Hey all, I got a sirrus about 1 month ago that I've started using for my 15 mile round trip commute to and from work. I am considering doing some modifications to it to try to make it suitable for touring if possible. I won't be able to afford to do the modifications for about 4-5 months, so I'll be spending that time to do research. Right now, my basic theoretical knowledge is about 4 hours of research on this site and from google, with my mechanical knowledge includes fixing 1 pinch flat, learning about presta valves and using one for the first time, and taking off quick release tires, and fixing a jammed chain on my last bike a couple years ago. Please keep in mind that I am a complete newb so no flaming please With that, here are my first questions:
1) Do any of you have the same bike for touring and commuting? Would this be suitable for a light touring bike w/ little modification, but I should get a bike for dedicated loaded, self supported tours and stealth camping?
2) Is the aluminum frame of the sirrus suitable for touring?
3) I'm confused about components. I've done a little research so I now understand the basic types of shifters, being bar end, brifters, and downtube, and the main companies are shimano, sram, and campy. What I am confused about is the ease of repairs and maintenance and availability of parts. I would assume that brifters, specifically STI shifters, would be the most common parts since they are what I see the most of. I keep reading that bar end and downtube parts are more available, and easier to maintain anyway. Right now I've got trigger shifters and don't know how they compare to either. Does anybody use campy or sram opposed to shimano and recommend either one? I've had mid-low end shimano components on any bike I remember, but have not had alot of time and experience because I never spent alot of time in the saddle. I've probably almost doubled my total distance on a bike in the past month.
4) Handlebars....nuff said. LOL. I have flat bars, and have recently discovered butterfly/trekking bars. What do you guys prefer for touring? Flat bars, Drob bars, or trekking bars? Why do you prefer that? I think I'd like some butterfly bars for longer distance touring, but anything's gotta be better than the flat bars I have now.
5) Gearing? I'm still kind of confused. What do the numbers mean? My understanding is the smaller numbers are lower gears, and visa versa, but what do they actually stand for?
I think that just about does it right now. If I have any more questions I'll post it up.