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  1. #1
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    Surly LHT build up

    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
    Diarmuid

    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.

    Shifters- ????

    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);


    [B]Stem:???[/B]

    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)

  2. #2
    sport fanatic
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    Hey there Diarmuid, tour sounds great. I built my Cross Check to touring spec. One thing I really love is my Egg Beater pedals - with the right shoes you'll be able to walk just fine off the bike, and having clip ins makes a big difference to me at least.

    Check out the Surly spec in my sig.
    Learn to Build Your Own Website | Twitter: @AMcDermott
    '04 Trek 4300, '07 Surly Cross Check, '08 Giant Bowery (stolen)
    Bike info | Pics of CrossCheck (touring) | CrossCheck component list Touring pics: 2005 | 2006 | 2008

  3. #3
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    the xt ,brooks,tubus and ortlieb panniers are all fantastic great kit you need to think again about you choice of pedals spd are great ,have a look at chainreaction site for pedals at a great price they also do shimano spd sandles well worth a look.btw welcome another irish on here is great im not far from you.good luck in your hunt .

  4. #4
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    Why not use downtube shifters, or otherwise bar ends with Pauls thumbies? They are simple and durable, so you would have little to worry about in terms of damaging them, and although I've never done any kind of repairs on mine, I believe they are extremely serviceable.

  5. #5
    Senior Member nubcake's Avatar
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    since it sounds like you have a decent budget for your bike build why not go all out and get a rohloff igh?? that is easily the most reliable set up avalible right now. It would solve all your drivetrain questions and make maintaining the bike on tour effortless.

    On the shifter thing personally ive seen gripshifts fail maybe 10-1 with standard trigger shifters so on a long tour i would be a bit nervous about using them.

    For the stem question if it was me i would get my bike built and just throw in a dummy stemm and take it to a local shop and have them fit you for the proper stem and go with the thompson...their parts are works of art. Im not sure how it is in Ireland but at least in knoxville most shops have adjustable "fit" stems to help you figure out the ideal stem length/rise for your build.

    other than that it sounds like an awesome tour with a great start on your bike build. How long do you plan to tour?

  6. #6
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    Thank you all for the very helpful replies, much appreciated.

    Alrocket, i will check out those egg beater pedals. I had (wrongly) assumed that SPD = not being able to walk comfortably off the bike.

    Anto, that sounds very interesting, never knew that sandles and spd pedals went together. Will be checking these out at CRC.Didn't think i would bump into another Gael here!

    Mesasone, thanks for the suggestion. I will certainly look at bar ends + pauls thumbies. I use thumb shifters on my commuter bike and am used to the set up which is a plus. The extra reach involved with downtube shifters has always put me off them, but maybe i should take a closer look. Now that i think about it DT shifters are probably less prone to damage in the event of a fall, nasty airline baggage handlers..

    Nubcake, thanks for your suggestions. ah i would love a Rohloff, wouldn't we all?! They come in close to €900 in Ireland and our budget per bike is €1200 so maybe down the line at some point. That's a great idea about the stem and that's what i'll do. Makes much more sense. We plan to be on the road for up to 2 years so i am trying to give as much thought to each individual component as i can. The original idea was to pick up a Koga Myata World Traveller which are available in Ireland. They come in at nearly €2000. We test rided a LHT on a weekend visit to the states earlier this year and loved them, plus if we had gone with the Kogas, i wouldn't have learnt anything about the parts that make it up. I am really enjoying the build up process and we will hopefully finish up having bombproof LHTs for less than the cost of the Kogas.

  7. #7
    Junior Member mauroxot's Avatar
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    this is the bike i just finish to bild up for my RTW trip starting next year!

  8. #8
    Junior Member mauroxot's Avatar
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    sorry.........i forgot to attach the link!
    RTW touring bike

  9. #9
    Senior Member nubcake's Avatar
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    glad i could help.

    On the drivetain questions since you cant go with the rohloff the xt/sram combo with the middleburn cranks sounds really good. Those middleburn cranks are beautifull. I would still recomend the xt trigger shifters over gripshift, much more reliable and ive got a similar setup (xt shifters/derailers/sram cassette) on my mountain bike and absolutly love it. Its a 9 spd set up and i havnt had any durability issues with it through some pretty nasty conditions and to me it is just as easy to keep maintained as the 7 spd on my road bike.

    Another question for you, is there anywhere you will be documenting your trip like a blog? It really does sound like a great trip

  10. #10
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    Sorry to bump an old thread, but I didn't quite think this deserved its own (and I also like some of the component advice in this thread).

    I've been looking to get an LHT, and I think I'm about ready to pull the trigger. However, I guess I'm a tad too late to pick up an '08? Are they still available anywhere, or will I have to get an '09?

  11. #11
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    Thanks nubcake, i have decided to move away from the gripshift idea. Will let you know once we have the blog up and running, i'm chief mechanic and my wife is ehh chief I.T. person so i'll have to get on to her!

    Mauroxot, thanks for the pictures. would be interested to see a list of the components you used if you have it handy.

    Spaceholiday, picked up mine at NYCVelo in NYC. I scoured the city and they were the only store that had them readily in stock. All of the other Surly dealers said they would have to special order them in. email them and they'll email you back fairly quick.

  12. #12
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spaceholiday View Post
    Sorry to bump an old thread, but I didn't quite think this deserved its own (and I also like some of the component advice in this thread).

    I've been looking to get an LHT, and I think I'm about ready to pull the trigger. However, I guess I'm a tad too late to pick up an '08? Are they still available anywhere, or will I have to get an '09?
    The Hub location on Cedar Ave. in Minneapolis, MN, had a bunch as of last week. Don't know about shipping though.


    The Hub West Bank
    301 Cedar Ave S
    Minneapolis, MN 55454
    612-238-3593
    thehub(at)thehubbikecoop.org

  13. #13
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    splined BB (isis and octalink) are going out of fashion because they end up with more failed bearings. The evolution went something like this:

    Square taper has a smaller axle, with a smaller interface to the crank. This meant problems with stiffness for increasingly aggressive MTB applications.

    The axle was made bigger (and different interface-splines added) to increase crank-axle-crank stiffness.
    -- as BB shell did not increase in size, the bearings themselves were made smaller to accommodate the larger axle.

    Smaller bearings basically suck, and fail faster. This was evident with the large number of trashed low-mileage isis/octalink BB's.

    the next phase involved moving the entire bearing contraption to the outside of the BB shell, so that axle can be bigger (stiffer, and now hollow=lighter) while keeping large bearing size, for durability. This is the external BB system

    On an MTB, go with external Bearing setup, on a touring bike, i would use sugino cranks, and a phil wood square taper BB, since the stiffness isnt as big of a concern as it would be in freeride/downhill/all MTN MTB. This would be pretty, standard tech (easily replaceable), and very durable.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the pointers Positron, i decided to go with Phil Wood BB as you suggested as it was roughly what i was budgeting on spending on the SKF BB anyway.

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