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Thread: Let me dream

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    Let me dream

    Maybe the summer after next I want to tour to Colorado to see some relatives and friends maybe keep on doing some long distance tours after that one. Is there such thing as a steel frame touring bike with disc brakes? What should I look for I am in the dreaming stage right now
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanparrish
    Maybe the summer after next I want to tour to Colorado to see some relatives and friends maybe keep on doing some long distance tours after that one. Is there such thing as a steel frame touring bike with disc brakes? What should I look for I am in the dreaming stage right now
    I can't think of any off hand. Generally speaking, however, disc brakes and racks/fenders don't make for a good combination. You can put a rack on a disc equiped bike but it's usually not a simple operation. All of the available space has been taken up by the disc caliper and the mounting tabs on the bike. I have a cyclocross bike I just put fenders on that has disc tabs and the tabs themselves provide interesting challenges. If I had calipers in the mix, I'm not sure I could mount either racks or fenders. There's lots of solutions to this problem but none of them are nearly as good as a regular rack mounted to the frame.

    There are other issues about touring bikes and discs to consider. First is the dish on the rear wheel. Now you have a wheel that is dished on both sides. The attack angle of the spoke is steeper which puts more stress on the spoke head. This could make the wheel weaker. Might not, since the forces are now more balanced between sides but my money is on a weaker wheel.

    Also, if you break a spoke...on either side...you might have to remove the disc to replace it. Means carrying another tool and keeping track of some rather small bolts that aren't easy to find if you drop one in the grass nor would they be that easy to replace in Bumchuck, ID.

    You are now riding on a front wheel that is dished. Dishing makes the wheel weaker. You might be prone to breaking front spokes too. Having replaced my share of spokes in the field, I'm not going to volunteer to replace more of them

    Finally, I'm not sure that discs are all the necessary anyway. I've ridden my share of high mountain roads with screaming descents on loaded bikes that only have cantilevers. I never felt that they weren't enough to stop me. Me and gravity like each other very much and I take every opportunity to get the most out of the relationship
    Stuart Black
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    Thanks for the insight. Are cantilever brakes the better way to go?
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanparrish
    Thanks for the insight. Are cantilever brakes the better way to go?
    Depends on whether you are using brifters or barend shifters. With brifters (Shimano STI), you can use cantilevers or, with some futzing, v-brakes. I was never that impressed by the travel agents route for v-brakes. If you have barend shifters, you can get road levers that are v-brake compatible. I haven't tried those.

    If you go with a flat bar, you can use either.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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    for the ideal touring bike which one brifters or bar end shifters?
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanparrish
    for the ideal touring bike which one brifters or bar end shifters?
    Personal choice. I like brifters for which I shall be consigned to the fires of Hell! (According to some people ) Others like barends but they are just Neanderthals (according to some people )

    Honestly one doesn't have a clear advantage over the other. I never like barends because they are constantly getting bumped when I stopped and I would out of gear to start. I was never fond of reaching down to the drops to shift...it just felt ackward. In my experience even downtube shifters were easier to use. But barends allow for friction mode if your bike is out of adjustment or the index shifting goes wrong...not a common occurence but it can happen.

    Brifters, on the other hand are right where your hands end up most of the time anyway...at the brake hoods. They are easy to use and intuitive. They require little or no effort to make the shift. But, everything...and I mean everything...has to be perfectly aligned! If the cables are sloppy on either front or rear derailers, it's gonna complain. If the derailers are off, it might not make the shift or it might skip or just be a total PITA. I am overstating a little. If something goes wrong with the shifter...again not a common occurence...you don't have friction mode. You might be stuck riding a 3 speed or a 9 speed for a ways until you can get it fixed.

    And then there is that problem with brakes. Brifter will only work with cantilevers or v-brakes with adapters. Barend will work with cantilevers or directly with v-brakes, depending on your lever choice. Cantilevers are good brakes but not the simpliest to get adjusted properly. V-brakes are good brakes too but you have to have special levers.

    Try bikes equiped with both and you can decide. The Trek 520 comes with barend. Most everything else I've seen comes with brifters
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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    What things should I look for in a ideal touring bike crank size chain wheel size sprocket size
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Personal choice. I like brifters for which I shall be consigned to the fires of Hell! (According to some people ) Others like barends but they are just Neanderthals (according to some people )
    OK, I have barends on two road bikes, two cyclocross bikes and my touring bike. They're OK on the road bikes and they work OK for cyclocross RACING. But they sort of don't work well for me on the Touring bike or for recreational offroad cross work.

    That's because I don't hear all that good and when there's any noises I can't tell if I'm dragging gears or not. Also I discovered that when I'm climbing those LONG SLOW STEEP AND LONG AND DID I MENTION LONG hills with cars racing by trying to see how close they can come to you before your blood boils, you don't want to take your hands off of the brake levers to shift.

    So while I prefer barends because they're simple, cheap and effective I will no doubt change over to Brifters soon on the touring bike.

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    If you look at touring bikes as a class, these guys and the pro-brifter message are in the minority. So if you are being swayed by the numbers, that's how they run.

    On the practical side, brifters are highly reliable until they break down. They are designed to take a huge number of shifts, in racing conditions, and they should provide you with huge reliability until the party is over. From that point on you will wish you had something more fixable. But a lot of people probably don't cover the terrain to reach that point.

    The other reason for not wanting brifters is that a touring bike has a wider range of gears on it, and the average properly configured touring bike often comes with an even wider range of gears since they can't know who is going to buy it. So you get something like a 26, 36, 46, with an 11-34 in the back. Now what that kind of range lacks is the sort of spacing that makes rapid shifts appealing, You have some wide gaps in there and you have less reason to shift back and forth like a grasshopper on a hotplate, than yo have with a tightly stacked road set. Also you can end up on the kind of highway that rolls on at 4% for 40 miles, not like poping up and down on single track with rapid fire shifting. On the other hand, if you set up your cogs for a lot of double shifts you may want something like a brifter.

    If you can find a steel frame with a 1.125" stearing tube, you can buy the Nashbar steel touring fork. I know at least one custom builder who uses them, they work fine. They are about 40 bucks if you stack all the coupons on them, and you can run a front disc with then. The front disc is all you need since it will do most of the stopping for you.

    So there isn't anythign wrong with brifters, if they suit your reliability needs, the terrain you want to cycle and your wallet, go for them.

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    I like brifters does anyone carry extra parts like bar end shifters just in case?
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

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    Some people mount downtube shifters and carry cables so they can recable if necesarry. That would probably be an easier fix.

    If you like Brifters then I wouldn't worry, if they are in good repair they will probalby see you through. Worst case you will be hugely inconvenineced and learn why some people like barends. But there are lots of things that can go wrong. Just build the bike you want and hope for the best.

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    You can mount a rear disk and rear Tubus Cargo or Logo racks and a front disk and a Tubus Tara racks on an Co-Motion Americano frame. The Old Man Mountain Sherpa works too, but makes taking the wheels off a pain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    If you look at touring bikes as a class, these guys and the pro-brifter message are in the minority. So if you are being swayed by the numbers, that's how they run.
    I would say that brifters or barends are in the majority or minority. I have no data on it and, I suspect, neither do you. I will say that barends are in the minority in production bikes, however. Of the readily available touring bikes i.e. the ones you might see in any bike shop - Cannondale, Trek, Jamis, Fuji, Bianchi, REI, etc. - only one has barends. All the others are Shimano STI equipped.


    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    On the practical side, brifters are highly reliable until they break down. They are designed to take a huge number of shifts, in racing conditions, and they should provide you with huge reliability until the party is over. From that point on you will wish you had something more fixable. But a lot of people probably don't cover the terrain to reach that point.
    The delicacy of brifters (or any shifter for that matter) is overblown. Shifters can fail just like any other part on a bicycle. But they don't fail that often. I've only ever had one shifter in 26 bikes and probably 40 different shifters fail. I've replaced lots of shifter to upgrade but not due to failure. Also, if a shifter is going to fail, it's just a likely to fail near home as it is out in the middle of nowhere. I don't know about you but I put lots more miles on my bikes...all of them... within 50 miles of home than out on the road.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    The other reason for not wanting brifters is that a touring bike has a wider range of gears on it, and the average properly configured touring bike often comes with an even wider range of gears since they can't know who is going to buy it. So you get something like a 26, 36, 46, with an 11-34 in the back. Now what that kind of range lacks is the sort of spacing that makes rapid shifts appealing, You have some wide gaps in there and you have less reason to shift back and forth like a grasshopper on a hotplate, than yo have with a tightly stacked road set. Also you can end up on the kind of highway that rolls on at 4% for 40 miles, not like poping up and down on single track with rapid fire shifting. On the other hand, if you set up your cogs for a lot of double shifts you may want something like a brifter.
    All I have to say is...Huh? I have a touring bike with a range of 46/34/22 and a rear cluster of 11-34. My 105 STI and my Tiagra before that shifted it just fine. Just because the shifters work well with close gear ratios doesn't mean that it won't work well with wide range. That's more a function of the derailer than of the shifter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    If you can find a steel frame with a 1.125" stearing tube, you can buy the Nashbar steel touring fork. I know at least one custom builder who uses them, they work fine. They are about 40 bucks if you stack all the coupons on them, and you can run a front disc with then. The front disc is all you need since it will do most of the stopping for you.

    There's also the Surly LHT. But the caveat for all bare frames is that they are going to be far more expensive then a built bike. If you have mechanical experience, a wad of cash and know what frame fits you, you can build a great bike. If you don't have the mechanical experience, the wad of cash or aren't sure of the fit, go to a shop.
    Stuart Black
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    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanparrish
    I like brifters does anyone carry extra parts like bar end shifters just in case?
    The only spare parts I carry on tour are extra tubes (3 per bike), a couple of spare master links, some spare spokes, and zip ties. I make sure my bike is in good condition before I leave. I ride the bike hundreds of miles before I go, train with weight on the bike (I use rice in my panniers), and listen for stuff that might be wrong near home so I can repair it easily. Do not do any major repairs or rebuilds the night before you leave. Do not buy or build new wheels the night, or even week, before you leave!

    Also take the best tool you have with you ...your brains! If something goes wrong, use what you have at hand to fix it long enough to get you to the next bike shop. Lots of stuff can happen out there but that doesn't mean that it will happen.

    If I were touring in remote areas, I might carry more stuff. But for you, a trip to Colorado from the "middle of nowhere" really isn't that remote. If you were to break something really important, UPS is only a day away.
    Stuart Black
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    UPS is same day if you pay the big bucks. I will look at the comotion frame I am looking at something I can build up over a while I like doing these type of projects I have all sorts of projects I want to do. I would like to do such as transfer my MTB parts to a soma hard tail I would like to build up a cross check some day. I think this is the going to be the most rewarding for me. I like the built in Spoke holder on the LHT talk about handy.
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanparrish
    UPS is same day if you pay the big bucks. I will look at the comotion frame I am looking at something I can build up over a while I like doing these type of projects I have all sorts of projects I want to do. I would like to do such as transfer my MTB parts to a soma hard tail I would like to build up a cross check some day. I think this is the going to be the most rewarding for me. I like the built in Spoke holder on the LHT talk about handy.
    If you are stuck in Pomeroy, WA 300 miles from the start of your tour and 300 miles from the end of your tour, that one day is an eternity Would be even worse if you were in Eads, CO or any of around 1000 podunk towns that I can think of. Next day UPS is only for emergencies however.
    Stuart Black
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    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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    "The delicacy of brifters (or any shifter for that matter) is overblown. Shifters can fail just like any other part on a bicycle. But they don't fail that often. I've only ever had one shifter in 26 bikes and probably 40 different shifters fail."

    In other words if you buy 40 sets of shifters, they turn out to be durable. I suppose these aren't all personal units there are different family members here. Still it's a far cry from one person going around the world, (or the person who wants that grade of component just to avoid hassle on much shorter trips). Gets back to my point, brifters are race proven and will probably shift the first 10K times as well as anything, as long as you enjoy fritzing with the brakes and adjustments. So for the annual holiday, no problem.


    "All I have to say is...Huh? I have a touring bike with a range of 46/34/22 and a rear cluster of 11-34. My 105 STI and my Tiagra before that shifted it just fine. Just because the shifters work well with close gear ratios doesn't mean that it won't work well with wide range. That's more a function of the derailer than of the shifter."

    I didn't say they wouldn't work, I said they aren't necesarry. With wider gear spacings I have found myself riding in essentially the same gear for the afternoon, or that's the way it feels. Compare that to the city where I shift up and down agressively at every light and stop sign. I"m not saying a person shouldn't prefer to use them anyway

    HS who has been living on his bike for 50 years has a three speed gear hub. I doubt even Lanc could have won with a 3 speed gear hub. It's race tech and it isn't necesarry on touring bikes though it may be desireable.

    Also, for consistancy, when warning about the cost and technical difficulty of a ground up build, shouldn't one also mention that brifters are costly and techical to sellect and maintain also?

    "There's also the Surly LHT"

    Doesn't run discs.
    Last edited by NoReg; 10-08-06 at 12:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    In other words if you buy 40 sets of shifters, they turn out to be durable. I suppose these aren't all personal units there are different family members here. Still it's a far cry from one person going around the world, (or the person who wants that grade of component just to avoid hassle on much shorter trips). Gets back to my point, brifters are race proven and will probably shift the first 10K times as well as anything, as long as you enjoy fritzing with the brakes and adjustments. So for the annual holiday, no problem.
    No, that 40 sets is mostly for me. Some were Shimano, some were Suntour, some for mountain bikes and some for road bikes. I've owned 28 bikes total since I started riding seriously. Some of the shifters were changed because of technology changes - friction to index, 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 speed changes (don't you just love Shimano ), Suntour going out of business, Thumbies to Rapidfire, etc. Others were changed because I wanted a higher level of components...Ah Vanity! Thy name is Stuart!

    The only one that failed for me was on my daughter's bike and that was because a cable jammed in it and I couldn't get it to function after I got the cable out. It was just easier to get a new shifter.

    I wouldn't say that it's a far cry from a person going around the world by bicycle. Day-to-day riding puts just a much strain and wear on parts as going around the world, it's just easier to fix stuff that goes wrong at home. Those 28 bikes have a combined mileage of 90k miles on them in all kinds of conditions. That's a lot to ask of parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    I didn't say they wouldn't work, I said they aren't necesarry. With wider gear spacings I have found myself riding in essentially the same gear for the afternoon, or that's the way it feels. Compare that to the city where I shift up and down agressively at every light and stop sign. I"m not saying a person shouldn't prefer to use them anyway
    With the shifters right at my hands, I tend to shift more often for minor adjustments to terrain. Because I don't have to reach down to shift, I'm more likely to change gears for uphills (mostly) and downhills. I just find I shift more often with the shifters right there.


    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    Also, for consistancy, when warning about the cost and technical difficulty of a ground up build, shouldn't one also mention that brifters are costly and techical to sellect and maintain also?
    Costwise, brifters are a little more expensive that barend/brake levers but the difference, at the Tiagra level anyway, is modest. A barend/brake lever is going to cost around $120 +/- $30 while a set of Tiagra STI are going to cost around $160 +/- $10. Sora is even less than that. 105 and Ultegra are much more expensive.

    As for set up, they aren't any harder to maintain or adjust than barends. I've found all of mine to be very simple to set up.
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    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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    Lotta people out on teh n. Tier this sumemr with discs. mainly Surlies or one-off customs.
    I'd rather have v's myself. Easier to have serviced anyhwere and more than enough power.
    I love my Dia-Compe levers with Avid-Sds and some bar-end shifters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanparrish
    I like brifters does anyone carry extra parts like bar end shifters just in case?
    The bike I brought last year came with brifters. I hate the things, but I also have an issue with my right hand and can't feel the little lever. So I put some old fashioned friction shifters on sideways in a complicated fashion within reach of my left hand, without leaving the handlebars.

    Should they fail, the brifters are still on the bike, I could always reconnect the brifters in an emergency.


    About disks, I have seen some bikes set up with a front disk only, and still retaining the canti bosses for rack mountings on the front fork. Also good to bolt a spare canti brake on in case the disk has problems.

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    I like that Idea of the downtube shifters I could mount some on here with the clamp on style.Put brifters on instead of the brake levers and bar ends. Then mount some brake levers like the interupt style. On cyclo-x bikes but have them only operate the cantis. I like that they use a tandem wheel on the back to stop wheel breakage. The only justifications for disc brakes in my mind is that I would like to have the utmost control over a bike which is fully loaded going down a steep hill. I haven't been over a hill were if you use your canti brakes to much it will over heat the rim causing the tube to go flat. So if I operate it via a disc brake system I should be okay

    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

  22. #22
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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    So I prefer brifters as well, but I've only done light touring so far (support vehicles, credit cards, etc). I've considered that a spare set of downtube shifters and cables might be on the supplies list if I went for a long, unsupported tour. They are pretty small and light. Other things I might carry: extra chainring bolts, extra master links, ... I'll have to make a list. Hmmm.
    David Green, Naperville, IL USA "The older I get, the better I used to be" --Lee Trevino

  23. #23
    Hypoxic Member head_wind's Avatar
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    Campy brifters are repairable. I've never opened any myself but I've read instructions and while a clean-room isn't necessary you aren't going to fix-em at the side of the road either.

    Since Colorado doesn't have water I haven't considered disk brakes. I've always wondered why I never see front disks with read cantis or Vs. Rear rack problem is solved and the read disk seems unnecessary.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    I'm not sure this helps you much, but to theoretically answer your question: yes. The practical issues? Well, Dawes Sardars are extremely rare to get hold off stateside, and are only sold in the UK. Another potential issue is that the Sardar only comes with the 26" wheels. I have one with Avid road discs, and love it. I did have to make my own rear rack brackets to avoid disc caliper interference, but it wasn't too much of a problem (at least for me). I love my disc brakes by the way, and wouldn't want to go back to non-discs -though as I've posted before, good v/canti brakes with pads are more than adequate anyway.

  25. #25
    Bicycle built for 5 tuolumne's Avatar
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    Nobody has said mix and match yet. Discs get in the way of rear racks. I have an Axiom rack for disc that is supposedly rated at 100 lbs, but it's nothing but a pain. It is not as stiff because of the eccentric link and moves a lot, even with a 30 lb load. You certainly don't need the braking power in your rear wheel anyway. Even with a loaded tourer, the front brake has the primary stopping power. That said, put a cantilever brake on the rear. I do like the front disc, expecially on rainy commutes. I'm currently building a front wheel around a Shimano DH-3D71 generator hub for commuting and touring. The lights available are quite bright - you may need to suppliment with HID or something if riding long distances in the dark, but it's nice to know you don't have to worry about batteries on a long tour with the generator hub. I love brifters since I spend most of my time on the hoods and can shift/brake easily without moving my hands. It never occured to me to worry about shifters failing before. If this occured, you could manually change gears to get where you need to go for parts. Isn't the diversity of opinions great! Dreaming for the next year will prove just as rewarding as the acutal experience.
    Would rather be at 119.49079W, 37.76618N

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