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  1. #1
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    Can we rebuild it?

    Ok, so I recently completed a 30-day, 1400 mile trip (lots of zero days!) on my Raleigh Port Townsend. Repairs on the road numbered in the hundreds.

    I am inspired. I want to tour, LONG-distance. I want to cross the US, cross South America, and I want to do it fast and light. I want to rebuild this bike a bit so it'll make these distances, but I have questions.

    1. I have baseline Shimano right now. If I upgrade my front derailleur, rear derailleur, and get a 3-ring crankset, what should I get?

    2. Is it smarter just to buy a new bike on craigslist than to try and upgrade a baseline, 900$ touring bike into a 10,000 mile behemoth?

    Thanks for any and all info.

  2. #2
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    That is fairly unanswerable, given that any second hand bike is a pig in a poke. Also, while you gave a fair amount of info, the amount you gave relative to the fact that you mention hundreds of problems, does not really provide a basis for determining the best course. I found that upgrading was fairly difficult when I attempted to bring a bike back, since a lot of the older bikes do not really play well with modern components. I'm not sure there is really a shortcut to creating a list of the stuff you think will be needed, and then looking at each item specifically as to were you can get the replacement that you want.

  3. #3
    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    What did you have problems with? What is your budget?

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Mountain bike drivetrains are popular on touring bikes,
    but even the 700c wheel choice , becomes an issue when you have a tire failure,
    and MTB tires can be found, 406 20", thin race, but wide 700c, maybe 4th..

    FD should be fine, unless chain drag sawed thru it's cage,
    repack bearings, new chain cogs chainrings, cables, and then do it again every spring.
    or upon your return..

    Of course Blind guesses.. I'm Not There.. under the hood/bonnet.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    mdithey, In 1400 miles tires should have been the only major issue if the bike was properly prepped before the trip. Reads like the bike needs a major overhaul, not that big of a deal.

    Modifications/upgrades, you have bar end shifters, keep them and the front derailleur. Change the crankset to 22-32-44 or a 28-38-48, change the rear derailleur to one from Shimano's mountain groups and a 9 speed mountain bike cassette somewhere in the 11/12-30/34 tooth range.

    If and when you go to S. America you'll want a bike with 26" tires due to availability.

    Brad

  6. #6
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Cross the U.S. on this bike and then reassess. If the plan is to credit card tour Latin America, this bike might be borderline suitable. This bike seems like a better fit for randonneuring or credit card touring, albeit on nice paved roads. As the poster above mentioned, you will definitely prefer having a 26"-wheeled bike for touring South America and being able to use at least 42mm wide tires for venturing off-road. Rebuilding a nice used 26" rigid MTB might be more suitable for your long-term purposes, IMO.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    I've heard of 26" being a necessity for South America, yes. I could, or should, build a mountain bike and bikepack that trip, but it's much further off so I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

    I was too vague in my OP, so let me clarify:

    My LBS left me woefully underinformed before I left on my trip. Within the first week, I spent a lot of money replacing my casette and the 52 tooth front ring because both were fishooked pretty bad. Throughout the trip, the front derailleur was a nightmare to sync up with the rear, so I want to replace the entire crankset and both derailleurs with a step up in componentry, MATCHING componentry this time.

    My price range is hard to define. If the bike needs work, I'll put it in, but the more money I can save, the better. Of course, if a MTB project is looming for a South America trip, I might just tune this up and stop putting so many miles on it, and start looking for / building a touring hardtail now.


    I guess, the million dollar question: should I just bite the bullet and buy all Shimano XT? Will I notice the difference between that and Shimano 105? Should I research the So. America trip fully before making a decision?

  8. #8
    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    If you will be replacing the bike anyways before South America I would try not to invest much into your current bike. The easy answer is to buy this (or equivalent from another builder) in the 26in version. http://surlybikes.com/bikes/long_haul_trucker

  9. #9
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chriskmurray View Post
    If you will be replacing the bike anyways before South America I would try not to invest much into your current bike. The easy answer is to buy this (or equivalent from another builder) in the 26in version. http://surlybikes.com/bikes/long_haul_trucker
    ^^^This! Your bike seems like it was designed for faster long-distance mainly on nice roads with a very light load, although I'm sure you can throw some gravel at it without major issues. This is why the gearing is high. This bike should be enjoyed by someone who has that type of riding in mind. Putting a MTB drivetrain on your R.P.T. (lower gearing, heavier triple crankset, Shimano XT derailleurs, etc.) will most likely hurt its resale value. You will not recoup the costs. Again, that bike was made for the road. If your plans for touring South America seem like a real possibility and $ seems tight, then you should sell your current bike ASAP and buy something more heavy-duty like the LHT in the 26" wheel version. Even better the Disc Trucker 26" with BB7 Avid disc brakes for the nastiest roads (i.e., muddy, nasty downhills) in that part of the world. Look carefully at the components as on a trip of this magnitude the stock list of components is still lacking, IMO. Look at the drivetrain for starters. So, either buy as is and be ready to replace as you go along or simply buy the frameset only and build around it with the best components of your choice - more expensive in the short-term but definitely you'll save in the long run.

    PS. A used rigid MTB should also work for your purposes, especially if you find one IN YOUR SIZE that comes already with a solid list of components.
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 09-04-12 at 08:04 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    Mountain bikes are exciting, I think that might be the ticket. I have never been a fan of the Surly LHT, the frame is overkill for my touring weight. I weigh 160lbs and my gear weighs 10....

    You guys have answered the fundamental question- whether to move the bike and buy a new one, or upgrade into the next tour. Thanks!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Possibly the Surly Troll will work for you? Mountain bikes in general, especially suitable for touring, are not the lightest species either.
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 09-04-12 at 10:48 AM.

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    26" rigid fork, hard tail , made for touring, Tout Terrain, German builders,
    nail that, FTW. [Peter White, the US agent]

    2 frame types 1 for IGH, the other around derailleurs..
    I've become a Rohloff fan after getting one.. mechanical disc brakes ,
    trekking bars..

  13. #13
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    To me the Townsend looks like a really nice bike. I'd invest a bit of cash and time into the used parts that have to be replaced and a general overhaul. This should not cost a lot.
    And then I'd still get a MTB, such pair would cover most of the applications a tourist could think of.

  14. #14
    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
    Possibly the Surly Troll will work for you? Mountain bikes in general, especially suitable for touring, are not the lightest species either.
    It is what I plan on doing a good deal of touring on. I have used it for a little over 2k miles commuting and cargo hauling duty and it has been great so far.

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