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Old 01-19-14, 06:16 AM   #1
Doppiadi
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Entering the Touring world with a 2014 Fuji Touring. Any upgrade "needed"?

Hi everyone,
I'm kind of new to the Touring world if not for some 2-3 days MTB excursions, I've read a lot about touring bikes and it seems to me that the best choice (at least here in Italy) would be getting a Fuji Touring, since the to-go Surly LHT here sells for twice as much and Surly bikes are not so easy to find around here.
Now that I've a clear idea of which ride to get (but if you have better advices let me know!) I'd like your experienced feedback about the bike specification, if it's suitable to tour "as-is" or if there is something that I necessarily have to upgrade/add for safe and possibly troubles-free touring, apart from panniers obviously!

So this are the specification:
CRANKSET Shimano Deore, 48/36/26T
BOTTOM BRACKET Sealed bearing
PEDALS Alloy platform
FRONT DERAILLEUR Shimano Altus
REAR DERAILLEUR Shimano Deore, 9-speed
SHIFTERS MicroShift, Bar end, index shifting, 9-speed
CASSETTE Shimano Deore, 11-34T, 9-speed
CHAIN KMC X9 w/ MissingLink, 9-speed
WHEELSET Vera Terra DPM18 rims 32h, alloy hubs, black spokes
TIRES Vera CityWide, 700 x 32c, 30 tpi
BRAKE SET Tektro, linear pull, alloy
BRAKE LEVERS Alloy, road levers
HEADSET FSA, 1 1/8", caged bearings
HANDLEBAR Oval Concepts 307, 6061 alloy, 31.8mm
STEM Oval Concepts 313, 6061 3D-forged alloy, 31.8mm, +/- 12°
TAPE/GRIP Oval Concepts 300, padded suede
SADDLE Oval Concepts P300 w/ steel rails
SEAT POST Oval Concepts 300, 3D-forged 6061 alloy, 27.2mm, double-bolt micro-adjust

The only thing that will differ from day one are pedals, I'm mounting spare SPD Shimano that I already have.

Let me know!!
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Old 01-19-14, 08:05 AM   #2
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It'll be easier to get advice if you give an idea of what type of riding you expect to do with this nice and very capable touring bike.
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Old 01-19-14, 08:09 AM   #3
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Three of us rode essentially the same bike (rebadged as a windsor touring) together across the US on the TA and found it all up to snuff. We did all swap pedals and two of us swapped the 26 tooth ring for a 24T. Some folks might not get along with the saddle but we were all fine with it. I thought it was awful when I first tried it but after a few hundred miles my butt got used to it and I have since happily toured quite a bit on that saddle. The tires at that time were different so I won't comment on the ones you will be using, but I am usually inclined to wear out whatever comes with the bike and then switch to gatorskins.

The racks were just a little flexy and two of us put on Blackburn EX1's since I had two laying around. The other of us used the stock rack with not real problems, but I did notice that it swayed a bit.
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Old 01-19-14, 08:44 AM   #4
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Thank you guys for quick replying!
@Ridefreemc: I live relatively near the Alps, to start my touring experience I'm planning some 2-3 days semi-supported tours as mayden voyages and a self-supported 7-10 days tour once I've a bit of a confidence with the bike next springtime, and then..who knows! Anyway my first attempts will be on 99% paved roads involving stiff uphills and descents: I like to "conquer" mountains sweating and pushing hard at least on MTB, on a loaded touring bike.. we'll see
@staehpj1: it's great and reassuring to hear you accomplished successful "explorations" with the same bike!! I'll consider the 24T since as I said I intend to include a lot of climbing in my trips. The saddle: I know many could suggest getting the "usual" Brooks, and maybe I'll do it in the future, but I'll definitely give a try to the default one, and I don't see the point of swapping it until it's worn out, unless it becomes a real unbearable pain!

I'd like to have some feedback on brakes, I don't read many love declarations on the Tektros (not at all!), are they so bad? As I'll be descending braking-intensive routes on a loaded bike I don't want "surprises", I've to trust the braking system. Eventually replacing pads would be enough? Or is there something wrong with the whole system?
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Old 01-19-14, 09:32 AM   #5
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Doppiadi, Nothing wrong with the Tektros and they are a popular choice for canti/linear pull brake and wheel size conversions. Good reviews on the shape of the brake levers also. Remember that most product info on the internet is some form of a complaint.

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Old 01-19-14, 09:50 AM   #6
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Remember that most product info on the internet is some form of a complaint.
Brad
This is SO right! I should stick a note on my laptop about this.. Also, whether it's about complaining or praising something too many people just have opinions on something because they read about it somewhere, and it becomes a cliché (especially here in Italy: everyone knows everything about anything!).
Back in topic I'll give tektros a try, if I carve the asphalt with my teeth I'll report you back
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Old 01-19-14, 10:24 AM   #7
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Doppiadi, Nothing wrong with the Tektros and they are a popular choice for canti/linear pull brake and wheel size conversions. Good reviews on the shape of the brake levers also. Remember that most product info on the internet is some form of a complaint.

Brad
+1 My friends and family are all happy with them. I have been over many mountain passes with them and found them fine. lately I use Avid pads and have found them to work well, but would probably wear out the original pads first.
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Old 01-19-14, 10:39 AM   #8
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+1 My friends and family are all happy with them. I have been over many mountain passes with them and found them fine. lately I use Avid pads and have found them to work well, but would probably wear out the original pads first.
I'm actually considering the Tektro levers for a linear pull conversion to my touring bike (springs worn out on the old cantis).

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Old 01-19-14, 10:52 AM   #9
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Well well, I'm glad I don't have to spend money on upgrades then! I'll immolate my piggy-bang in the name of panniers and other essential mixed stuff, thank you
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Old 01-19-14, 12:16 PM   #10
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Make sure you can afford to buy replacement parts that may get damaged along the way ..

& Hospitalization if the damage is to You. ... IDK,

Italy may be better than the Hospital/ Insurance company Profits, dominated .. US.


in General , The bike, as Is, should be fine , add racks for your panniers ..

Maybe mudguards too ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-20-14 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 01-19-14, 12:53 PM   #11
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Make sure you can afford to buy replacement parts that may get damaged along the way ..

& Hospitalization if the damage is to You. ... IDK,

Italy may be better than the Hospital/ Insurance company Profits, dominated .. US.
Thanks for the memo! I'll have to consider that, I think the worst scenario are broken wheels or frame, but temporary solutions should get me home without spending too much, I hope.. eventually even duct tape and wires can save the day!

Fortunately Public Health is much different here and as long as I'm within European countries my medical expenses are covered for free
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Old 01-19-14, 01:23 PM   #12
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Don't just do a swap for a 24t chainring. You are already at the maximum capacity of your rear derailleur and unless you get a smaller big chainring or smaller big cog, you'll be over your capacity. I use and reccomend a 44/32/22 crankset with an 11-34 cassette.

You're also at the maximum capacity for your front derailleur but going over on the front isn't as bad as on the rear.
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Old 01-19-14, 03:57 PM   #13
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If your choice is between large/rear panniers or medium/front panniers get the front ones that can be installed in the front or back and learn to not carry too much with the load spread out.
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Old 01-19-14, 04:11 PM   #14
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I'd like to have some feedback on brakes
Learn to replace and adjust brake pads and shoes. I've been surprised by the number of times a bike on a tour came in the shop poorly adjusted and the tire casing was worn into from the brake pad rubbing on it. It's possible to have brakes shoes tightened on just enough to work reliably but after a few wheel changes it might be knocked out of angle and it's either not at a good angle or there goes the tire.
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Old 01-20-14, 05:05 AM   #15
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Don't just do a swap for a 24t chainring. You are already at the maximum capacity of your rear derailleur and unless you get a smaller big chainring or smaller big cog, you'll be over your capacity. I use and reccomend a 44/32/22 crankset with an 11-34 cassette.
You're also at the maximum capacity for your front derailleur but going over on the front isn't as bad as on the rear.
This is interesting, I have poor knowledge on the topic and it will better if I ask someone more experienced before chancing gears..

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If your choice is between large/rear panniers or medium/front panniers get the front ones that can be installed in the front or back and learn to not carry too much with the load spread out.
Yeah right now I've no panniers, I see your point and agree, I'll ask my LBS to show me different sizes panniers and try to get a good compromise. The fact is that you can leave a big bag half empty, but once you filled a small one and you need to carry a bit more there isn't much to do.. I even recon that having big panniers the temptation of get them filled is strong!

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Learn to replace and adjust brake pads and shoes. I've been surprised by the number of times a bike on a tour came in the shop poorly adjusted and the tire casing was worn into from the brake pad rubbing on it. It's possible to have brakes shoes tightened on just enough to work reliably but after a few wheel changes it might be knocked out of angle and it's either not at a good angle or there goes the tire.
I'll add this to my check-up list, I'm now accustomed to disk brakes on my MTB and going back to linear pull brakes will require some practice in getting them quickly set-up.

Thank you all for the useful tips!
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Old 01-20-14, 07:22 AM   #16
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Doppiadi, I wouldn't worry too much about swapping for a 24T granny gear. The worst case is that the chain will rub at the tension and jockey pulleys if you're using too small of a gear on the cassette. It will make a racket, but unless you ignore the noise and leave it in that gear it won't cause any damage.

Gearing is always a hot topic and is possibly the most tinkered with item on a touring bike. Bottom line is there is always a hill, somewhere, that will require walking the bike in spite of loaded weight, gearing and rider fitness.

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Old 01-20-14, 07:26 AM   #17
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Don't just do a swap for a 24t chainring. You are already at the maximum capacity of your rear derailleur and unless you get a smaller big chainring or smaller big cog, you'll be over your capacity. I use and reccomend a 44/32/22 crankset with an 11-34 cassette.

You're also at the maximum capacity for your front derailleur but going over on the front isn't as bad as on the rear.
Sorry but you are wrong. The Deore rear can handle a 24 tooth chain ring on that crankset just fine without any changes at all. You could even go to a 20 tooth (you can find them on Ebay) and still not cause problems with the shifting. I run a 46/34/20 on my touring bike and don't have any issues with either the front or rear handling that range. Granted my rear derailer is an XTR but the XTR uses the same design as the Deore.
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Old 01-20-14, 07:27 AM   #18
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[QUOTE=
Bottom line is there is always a hill, somewhere, that will require walking the bike in spite of loaded weight, gearing and rider fitness.

Brad[/QUOTE]

Now that would be a cool thread.........show me the climb on tour that made you walk :-)
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Old 01-20-14, 09:06 AM   #19
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Sorry but you are wrong. The Deore rear can handle a 24 tooth chain ring on that crankset just fine without any changes at all.
+1 on that. I have never had a moment of trouble with a 24T in that setup.
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Old 01-20-14, 09:28 AM   #20
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Now that would be a cool thread.........show me the climb on tour that made you walk :-)
Never. Not even on hills that look like this



and with me traveling at 4 mph



That's why I have a 20/34 low gear. I'd go to a 20/38 but that would be ridiculous...even for me

That picture, by the way, is taken on Talimena Drive in Arkansas. Talimena is a Cherokee word meaning 'big f@cking mountains that will kick your butt, take your spleen & leave you lying in a ditch'
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Old 01-20-14, 10:13 AM   #21
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Well, now I'm going off topic on my own thread.. Anyway the steepest roads I'll be riding on are something like this:

Passo dello Stelvio



Passo Giau



Which challenged me even on an unloaded 10kg MTB with a 22-34. Riding there while touring will be.. fun! At least I've seen many cyclist attempting them on loaded bike, so it should be possible
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Old 01-20-14, 10:46 AM   #22
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All else, there is the 24 inch, gear ... 2 feet ... no shame in getting off and walking the bike up a steep slope.
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Old 01-20-14, 01:23 PM   #23
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I use and reccomend a 44/32/22 crankset with an 11-34 cassette.
+1, especially if he's going to be riding fully loaded in the Alps.

OP: Spent a week and a half in Borso del Grappa last year. Beautiful riding. Rode through, among other places, Enego, Foza, Gallio, Follina and Castello Tesino.
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Old 01-20-14, 01:45 PM   #24
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+1, especially if he's going to be riding fully loaded in the Alps.
I don't know what a chainring costs in Italy but it still has to be less than a complete crank set. You can get a 20 tooth chainring from Amazon for $24 US. 22 and 24 tooth rings are going to cost roughly the same. I suspect that a new crank is going to cost between 5 and 10 times that, depending on the level you get.

On the plus side, you get as low or lower low gear than a mountain bike crank and you have a good downhill gear.
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Old 01-20-14, 01:58 PM   #25
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I'd just like to reinforce what the rest of the folks said about derailleur capacity. A 48/363/24 with a 11-34 rear cassette will work just fine.

However, I also agree with the folks that recommend lower gearing. I run a 44/32/22 and have done some pretty serious hill climbing with it, including the Swiss Alps. There are still times when I would like one more shift, but I attribute that to old age

You may have a relatively inexpensive option to lower your gearing. Shimano's 48/36/26 crankset is usually set up on a 64/104 , 4 arm crankset. This will allow you to go from "trekking" gears to "mountain" gears by just changing the chainrings, and lowering your front derailleur a bit. You won't have to worry about chainline issues, and it only takes about an hour. I've changes a couple of Deore cranksets from the original 48/36/26 chainrings to 44/32/22 without any issues.
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