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Old 03-13-12, 07:02 PM   #1
davidmikesell
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LHT Build Help

I just picked up a slightly used Surly LHT today. I got the frame, fork, and headset. I am transferring from another bike a stem, handlebars, brakes, friction shifters, brake levers, and a wheel set with a 10 speed 11/23 cassette. I need some help in the drivetrain department. Most touring bikes have a triple, and I don't know if it's necessary. I could see myself using the granny gear up mountains on tours, but a double would be easier to find for me. I wish sram made triples...

Could anybody suggest some parts to me?
Maybe a 105/ultegra triple with a 105/ultegra long cage derailleur?
Would a medium cage derailleur work?
Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 03-13-12, 07:17 PM   #2
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LHT with a straight block cassette? 11-23? if you are not thinking of 32 but typed wrong..

look up the parts list of the built ones is a good start ,

I doubt you are going to need a 45MPH finish line Field sprint ..
so the 11/53 and road bike drive train, makes no sense..

Mountain bike drive train, & Bar end shifters if you want to use road bars.

maybe if you ride the flatlands , then a 39t single chainring will be fine
11:39 is 3.545 :1 is 99 gear inches .. Ive toured happily on a 90 GI top gear,

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Old 03-13-12, 07:42 PM   #3
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Thanks. Do you think I could get away with an 11/34 with something like a 50/36 compact? I live in a hilly area, but will be doing riding on flatlands and in mountains.
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Old 03-13-12, 08:31 PM   #4
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Thanks. Do you think I could get away with an 11/34 with something like a 50/36 compact? I live in a hilly area, but will be doing riding on flatlands and in mountains.
How much gear are you planning to haul around? My touring bike started out with a road triple (50/39/30) and 12-28 cassette. When I added the gear that I planned to take on my credit card tour (~20lbs) I found that I was getting a bit tired after the second or third 1000-foot climb of the day. Switching to a 48/36/26 trekking crank made long days with hills much more enjoyable.

For fully loaded touring, I'd want much lower gearing. Probably a 44/32/22 crank and wide-range (11-32 or 11-34) cassette.
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Old 03-13-12, 09:26 PM   #5
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Thanks. Another question. Assuming I had a triple, what would be the difference between a long cage road derailleur and a long cage mountain derailleur?
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Old 03-13-12, 09:45 PM   #6
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Was not un common on the Coast , last summer , to see tourists with a 34/34 low ,
young and strong it may be OK.

on the back the road triple is kind of a Medium long,. less chain wrap needed.
on the front there is a cable pull actuation
for sideways travel issue, slight difference between MTB and Road Brifter compatibilities
and the big chainring diameter issue..
there is a compact crank FD specifically for the 50-34kit, now,

left bar end shifter doesn't care as it's not indexed.

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Old 03-13-12, 09:46 PM   #7
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Thanks. I'll be running right bar end as friction either way.
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Old 03-14-12, 09:50 AM   #8
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Thanks. I'll be running right bar end as friction either way.
Do you mean right as in rear shifter? Unless you've got specific recent experience, you might want to re-think that. 9 speeds is a lot more finicky than the older 5 or 6 speeds was. Assuming you're running Shimano, at least until this year, road or mountain derailers both work with the same rear shifter, indexed.
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Old 03-14-12, 10:04 AM   #9
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Thanks. Another question. Assuming I had a triple, what would be the difference between a long cage road derailleur and a long cage mountain derailleur?
Shimano specs most mid/long-cage road derailleurs as having a 39T capacity. That means subtract the smallest cassette cog from the largest (ex: 28-11 = 17) and the smallest chain ring from the largest (ex 52-30=22) add the two numbers together (ex: 17+22=39) and the sum must be less than the "capacity" number.

Shimano mountain bike rear derailleurs usually have a capacity in the 43-45T range. Since front derailleurs all have pretty much the same capacity, what using a mountain bike rear derailleur means is that you can "officially" use a wider-range cassette (ex: 11-32 or 11-34). I say "officially" because many road derailleurs will handle a wide-range cassette as long as you don't do anything stupid (ex: try to use the 52t chain ring with the 34t rear cog).
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Old 03-14-12, 10:07 AM   #10
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9 speeds is a lot more finicky than the older 5 or 6 speeds was.
That's news to me! I find that the more modern components are better engineered and made from better materials, so they're actually easier to setup than the older stuff...
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Old 03-14-12, 10:36 AM   #11
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Very enlightening about the tooth capacity. My bar end shifters are brand new dura ace ones (apparently not though) indexed for 8sp but always in friction mode.
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Old 03-14-12, 11:01 AM   #12
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the 9 speed got the DA label, the 8 is 'Ultegra'.. but not that labels mean a lot ..
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Old 03-14-12, 11:29 AM   #13
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Triple vs. Double is all about options and gear steps.
Road vs. Mountain seems to be more about range, and it sounds like sstorkel has you covered there.
My LHT has a double and it's fine, but then I have a wide range gear hub in the back. The front rings are never shifted on the fly. At the start of a loaded trip, I move to the small ring and stay there. When the load comes off, I move back to the big ring.
Your overall range will be determined by your largest and smallest chainrings. The middle ring does absolutely nothing for your range. What it does is give you more graduated steps between gears. People who like to keep a certain cadence and find just the right gear for their preferred energy level benefit from lots of gear options, but you'll find that many of the gears you can access from the center ring are very nearly duplicated in the larger or smaller rings. Play with Sheldon's gear calculator to see it in the numbers. Then there are shift pattern: the best order in which to progress through your range. That's something I've never gotten the hang of, and, as a result, I never get the best benefit of using a triple.
For me, in general because of my riding style, and especially because of my wide range hub, my concern is always with how low I can gear the bike and how high I can gear it. The number of steps between isn't nearly as important to me (once I get over about 8 steps, my little brain starts to melt anyway). And that middle chainring is all about steps, so think about that when you decide to go double or triple.
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Old 03-14-12, 11:43 AM   #14
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Thanks. I think I've decided on something like a wide range in the back and a double in the front. I live in florida after all... It's a hilly part though!
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Old 03-14-12, 12:35 PM   #15
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That's news to me! I find that the more modern components are better engineered and made from better materials, so they're actually easier to setup than the older stuff...
Ah, fair catch. I should have specified I was referring to the friction mode. You've got to fit 3-4 more gears into the shifter arc, so there's less margin for error.
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Old 03-15-12, 06:17 AM   #16
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Some people tour on fixed gear bikes, some on bikes more suited to a century, when I first started I was on an old ten-speed. However, my strong preference is to have a really low gear ratio available for climbing steep hills, mountain passes, etc. I insist on a triple with at least a 24-tooth granny, plus a wide-ratio cassette. My knees are grateful.
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Old 03-15-12, 06:25 AM   #17
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As of now, I've got a 53/39 and a 50/34 to choose from.
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Old 03-15-12, 07:36 AM   #18
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If you have a bike you're comfortable on, it might be good to find your comfortable low gear and choose appropriately. For me, when going with a compact double, my goal was to get a large of a tooth difference as possible because that would give me the biggest range. That would be the 50/34 combo. But if the 34 ring gives you gears that are too low to be useful, that may be overkill.

And once you have your front set up, swapping out rings is usually not a big deal. As long as you have leeway in your chain length, the swap is super simple. If the swap leaves you with too loose or too tight of a chain, it might be necessary to add/remove some links, but that is also not too onerous. I started with 34/53, I think. I swapped the 53 for a 48, so that it would be compatible with a chain guard, and the change was easily done in minutes. The chainguard, now that's another story.
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Old 03-15-12, 09:52 AM   #19
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As of now, I've got a 53/39 and a 50/34 to choose from.
They're both poor choices if you plan to carry any gear or ride up any hills...
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Old 03-15-12, 10:47 AM   #20
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They're both poor choices if you plan to carry any gear or ride up any hills...
Depends on your fitness level and the terrain. The 34 front/23 rear combo seems geared a little lower than my current set-up. My low gear is set by the hub manufacturer, or else I'd like it a little lower, but it suffices. Some hills, when loaded, are grueling. A steep climb would probably leave me walking. One local hill does force me off the bike, but so far only my wife's mega-range granny gear gets me up that hill, and even then it's no faster than walking, so there's not much point. Still, it's nice to have the option to pedal up anything. I don't know what the lower limit of a compact double chainring is. My 34 seems pretty small. If it were me, I'd probably look at a rear cassette with a larger low gear cog.
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Old 03-15-12, 11:02 AM   #21
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Tiagra triple front derailleur, you can use it on the double and it's there if you go triple. Deore 590 or similar wide range derailleur that can go to 34t. cog. You don't want 105 road stuff because it can't cover the range.

Now go to Sheldon Browns Gear calculator and see what combos you can put together with two chainrings and a wide range derailleur. $.02 you're wasting cog space with huge gears like a 50/11 on a touring bike where you want to go with a double.

I've got a double set up on a Cross-check and 95% of my unloaded riding is on the "big" 44t chainring with gears from 43-100" and a 30tooth for the lower end.

My suggestion is to set up the bike with the double set up that gives you a useful range of gears for unloaded riding using primarily the big ring and the little ring for steep hills then have the option of trading out cassettes for lower gears. Since you're going for a double build from USABLE top gears down using the big ring, simply putting on 50chainrings and 11 tooth cassettes because that's what is most common is wasting space that can be used for more usable gears.

I'm using a Sugino triple with a chainguard on the outer ring, 44t on the middle and 30t on the 74mm inner ring with 12-28 8spd which I can change to 12-32 for very low gears.
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Old 03-15-12, 05:26 PM   #22
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Depends on your fitness level and the terrain. The 34 front/23 rear combo seems geared a little lower than my current set-up.
A 34-23 yields a gear of around 40 inches. Most people on this forum would recommend a low gear of around 20 inches for loaded touring, I'd think.

I'd venture to say that I'm a stronger rider than most in this forum and there's simply no way I'd consider touring with a 50/34 let alone a 53/39. That's the sort of gearing you use on an unloaded race bike, not a touring bike...
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Old 03-15-12, 05:32 PM   #23
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Yea. For the time being, it's going to be a commuter, so one of those will do. But, in the long run, I'm looking to get something better suited for hills and weight and such. Thanks everyone!
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Old 03-15-12, 06:59 PM   #24
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A 34-23 yields a gear of around 40 inches. Most people on this forum would recommend a low gear of around 20 inches for loaded touring, I'd think.

I'd venture to say that I'm a stronger rider than most in this forum and there's simply no way I'd consider touring with a 50/34 let alone a 53/39. That's the sort of gearing you use on an unloaded race bike, not a touring bike...
You're right. I miscalculated. If the lowest gear in the rear is a 23, then his low gear is not very low for touring. But it is comparable to the low gear I use when commuting, and it is the lowest gear the OP is currently considering, so of all the options suggested, I'd still take it. But if there was an option of pairing it with a lower-geared rear cassette. A 34 tooth low cog in the back would create the same gearing I tour on, which is not as low as I'd like, but it's workable.
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Old 03-15-12, 10:13 PM   #25
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Lht

Why don't you just use the parts that would have come on the bicycle if you had bought the complete bike? The company did put a lot of thought into what parts to use and if they started using poor parts then the LHT wouldn't have stood the test of time and review that it has. Click the tab that says Complete Bike Parts Kit.

http://surlybikes.com/bikes/long_haul_trucker
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