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  1. #1
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    i realize this is kind of a subjective question, but i'm interested in the feedback...i'm sure this topic has been beat to death, but i'd like to get some responses based on my specific situation.

    i decided to build my own tourer, with a surly long-haul frame. i want this bike to last me a bloody long time...it will get a lot of use year round just for working out and in terms of touring, i want this bike to be capable of multi-month, cross-country/continent tours.

    what's most important to me is DURABILITY. i want stuff i can rely on, quality components that will last a long time assuming i do my part to care for them...at this point i'm figuring on shimano 105 & XT...i don't think i want to go lower than that as i'm comfortable with this price point and am happy withe performance on my mountain and road bikes.

    do you think it's worth it to get into higher end components or would i be paying a lot more for only marginal increases in utility/quaility/durability?...i mean, i'm willing to go dura-ace level quality if it makes that big a difference, but i doubt that for a touring bike there's much point in that...how about ultegra?

    budget is a consideration - i'm planning to spend around $1500...but if spending $2000 is going to make a huge difference, i'm willing to consider it as i plan on having this bike for a LONG time...

    also, as far as the durability issue goes, wouldn't it make more sense to use primarily mountain bike components for the drive train? performance-wise i'm real happy with my 105 stuff on the road bike, but the XT stuff on my MTB is so much beefier...

    i dunno much about touring bikes so maybe i'm talking out my arse here...that's just how it seems to me - and i'm looking to you guys to steer me in the right direction if i dunno what the hell i'm talking about...

    so what do you think?

  2. #2
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    I personally would go for MTB components in places where you need the capacity. Roadbike components can be plenty durable. I wouldn't suggest a higher end group for durability as much as for smoothness. General consensus seems to dictate that a combination of Ultegra and XT makes for the best touring package in terms of durability. In general, I'd go with a Ultegra brifters, FD and possibly crank and BB (I do prefer other brands for cranks and BB though), XT RD and cassette (for the range) and Avid canti brakes. I'd use SRAM or Wippermann for the chain. And before anyone says something like, "but what about Campy?" I'll just defend my position by saying that while I like Campy, Shimano is still more prevalent and should something fail on the road, it'll be easier to find a shop that stocks Shimano than Campy.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  3. #3
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    I assume you're going with drop bars. You did not mention type of shifters. Will you be using STI or barend shifters?
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  4. #4
    urban bike guerilla
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    yep, drop bars and STI shifters.

    khuon raises a good point: replacement availability...i assume, but don't know, that internationally shimano is likely to be the most prevalant?

  5. #5
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark48310
    yep, drop bars and STI shifters.

    khuon raises a good point: replacement availability...i assume, but don't know, that internationally shimano is likely to be the most prevalant?
    Things may have changed but my experience has been that in the US, Shimano is by far the easiest to find and the same seems to hold true for Asia and to most extent Australia. For Europe, Shimano and Campy seem to run on par in terms of availability with a an edge to Shimano in many places but not all. I'm sure Campy parts are not scarce in Italy. That said, I think that overall, the safe bet is still Shimano. Now don't get me wrong, I really like Campy and although my current group is Shimano Dura-Ace, I would much prefer to get Campy and will do so for my next upgrade. However, my bike is also not a touring bike. If I were to be building up a tourer it would probably be mostly Shimano.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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    I just wrote a whole treatise on this thing and my web browser acted up, causing me to lose it. Anyway, here's a recap.... The most important thing for durability is going to corrosion resistance and fatigue life, not "beefiness". I'm working on a Campy/Shimano mix on my bike. So here goes:

    - Campagnolo Veloce levers: These have almost exactly the same parts as Record, except Record has carbon levers, a bearing pivot (instead of a bushing) for the shift lever, and some drilled-out and teflon-coated parts. The Al vs. carbon levers are a point for Veloce, in terms of durability, and the bushing vs. bearing is a point for Record. But they're mostly the same. They're servicable, unlike Shimano, and you can make it work with a Shimano-9 drivetrain, as described here:
    http://www.hubbub.com/ergoleverswshim9.htm.
    If one fails on a tour and you can't get a replacement part, you can always do what you would do if a Shimano lever fails: buy a new Shimano lever. The mix would look funny, but it should work. I've seen crapped-out Ultegra and Dura-Ace levers, although it's never happened to me. Front Campy shifters, like Dura-Ace, aren't indexed, so you have better control over the front derailleur. Oh - and Veloce levers are simpler, cheaper, and 50g lighter than Ultegra.

    - Ultegra front derailleur: FDs aren't too different; better ones will have more corrosion-resisant finishes. I had a 105 FD that was badly corroding around the clamp and bolt area, and I had to replace it. Dura-Ace has a hard-anodized finish that should be very durable. XT is probably better than Ultegra in terms of corrosion resistance, but I don't think Shimano's front MTB derailleurs index quite right with Shimano road levers - another reason to get Campy levers!

    - Ultegra rear derailleur: Same deal as front derailleurs -- not a huge difference, though DA will have a much more corrosion-resistant finish than Ultegra or 105, with its hard-anodized (as opposed to clearcoat) finish. XT probably more corrosion-resistant than Ultegra, and XTR is the top of the heap.

    - Chorus front hub: it has replaceable cups, while no Shimano hub does. I had an front wheel with an Ultegra hub with pitted bearing cups. I had to toss the hub and rebuild the wheel. That sucked. Bearing race quality on XTR, Dura-Ace, Record, Chorus, and Centaur parts is pretty much equal (these Campy hubs have exactly the same internals), and is a step above Ultegra, which improves durability. Campy hubs are much superior in terms of servicability and design. Shimano's MTB hubs have much better seals than their road hubs, so if you go Shimano, you should probably get a MTB hub. (I'm assuming you'll be riding in some rain.) A Chris King hub, of course, is as good as it gets.

    - Chris King rear hub with steel driveshell: probably overkill for your setup, but it's the best. Shimano rear hubs, of course, have nonreplaceable cups; I had a rear wheel with an Ultegra hub with worn cups. Goodbye, wheel. If you go Shimano, their MTB hubs have better seals and the XTR hubs have great bearing races. Both factors will increase hub life, so get XT or XTR, if it fits in your frame. Third-party hubs that use cartridge bearings don't suffer from the worn-cup problem, since you can always press in a new cartridge.

    Make sure you have well-built, tensioned, stress-relieved wheels. A broken spoke is probably the most common failure on a bike (after a flat tire), and a good build can greatly reduce the incidence of this problem. Jobst Brandt has written a lot on the Internet and has written the definitive book on this subject.

    - Truvativ Elita cranks: nothing special about these, I just got 'em for cheap. If you're a big rider who rides a lot of miles, be careful of crank fatigue failure. Jobst Brandt, once again, has written a lot on this -- he's broken literally dozens of cranks from road riding, and he applies a mechanical engineer's analysis to the problem. If you google him on this, you'll become wary of riding on old cranks.

    - Chris King headset: don't bother with anything else; you'll spend more time and money replacing headsets over the long haul. If you don't have the funds, I think those neoprene headset seals are cheap and help keep out a lot of gunk, but I don't have personal experience with them.

    The Campy/Shimano mix should work -- I haven't gotten the levers yet -- and I can always switch to a Shimano 10-speed cassette on the back just by buying one of these:
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/shiftmate.html

    The headset and wheels are probably the most likely to fail, and are the most difficult to replace or repair. So those should be your top priority, in my opinion. The other 'groupset' parts are generally reliable no matter what you get. Oh - and make sure to get a strong stem and strong handlebars. They will fatigue and eventually fail -- makers of lightweight bars suggest replacing every 10,000 miles or every 2-3 years. Once again, to cite Brandt, I think he said somewhere that he's been riding the same steel bars since the 70s! He can do this because steel doesn't have the same fatigue problems that aluminum does.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark48310
    do you think it's worth it to get into higher end components or would i be paying a lot more for only marginal increases in utility/quaility/durability?...i mean, i'm willing to go dura-ace level quality if it makes that big a difference, but i doubt that for a touring bike there's much point in that...how about ultegra?
    There's a little bit more to this than meets the eye. The most critical question to be answered, Mark, is what sort of touring do you intend to do? Three-day ones using a credit card? Trans-continental self-supported? Trekking through Himalayas? You've alluded to the answer, but...

    The answers to your questions depend very much on the answer you give to the *big one*. Then there are a range of secondary questions that need to be answered. Are you a journey or destination kind of guy (more interest in speed and distance, or more in smelling the roses)? What sort of terrain do predominantly expect the ride in (lots of hills, lots of flat, combination of both)? Do you know how to do you own wrenching and maintenance (sounds like it if you are building up from a frame, but we don't know, and this has an influence of longevity of any part -- expensive or cheap -- on a touring bike)? Is your bike going to serve double duty as a commuter when you aren't touring? And how fit/strong/determined are you, and how strong are your knees in particular?

    As to the question above, there are quite a few people very happily touring with what you'd probably consider low-level components -- Tiagra shifters and front der, Deore rear der, SRAM PC49 chain, even no-name hubs. To me Dura-Ace is over the top, and for the money spent versus longevity and availability, lower level groups would be a much better choice.Your idea of an MTB drivetrain (including, presumably, a 22-32-44 chainring set-up) is a good one for several reasons -- ease of sourcing replacements, reasonable durability, and gearing options that will keep you moving up a 15% incline and maintain good speed on the flats -- an option that Ultegra and other road groups won't provide you without a LOT of messing about.

    Personally, in your position, I'd go the MTB drive train, then concentrate my spending efforts on several other areas, names good quality 36H, three-cross, wide touring rims, sealed hubs, quality BB cartridge, quality headset, quality brakes that match the rims for width, quality rack(s), mudguards, stem and bar set that ensures you're comfortable, quality seat (Brooks?) to look after your backside, and a pedal/clip system that enables you to clip-in/clip-out in all sorts of muddy conditions and also enable you to walk normally when off the bike.

  8. #8
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    you know, in the last thread that this came up in, I realised most people don't mean it. 7 speed stuff lasts halfway to forever, and when you do finally replace it, it's not expensive.

    Oh well, you can include me. Take a look at the Rivendell site.
    They cover the basics nicely. Bar end shifters, good quality but not high zoot parts. I like a good bottom bracket. Most of the other stuff gets used up. I have a Sugino crank on my commuter, and for the money it's a hell of a crank. I think Rivendell likes them as well. The Schwalbe Marathon Plus tire won a Brit magazine's heavy duty tire survey.


    http://rivendellbicycles.com/webalog...s_bbs_c-rings/

  9. #9
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    Sorry - in my haste rewriting my message, I forgot to mention that the reason I listed the parts I'm using is because I'm also very concerned with durability on my bike. I wasn't just trying to show off what I have.

    I'll try to do a better job actually answering your question... I should also clarify what parts I think are important: the headset and wheels are the most failure-prone, followed by the bottom bracket, then the shifters, then the derailleurs and cranks. Any decent derailleur, despite corrosion, will probably last long enough that you'll end up replacing it only because you want to tinker with your bike. Any decent-quality forged crank will last a long time, though not forever. See http://pardo.net/pardo/bike/pic/fail/000.html for pictures of crank fatigue failures.

    Modern cartridge bottom brackets tend to last for a good while, but their bearings will eventually fail. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though -- it's been pointed out that if you use a BB with replaceable bearings, you can keep using the same spindle until it fails from fatigue and your crank falls off your bike. The consequences of that could be far worse than having to replace the BB every couple of years.

    Anyway, in summary, the parts usually considered a "group" (shifters, derailleurs, crankset, BB) aren't that important for durability since anything you can buy is pretty good, whereas headsets, hubs, and wheels vary a lot in terms of longevity. If I were you, I'd spend my money on well-built wheels (I can't stress this enough!), high-quality hubs, and a King headset. And make sure to properly adjust your hubs when you get them -- most hubs from the factory are adjusted too tight, which leads to premature failure of the bearings and races.

    One final thing about using a MTB drivetrain that I mentioned in passing before: according to Sheldon Brown, Shimano's MTB front derailleurs use a different pull ratio than their road derailleurs, so you can't use them with any STI shifters, except possibly Dura-Ace, which has finer control over the front derailleur. Maybe you could make it work (Sheldon says it's difficult rather than impossible), but I can't say for sure....

  10. #10
    Steel is Real. markw's Avatar
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    Ok, here's my opinion on the shifter thing. Stay away from STI brifters. If you must have brifters, go campy. The Veloce, Centaur and Chorus ergos are good shifters, and are rebuildable. From what I understand (haven't had to touch them yet), is that there is a spring that weakens and needs replacing every 10k miles or so. This could theoretically be done on the road, as the parts to repair one would be small and light to pack. My touring/commuter bike has Chorus/Shimano mix with a jtek shiftmate. XT hubs right now, but Phil's in the future. STI brifters have this tendency to stop working. Been there, done that, had a pair of STI DA shifters that the right one stopped working on. Google broken STI, it's a common problem.

    Cranks, sugino XD's should be standard, these cranks are really nice, and the price is right at anywhere from 70-100 new. Gearing is pretty close too with 46/36/26, and the bolt circle is right on the money with 110/74, making this probably the best bang for the buck in cranks out there. MTB cranks are almost all 4 arm now vs 5, and IMHO have too low of a big chainring. 110/74 has a huge selection of chainrings, which most bike shops will carry. Use a shimano UN-72/3 BB with a 107 spindle, it will go a long way, and is cheap. Most bike shops will have this in stock if it breaks on the way.

    Also do yourself a favor and build the wheels up with at minimum 36 hole rear. Front can be 32 or 36.

    If you haven't seen it yet, here's a durable LHT -> http://www.wolfenet.org/gallery/surly?page=4 .

  11. #11
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    Wheels are IMO the most important, if you read the travelogues of Touring cyclists and the problems they had along the way. Wheels will be at the top of the problem list. Hubs should be the latemodel Deore XT's they don't cost that much and the seals are among the best. wheels should have 36 (mininum) spokes front and rear tied to a heavy duty Mavic 520 or Sun CR18rim. BTW use that silly looking spoke protector under the cassette to keep the rear derailluer out of the spokes.

    Drive train : I like to keep it simple, barends or down tube shifters for drop bars, and thumb shifters for flatbars. They all have friction mode for those times when the shifting gets suddenly out of whack in the rain, while going up a mountain or when a derailluer gets bent. You can also jury-rig a shifter cable or fit a derailluer from a department store clunker if you have to.

    Cranks: I like to stay with 110/74 bolt circles currently . Sugino and Shimano RSX triple (newest version). Shimano cartridge bottom brackets seem to last between 5 thousand miles and infinity, I also have a 23 yearold Phil Wood Bottom bracket that is still as smooth as the day I bought it.

    Brakes: Avid cantilevers IMO are junk.I had two bikes with the shorty's. The linear springs didnt have enough *energy* in them to be consistant ,I also had a problem with the spring plate under the arms wearing out in one season. However their Avid Ultimate V-brakes are awesome! I have a set of those on my tandem. On the touring bike and the MTB I use Shimano XT2 's, maybe the best cantilever ever made (sheldon brown has some NOS)

  12. #12
    Pedalpower clayface's Avatar
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    If you go for a mtb compact crankset, XT uses light steel inner and midle rings. Considering durability, these are a sure bet.

  13. #13
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    Yes, the extra weight of steel (minimal) is worthwhile. However, your most amount of wear is likely to be on the middle ring, and you could afford to have alloy on the smallest and largest.

  14. #14
    Steel is Real. markw's Avatar
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    I had some old XT's given to me. They're not the 90 degree model, but the narrower ones. I've got my eye on some Paul touring cantis, and have posted pictures around the house for Santa. The Avids were cheap, 30 for the pair. They have good stopping ability, but squeal even with salmon pads and plenty of toe.

  15. #15
    Senior Member saddlesores's Avatar
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    if you're going to the trouble of building yourself, you'll want to pick the best
    (subjective reasoning) equipment for your style of riding, as well as your budget.
    price is not always an indicator of durability - $$$ could be for the label, or the
    high-tech materials required for extreme weight savings. some of the older,
    so-called obsolete equipment is still available NOS on ebay or in dealer parts bins,
    equipment that will last forever with regular maintenance.

    i tour with plenty of luggage, so saving 10 grams on a derailleur is insignificant. i
    select components based on heavy-duty construction, and ease of maintenance.
    fewer moving parts means fewer potential failures.

    basic components: xt derailleurs, suntour thumbshifters (mtb) or campy downtube
    levers (road), xt or sugina-at 5-arm triple crank, xt (un-72) bb, any old generic
    platform pedals with cage/straps, xt cantilevers, xt levers (mtb) or
    dia-compe levers (road), phil wood hubs w/sun rhyno lite rims, 36 3x (mtb) or
    48 4x (road) pro-built with dt 2- or 3-butted spokes, in/out rings alu, center ring
    steel, 7spd freewheel, cane creek or xt or orbit sealed headset.

  16. #16
    urban bike guerilla
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    thanks guys...lots of great info here.

    decisions, decisions...

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