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  1. #1
    Member peterbennett9's Avatar
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    Frame Choice for 'Do It All Bike'

    Hello from Northern Ireland

    I have a dilemma, i want to build a bike to use for winter miles, touring and occasional cyclocross/trail riding.

    I have narrowed my search down to 2 framesets (i have all the bits to build it up):

    The Surly Travellers Check - 820
    S and S couplings, 132.5mm spacing, canti brakes, roughly 3kg, 2 bottle bosses, rear rack mounts, massive tyre clearance, steel

    OR

    The Sabbath Silk Route - 850
    Titanium, roughly 2.5kg, 3 bottle bosses, front and beefier rear rack mounts, 135mm spacing, canti brakes, clearance up to 38c

    The Sabbath will cost me more to build up as il need a new wheelset (135mm hub) and it does not have s and s coulpings, but its lighter, looks real nice too and has more mounting options.

    I dont know what to do, help me!

    Many thanks

    Peter

  2. #2
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    Peter, When I finally decided to build a touring bike I wanted a frame with 135 mm rear spacing in spite of reading that there's many tourers using bikes with 130 mm drop out spacing without any problems. I like three bottle cages and have used the third cage on distance rides to hold snacks in a water bottle.

    The Sabbath gets my vote.

    Brad

  3. #3
    Member peterbennett9's Avatar
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    Hi Brad, have you done much touring involving flying with the bike? Do you think the lack of s and s couplers on the sabbath would be much of a draw back for travel?

  4. #4
    we be rollin' hybridbkrdr's Avatar
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    I know there are some trekking frames made for suspension forks at bike24 and bikexperts. I know one was called something like Drossinger and the other I think started with the letter Q. I'm too lazy to look right now. I even considered the lady frames just for clearance on certain areas.
    Feeling Good by David Burns

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Lack of S&S couplers - Here's the deal... A regular size bike can fly virtually anywhere as long as you're willing to pay. Now if you're thinking of traveling to remote destinations (i.e., taking puddle-jumpers w/ strict limits on oversize luggage) then that's a different story. The reality is that, unfortunately, airlines in general are increasingly becoming more bicycle unfriendly. For air travel, it is estimated that the cost of S&S couplers + case and other accoutrements will pay for themselves in as little as 3 transoceanic R/T flights (@ $300-$400 per R/T.) Puddle-jumpers are no problem with an S&S-coupled bike in its 62" linear case.

    If you don't mind working with a company on the other side of the pond (for you), you might want to check out R+E Cycles in Seattle, WA. They will be able to help you custom-build a cyclocross/touring frameset spec'd exactly the way you want it... premium steel, spacing of your choice, S&S couplers, 29er wheels for clearance to 42c w/ fenders, canti mounts + disc brake mounts if you ever want to upgrade. They also make Ti frames, but it's pricey. They can build in stainless steel more affordably. They work really well with customers overseas. I just noticed that their Cyclocross frames start at 758 (can't tell if it includes a fork.)

    A few other things to think about in your bike selection:

    1. disc brakes... it sounds like you are interested in touring around the world. Depending on the frame design, disc brakes will allow you to switch from 700c (29er) wheels to 26" wheels really easy. 26" wheels/tires are more apt for international touring, especially in developing or 3rd world nations. I've been checking out CXMagazine.com lately. Apparently, given some recent changes in international cyclocross regulations, it looks like that sports is now quickly moving toward disc brakes (135 mm rear spacing is preferred, although 132.5 mm will give you the best of two worlds, plus you could use your current wheels.)

    2. Fork - Since you're at the point of making the most appropriate decision, one thing many here would be wary about is using a carbon fiber fork. Lots of cyclocross bikes come with these. These are only OK for light touring, if that's all you're planning to do. For fully-loaded touring, seriously consider a steel fork.

  6. #6
    Member peterbennett9's Avatar
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    Hi Chris, thanks for your in depth reply. Me and my touring buddy are only starting out in touring (iv done a few 4 day tours) and we will prob be doing short 4 day tours in europe however i would like to get the best option incase we do go further a field. Im aware of the 26' vs 700c debate on availability but do you not think switching to disc brakes to dacilitate using 26' inch wheels creates its own probs ie are parts for canti/v brakes not much more available in the same way 26' wheels are? I do like the idea of the s and s couplers and see what u mean re cost but i wonder how much it would be an issue for us. If you had to pick btwn the travelers check and the sabbath what would you go 4?

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterbennett9 View Post
    Hi Brad, have you done much touring involving flying with the bike? Do you think the lack of s and s couplers on the sabbath would be much of a draw back for travel?
    No experiance with flying the bike, Peter. I do know of one couple that used the boxes that were meant to ship new bikes to bike shops (they were free for the asking) for a one way flight. One can also make arrangements with a bike shop at the end of a tour to pack and ship your bicycle home for a fee.

    For some the cost of the couplers, a case to ship in and then shipping/storing that case to the terminal end of a tour is justified by the convenience even if only used once. I wouldn't see the lack of couplers much of a drawback, in particular if the bike otherwise suits the mission statement you've outlined.

    Brad

    PS I have nothing against the S&S couplers, just in case my reply comes across that way.
    Last edited by bradtx; 08-30-12 at 06:52 AM. Reason: PS

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Brakes: I would simply not choose between v brakes or canti. If the plan were to switch between wheels sizes frequently, I would definitely go with Avid BB7 road mech. disc brakes and a frame to match. There are a few 700c canti brakes that you can adjust pads for 26" wheels (there are also adaptors) but you get less of a mechanical advantage once you switch to 26" (i.e., don't work as well.) For loaded touring I would be very worried. At this point, if I were you, I wouldn't worry too much about wheel size. Doesn't sound like you'll be touring in 3rd world nations any time soon. Also, believe it or not 29ers are quickly taking over 26" wheels down here following the American pattern, so availability of tires and rims is becoming more common.

    Choice between Surly Travelers Check and Sabbath Silk Route: Personally, I would go with the Sabbath S.R.. I've read so much about how titanium works amazingly well for off-road situations. Do find a Ti fork to match! If your travel will be mostly limited to Europe, definitely ship the bike in advance to a bike shop/hotel at the other end. Virtually any steel or Ti frame can be retrofitted with S&S couplers. I understand there are a couple of shops in the U.K. that can do that. So, if those become a higher priority i would invest on them later as a frame upgrade. A bonus with Ti... you won't have to worry about repainting the frame after S&S couplers are installed.

    PS. Curious... Is Sabbath out of business? Their website doesn't work since last night and noticed the frames are being discontinued on European retailers. Just be careful on getting a new frame that has absolutely no warranty.
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 08-30-12 at 08:03 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Which frame fits you? Fit is king, everything else is secondary.

    Can you really switch wheel sizes, doesn't that jack up the geometry / handling?

    Anyway, S&S couplers are nice if your start/end points are the same so you can store your case, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. I like having a boring stock frame that I don't care too much about, I just stuff the bike in a cardboard box and get a new box at the end of the trip. The hassle of dealing with shipping / storing the case is not worth it to me.

    Also, coupled bikes take 2-3 times as long to pack/unpack as regular ones.
    ...

  10. #10
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
    Lack of S&S couplers - Here's the deal... A regular size bike can fly virtually anywhere as long as you're willing to pay. Now if you're thinking of traveling to remote destinations (i.e., taking puddle-jumpers w/ strict limits on oversize luggage) then that's a different story. The reality is that, unfortunately, airlines in general are increasingly becoming more bicycle unfriendly. For air travel, it is estimated that the cost of S&S couplers + case and other accoutrements will pay for themselves in as little as 3 transoceanic R/T flights (@ $300-$400 per R/T.) Puddle-jumpers are no problem with an S&S-coupled bike in its 62" linear case.


    That Sabbeth looks really nice, I'd get it over the Surly. You can get the S&S couplers installed after market if you want. However, I've flown across the Atlantic and to Iceland a few times with my non-S&S coupler bike and have never been charged anything for baggage. The secret is to not use bike boxes or big hard cases. I use a Ground Effect Tardis soft sided bag and use my gear for extra protection around the bike. Neither Virgin Atlantic or IcelandAir ever knew I was carrying a bike. To them it was just a large case.

    http://wheelsofchance.org/2009/09/10...th-the-tardis/

  11. #11
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Can you really switch wheel sizes, doesn't that jack up the geometry / handling?
    I swap wheels all the time. You may not be aware of this, but 26x2+ tires and 700x28 tires are almost the same diameter. I run 26x1.6-2.35 and 700x25-37 on a Surly Troll frameset with no noticeable difference in handling. Only need to adjust the computer for the tire size and bring along the correct spare tube. Standover height changes a little, but a sloping top tube takes care of any issues.

  12. #12
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    I had no idea that was possible.
    ...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    I had no idea that was possible.
    The disk brakes make it possible.

    Brad

  14. #14
    Member peterbennett9's Avatar
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    Hi Nun, what did you do with the bike bag when you got yo your destination? I have a hard case that would fit an s and s coupled bike dismantled, what i would do (and i have done this b4 sucessfuly) is pack the bike in the case, attaching a trailer base to it, checking the trailer wheels (16 inch) as hand luggage and then my clothes etc as normal luggage, then at other end bike gets built gear goes into hard case and i roll off trailer in tow and case strapped to top. I did this with a Dahon speed pro tt but its not the ideal all rounder which is why im considering a change.

    Valygirl i can get a cheap touring frame that i wouldnt care much about for about 200 but i suppose i want to build something special that im really going to enjoy

  15. #15
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    It would have to come down to fit and ride for me. I'm not familiar with the Sabbath bike. Why the ss couplings?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Peter: So, are you gonna tell us which bike did you decide to get and why?

  17. #17
    Member peterbennett9's Avatar
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    Hi Chris, i eventually ordered a Cross Check frameset in black after discovering that the Travellers Check is no longer available in my size as they dont make it anymore, i couldnt justify the price of the titanium sabbath. Overall im very happy with my purchase, cant wait until it arrives. Im now agonising over wether to put a brooks saddle on it and what colour lol

  18. #18
    George Krpan
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    I wanted a "do-it-all" bike and went the monstercross route.
    I got a Gravity Zilla frameset. It was cheap and cheerful, disc brakes, and 135mm rear spacing so that I could use the set of 36 spoke 29er MTB wheels that I already had.
    With skinny tires I hang with the roadies. Bikesdirect says max tire size is 700x47c but a 2" slick will fit.
    The handling and ride in the dirt is fantastic.
    I just got back from 300 mile tour and it is well suited for touring. The frame is strong and the chain stays are long. Disc brakes rule with a loaded touring bike.

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