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  1. #1
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    I beseech you - please help me choose!!!

    I'm the kind of person who likes to search heaps before asking a question that everyone else has. But I'm at the point where I need some personalised answers, or else I may just go out of my mind. I am literally exhausted from so many hours of forum trawling.

    I've got a lot of question, so I'll try to keep them brief:

    1. I like the reports about the Surly LHT. How does setting up a bare frame like this compare to a ready-to-go bike?

    2. How the hell do you choose which parts to put on a frame in the event of purchasing everything separately. The myriad of combinations is doing my head in. It seems as though nobody goes with complete goupsets of a particular range, preferring to mix and match so many different components which is the one thing deterring me from setting up a bike myself - it is just so daunting.

    3. How do you fit a frame such as a LHT when chances are there are no bikes ready to be sat on to test it out?

    4. When asking what specifically makes a touring bike so much better suited to touring as far as geometry goes, I heard someone say among other things that tourers are lower for greater stability. How can a bike be lower when the chain stays need to run parallel to the ground, meaning that if the wheel is the same diamater as it inevitably is, how can one bike be lower than another?!

    5. Are there any cheaper alternatives to those thumbies that I want?! They seem absurdly expensive for what is effectively just a mount to allow you to put bar ends on top. Also, I want a pair of those extra brake levers on top of the bars to allow comfortable braking. Is there a technical name for these and who manufactures them? I'm aware that most ready to go bikes such as the Fuji, Cannondale et al have these pre fitted.

    I really want to get out on the open road asap but obviously I'm not as knowledgeable about bikes as most on these forums. If you can think of anything else that it may appear like I need explaining, don't hesitate to say. Even if you think "surely he must know whatever". Thanks.

    edit - also, things like choosing crank length have got me confused. I think i recall some equation about measuring some part of your person in inches and that gives the length in cms that a crank should be.....
    Last edited by tipsy; 09-20-06 at 10:24 AM.

  2. #2
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    I can't answer your questions, but I can ask you another one:

    Do you want to ride a bike or do you want to build a bike?

    Or maybe, if you're like me, you're at work and you can't do either, so you want to geek out and think about bikes. ( )

    Seems like if you are already super knowledgeable and have a pile of bike parts, you might be able to build a bike for a little cheaper than you could buy one new. Maybe. But from your questions, I'm guessing this isn't the case.

    Otherwise, if you really want the LHT (no argument from me!), you can get your LBS to build you one, and you can work together to pick parts. That's what I did with my road bike.

    Or if you want a stock tourer, but there are a couple things you don't like, your bike shop will probably work with you. That's what I did with my tourers- bought a 520 and had them swap out the cranks/rings for mtb stuff.

    Or you can buy a whole used bike, and tweak it as needed.

    Your question about fit is very apt - I wouldn't want to buy a bike without test riding it first unless I really knew a lot about bike geometry and what fit me. Even then it's a crap shoot (see my old posts about my sister's Rivendell).

    I think there's a time-money-knowledge-outcome trade-off. I fall in the have time and some money, only a little knowledge, and want a near-perfect outcome sector. Where are you?

    Good luck!
    Anna
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Road Rash's Avatar
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    I will try to help you get started with Questions 2 and 3 based on how I do it.

    I have an excel spreadsheet set up with all of the component types down the left side (Frame, Fork, Stem, Handlebars etc all the way down to chain) then I leave one Column open for the Bike I am building and add columns to the right for potential close fits (i.e., Trek 520 and List the components that come on that model). I also make notes on the spreadsheet regarding what size I need for components like the stem, the bottom bracket, seatpost etc.

    Then I create a second spreadsheet with the critical sizing dimensions (top tube length, headtube length, Seat tube, standover, etc and put in the dimensions for other bikes I've ridden and like, then I look at the manufacturers sizing and select the best fit.

    FYI - the last 2 builds I have done I have started from the wheels as my first purchase and have gone from there.
    Road Rash

  4. #4
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    1 and 2 -- Setting up a bare frame is being able to select the components you want. Building a bike is not as hard as some think. Call Gene at Spicer Cycles and he will outfit you with a good component group (LX, Sugino, Brooks). It will probably take you a day to build--some adjustments and some more re-adjusting. Ive never built a bike and did it on a weekend--thats also building the wheel set (Im slow). Im glad I did it myself--great for the confidence! OR a bike shop can build it up for you after you decide on parts and frame.

    New LHT build is my build and parts list.

    3 --http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za/CCY?PAGE=FIT_CALCULATOR_INTRO go here and do some simple measurements and then go to the surly site and pick your frame size using your dimensions.

    4 --Its not lower--the bottom bracket is lower and the over-all geometry is more "relaxed". Chain stays are longer for more clearance when using racks and bags (no heal strike). Its not twitchy and is more comfy overall for those all day rides hauling 40 or more pounds of stuff.

    5 -- nope--the thumbies are about as cheap as you can get. They work really well and are very reliable and its easy to replace cables. Ive dropped my bike several times and had no damage other than scratches on the levers. I believe the extra levers are called interrupter brake levers--see on Sheldons site http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_i-k.html

    As for crank length--see the above fit site.

    Hope this helps and clears some of the confusion. The LHT is a great bike and will last many years with reasonable care. Theres lots of LHT articles here so search and read and then ask more questions here--someone will help you along!
    Last edited by GiantDave; 09-20-06 at 12:50 PM.
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  5. #5
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    2. preference.
    3.???
    4. the chauinstays are not always level. On a touring bike they slope down from the wheel hub to the B.Bracket. On some MTBs they slope up from the hub for more BB and chainring ground clearance. Your height and weight off of the ground is determined by the BB height.

    5. Indexed or friction thumb shifters are old school MTB, they can be had very cheap if you dig.(caution when buying used indexed ones, they may be worn to the point of poor shifting)

    1. and 6. If you want to get rolling buy a whole bike and modify it.(Most likely a lot cheaper than building, even with the mods.) If you want to learn about working on it, than take the part of interest apart and reinstall it with the aid of a couple of good bike books.
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    >1. I like the reports about the Surly LHT. How does setting up a bare frame
    Depends if you are doing it yourself, how much experience you have, what tools you have, etc. Otherwise, if an LBS doesn't have that ready-built LHT in store, figure on some extra money to pay for a build. And I'm pretty sure it won't be a great deal economically all said and done.


    >2. How the hell do you choose which parts to put on a frame
    Well first, I'd say work out what approximate level of components you want. It's not too difficult -do you want 8,9 or 10 speeds? Shimano or Campy? What kind of shifters? Answer those questions and soon you find yourself getting down to the practical details (E.g. I want 9 speed Shimano STI shifting -you have only Tiagra, 105, Ultegra and Durace to choose from....).

    Secondly, I'd say much for me would come down to what's on sale around the time I'm building, or what do I have already?


    >3. How do you fit a frame such as a LHT
    That's a tough one, but I'll contest it's not too bad. If you can get a test ride on a friends bike, that sometimes gives you a better idea of size. Likewise, if you buy from your LBS and use them for a build, I'd think they may be keen to help with sizing. Lastly, if you have a bike you are comfortable with, you can use that bike as a guide with the frame geometry offered by the LHT. Also, let's not forget that there is still some amount of adjustability with the seat post height and stem length and angle too.

    >4. When asking what specifically... How can a bike be lower
    The chain doesn't need to be parallel to the ground -the bb (about which the crankarms spin around) can vary in height above the ground. However, I think chances are the people you talked to meant the geometry (e.g. longer wheelbase and fork rake) which contribute to a more solid and stable ride as opposed to the "fickability" or road bike.

    >5. Are there any cheaper alternatives to those thumbies that I want?
    I take it you mean those converters for the barcon shifters to be put up on the handlebar. Unless you make some converters yourself, use older thumbies (but with less speeds and still possibly an issue for mounting on road handlebars) I only know of using another type of shifting mechanism. But I bet someone else on this board has a better answer than me!

    >choosing crank length have got me confused
    I cycle with 170 and 175 crankarm lengths -and to be honest, I find it hard to tell the difference. I'm guessing here, but unless you go with a crankarm length that is absurdly too big or too small, for a touring bike -and let's face it are we talking a high performance athlete in peak form wanting to average 25mph on a fully loaded tour? -I'd say you won't have to worry too much, medical conditions being a caveat here.

  7. #7
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tipsy
    1. I like the reports about the Surly LHT. How does setting up a bare frame like this compare to a ready-to-go bike?
    A ready to go bike is just that...ready! Building a bare frame bike is fun and rewarding and I encourage everyone to try it someday...but only if you have experience taking a bike apart and putting it together and getting it to work properly. A new frame is not the place to start you bicycle mechanics education however. Also building it will take time, especially if you don't know what you are doing. It can be done quickly if you have lots of mechanical experience - my last build took me less than 12 hours (real time) and that included driving 60 miles to pick up the frame and building the wheels - but if you haven't done this before, expect to take several days to complete.

    Quote Originally Posted by tipsy
    2. How the hell do you choose which parts to put on a frame in the event of purchasing everything separately. The myriad of combinations is doing my head in. It seems as though nobody goes with complete goupsets of a particular range, preferring to mix and match so many different components which is the one thing deterring me from setting up a bike myself - it is just so daunting.
    You can buy build kits at various places. JensonUSA sells them as do others. But most of the build kits are going to be for either mountain bikes (not a bad place to start) or race bikes (a bad place to start...for a touring bike). Lots of us who have built bikes or even just repair them know for experience which parts work and which don't. That's why the BikeForums exist. Ask here and most people will have more opinions than what you need Some of us will even have more than one opinion on a subject

    To decide which parts you want, choose the level of pain your wallet will endure. For rear derailler, go with a mountain bike one. For front derailler, I'd go a little lower in the line than high end because, for me anyway, the Tiagra works better than an Ultegra. For wheels, again choose mountain bike hubs like LX or XT and lace them to a Mavic A719 or equivalent with 36 spokes, minimum. Shifters are a personal choice. Some people cannot stand STI while others love them (I'm in that camp). Lots of people like barend shifters. There's not right or wrong on them.

    For cranks, I'd chose a mountain bike (44/34/22 or, even better, a 46/34/22) over a road bike crank any day. For the cassette, only 11-34 will do...trust me

    For stems, racks, pedals, etc. use what you are used to. Look for good durable products that aren't boat anchors but you don't want stupid light either.

    Quote Originally Posted by tipsy
    3. How do you fit a frame such as a LHT when chances are there are no bikes ready to be sat on to test it out?
    Quote Originally Posted by tipsy
    4. When asking what specifically makes a touring bike so much better suited to touring as far as geometry goes, I heard someone say among other things that tourers are lower for greater stability. How can a bike be lower when the chain stays need to run parallel to the ground, meaning that if the wheel is the same diamater as it inevitably is, how can one bike be lower than another?!
    The chainstays on any bike don't run parallel to the ground. They all have an downward angle to them
    from the rear hub to the bottom bracket. The bottom bracket height is set by this angle. Mountain bikes have very high ones for clearance. Road bikes have lower ones for stability but higher for clearance in corners. Touring bike typically have very low ones. The variation isn't going to be that great (probably less than an inch between each one of these) but even small differences in geometry can make hugh diffences in the way a bike handles. A touring bike is longer in the chainstays and from the bottom bracket to the front fork than a racing bike. The wheelbase of a touring bike should be on the order of 42" while a race bike will be more in the range of 40" or less. The head and seat angles are less steep. This usually means that the bike is somewhat slower steering but the longer length means that the ride is softer. Trust me when I say that you don't want to put a huge load on a short bike and try to ride it all day. If it doesn't throw you off at the first high speed downhill, it will beat your kidneys to mush!


    Quote Originally Posted by tipsy
    5. Are there any cheaper alternatives to those thumbies that I want?! They seem absurdly expensive for what is effectively just a mount to allow you to put bar ends on top. Also, I want a pair of those extra brake levers on top of the bars to allow comfortable braking. Is there a technical name for these and who manufactures them? I'm aware that most ready to go bikes such as the Fuji, Cannondale et al have these pre fitted.
    Don't know about the "thumbies". The levers are cyclocross levers and you can find them all over. Tektro makes some as, I think, does Surly.

    Quote Originally Posted by tipsy
    I really want to get out on the open road asap but obviously I'm not as knowledgeable about bikes as most on these forums. If you can think of anything else that it may appear like I need explaining, don't hesitate to say. Even if you think "surely he must know whatever". Thanks.
    edit - also, things like choosing crank length have got me confused. I think i recall some equation about measuring some part of your person in inches and that gives the length in cms that a crank should be..... [/QUOTE]

    If you want to get on the road as soon as possible, get a complete bike. It's more economical and you don't have to worry about doing something stupid like ruining parts when you miss install them...or the frame if you happen to cross thread the bottom bracket If you have the time and some experience, do the build but realize that it is not going to be either quick or cheap! Build-your-own is seldom either.

    On cranks, if you are around 6' tall, a 170 to 175mm will do just fine. Less than 6' tall, you still should stick with a 170 although a 175 will do. If you below 5'5", look for a 165mm. Shorter than that and try to get a 160mm or even smaller. This is all pretty moot since you are likely going to be able to find only a 175mm or, if you are lucky, a 170 mm crank anyway...without payin an arm and leg
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    For fitting, sizing and crank length, see this fit guide. Unlike most, it is not biased towards racing althetes.

    Very few production tourers from major brands are setup ready to go. Many need to have their gearing lowered or the racks uprated. The Bruce Gordon BLT is probably the best benchmark for a realy to roll build.

  9. #9
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    The '07 Cannondales(T-800 & T-2000) are using 26/36/48 MTB cranks and have pretty stout rear racks. I don't know the '06 specs
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
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  10. #10
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    Thanks a lot everyone. You've all helped pull me back from the brink of insanity. Well I would be more seriously considering a ready to go bike such as a cannondale or trek, but they are both over $2k in australia so it really makes building a bike based on the LHT viable. I can't believe how highly geared some touring bikes are - a smallest cog of 30t is certain to end in tears.

    Well now things are a little clearer Ill go down to my bike shop and see what we can sort out. thanks for the referrals to bike fitting websites too - I really can't wait to get my bike. I just love riding, the idea of getting to a place far far away with nothing but pedal power! Although I've done a fair amount of kms in the past few years, most of it has been urban riding with no touring.

    I made a mistake of buying a racer earlier in the year.....i hadn't even heard of a 'touring' bike at that stage. With bikes the more I learn the more I realise I'm so ignorant. As in, every thing i learn, it reveals even more things I don't know.

    Well anyway, I'll keep researching, but this has really helped give me some hope of making a well informed decision.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tipsy
    Thanks a lot everyone. You've all helped pull me back from the brink of insanity. Well I would be more seriously considering a ready to go bike such as a cannondale or trek, but they are both over $2k in australia so it really makes building a bike based on the LHT viable. I can't believe how highly geared some touring bikes are - a smallest cog of 30t is certain to end in tears.

    Well now things are a little clearer Ill go down to my bike shop and see what we can sort out. thanks for the referrals to bike fitting websites too - I really can't wait to get my bike. I just love riding, the idea of getting to a place far far away with nothing but pedal power! Although I've done a fair amount of kms in the past few years, most of it has been urban riding with no touring.

    I made a mistake of buying a racer earlier in the year.....i hadn't even heard of a 'touring' bike at that stage. With bikes the more I learn the more I realise I'm so ignorant. As in, every thing i learn, it reveals even more things I don't know.

    Well anyway, I'll keep researching, but this has really helped give me some hope of making a well informed decision.
    Which State are you in, tipsy? If Victoria, go talk to St Kilda Cycles. They are the touring shop in Melbourne. They also make Saints frames specifically for touring. Steel. Good from what I gather. As to accessories, see Abbottsford Cycles in Richmond (under the station). Peter has a lot of stuff, but doesn't do bikes or shoes. He may be able to help with a contact for custom frames, however.

    If in Tasmania, look up www.velosmith.com.au. Tim's got some interesting designs going. McBains stock Trek (520 touring version).

    In Sydney, the only bike shop I've dealt with there was Wooly's Cycles (and they were helpful for what I wanted -- non-touring at the time).

    I can't help you with Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth.

    An alternative may be a mail-order job for a frame from a reputable English manufacturer such as Thorn. Check out St John St Cyclery. I have seen the quality of Thorn and it is something to behold.

    If you are into serious expedition touring (Himalayas, remote areas, remote countries), consider an expedition bike built on MTB geometries and MTB wheels. They are ultra tough.

    Be aware that too many bike shops simply don't know about touring bikes. For Australian conditions, especially on the eastern seaboard, you WILL need a 22-32-44 mountainbike crankset with a 32-11 cogset on the rear. I have this set-up, and very rarely would I run out of gears on the flat, fully loaded and with a huge tailwind. But I regularly used the 22-32 climbing some of those hills in the Great Dividing Range, Tasmania, various parts of Victoria, and the Perth hinterland. If you buy an off-the-shelf bike, you will probably have to get the bikeshop to swap out the standard 30-42-53 crankset and BB. They might argue, in which case you know they know nothing about touring.

    A friend has an LHT and it seems to be a good all-round bike for moderately heavy touring as well as commuting and other daily use. I think he built it up from a bare frame over a period. I think the real advantage is that they are capable of taking wide touring tyres (32mm-plus), and that could be important both from a comfort point of view and if you intend to travel gravel/dirt roads.

    One thing to watch. If you want to put on V-brakes with drop bars and STI-style levers, you will need travel agents to make sure everything works properly. This only applies to V-brakes, which are among the most efficient; it doesn't apply to cantilever brakes. I note your comments about bar-end shifters. Actually, they aren't that expensive at all if you don't mind mail order from somewhere in the US such as Performance. You've probably been told bar-end shifters are the bee's knees for touring. Well, they are, but usually what you have been told is in the context of STIs supposedly being unreliable. I know from personal experience and over 50,000km of use, that Tiagra STIs are just fine as far as reliability goes.

    A touring bike should be durable and almost a once-in-a-lifetime investment. If you can afford to take the time and money, you can build a quality unit.

    If you don't mind the delays and are prepared to use internet buying, you will probably source all your parts for a whole lot less from the US than in Australia. I know that the bike shop won't like it, but through Shimano's price controlling in particular, there isn't much competition in Australia if you are on a budget, and it is a course to consider. If you prefer something closer to home and still cheaper, try www.deanwoods.com.au (Dean Woods Direct out of Wangaratta in Victoria). He also does over-the-counter.
    Last edited by Rowan; 09-21-06 at 12:55 PM.

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    If possible find a good bike shop that does touring. Often in the Non-US the full smorgasborg of parts is not available, and the local shops will have already sorted through the options for you. In Oz, apparently velocity rims are locally made, so one of their wheel sets should be a natural.

    Getting the right crank length is a difficult thing. If you have a bike shop you may be able to try out some bikes even before you confess an interest in buying your own. Always take note of any parts you really likes. Crank lngths can be measured and arealso marked. If you get too short you end up without a low end, and too long is harder for spinning. If you like your current road cranks, you might consider about 2.5 cm longer as being natural on a touring bike. But be careful about what the length of your current cranks is, and that is is standard for your frame size etc...

    You want a Brooks saddle unless you have your own preference. B17 is very comfortable for me. It needs a set-back post.

    If your local shop has some canti or V brake preference for any "comfort" or touring bikes they sell, or cyclocross, give those a test ride ad see how they work out.

    One thing you need to decide from the begining is what level of jewelry you want in all this. If you think you want top of the line, it's a different list than for the entry level. You can make a perfectly sturdy bike with the lower end stuff.

    Good medium grade stuff:

    LX hubs, and gears.

    Digit 7 vbrake, or shimano, tectro.

    Dia comp 287 (for Vbrake) or whatever levers

    Velocity wheels and velocity hubs also possible

    Nitto bars, and barend shifters

    LHT frame

    Schwalby tires.

    CC headset

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    Odd thing about the Velocity rims. Yes, they are made in Queensland, but it might be cheaper to import them from the US than to buy them locally. I'd like to try to Dyads, but I have had problems with the Velocity Aerohead OC rears, with spoke pull-through on two rims. That has destabilised my confidence in the local product.

    Sorry peter, don't mean to be a pedant, but Schwalbe, and Cane Creek for CC. I know from personal experience there is nothing worse than quoting little incorrect details from someone and feeling like a big idiot. Although I should be used to it as a journalist.

    And on the crank length, maybe 2.5mm, not 2.5cm (that would be 170 to 172.5mm rather than 170mm to 195mm)

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    Thanks everyone for your advice. I'm in Melbourne so I can give those bike shops a visit. One question: What is a 'travel agent'? (cue dodgy jokes about it being someone who arranges your holiday) Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tipsy
    Thanks everyone for your advice. I'm in Melbourne so I can give those bike shops a visit. One question: What is a 'travel agent'? (cue dodgy jokes about it being someone who arranges your holiday) Thanks.
    It is a device that is threaded on to the brake cable and sits between the two arms of a V-brake. The rollers in it are elliptical so the amount of cable that the lever pulls increases as they turn. Most drop levers don't work well with V-brakes because the amount of cable that needs to be pulled to make them work is too much for the lever -- which ends up against the handlebar before the brake works properly. It's not a situation you want to be in with a loaded touring bike going down a steep hill in the Great Dividing Range. If fitted, the travel agents make V-brakes one of the better set-ups with drop levers.

    Go here to Performance, click on the link to enlarge the picture, and you will see an installed travel agent. Jaison at St Kilda Cycles will know exact what you're talking about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tipsy
    1. I like the reports about the Surly LHT. How does setting up a bare frame like this compare to a ready-to-go bike?
    You'll pay about twice as much in the end by building your own as buying ready-to-ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by tipsy
    2. How the hell do you choose which parts to put on a frame in the event of purchasing everything separately...
    By knowing what you want and getting it. Aren't sure? Buy ready-to-ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by tipsy
    3. How do you fit a frame such as a LHT when chances are there are no bikes ready to be sat on to test it out?
    And THAT is the question that matters. In short - you can't. That's why I'll NEVER buy another frame without a fit and a test ride. I've been through a dozen bought sight-unseen, and they NEVER fit.

    Quote Originally Posted by tipsy
    4. When asking what specifically makes a touring bike so much better suited to touring...how can one bike be lower than another?!
    The bottom bracket can be lower even if the axles aren't. The BB height, though, isn't the core of what makes a touring bike a touring bike. Long chainstays keep your heels from hitting the panniers, long wheelbase makes for a comfortable ride, relaxed frame angles make for stable steering, and strong tubes make for larger load-carrying capacity.

    Quote Originally Posted by tipsy
    5. Are there any cheaper alternatives to those thumbies that I want?! They seem absurdly expensive for what is effectively just a mount to allow you to put bar ends on top. Also, I want a pair of those extra brake levers on top of the bars to allow comfortable braking. Is there a technical name for these and who manufactures them? I'm aware that most ready to go bikes such as the Fuji, Cannondale et al have these pre fitted.
    The Specialized TriCross has the extra brake levers you ask for. Shifters are an entire book on their own.

    Quote Originally Posted by tipsy
    I really want to get out on the open road asap but obviously I'm not as knowledgeable about bikes as most on these forums. If you can think of anything else that it may appear like I need explaining, don't hesitate to say...
    You'll need to learn a bit about bicycle mechanics, and you'll need a few tools. Visit the Park Tools website or buy Leonard Zinn's book "Zinn and the art of road bike maintenance."

    Quote Originally Posted by tipsy
    also, things like choosing crank length have got me confused. I think i recall some equation about measuring some part of your person in inches and that gives the length in cms that a crank should be.....
    Yet another reason to buy a ready-to-ride. Manufacturers size the cranks in proportion to their frames - right size frame? Right size crank!

  17. #17
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    "And THAT is the question that matters. In short - you can't. That's why I'll NEVER buy another frame without a fit and a test ride. I've been through a dozen bought sight-unseen, and they NEVER fit."

    That's a risk, but it's also true that a huge percentage of people, even fitted at really nice stores with good people and customer sensitive commercial appoach, also exit with the wrong frame size. Sometimes a size happens to fall where you are right on, sat, the 56 cm. That one either fits or you can't ride the bike, that's easier. but what if you fall right between two sizes or a given size is perfect for one measurement but not another, judgement calls need to be made, and they tend to be made by the buyer. Even if you go to the fit specialist they would need to be current not just on racing fit but touring fit. And there are different approaches to touring bikes, like credit card touring or trailer and cyclocross, or MTB based, etc... Even good shops will try to close you because it isn't possible for them to tell you not to buy something when as far as they know it is what you want. Sure if you are several sizes off, that's one thing. But these judgement or comfort calls, one just closes gently and leaves it up to the buyer to decide.

    I have a bad ankle as the result of a plane crash, nobody including me knew how that was going to work out as far as fit was concerned, when I bought my recent touring bike. Lots of folks have a bad back, or knees. It's really a personal decision when that kind of isse rears it's head.

    In the end you can model it off a know bike and take your best guess, it's not for sure you will get the right bike, but if you buy a popular model then maybe you can sell the frame out from under your mistake.

    "You'll pay about twice as much in the end by building your own as buying ready-to-ride."

    I don't agree you will necesarilly spend more ordering components than not. In Canada which may or not have the save vibe as Oz, the imported stock bikes are pretty expensive. I got equal or better components on my build compared to a Conondale T800, or Trek 520, and spent about 2/3rd since the frame was a TIG job similar to a surly. I got to specify the components I wanted. I really wanted to strip an MTB I had, but it turnned out to be too much out of date, but that could be a option for some. Even buying everything from Spicer and bringing it up would probably happen for uner 2K, around what the T800 costs up here. And that is without replacing the items I may not have wanted on the T800.

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