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  1. #1
    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    Sport(Light) Touring bike build questions

    It started with a desire to build a fully loaded touring rig. I posted a thread asking for suggestions on the build of a Soma Saga and the responses were great. But, in the end, I decided that I should build something more practical. A bike capable of carrying a 30 lbs load plus my 185 lbs for weekend excursions.

    I donít want to go into every nitty-gritty build detail, but there are 3 areas I do have questions about.

    The frame: Iím considering a cross bike such as the Surly Cross Check or Soma Double Cross. But with short chainstays and higher BB, they both seem prone to handling issues when loaded on the rear only as well as heel clearance issues. It seems that even with a light load, moving some of the load up front would be prudent. Or, is that not necessary?

    Wheelset: Both bikes can accommodate 130 or 135 hubs. I have a set of 36H Mavic Open Pro rims. Would building them with XT hubs be overkill? Would 105 or Ultegra hubs be more appropriate?
    Or; I have a 32H Mavic CXP22 with Specialized hubs wheelset that I could Ďborrowí from another bike. But 32H and unknown spokes seem iffy to me?

    Crankset: A MTB crank with 44T outer ring, again, seems overkill to me for a light tourer. I think a 48/36/26 would be a good combo with a 11-32 cassette. But, there doesnít seem to be many mid-range trekking triples out there. I see Sugino and some MTBs with 46T a lot. Anyone have any other crank options that would make sense for light touring?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    I have a 50/39/30. Rode from NY to LA.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  3. #3
    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    I have a 50/39/30. Rode from NY to LA.
    That might be the way to go. A quick Google search showed lots of nice options. Thanks!

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    the Cross-Check has long horizontal dropouts so if you put the rear wheel near the back of the drop outs it's close to 17.5", not 16.7" for chainstay length.

    At first I thought rear load only would result in bad handling but I was wrong although I'd be inclined to move some of that 30lbs forward into the frame or on the front end and not use big panniers.

    I've put on an Axiom Streamliner DLX rear rack but using ss straps instead of their clunky mounts to connect to the seat stays. With Ortliebs two smaller panniers I have heel clearance for my size 11 ft. The narrow Axiom rack is SOLID. With fenders the regular seat stay struts would interfere but with ss straps it fits fine. Seriously it's as solid if not more than a Tubus Cargo that costs over twice as much.

    I originally set the bike up with single Surly 38t ss chainring and chainguard with a 11-28 cassette for in town and 11-34 for that cross country trip I missed out on. Now it's got a 30t inner, 44 middle w. chainguard and 12-32 cassette.

    On the front end I've got a small Nitto type front rack that I could strap a small duffle or compression bag on.

    I don't see any problem putting a low rider front rack and panniers on if you wanted to go with two sets of small panniers.

    The wheels are Velocity Synergy with OC rear wheel. 32 spoke front and 36spoke OC rear.
    Last edited by LeeG; 07-06-10 at 10:03 PM.

  5. #5
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    Consider a Soma Smoothie ES ?
    Mine is set up for light touring with 105 level components, 2x9 drive train.
    A Mavic CXP23 wheelset, generic crankset from another project with 26 and 40 chainrings with 11-34 cassette; bar end shifters. Cane creek long reach brakes and salmon kool stop pad with cross top brake levers. Schwalbe marathon tires. Over a 1000 km so far, ride is good, handling nice [even lightly loaded - 10 kg] - leaving friday for a 650 km ride, going to use a saddle bag.
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    ride long & prosper

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rothenfield1 View Post
    Crankset: A MTB crank with 44T outer ring, again, seems overkill to me for a light tourer. I think a 48/36/26 would be a good combo with a 11-32 cassette. But, there doesnít seem to be many mid-range trekking triples out there. I see Sugino and some MTBs with 46T a lot. Anyone have any other crank options that would make sense for light touring?
    .
    Velo Orange sells the XD triple with 48/36/26 rings.

    They also have SIX new cranksets due in August. The Grand Cru 110 double is shown first, the triple doesn't have a photo yet.
    http://velo-orange.blogspot.com/2010...bcd-crank.html
    http://velo-orange.blogspot.com/2010...cranksets.html





    http://velo-orange.blogspot.com/2010...nk-update.html


    They're all listed here..... this is the dealers web site, but it show what WILL be available.
    http://www.voimports.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=29
    Last edited by Garthr; 07-07-10 at 08:17 AM.

  7. #7
    It's true, man.
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    The XT M771 goes, 48, 36, 26. I have it on my Vaya for light touring.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    I have a 50/39/30. Rode from NY to LA.
    I rode from SF to LA with 22lbs of gear and was quite happy I'd replaced my 50/39/30 with a 48/38/26! I could have done the ride with my road triple, but the trekking crank made long hills seem just a bit easier. I've got a standard 12-27 cassette, though...

  9. #9
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Cross bikes work fine for touring; people have toured successfully on them for decades. Unless you have massive feet or huge panniers pushed as far forward as possible, I doubt you'll have heel strike issues.

    In terms of handling, just keep the weight low and it'll be fine. You could even get something like the Topeak Super Tourist rack, which lowers the panniers a little bit.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    I went through this process a year ago and ended up with a Shimano 105 triple (50-39-30) with NOS Shimano 105 9 speed brifters and a 9 speed rear cassette (11-34). While normally I like lower gearing on a touring bike, this is working well for light loads and some pretty stiff climbing.

    If I were doing this today, I would have a 10-speed system - Shimano 105 triple, Shimano 105 10-speed brifters, and a new SRAM Apex 10-speed rear cassettee (12-36), with an Apex rear derailleur.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    If I were doing this today, I would have a 10-speed system - Shimano 105 triple, Shimano 105 10-speed brifters, and a new SRAM Apex 10-speed rear cassettee (12-36), with an Apex rear derailleur.
    Unfortunately, that setup won't work. SRAM rear derailleurs are only compatible with SRAM shift levers due to the 1:1 actuation...

    Edit: In addition the Apex RD is limited to a max of 32-teeth on the cassette. Not surprisingly the only Apex cassette on SRAM's site seems to be an 11-32. If you want 12-36 you'll probably need a pricey XX rear derailleur and cassette.
    Last edited by sstorkel; 07-07-10 at 12:35 PM.

  12. #12
    It's true, man.
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    Plus two chains to link together. My Sram 970 was long enough for a 48t ring and a 34t low gear, but you'd need another link or two to go any bigger.

  13. #13
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Unfortunately, that setup won't work. SRAM rear derailleurs are only compatible with SRAM shift levers due to the 1:1 actuation...

    Edit: In addition the Apex RD is limited to a max of 32-teeth on the cassette. Not surprisingly the only Apex cassette on SRAM's site seems to be an 11-32. If you want 12-36 you'll probably need a pricey XX rear derailleur and cassette.

    oops - you're right. I was typing , not thinking.

    In any case, I *would* today try the SRAM set-up w/10 speed SRAM brifters. You're right; the apex's largest rear cog is 32.
    Last edited by BengeBoy; 07-09-10 at 11:36 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    In any case, I *would* today try the SRAM set-up w/10 speed SRAM brifters. You're right; the apex's largest rear cog is 32.
    I might try it myself! I've got SRAM Red on my road bike and love the DoubleTap shifting. Apex with a compact double (50/34) crank and 11-32 cassette gives gearing that ranges from 28-122 inches. My current touring setup (48-38-26 crank + 12-27 cassette) goes from 26 to 108 inches, which isn't that different...

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    Quote Originally Posted by rothenfield1 View Post
    It started with a desire to build a fully loaded touring rig. I posted a thread asking for suggestions on the build of a Soma Saga and the responses were great. But, in the end, I decided that I should build something more practical. A bike capable of carrying a 30 lbs load plus my 185 lbs for weekend excursions...
    I wonder if the desire for a 30 lb load and a Sport(Light) may be exclusive? I have a Gunnar Sport which is capable of carrying a rack and panniers and is great for weekend credit card tours. However, it is spec'd with a load limit of 20lb for the rear rack.

  16. #16
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rothenfield1 View Post
    A bike capable of carrying a 30 lbs load plus my 185 lbs for weekend excursions.
    What about this? Have you toured on it yet?



    FWIW, I'd consider 30# of gear (plus bags/panniers) to be fully loaded warm-weather domestic touring.
    Last edited by rogerstg; 07-08-10 at 11:00 AM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    Wow! What a beautiful looking bike. Where ever did you find such a wonderful photo?

    No, very unfortunately, I haven't been able to yet. I absolutely love that bike. I've been on some long day rides with about 10 lbs. of stuff. It was this bike that turned me from being a vintage road bike nut into wanting to build the best modern touring bike I could afford. When I was a youngin', I road my 10 spd Schwinn Continental all over the backroads of Southern Indiana. Then we moved and I never road again until about 5 years ago when I rediscovered the thrill and freedom of riding again. I've lost 60 lbs. and my favorite past-time is torquing on bikes. Now, times are tough, and as an independent contractor, I don't get vacations so my dream of riding Hwy 1 down the West Coast is not going to happen any time soon. I still feel a need to build a modern touring bike. For some reason I couldn't get inspired by the Saga. But, I do have an image in mind of what this bike could be.
    http://www.somafab.com/doublecross_one.html

  18. #18
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogerstg View Post
    FWIW, I'd consider 30# of gear (plus bags/panniers) to be fully loaded warm-weather domestic touring.
    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing when I read "light touring" in the original post. To me 30 pounds of gear including bags and panniers is just regular loaded touring.

    BTW: The Sugino XD600 comes with 48/36/26 chainrings and with an 11-32 cassette I like it just fine for touring. I did replace the 26 with a 24 though.

  19. #19
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rothenfield1 View Post
    I still feel a need to build a modern touring bike. For some reason I couldn't get inspired by the Saga. But, I do have an image in mind of what this bike could be.
    http://www.somafab.com/doublecross_one.html
    Unless you have specific needs to be addressed, like more heel clearance or custom geometery due to irregular body measurements, you'll be hard pressed to find a new frame that gives a better ride. FWIW, I'd consider modernizing the drive train (but keep the BioPace) and other components as you feel necessary. That's what I did.

  20. #20
    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    I've decide not to change a thing on that bike. Besides the saddle, tires, bar tape and pedals; it's all original. In the vintage bike world, that means a lot. I thought about modernizing the bike, with barcons at least, but felt conflicted about changing what seemed to work so well. I started rebuilding lugged steel bikes a couple of years age, but getting my head around what it would take to build a modern touring bike has been a real challenge. I donít think there is any other type of cycling that puts more demands on a bike then what I see some of you doing carrying ungodly amounts of gear on every type of terrain in every condition around the world. It had me excited about trying to build such a bike until I had to face the reality that I wasnít going to be able to take a multi-week trip any time soon. So, I decided to build the best weekend warrior bike I could. Yes, I have the bike to do it now. But Iíd still like to try this and thereís a lot that Iím still learning about bikes.

    For example; Iíd like to use the 36H Open Pro rims, but Iíve read mixed reviews about their durability for light touring. Would going with 135 MTB hub with a strong spoke make that much difference over a road hub like a 105 or Ultegra, or should I just start looking for a touring rim?

    As far as the 30 lbs carry weight, Iím a fairly experienced backpacker and I know I could carry less, but for the purpose of this build, I wanted that weight range.

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    oh heck you've already got a nice bike. I don't think you'll get an appreciably lighter bike. My Cross-check with rack and fenders isn't a light bike. Your 30lbs makes the biggest difference. You might consider a minimal front rack to carry a compressed stuff sack. I've got an old Suntour bar con on the right bar end with the front derailleur shifter on the down tube.

  22. #22
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    shimano shadow rear derrailleurs go to 36.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  23. #23
    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    Well, Iím not sure if this project is going to ever get off the ground or not. Iíve been trying to sell my vintage Italian bike for several weeks now. I have someone who wants to take a look Monday. Weíll see.

    In the mean time, Iíve been trying to figure if I can use some of the parts I already have to save money. One is the 36H Open Pro rims that I have almost convinced myself will work although Iím unsure about what hubs to use. My gut tells me to use 130 road hubs such as 105s instead of a 135 MTB. I also have an Ultegra 6500 long cage RD but am concerned about how large a rear cog it can handle. I read a post saying that 30T was doable, but most say 27T is the limit. With a 26/36/48 crank, what is my limit?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rothenfield1 View Post
    I also have an Ultegra 6500 long cage RD but am concerned about how large a rear cog it can handle. I read a post saying that 30T was doable, but most say 27T is the limit.
    27T is the official limit from Shimano. In practice, many people find that 30T works fine.

  25. #25
    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    I may need to post this on the Mech. Forum but, I'm looking to use a Sugino DX 600 triple crank 26-36-48 with a 9spd 12-30 cassette on a 130mm hub. I've read that Sugino suggests a 113 BB for road hubs, but how do you determine what the chain line will be before actually having the parts?

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