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Old 10-04-07, 10:16 PM   #1
barth-karl
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The best touring drivetrain...?

What is/was the best (or a best) touring drivetrain of th 70's, 80's, 90's and currently...?
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Old 10-04-07, 11:05 PM   #2
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What is/was the best (or a best) touring drivetrain of th 70's, 80's, 90's and currently...?
I'd vote for a external bearing Shimano XT trekking crankset (48/36/26 but change the 26 to a 22) with a Sram or Shimano 9 speed 11-34 cassette, XT rear derailer and Tiagra front. Shifters would be your choice.

The Trekking crank has a very nice range is light weight and shifts very smoothly...much better than anything from the 90's back...and it can be taken apart with an allen wrench. The XT rear is rugged as Grizzly Adams. And the Tiagra is far better than any road derailer in the Shimano line. It's wider between the plates and thinner on the plate material itself. It's much less trouble to set up without rubbing than the 105 and up components.

If you want to go a bit cheaper for the crank, Nashbar has the octalink LX for around $60. Not as easy to take apart but it's a good crank with the possibility of a great range of gearing.
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Old 10-05-07, 02:53 AM   #3
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I'm pretty happy with my drivetrain.

Shimano Hone(22/32/44), Sram PG990 11-34, XTR RD-M960 SGS with rapidrise. Shimano Dura Ace downtube shifters mounted on Kelly take offs. XTR FD-M952 front der.





I'm glad I have those ultra low gears when you need it. Doesn't hurt to have too low of a gear and I don't need any higher of a gear than 44/11.
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Old 10-05-07, 07:21 AM   #4
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cyccommute,when you say tiagra shifters do you mean tiagra sti 9speed
if so will cantileaver brakes work with them,,
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Old 10-05-07, 09:50 AM   #5
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cyccommute,when you say tiagra shifters do you mean tiagra sti 9speed
if so will cantileaver brakes work with them,,
I said the Tiagra front derailer. I didn't want to open a can of worms on shifters but...yes STI will work with cantilever brakes. Those are real cantilevers with the straddle cable that is pulled from the center. Some people are now using cantilever to describe linear or v-brakes. Those won't work with STI without a travel agent. If you understand the difference, I apologize.
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Old 10-05-07, 10:19 AM   #6
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I'd vote for a external bearing Shimano XT trekking crankset (48/36/26 but change the 26 to a 22) with a Sram or Shimano 9 speed 11-34 cassette, XT rear derailer and Tiagra front. Shifters would be your choice.

The Trekking crank has a very nice range is light weight and shifts very smoothly...much better than anything from the 90's back...and it can be taken apart with an allen wrench. The XT rear is rugged as Grizzly Adams. And the Tiagra is far better than any road derailer in the Shimano line. It's wider between the plates and thinner on the plate material itself. It's much less trouble to set up without rubbing than the 105 and up components.

If you want to go a bit cheaper for the crank, Nashbar has the octalink LX for around $60. Not as easy to take apart but it's a good crank with the possibility of a great range of gearing.
+1

The external bearing cranksets are stronger, lighter and idiot proof. I'm still using a Sugino 48-36-24 square taper setup however and it works fine.
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Old 10-05-07, 10:48 AM   #7
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thanks for that stuart,by the way im starting to read your blog picking the scablands,,
well done ,great stuff looks like hard going ,but worth every pedal stroke,,
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Old 10-05-07, 10:49 AM   #8
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XT rear mech is pretty much the gold standard.
Modern BB systems are not really much of an improvement in long term reliability. I doubt if ext bearing XT will outlast a Phill Woods/TA Zephyr combo and the intermediate steps of octalink and ISIS are a convenience at the expense of bearing life.. Every bike company is really waiting for a new standard of over-sized BB shell so hollow spindles can be set in proper sized bearings inside the shell.
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Old 10-05-07, 02:07 PM   #9
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I love my TA Zephyr crank/Phil Wood BB combination. It is pricey but will last. I have the XT rear derailer, ultegra front, DA bar end shifters.
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Old 10-05-07, 05:56 PM   #10
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For the money, it's hard to beat LX and Tiagra parts. That's why so many stock touring bikes come out of the box with them. Almost all touring bikes have road shifters (STI or flipper), a road front derailer, MTB rear cogset and MTB rear derailer.

Cranksets seem to split between road and MTB 50/50.

Even if you build up your own frame, your *custom* bike will have pretty much the same drivetrain as a Cannondale, Trek or Fuji. So my vote for the best drivetrain is the Cannondale T800, or now renamed the Touring 1 I think. Tiagra and LX all the way around. The Novarra Randonee has the same drivetrain, BTW.
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Old 10-05-07, 07:53 PM   #11
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How about internally geared hubs for touring? Some tour on the Nexus-8, the seemingly more rugged Alfine among other things, and the Sram imotion-9 (hard to get still) seems like an upgrade. Of course there's the Rohloff...though that's kinda too expensive for most of us. Derailleurs are probably still the best for most applications but gearhubs seem to be catching up in ratio range, their biggest weakness relative to price. The weight difference between triples/gearhubs seems a no issue (especially in weighted touring). I like the idea of reliable internal shifting as a way to prevent drivetrain failure/disrepair, but people seem to have pretty strong opinions for and against this argument.
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Old 10-05-07, 08:04 PM   #12
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Touring you want a really low bailout gear, and you don't want fiddly. A lot of Shimano stuff fits that bill. I used to love Suntour back in the 80's it was great.
One of my fantasies is to find a really nice frame that fits well and throw some
of my old Suntour junk on it.
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Old 10-05-07, 09:55 PM   #13
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wordsofglass

I agree with you on the gearhubs, but really at this point, it's Rohloff or nothing else. I thought long and hard on Nexus, and it certainly could be done, like 3 speed, single speed, fixie, or penny farthing (one of those touring Nova Scotia this year. But flip back to the thread a few weeks ago where a timourous few suggested the Phil Wood Freewheel hub... Scorn and ad hominum attacks about being old fashioned where the rule. If the board can't stand 7 speed on Phil wood (cheaper than Nexus, or in the ballpark), there is no way for nexus, except for the fact it is "new". Even the Rohloff does not cover nearly the gear range of the deraileur system, I don't think the Rohloff actually covers the 7 speed range, and it's ridiculous and impossible to use or consider. :0)
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Old 10-06-07, 09:15 AM   #14
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just talking about gearing, I just finished a tour on a loaded trek 520 (total weight of bike, gear and water at the end of the tour was about 75 pounds). I asked a MILLION questions about gearing, and found myself really happy using 44-36-22 on the front, and 11-34 on the rear. Most days I never left the middle ring. I liked the top end speed when I used it, and was REALLY grateful for the 22 on the front and 34 on the back, which was low enough to crawl walls. i think you need a REALLY low low end, mine was like 17.5 gear inches, gave me about 4 MPH at 80 RPM cadence, i think. think low. tp end probably isn;t as important. the middle ring and the 34 on the back got me up most hills with no need to go to the small ring, which was concenient because I didn't have to switch front rings while climbing very often. The small ring was geared so low that when I scoped out a climb coming, I knew when to shift to the small front ring well before the climb started. if it looked vertical, switch rings.

Many on my posts about gearing recommended half step gearing, I didn't go to half step, and in ALL circumstances was happy as a clam with the gearing i selected. I am a strong cyclist, i think, your experience may vary.

i used shimano XT components (mountain crank), the stock ders that came on the 2008 trek 520 (shifted fine) with front chain rings from Salsa. kept the stock bar end shimano shifters.
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Old 10-06-07, 11:16 AM   #15
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right now? for long long range touring? rohloff. 'nuff said.
and in the long long run, it is actually cheaper.
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Old 10-06-07, 02:10 PM   #16
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I hope you are right, since the Rohloff hub is sitting in a box next to my TV chair at home. This most recent two week tour, stetched my gearing moreso than most. Generaly I don't use the upper end much at all. This was a windy ride, about a week helping and a week really hurting. I used all my range, and I would have been way short on the Rohloff.
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Old 10-08-07, 10:58 AM   #17
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Do Rohloff users ever undergear, below the manufacturers limit? Given that it is tandem rated for 2 big guys, I would have a hard time doing any damage to the unit with my chicken-legs.
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