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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    couple ?'s from a new/not so new tourer

    Hi Tourers, couple questions from an experienced tourer who hasn't toured in 17 yrs., but is jumping back into it after years of other types of riding. And apologies in advance for the long initial post.

    Just got a frame in the mail - an NOS 1997 Fuji Touring Series frame and fork. It is beautiful. I am putting new/NOS components on it. Money is not too much of an object, but I'm not going to spend exorbitant sums when something cheaper will work just as well. For example: Phil Wood hubs, yes (I want to get years and thousands and thousands of miles on one wheel set). Paul cantis, no. Can't see the bang for the buck when Shortys will do nicely.

    I will also, between tours, use this bike to commute and ride centuries, since I am now doing so on an old racing bike with a 42-24 low gear and a 44-16 single speed, and my knees are not getting any younger. So I want it to be as lightweight as possible without sacrificing the requisite strength needed for loaded touring.

    So, my questions:

    A) It has a 1" threaded fork. Should I just get a quill stem to go with it & handlebars to match? Or should I get an adapter so I can mount a threadless stem on there?

    Thing is, you can get a boatload of 3TTT and Cinelli 1/XA stems on Ebay relatively cheap, but seeing as how many handlebars are incompatible with these old road stems, is it worth getting the adapter to take advantage of the wide array of handlebars using the newer 31.8 bar diameter? Or is this silly? I don't even know what types of bars & stems are good for touring & haven't seen much in this forum about it. I know what I like for non-loaded riding: traditional curved drops like the Cinelli Campione del Mondo etc.

    Are there modern alternatives that are better - lighter, stronger, more reliable?

    As I side note, I will be using something like the Shimano R400 or Tektro R200A for brake levers.

    B) Canti's: my first experience riding with them. Are there any substantive difference in braking or for touring applications between, say, the Avid Shorty 6, the Shimano BR-550, or the Tektro Oryx? They all look similar in design and function, the only substantive differences I can tell are in price and weight (and maybe aethetics, but even those don't vary too much).

    C) Rear/Front derailers. I will be using the Sugino XD crank and, in all likelihood, a 7 speed freewheel (13x28 or thereabouts). Shimano's line: what is good, what is bad, what is overpriced, what is the best value. I will probably be swapping chainrings on the XD, keeping the small one but moving the middle and top to a 40 & 48 (from 36 & 46).

    D) Panniers. Are the Ortliebs and Carradices of the world that much better than what you can get from Performance and Nashbar? Is there a good "middle ground" in panniers these days? My dad and I toured with orange Cannondale canvas panniers in the late 80's and they were great. The Ortliebs are out, I don't want my clothes getting mildewed in an airtight sack.

    Thanks for your help. FYI my first tour will be a loop up the Hudson River Valley (from Brooklyn!), into Vermont, across the Green & White Mtns. into Maine and then down the coast to Providence. Hopefully I can get it together by the summer.

  2. #2
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by splytz1
    A) It has a 1" threaded fork. Should I just get a quill stem to go with it & handlebars to match? Or should I get an adapter so I can mount a threadless stem on there?

    Thing is, you can get a boatload of 3TTT and Cinelli 1/XA stems on Ebay relatively cheap, but seeing as how many handlebars are incompatible with these old road stems, is it worth getting the adapter to take advantage of the wide array of handlebars using the newer 31.8 bar diameter? Or is this silly? I don't even know what types of bars & stems are good for touring & haven't seen much in this forum about it. I know what I like for non-loaded riding: traditional curved drops like the Cinelli Campione del Mondo etc.

    Are there modern alternatives that are better - lighter, stronger, more reliable?
    The best thing about threadless stems is the ease with which you can change or adjust them. It simplifies changing handlebars or length or rise since the face plate on them is held on with 2 or 4 bolts. Simply loosen the bolts, remove the face plate and the bar drops into your hand...sorta They also tend to be overly strong torsionally, although this is lessened with the addition of an adaptor.

    As for bars, I've been riding a set of Salsa Bell Laps on my commuter bike that I really like. They are wide without a huge drop and slightly flared. I find them much more comfortable then the Ritchey Biomax or some Easton carbons I was using.


    Quote Originally Posted by splytz1
    B) Canti's: my first experience riding with them. Are there any substantive difference in braking or for touring applications between, say, the Avid Shorty 6, the Shimano BR-550, or the Tektro Oryx? They all look similar in design and function, the only substantive differences I can tell are in price and weight (and maybe aethetics, but even those don't vary too much).
    I'd suggest the Shimano or Oryx over the Avid. I like Avid products but the Shortys aren't the best. They tend to have toe-in problems and nearly everyone who uses them complains about squealing. And it's not just a little squeak. The one's I had howled dry or wet, hot or cold. I got rid of them. My commuter bike has an old set of Shimanos that are way better.

    Quote Originally Posted by splytz1
    C) Rear/Front derailers. I will be using the Sugino XD crank and, in all likelihood, a 7 speed freewheel (13x28 or thereabouts). Shimano's line: what is good, what is bad, what is overpriced, what is the best value. I will probably be swapping chainrings on the XD, keeping the small one but moving the middle and top to a 40 & 48 (from 36 & 46).
    If you haven't got the crank yet, I'd suggest a Shimano LX Trekking (Nashbar, $70 plus a bottom bracket). It's a great crank (I have the XT version) with a wider range of chainwheels to choose from. You can go from the 48 tooth top to a 22 tooth granny. Chainrings for the Sugino will cost you around $60 so the Shimano is a good value.

    For derailers, I'd go with a Tiagra triple for the front or an LX mountain, if you are using friction shifters. The Tiagra is actually a better touring derailer than the higher priced Shimanos. It's wider and has less problems with set up. For the rear, use a long cage mountain bike derailer. You can use a 9 speed without problems. LX is good, XT is better. JensonUSA has the XT for an incredible $49.

    Quote Originally Posted by splytz1
    D) Panniers. Are the Ortliebs and Carradices of the world that much better than what you can get from Performance and Nashbar? Is there a good "middle ground" in panniers these days? My dad and I toured with orange Cannondale canvas panniers in the late 80's and they were great. The Ortliebs are out, I don't want my clothes getting mildewed in an airtight sack.
    I've used Ortliebs on 2 extended tours now without problems. I even had lots of rain on one of them. They do what they are designed to do and I've never had issues with mildew, but I don't put wet stuff in the bag. At night, I lay everything out that is damp...towels, clothes, dish cloths, etc. and let it dry. If it's still damp in the morning, I hang it off my tent and sleeping bag while I ride until it's dry. If I can't do that, I organize everything in ziplock bags anyway so I put damp stuff in a ziplock and dry it at the next camp.

    What's nice about the Ortliebs or the Arkels, etc. is the attachment mechanism. No messing with bungy cords or funky hooks and velcro. The Ortliebs (I don't have experience with the Arkels) are quick to put on and they stay in place even on rough roads. The old Cannondales would occasionally go for their own little tour which made life interesting . Ortliebs and, I assuming, Arkels won't do that.

    I've seen the Performance bags and I'm not too impressed. I haven't seen the Nashbars so I can't comment on them. For a good bag that's not too expensive and has an excellent attachment mechanism (almost as good as the Ortlieb), look at Detours. The Transit and the Transit tour aren't bad bags (not thrilled about the black color ). I have a set for commuting and they stay put pretty well. I did replace the lower attachment with the QL-1 from the Ortliebs. It's a big improvement.
    Stuart Black
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  3. #3
    Slowpoach
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    I pretty much agree with the above, however:

    Stems/bars: Agreed, threadless is more convenient as long as you don't over-tighten the top bolt. However, why not just stay with a quill stem if that is what you are set up for? It will be just as strong as using an adapter, and Rivendell bikes (www.rivbikes.com) have a range of "traditional" stems and bars to look at as a starting point.

    I thought the bar diameter was the same for quill and aheadset-type stems, my impression is that just the quill/steerer side of things is different, but I could be wrong - better check for yourself.

    Cantis: Not enough experience to comment on the brakes, other than the Oryx brakes on my T800 seem to work fine. However, I can say that levers are just as important as the brakes: I can't stop fast enough from the hoods on my Shimano 105 STIs, despite good brake setup and adequate hand strength; can stop perfectly well from the drops and with flat bars and MTB levers, and can stop OK from the hoods on Dia Compe levers.

    I have heard that Tiagra (non-STI) brake levers are very good too, but haven't tried them.

    Front derailleur: Tiagra works great on my tourer, never a problem. Works fine on my bike with 26-36-48, works with 30-42-52.
    Can't comment on crank sets.

    Rear derailleur: Are you sure you want a freewheel, rather than a freehub and cassette? I've had problems with freewheels/axles (admittedly on a tandem), and although you should be fine if you are set on 6- or 7-speed, you will get a less dished wheel with a freehub if you go for 8/9 cogs (and 10 is available if you must).
    You can get 11-32 or 11-34 with a 9-sprocket cassette, good range with adequate spacing.
    XT is a good long-cage derailleur. Don't have experience with any others I would recommend. Stay away from anything below Deore in the Shimano range (Alivio - just OK; altus/tourney - inadequate).

    Panniers/racks: Too much written elsewhere to summarise. Ortliebs are rugged, secure and relatively light. Not all Ortliebs are roll-top.
    Last edited by Cave; 03-08-07 at 10:44 PM.

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