I run 38 tires so if you stood over a 23 or something, try shiming it up by the difference. A 38 should be about 5/8" higher again, 32 would be about 3/8" higher. Also check the LHT web page for the anomlities in top tube and seat tube leght at the long end. The average touring bike will be 56/56, 58/58, but as one gets out to the ends of the chart, things change, so check the fine print.
    Fit the bike for your legs, as that will determine your bar height, if you go too small of frame, the bars will be too low for long distance comfort. It's a touring bike, error on the large side. Bar reach is easily adjusted by different stem lengths. I've seen way too many bikes that had too small of frame with some funky highrise stem on it to bring the bars up, when the real problem was the frame was too small. Again, check the Rivendell site for sizing recommendations and take your measurements. If it's got half an inch of clearance to your nuts when your stopped, that's fine, your not buildng it to stop, your building it to be comfortable riding it.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Juilin's Avatar
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    You all really have been indespensible and I've went from knowing zero to what some might call a semblance of knowledge in the past month or two. Thank you.

    I'm down to picking stem and seatpost length. A 27.2 mm seatpost seems to be fairly standard and all that Rivendell stocks for its touring bikes. However, concerning stem length, I do not have a clue. Rivendell stocks from 75 to 115mm in the Nitto stem I am after. If the best thing you can tell me is "get off your rocker and go the LBS" I will understand. I was hoping there might be a good starting point and or safe bet for a touring non-racer semi-aggressive stance on a 58cm LHT with my relative height.

  21. #21
    Senior Member turbominnow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuter
    I heard some interesting advice today, though I'm not sure it would work well. He said to buy a Trek 520 which has very good components, take those components, put them on the LHT frame then sell the still new 520 frame. He said if you try to buy the components separately, it will cost a lot more. It's an interesting idea anyway.

    anyone find it intresting that it is the same green as the LHT? Trek, you cheeky monkey!
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    Hello from Canuckistan! saanichbc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuter
    I heard some interesting advice today, though I'm not sure it would work well. He said to buy a Trek 520 which has very good components, take those components, put them on the LHT frame then sell the still new 520 frame. He said if you try to buy the components separately, it will cost a lot more. It's an interesting idea anyway.
    I don't think I would do that. First off, if you want true touring related gearing, the gearing that comes with the 520 are really not suited for touring. You'd probably end up swapping out crank set for a much lower geared setup anyway. I don't think that advice was very well thought out by someone who really knows a whole lot about what it takes to build a touring related bike. IMHO.
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    The thing about fitting is that if you are average height and proportions it doesn't mater whether you fit for top tube length or seat tube length, it will work fine. If you are out of sync one way or another, you have to take that into consideration, Either short leg or body. You can always use the seatpost or stem to make adjustment, but it isn't ideal either way. Just check out the actual frame proportions. When you move to the larger sizes you will sometimes find they didn't lengthen the top tube much at all, now you went for the longer top tube and all you got was greater seat height, that's a problem if yo are tall with slightly shortish legs, like me.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Juilin's Avatar
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    I'm going crazy, the frame has been backordered until the 15th and since then I discovered Rivendell's formula which puts me firmly in on a 62 cm. From what I've read that would put me on a 60 LHT, or thereabouts. My cycling inseam or SO is 34.5, the 60 LHT is 33.5. On paper that sounds good. So maybe I have long legs? My fear is that would put the top tube out of reach but the effec change between the 58 and 60 is only about a half on an inch. If this was a problem it could be easily fixed by adjusting stem length right? I'm only about 6'0" to 6'1" in shoes you'd think this would be more clear cut. *sigh*

  25. #25
    Bring That Beat Back Old Dirt Hill's Avatar
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    Just wondering if you've gotten your LHT or ended up going with a different size? I'm right at 6' myself and went with the 58cm, which seems to fit me great. I know there's more to it than height, but I couldn't be more pleased with my decision.

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