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  1. #1
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    needy newbie

    i'm planning a trip from phila. to colo. end of aug. - need bare-bones set-up to get me there. have a bike shop willing to give me a trek 540 frame for $350, but components are a mix of whatever he had in the back. i know nothing of this stuff- need to know if it's adequate:
    -shimano RSX crankshaft
    -EXA6E(or EXAGE?) derailer
    -alloy(frame??)
    -mavic wheel set
    -icon stem & handlebar

    forgot to give me the brakes. how does it sound so far?? what else should i ask about??? all other bike shops are quoting in the $800s for any touring model, but is this bike really the deal?

    VERY MUCH APPRECIATE your input.
    thanks.

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    Is this a touring frame, with geometry and strength to handle the load, clearance to handle touring tyres and 36 spoke wheels which are well built.
    Can you get a low-enough gear on the Exage chainset.
    You dont really need top grade commponents of a tourer, Exage are plenty good enough to do the job but not if they are in racing wannabe specs.

  3. #3
    Gordon P
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    You may be better off to keep looking and find a friend with some touring experience to give you some pointers on finding the right bike. Without previous touring or mechanical experience I would strongly advise you to buy new or something that is working/assembled condition instead of a bicycle assembled from a pile of old parts. Keep posting and the Bike Forum crew will try to help.

    have a bike shop willing to give me a trek 540 frame for $350, but components are a mix of whatever he had in the back. i know nothing of this stuff- need to know if it's adequate:
    Will they assemble this bike for you and tune it up etc? If so, it may be worth it, but the EXAGE stuff is old 80’s midrange stuff, but easy to upgrade when the time comes. If they assure you it will all work together and they thro in the rack and new touring tires it may be worth it.
    Last edited by Gordon P; 07-13-03 at 12:37 PM.

  4. #4
    Gordon P
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    I just had a look for the Trek 540 and it is a touring frame from 1999 –2000 so it should have all of the braze-ons you will need. An assembled model was in the $1000 usd range and a new 2003 Trek 520 touring bike is about the same price.

  5. #5
    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    The Trek 540 was an aluminum touring frame, with similar geometry to the venerable 520. It cost more than the 520, and there were (never-verified) rumors that it was made by Klein. It's a good frame, in any case, if it's the right size for you.

    It's hard to comment on most of the other parts without knowing model numbers, but if he's basically giving you "new old stock" Shimano stuff it should be fine. The main thing about wheels is that they are properly tensioned, trued, and stress-relieved. If they are new wheels that meet these criteria, you should be fine, but I would be very wary of attempting an extended tour on wheels of unknown predigree.

    I'm assuming here that you'd be getting a bike assembled and adjusted by the bike shop, so much depends on how much you trust the shop.

    RichC
    Training: 2002 Fuji Roubaix Pro (105 triple)
    Commuting/Daytripping: 2001 Airborne Carpe Diem (Ultegra/XTR, touring wheels)
    Commuting/Touring: 2000 Novara Randonee (Sora/Tiagra/LX, fenders, lights)

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    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    the answer to your question is no. Buy a bike, and soon. You won't save much (if any) money buying that frame, and you need to log some training miles. And you need to put some miles on the bike. over the first couple hundred miles wires stretch, wheels go out of true. Once the break in period is over, a bike will often be fine for a long time. Get a good basic toruing model like the Volpe; and you'll be fine. Wish I could go with you, sounds like a great trip.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by Gordon P



    Will they assemble this bike for you and tune it up etc? If so, it may be worth it, but the EXAGE stuff is old 80’s midrange stuff, but easy to upgrade when the time comes. If they assure you it will all work together and they thro in the rack and new touring tires it may be worth it. [/B]
    the parts are new-not used-but older stock. what do you mean by "midrange"- function or cost? the shop gives a free 30-day tune-up after purchase. i'm asking about the 300ex derailer b/c another forum member said it might not work for touring if it has specs for racing(i don't know the functional differences- is racing stuff too lite and flimsy for a long tour?) also, he asked if it was geared low enough- i don't know what that means, or how i'd research that question. budget is very key for me- i just want to know if any of the parts are glaring weak links that i should pay to upgrade. for example, the wheels are rigida (32-spoke). one forum member suggested a min. of 36 spokes, but a guy at the bike shop said it has more to do with the distribution of spokes and structure of the wheel. he said the rigida wheel has a lot of spokes b/c it is a narrow wheel - he pointed out that another wheel with fewer spokes is actually stronger. any thoughts?

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    Originally posted by MichaelW
    Is this a touring frame, with geometry and strength to handle the load, clearance to handle touring tyres and 36 spoke wheels which are well built.
    Can you get a low-enough gear on the Exage chainset.
    You dont really need top grade commponents of a tourer, Exage are plenty good enough to do the job but not if they are in racing wannabe specs.

    the exage is the 300ex- i have no idea how to locate or distinguish racing-wannabe specs from touring specs. (is the term chainset equivalent to the term derailer ?are certain parts mostly grouped together and sold as one component?)

    the wheels were misreported: they are not mavic, but rigida 32 spokes. i can count spokes, but how do i determine well built enough for touring?

    new touring tires are included, but not racks.

    thaks sooo much for taking time to reply.

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by Gordon P

    forgot to mention- comes with new touring tires, but no rack

    Will they assemble this bike for you and tune it up etc? If so, it may be worth it, but the EXAGE stuff is old 80’s midrange stuff, but easy to upgrade when the time comes. If they assure you it will all work together and they thro in the rack and new touring tires it may be worth it. [/B]

  10. #10
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    I believe there was an earlier recreational road group called Exage but the 300EX as I recall was a mid-1990s recreational MTB 7-speed component group and was part of the MTB Exage line which included 300EX, 400EX and 500EX. I would think it would work okay for touring as it'll support lower and wider-range gearing. It wasn't incredibly light or heavy but I don't know it's track record as far as durability goes. I think it fell just below the Deore (DeoreLX, DeoreDX and DeoreXT) lineup of the day which is where the enthusiast to racing line started.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  11. #11
    60mph in the 42 ring! Dave Stohler's Avatar
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    There is no shortage of obsolete, decent parts on e-bay. Just be sure you know what you need, first.
    Cycling Addict
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    (techinical questions gladly answered via AIM)

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    The others have more knowledge on the suitability of the bike for touring but I will try to give you a beginner course on low gearing until they can further reply.To pedal a heavy load up steep hills you will need lower gears than on a regular road or racing bike similar to whats on a mtn. bike.You measure this by the number of teeth on the front chainrings and rear cassette/freewheel.For low gearing in the front chainrings you want to include a small ring with fewer teeth and/or for the rear you want a cassette range with larger tooth options.This can be translated to gear inches by dividing the teeth of the small front ring by the teeth of the large rear cassette and multiplying by 27 (for a 27" wheel).Most for touring like their lower gearing to at least be in the mid 20's while a standard racing bike with a 52/42 tooth double front chainring with a 14-28 rear cassette will only result in a low gear of 40((42/28) x27).You need to add either lower tooth front rings like found on a mtn. bike or higher tooth cassettes (they go up to 34 teeth but above 28 you need a mtn. bike rear derailler).I suggest you discuss the lower gearing options and compatibility issues with your dealer as he sounds like he knows what he is talking about and generally steering you in the right direction from what others have replied here.
    Last edited by RWTD; 07-14-03 at 04:02 PM.

  13. #13
    Gordon P
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    Hi again, so are you confused yet? I have Exage Action components on my old Trek road bike and they are fine for what I do. Shimano has used the Exage name for road components, MTB components and for a line of fishing gear! However, Exage 300 ex was a road group for the 90’s, midrange as in cost and durability and according to one website he compared the Exage stuff to the current Deore line and is good for a novice or for recreational use.

    Which RSX crank set and is it a triple or double? The RSX A417 triple would be nice. (30-42-52) The RSX is one step above the Exage 330 ex and is for advanced/recreational use.

    I hope someone else can comment on 32 spoke wheels set, as “more spokes the better” was the old rule of thumb. That said, wheel design has changed for the better in the last few years and most mountain bike wheels are 32 spoke and are very strong.

    I understand that with a tight budget you have make the choice either to wait and buy quality or spend the $350.00 and make this trip happen. I know an old man who toured across Europe in 1948 on an old bike he bought in England and he made it to Rome! So I say your trip can happen with this bike, but just clarify what the other parts they are putting on the bike for you. In addition, I agree with Late, that you will want to get the bike ASAP and break it in before you go on this trip.

    Ok. Lets sum up and comments and criticisms are very welcome.
    Frame: good
    Derailleurs: good
    Icon Stem and Handlebars: good
    Crankset: good
    Wheelset: ?
    Tires: ?
    Gearing:?
    Brakes: ?
    Shifter: ?

  14. #14
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Okay... I stand corrected. I was confusing Exage EX lines with Exage LX lines. The Exage LX is the MTB group.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  15. #15
    Gordon P
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    I was confusing Exage EX lines with Exage LX
    I think Shimano is also confused!

    I have Exage Action stuff and I can’t find any info on it. Here is a good Shimano page in German.

    http://www.fa-technik.adfc.de/Hersteller/

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    Originally posted by Gordon P

    Which RSX crank set and is it a triple or double? The RSX A417 triple would be nice. (30-42-52) The RSX is one step above the Exage 330 ex and is for advanced/recreational use.

    Frame: good
    Derailleurs: good
    Icon Stem and Handlebars: good
    Crankset: good
    Wheelset: ?
    Tires: ?
    Gearing:?
    Brakes: ?
    Shifter: ?
    front crankset? is a triple . i only got the specs for low gear ratio?- front smallest ring has 29 teeth, and the shop said they'd swap the rear cogs for one w/ the largest ring at 24 teeth. if i followed the formula correctly, my magic # is 32. sound right?

    now comes the low blow- it has down tube shift levers. i asked about the possibility of upgrading to the handlebar kind(their cheapest part is $130) but they said that other parts are not compatible, and the bike would jump back into the $600 range. does that sound like an honest answer? sounds like i'm not saving on the older model frame, but on the components. how bad are down tube shifters anyway? maybe i should just grab it and run? i can't postpone the trip, i can only cancel.

    brakes are shimano STX RC. brake lever is shim. RX100

    p.s. if i wanted to upgrade the shifter at another time, how many other copmponents would have to be upgraded along with it?

  17. #17
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    Are you sure its not the front ring thats 24 and the rear cassette that 29?Switching to a 24 tooth rear cassette would be odd as most are at least 28 and on websites you can get them up to 34 tooth for around $20.Maybe you could have him special order one of the touristo specials from www.sheldonbrown.com .As to the downtube shifters I have always had them on my bike and they are fine for touring needs so if you don't have racing asperations I don't think they would be a deal breaker if that is what it takes to get an economical bike.Others can better comment on what all would be need to swap out shifters though.

  18. #18
    Gordon P
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    I was hoping one of the bike technicians would join this thread! Ok, I live in the prairies so gearing is not very important to me. I will guess that the crank set they will put on will be something like 30-42-52 or 26-36-46 would be common; regardless it will work fine and when your fitness level and touring skills improve you can always change the chainrings or the rear cassette, no big deal. Downtube shifters are old, but they work well for touring as they are very durable and you won’t be shifting that much compared to racing. You can always up-grade to bar-end shifters in the future with little trouble if you so desire. The stx-rc and rx-100 brakes should be good enough to stop you on a steep decline.

    The trek 540, in its day, sold for $1500. usd and was equipped with Shimano 105 components. At $350.00 (the price of a return ticket), you are doing all right and you can always upgrade to better components as they brake or wear out. Buy a good sturdy rack for the back and a lowrider rack for the front; this will distribute the weight better. Just make sure the bike fits right before you head out on the road. I can’t find any info on the 32 spoke 700 wheelset that they are offering you, maybe they are 26”? If you have extra cash, maybe a touring specific wheelset would be a good upgrade.

    Ok. Lets sum up again and comments and criticisms are very welcome.
    Frame: good
    Derailleurs: good
    Icon Stem and Handlebars: good
    Crankset: good
    Wheelset: ?
    Tires: A touring tire should do the trick.
    Gearing:
    Brakes: good
    Shifter: good

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by RWTD
    [B]Are you sure its not the front ring thats 24 and the rear cassette that 29?

    are we talking about different rings? i was trying to work out a low gear ratio, so i was manually counting teeth on the SMALLEST front ring, and the BIGGEST rear ring. does this make sense now? or do i still need to order a new cassette? (i was using i pen to count notches-maybe i am off by one.)

  20. #20
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    Originally posted by RWTD
    most are at least 28 and on websites you can get them up to 34 tooth for around $20.Maybe you could have him special order one of the touristo specials from [url]www.sheldonbrown.com[/B]
    do you mean something specific by "touristo special"? this is the info i found on sheldon's parts page. it's almost greek to me- how to choose- is weight an issue?

    7-speed:
    Part
    Number Series Price Code Sprockets Weight
    FW8505 HG-70 $29.95 E 12 14 16 18 21 24 28 308 grams
    FW8507 HG-70 $33.95 F 14 16 18 21 24 28 32 406 grams
    FW8496 HG-70 $29.95 G 13 15 17 20 23 26 30 360 grams
    FW8508 HG-70 $31.95 K 13 15 17 20 24 29 34 420 grams
    FW8499 HG-70 $29.95 M 13 15 17 19 21 24 28 328 grams
    FW8504 HG-70 $29.95 H 13 15 17 19 21 23 26 311 grams
    FW8510 HG-70 $29.95 L 12 13 14 15 17 19 21 220 grams
    FW8503 HG-70 $29.95 I 13 14 15 17 19 21 23 262 grams
    FW8502 HG-70 $29.95 J 13 14 15 16 17 19 21 234 grams
    FW8500 HG-70C $31.95 ab 11 12 13 14 15 17 19 179 grams
    FW8525 HG-70C $29.95 ac 11 13 15 18 21 24 28 303 grams
    FW8512 HG-60C $29.95 ai 11 12 14 16 18 21 24
    FW8633 IG-60 $29.95 am 11 13 15 18 21 24 30 257 grams
    FW8996 HG501 $29.95 Megarange 11 13 15 18 22 26 34
    HG-70 sets are all chrome-plated. HG-50 sets are brown.

  21. #21
    FOG
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    Originally posted by joysickle
    now comes the low blow- it has down tube shift levers. i asked about the possibility of upgrading to the handlebar kind(their cheapest part is $130)
    How about bar end shifters, which probably have a friction mode anyway?

  22. #22
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by FOG
    How about bar end shifters, which probably have a friction mode anyway?
    At one point I put SRAM GripShifts (the originals) on the end of my drops. They worked pretty well and I liked them better than barcons or downtube shifters. I just didn't have the money for STIs which, at the time, were only offerred in the higher end Shimano groups.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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    I was referring to the 14/34 or the 13/32 and I think they also just came out with a 13/34 which I though I saw called touristo special.It looks like they are more like $30 in 7spdIwas looking at the 6speed for my bike and they were $19.95.The key on cassettes is to match the speeds with the width of the hub and go with the most allowable to get closer gear ranges while still allowing adequate high end and low end(as I said suitable low end is probaby more important for tourists encountering much elevation).So if it is compatable to 7speed and you have a small front ring of 29 the 14/34 would give you a low of 23 gear inches enough to get you up the steepest hill in Colorado assuming you are in shape.As you said the 24 option cassette the shop mentioned would give you a 32 low which is probably adequate if you are a fairly strong rider and not going up really steep mtns loaded.My current bike is only a 38 low and I make it up the steepest hills and bridges in Fl. with some effort and am looking to try to get it down to the 28-32 range currently but if I did much mtn touring I might try to get it lower than that based on the feedback I've heard from others.So from an economical standpoint I would try to get the shop to put on a 28 tooth cassette(or higher) instead of the 24 proposed which is somewhat of an odd size which he is probably trying to get rid of.This would give you 28 (or lower) gear inches .Other than that you will need to decide whether or not 32 gear inches is adequate or to spring for a 34 tooth cassette to get the low down to 23 gear inches which should get you up any mtn.Perhaps you can get some feedback from those more experienced touring in the mtns as to suitability of a low of 32 vs 28 vs 23 but I am just relaying the feedback I have heard. Another option would be to see if the shop could put a small front ring smaller than 29 teeth on and to go as small there as compatable with the other front rings.

  24. #24
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    Originally posted by khuon
    I believe there was an earlier recreational road group called Exage but the 300EX as I recall was a mid-1990s recreational MTB 7-speed component group and was part of the MTB Exage line which included 300EX, 400EX and 500EX. I would think it would work okay for touring as it'll support lower and wider-range gearing. It wasn't incredibly light or heavy but I don't know it's track record as far as durability goes. I think it fell just below the Deore (DeoreLX, DeoreDX and DeoreXT) lineup of the day which is where the enthusiast to racing line started.

    hi. the bike shop tells me that this derailer is incompatible with a rear cassette larger than 26. i'm no longer sure if the shop is giving me true info., or if they're impatiently rollling me towards an upgrade. do you know a source where i can verify this info. with certainty?
    the shop also said that to upgrade down tube shifting to handlebar shifting would require changing/purchasing many more parts than just the handlebar shifters, causing a $250 jump(the h.bar shifter is $130). one of the senior members here suggested that the shifting upgrade is a pretty simple one. again, is there a way to verify this info?

  25. #25
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by joysickle
    hi. the bike shop tells me that this derailer is incompatible with a rear cassette larger than 26. i'm no longer sure if the shop is giving me true info., or if they're impatiently rollling me towards an upgrade. do you know a source where i can verify this info. with certainty?
    They are probably correct. I incorrectly thought that your rear derailleur was a MTB rear dereilleur. The 300LX is an MTB rear der. but the 300EX is a road rear der. and most road rear der. usually don't go much higher than 28T or 30T so it's quite conceivable that the 300EX has a a maximum of 26T.


    Originally posted by joysickle

    the shop also said that to upgrade down tube shifting to handlebar shifting would require changing/purchasing many more parts than just the handlebar shifters, causing a $250 jump(the h.bar shifter is $130). one of the senior members here suggested that the shifting upgrade is a pretty simple one. again, is there a way to verify this info?
    One of the best ways to verify is to get a second-opinion (firsthand). Try taking the bike to another shop and see what they say. Also, it never hurts to get a second price estimate even if the answer as to what needs to be done is the same.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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