I'd really appreciate hearing what you guys think. My 96 Schwinn, is facing retirement as a tourer sometime during the next year. Though I've thought of a Randonee or Trek 520, I think I'll start building up a LHT.
Since my size (5'-8") will probably dictate a 26" wheeled frame per Surley specs, I was thinking of equipping it with the most up to date Shimano MTB group. The newest XTR group might be for me, though I don't want combination shifters and brakes, nor do I plan for disk brakes.
My old 7 speed Schwinn has twist grip shifters while my mountain bike, also a late 90's Schwinn, has near top of the line (for that time period) Shimano. I'm always impressed by how crisp and rapid the shifting is on the mountain bike.
I'll probably use trekking bars or hybrid bars with ends, as I like that set up, so the thumb shifters suit me fine. I don't really care for barcons. I like shifting without ever moving my hands from the main position.
I'm also an old man, so I want a low gear setup, at least 11-32 on back if I use 44-34-24 or something like that on front. My current tourer has the 11-34t mega gear on back with a 48-38-28 front and it will climb anything once I jump to the "give-up" gear. But its 7 speed so its a real "jump" and sometime I must look like a comedy character from Looney Tunes when I jump to the low gear. The 11-32 range in a 9 speed sounds good to me.
Any thoughts on using the Shimano mountain group as opposed to a road group?
"..................and then the wheels came off"