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  1. #1
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    Need Advice On Converting A Vintage Centurian Bike For Touring

    I'd like to get advice about converting a vintage Centurian bike that I've been given into a light touring bike.

    I'll be trying to hold down costs (I got the bike for free!) but will be using my free time during the coming winter to work on this. I'd like to reuse some components that I already have but will order others online.

    This bike will be used for occasional weekend camping trips and for finding out if I'll be wanting to try something more ambitious afterwards. Only then may I go all out and get something like a Surly Long Haul Trucker.

    Until then:

    Which pairing of a triple crankset with a triple front derailleur should I get to replace the current set of doubles? Can I use a road front derailleur with a mountain bike crankset?

    The Centurian's Seat Tube measures 29mm in diameter which forces me to get a road front triple derailleur. Meanwhile, according to what I've read here, the ideal touring triple crankset appears to be 48/36/24T. The only ones available near that range are meant for mountain bikes and will have a 50mm chainline.

    Can a rear wheel with a freewheel hub handle the extra weight loaded for touring without the axle bending and breaking?

    I have a pair of Miche 36h hubs that I can build a wheelset from (I have a truing stand and tools). The rear hub is a freewheel hub having an O.L.D. of 126mm compatible with the Centurian's frame but will also have the inherent risk of the axle bending and breaking if overloaded.

    Weighing 200 pounds, I have broken axles on cheap rear wheels in the past but never with these hubs and not since using freehub rear wheels on both of my other current bicycles. (I have popped an occasional spoke on a 32h rear wheel though.) That's without the added load that may be on a pannier rack.

    I plan to buy a 7-speed freewheel, Sun CR-18 rims and double-butted spokes. (I don't know if these hubs can accept triple-butted spokes at the elbows. May be pointless to put these in if I'll be breaking an axle.)

    As for the rear derailleur, I'll get a Shimano long-cage mountain bike derailleur. I've already gotten a rear derailleur hanger to mount this onto the Centurian's frame. I will also continue to use the friction shifters that this bike already have.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I see people 'touring' on all sorts of bikes.. it's more verb than noun..

    gear for the hills, get the brakes to work well, add racks.
    and clean and regrease the bearings..

    I have long used a Phil Wood Freewheel hub.. axle never bends or breaks.
    126 axle.. now Paul has added one too, axles can be altered,
    so made wider to swap wheels to newer frame.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-29-12 at 10:06 AM.

  3. #3
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    I know that Phil Wood makes good stuff but am wondering about a hub that I already have.

    That and mixing a road FD with a mountain crankset.

    Everything else will be straight-forward.

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Most Freewheel hubs have a 10mm axle and the end is quite a Lever on the right side
    being an inch plus, past the last bearing.

    Axles break on the inboard end of the right bearing cone.
    solid ones may last longer than hollow QR type..

    add: if you get the rear end spread to 135mm
    then you can get currently sold wheels,
    machine built, for little money..
    8 speed cassettes minus the indexing, lever on the bars,
    should be fine..

    if you crash and mess up one, off the peg,
    another one will replace it.

    freehubs relocate the hub cone, way to the right end.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-31-12 at 01:28 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    If you're looking for a front derailleur that is more optimal for that smaller crankset than the standard Tiagra FD, this is a good one. I've got one on my 46-36-24 crank and it shifts quite cleanly. Not too pricey either.

    http://store.interlocracing.com/alfrde.html

  6. #6
    Collector of Useless Info
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    I'd get a 135 OLD, 36 spoke mountain bike hub, and cold set the frame to 135 from 126. With CR-18 rim and DB spokes, that's a pretty bombproof wheel.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by robow View Post
    If you're looking for a front derailleur that is more optimal for that smaller crankset than the standard Tiagra FD, this is a good one. I've got one on my 46-36-24 crank and it shifts quite cleanly. Not too pricey either.

    http://store.interlocracing.com/alfrde.html
    Do you have the FD-4503, FD-4603 or something else?

    Which specific crankset do you have?

    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Most Freewheel hubs have a 10mm axle and the end is quite a Lever on the right side being an inch plus, past the last bearing.

    Axles break on the inboard end of the right bearing cone.
    solid ones may last longer than hollow QR type..
    Quote Originally Posted by cycle_maven View Post
    I'd get a 135 OLD, 36 spoke mountain bike hub, and cold set the frame to 135 from 126. With CR-18 rim and DB spokes, that's a pretty bombproof wheel.
    In other words, don't even bother with building any wheel having a freewheel hub?

    I am familiar with cold-setting and have done it on another bike.

  8. #8
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    I think it was a Tiagra 4503 that I had on there before and couldn't quite tweak it the way I wanted and the IRD solved the problem because the radius is steeper for the smaller chainrings. I think the Tiagra was originally radiused for a 52 or 53 big ring but can be made to work OK for most cranksets

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by robow View Post
    I think it was a Tiagra 4503 that I had on there before and couldn't quite tweak it the way I wanted and the IRD solved the problem because the radius is steeper for the smaller chainrings. I think the Tiagra was originally radiused for a 52 or 53 big ring but can be made to work OK for most cranksets
    I was wondering why you included a link to IRD.

    I do remember seeing the Alpina-D being mentioned while searching through old threads here.

    So you give it a thumbs-up?

    What about your crankset?

  10. #10
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    A big thumbs up on the IRD Alpina FD. Nicely polished component and well made.

    My crankset is a Sugino 46-36-24 square taper that I run on my titanium light touring/road bike. I like to set up my FD so I can use the entire 11-32 or 11-34 cassette with no chain rub while in the largest 46 chainring which I'm in 90% of the time. Therefore I'm not having to shift the FD much at all but have the lower gears there when I need them.

  11. #11
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    Which Sugino crankset are you using? The XD600 or the lower end Impel 150? Why do you prefer this over what Shimano offers?

    Also, what chainline does it give you?

    Are you using a 9-speed cassette? I keep seeing online that these Sugino cranks are "7/8 speed compatible" which seems to imply that it may not be intended for a narrower 9-speed chain.

    (If I do get a modern rear wheel, instead of one retrofitting an old hub, it will be one taking a 9-speed cassette.)

  12. #12
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    It's a Sugino XD600, and yea I run a 9 speed drive train. Ultegra STI shifters, shimano XT RD, and use both an 11-32 and 11-34 cassette depending on which wheelset I'm using, which somewhat depends on what terrain I expect to see. I switched the smallest ring (26) which came stock on the crank out for a 24 because I really believe you can never go too low when you might be carrying a load. If Shimano made a reasonably priced quality crank in a 46-36-24, I wouldn't hesitate to use it. As far as the chainline, not sure because as I said I tweak mine by running a slightly shorter bottom bracket than recommended so I can run in my big ring 90% of the time without shifting and have a better chainline angle with no rubbing across the entire cassette. Oh, and I had the same question about using the XD600 with a 9 speed chain and was told no problem by others but I'm told that a 10 speed chain would be pushing it.
    Last edited by robow; 10-30-12 at 10:42 PM.

  13. #13
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    Do you remember what the length is of your bottom bracket?

    The chainline of a triple crankset is simply distance of the middle ring away from the center of the downtube.

    Anyway, I've ordered the IRD Alpina-D and was about to pull the trigger on a Sugino XD2-600 48/36/26 but am taking yet another pause.

    I was all set to order this crankset with 170mm arms but am now wondering if I should go with a 175mm length instead? (I'm 6'0" and wear pants with a 32" inseam)

    Yet more research to do...

  14. #14
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    I would definitely order a 175 crank if I were 6 ft tall assuming you have normal proportions, meaning not short legs and super long torso. I'm 5'10 and always use a 175 just because I got used to it years ago and have stuck with it. Sorry, don't remember what the length of the bottom bracket is that I used but what ever was recommended for that crank, I bought one that was 2-3 mm shorter in Shimano's finest square taper. btw, IRD also makes a pair of very nice square taper bottom brackets, and I'm sure that's what I'll purchase when I wear my present one out. The one is very reasonably priced for a nice upgrade, while the other is a little pricey. Hope all this helps.

  15. #15
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    It's done: I've ordered the 175mm XD2-600.

    The next thing up is to look for a bottom bracket.

    According to Sugino, a 113mm BB would give me a 47.5mm chainline while a 110mm would give 45mm.

    I think that what I'll do now is wait until I get the Alpina-D FD, mount it on the frame and see for myself what shifting range it may have and work forward from there. For all I know, I may already have the bottom bracket that I'll need on the bike. I'll find out when I pull off the current crankset.

    Meanwhile, it's back to work tomorrow. I was fortunate in not having anyone suffer serious injury or property damage. Hurricane Sandy gave me an extended weekend.

    I will be punished for this tomorrow though because the NYC subways are still not running and I'll have an early start. Should I bike my way in?
    Last edited by estasnyc; 10-31-12 at 02:53 PM.

  16. #16
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    estasync, Early last year I did much the same, that is I built up a tourer using my parts bin and a couple of low end items for this long time roadie to test the idea of touring. If I liked having such a bike I'd upgrade, if not I'd sell it. Well I like it a lot and contrary to my usual practice, I see no reason to upgrade as the bike performs flawlessly.

    130 mm hubs work fine in 126 mm spaced dropouts without any cold setting and has become a common practice. I see no reason not to take advantage the range of choices available with free hub gearing options and generally stronger construction compared to a hub with a free wheel. I have CR18 rims and straight gauge spokes and while perhaps not ideal, they've been trouble free after a stress/retrue session.

    I used this forum for ideas and suggestions for my build. There are some conflicting opinions, use what best fits with what you're trying to accomplish and have fun with the build.

    Brad

  17. #17
    Senior Member Gravity Aided's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by estasnyc View Post
    It's done: I've ordered the 175mm XD2-600.

    The next thing up is to look for a bottom bracket.

    According to Sugino, a 113mm BB would give me a 47.5mm chainline while a 110mm would give 45mm.

    I think that what I'll do now is wait until I get the Alpina-D FD, mount it on the frame and see for myself what shifting range it may have and work forward from there. For all I know, I may already have the bottom bracket that I'll need on the bike. I'll find out when I pull off the current crankset.

    Meanwhile, it's back to work tomorrow. I was fortunate in not having anyone suffer serious injury or property damage. Hurricane Sandy gave me an extended weekend.

    I will be punished for this tomorrow though because the NYC subways are still not running and I'll have an early start. Should I bike my way in?
    From what I'm hearing about availability of mass transit , biking your way in may be your option . Perhaps others may find your example inspiring .

  18. #18
    "part timer" SuperLJ's Avatar
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    IMHO, folks get too hung up with creating a chainline for the small chainwheel. Since you're only going to be using the small chainwheel with the largest 2 or 3 cogs in the back for climbing, I always set up triples with a BB set that puts the small ring as close to the right chain stay as possible. This will give you a much better chainline when using the middle and outer rings, which you'll be in 95% of the time.
    '75 Raleigh GS * '78 Bertin C-35 * '82 Trek 614 * '95 Mercian * '98 Fisher HKEK * Y2K Rivendell * '02 Heron Tour

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