On a recent trip to the U.S. i picked up two Surly LHT framesets (Sizes 54cm and 50cm. incl headsets) and brought them back home to Ireland.
The bikes are being built for fully loaded touring in South America next year (on mainly dirt/gravel roads). We are about to begin the build up process and while I have done a lot of research & made a lot of choices, i would greatly appreciate any feedback on my proposed spec list below.
Thank you all
Proposed spec list
Wheels: 36 hole Shimano XT M760 hubs laced to 26" Sun Rhyno Lite XL rims using DT Swiss Competition DB spokes with 3 cross lacing, Marathon XR 2" tyres and Michelin butyl inner tubes.
There are two versions of the Sun Rhyno lite XL Rim - Pinned (27.5mm width) and Welded (29.2mm width). I initially intended going with the welded version assuming incorrectly that this was the reputable version that so many tourers had used. I have since found out that there is another version of the rim, which is simply called the Sun Rhyno. I understand that this is no longer being produced but can be found in limited supply in some places such as SJS cycles in the U.K. I contacted them about the rim choice and they have insisted that the Sun Rhyno is the only version suitable for an extended touring trip. They said " they are two very different rims, Rhyno rims are a very heavy duty touring rim, Rhyno Lite rims are a wide downhill rim with a thin machined sidewall, they are eyeleted to make up for how thin they are.... Be assured the rim which would be best for your requirements in the standard Sun Rhyno. NOT the Rhyno Lite XL."
So one view is that neither of the two versions of the Sun Ryhno lite XL are suitable. I contacted Sun Ringle and they stated that the XL Welded version would be suitable. Can anyone shed any light on this?
If it turns out that neither of the XL versions are suitable for touring, i will probably end up going for Mavic XC719 rims which are readily available in Ireland or alternatively Velocity Deep Vs.
I also wonder about the merits of using two different rims, a stronger one at the rear and lighter one up front.
A large part of the trip will be on gravel and dirt roads, so i think Marathon XRs fit the bill. I wonder however whether using these on both rear and front is overkill and whether i would be better putting something which rolls a bit better (like the Continental Vertical) on the front.
Bottom Bracket: SKF BXC 600, 68 x.113 length (https://www.pacecycles.com/SKF_products.asp)
This is an ISIS BB. I initially believed that the splined bottom brackets represented superior technology, with the ISIS being better in that regard than the Octalink. I am a bit concerned however about why many of the crank and bottom bracket makers seem to be no longer making the splined bottom brackets and have gone completely to external bottom bracket cranks. There is a square taper version of this BB which i could go for instead but it is just not as readily available. Square tapers do of course have a long history of excellent service and seem to be still readily available.
Cassette:11-32, 8 speed.
I'm looking at the SRAM PG850 MTB but I wonder are there any other suggestions for quality 8 speed cassettes.
Chain: Rohloff SLT 99 and Wipperman Connex, 8 speed (which will be switched every 2000km or so).
I have decided to go for an 8 speed set up rather than 9 speed on the basis that many people have found that 8 speed is easier to set up, lasts longer and makes sense on very long tours. An 8 speed kit is also, arguably, as durable as 7 speed. Many tourers have found that the extra cassette cog on a 9 speed cassette makes little difference but the drivetrain ultimately wears quicker and overall is very delicate.
My only concern is that 8-speed components are getting harder to find. For example, one well known bicycle retailer in Ireland states the following on its website: "Shimano 8 speed cassettes are getting harder and harder to find. If you are going to stay with 8 speed, we recommend stocking up on 8 speed parts." I also noticed that virtually all complete touring bikes these days (such as the Koga Myata WT, Thorn's models) are all 9 speed set up. Is there a good reason for this or is it just a big marketing ploy? I do wonder whether i should just give in and go with 9 speed.
Crankset - Middleburn RS7 ISIS Silver 170mm, with MTB Hardcoat, Slickshift Chainrings 22-32-44.
I am a bit stuck on whether to use a 44 or 46 outer chain ring although I have a feeling a 46 could be the way to go.
V Brakes - Avid Shorty 6 or Avid Single Digit.
I would like to get those break pads where you just insert the replaceable pad. I think they are called Kool Stops. I am not sure if these are compatable with all V brakes or only certain brands.
Definitely in need of help here. Would appreciate any recommendations for 8 speed shifters to be used on butterfly bars. I'm looking at Sram twist shifters which may be better than trigger shifters on the basis that they’re less likely to get damaged in transit. Will probably stay clear of any combined shift/gear levers set ups as they appear to be too complex for field servicing and repairing.
Derailleurs - Shimano XT M760 front and rear, long range version;
Handlebars: Nashbar Trekking ATB (Butterfly bars);
Would appreciate any recommendations,have looked at the Thomson Elite MTB but not certain what size to order (http://www.lhthomson.com/elite_stem_sizes.asp). I think ideally i would use an adjustable stem with butterfly bars.
Seatpost: Thompson Elite (27.2/330mm);
Saddle: Brooks B17 or the champion flyer
(in spite of the fact that they are heavy, expensive, need protection from the rain and require regular maintenance!)
Pedals: MKS sylvan touring
Any other suggestions welcome. We will just be wearing light hiking boots, so SPD pedals are out.
Racks: Tubus Cargo (rear) and Tubus Tara (front).
Panniers: Ortlieb Bike packer plus (rear) and Sport packer plus (front)