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Raleigh Portage build, first ride, 650b first impressions

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Raleigh Portage build, first ride, 650b first impressions

Old 09-25-11, 01:09 PM
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Marvelous build! Love the looks of it! (and love reading the specs even more).

One question. I do not get the craziness people have about compact doubles. Sure, you will have wide gearing range, but won't you have to shift constantly in front if you lived in any kind-of-hilly place? For that reason, I really like my 24-36-48 triple on heavy touring bike, I live in very hilly place, and I stay in the middle ring 90% of the time, sometimes switch to granny ring, and very rarely switch to upper ring. For sportier bike I will go with something a bit higher, but principle stays the same - middle ring is the one that is comfortable 95% of the time.

Sure, idea of having double, with its simplicity, better shifts and weight savings appeal to me. But... even if it shifts better, if it makes me do front shifts 10 times more often, doesn't that negates the benefit?

Sorry if I appear to be trolling, I am genuinely not. I know there is no definitive answer to the question, and just would like to hear some opinions from people who do ride compact doubles...
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Old 09-25-11, 01:54 PM
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olek,

i live in a hilly area too, but 36 in the front 90% of the time means you are 1 or more of the below:
1. riding a heavy bike/load.
2. riding slow.
3. out of shape.

46-48 in the front is where most of your riding should be done, and a 30ish gear will get you up almost any hill unless you are packing a big load, imo.
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Old 09-25-11, 01:59 PM
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I swappd the 50 on my Apex double for a 46 and it's perfect. I spend most of the time in my big ring now.
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Old 09-25-11, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by olek
Marvelous build! Love the looks of it! (and love reading the specs even more).

One question. I do not get the craziness people have about compact doubles. Sure, you will have wide gearing range, but won't you have to shift constantly in front if you lived in any kind-of-hilly place? For that reason, I really like my 24-36-48 triple on heavy touring bike, I live in very hilly place, and I stay in the middle ring 90% of the time, sometimes switch to granny ring, and very rarely switch to upper ring. For sportier bike I will go with something a bit higher, but principle stays the same - middle ring is the one that is comfortable 95% of the time.


Sure, idea of having double, with its simplicity, better shifts and weight savings appeal to me. But... even if it shifts better, if it makes me do front shifts 10 times more often, doesn't that negates the benefit?

Sorry if I appear to be trolling, I am genuinely not. I know there is no definitive answer to the question, and just would like to hear some opinions from people who do ride compact doubles...
Good questions. I was a dedicated triple rider because of the range and practicality. With the advent of 9 speed & 10 speed cassettes for mountain bikes a new way to look at gearing evolved (for me anyway). I run 11-36, 10 speed cassette w/ 46-30 chain rings. IIRC the low is about 22 gear inches and the high is 110 gear inches or so. For me the large majority of my shifting is now done on the rear cassette w/ a 10 speed indexed bar end. There is very little that I run into around here that cannot be managed by that range. When I do have an extended climb or am just too worn out, I have a whole second series of gears to choose from. With these ranges, I find it very easy to match my cadence. The double lets every combination work, I can run low/low & high/high if I need to. I am (as is holiday76) in S.E. Pa, so not super long climbs etc.
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Old 09-25-11, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by -holiday76
i can say one thing, I don't know how much the difference in wheel size makes the difference, but to really get the cushy feel of a higher volume tire I think you need to go 36 mm at an absolute minimum. If you could fit a 700x36 or preferably a little bigger on a bike made for 27" wheels i'd think you'd have a fairly similar feel. My Lotus is a 27" wheeled touring bike with canti's, but the biggest I can fit in a 700c while having room for fenders is a actual 32, and that just doesnt approach the same feel as these 38's.

42mm hetres are in my future btw, as I do have the room for them on this bike.

fender1, can i borrow your TA puller or drop by one day this week to swap out this spindle?
Sure, just let me know.
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Old 09-25-11, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by fender1
I run 11-36, 10 speed cassette w/ 46-30 chain rings. IIRC the low is about 22 gear inches and the high is 110 gear inches or so. For me the large majority of my shifting is now done on the rear cassette w/ a 10 speed indexed bar end.
+1 this really works for some people.

I usually cruise between 100 and 110RPM, so I'm set up with 42-24 chainrings and a 30-11 cassette. With 38 to 103 gear inches on the big ring, I virtually never use the small ring. But, when I'm pulling my toddler trailer up the local 15% grade, I can switch to that granny gear. It feels like cocking a ballista, but you could almost ride straight up a wall with that 21" gear.
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Old 09-25-11, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by MrEss
+1 this really works for some people.

I usually cruise between 100 and 110RPM, so I'm set up with 42-24 chainrings and a 30-11 cassette. With 38 to 103 gear inches on the big ring, I virtually never use the small ring. But, when I'm pulling my toddler trailer up the local 15% grade, I can switch to that granny gear. It feels like cocking a ballista, but you could almost ride straight up a wall with that 21" gear.
My touring bike 13-38, 50/46/28 gets down to just under 20" in the 28/38...yep, it does seem that you could go up about anything doesn't it...albeit at about 2.5-3mph
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Old 09-25-11, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by illwafer
olek,

...36 in the front 90% of the time means you are 1 or more of the below:
1. riding a heavy bike/load.
2. riding slow.
3. out of shape.
All of the above

I am not into racing in any way, and non-healing achilles tendon injury keeps me from riding at the level that will allow too build up any muscle mass.
My touring rig weights 34lb (bike's catalog weight is 24lb, yea, right), I am 175lb (not too bad for 6'3"), and I am frequently pulling behind Burley Piccollo (~20lb) with my 6-years old son (~50lb). Grand total ~280lb. I just came back from a ride with my son, it was fun (and hard work) and I was able to stay 80-90% of the time in the middle ring. I switch to large ring only if I am going down some long descent (alone, without kid) and want to have more fun.

I see now the light of truth. People choose size for top ring of the double to do most of their riding in it, and it is possible now, especially with MTB style 9 speed drivetrain in the rear, which is nice and wide; and smaller ring is just for backup. Me, I am still using my 5-speed freewheel that has a range about 13-27, and combined with the rest of my situation, I guess double does not make much sense for me (yet). Pity, it sure is pretty, and I was seriously considering one just recently.

Big thanks to everybody for feedback!

Coming back to the subject of this thread, the fact that this gorgeous bike is using 650b wheels means that it has somehow lower gear ratios as a bonus!
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Old 09-25-11, 04:23 PM
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No, the outside diameter is about the same as 700c, because of the tall tires.
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Old 09-25-11, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by khatfull
Honest question here...

So I have my Fuji Touring Series V...obviously long wheelbase/chainstays, 27" wheels with nice big 27 x 1 1/4" tires.

Were I to build up a 650B conversion would I feel a lot of difference between that and the TS V?

Anyone ridden this sort of conversion AND a full blown touring bike to compare?

EDIT: And if I were to do this I think I might go modern and do a single chainring with a wide range 9-10 speed rear.
Keith, there's no comparison between my Schwinn Voyageur with 27x1.25 Panaracer TGs and my Shogun 650B conversion with 650x42B Hetres. Different ballpark altogether. Both frames are comparable in terms of gauge tubing/weight/geometries.
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Old 09-25-11, 06:24 PM
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You are 100% correct, sir.

Unless somebody chooses to ride with seriously deflated tires.

Still, I do not think that gain from lower gear ratio is going to out-weight the higher rolling resistance, so you are double right.
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Old 09-25-11, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by khatfull
... 50/46/28 ...
Oh, good old fashioned half-step plus granny

How did you get that 46 to 28 drop to work properly, Keith? That is 18 freaking teeth difference!

Usually derailleurs are designed to handle up to 12 teeth drop. I heard that with some tweaking 14 can work all right. 16 is considered border line; I used to have 16 (46-30) drop on my stock-at-the-time 1984 Voyageur SP, and it was horrible! I could not get it to work right, downshifting was very dreamy (not in a good way), upshifting was sketchy, and that was the main reason I dropped the whole 'half-step plus granny' crank idea, and replaced it with my current 24-36-46 setup.

What did you do, Keith? Did it involve sacrifice of the innocent?
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Old 09-25-11, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by olek
Oh, good old fashioned half-step plus granny

How did you get that 46 to 28 drop to work properly, Keith? That is 18 freaking teeth difference!

Usually derailleurs are designed to handle up to 12 teeth drop. I heard that with some tweaking 14 can work all right. 16 is considered border line; I used to have 16 (46-30) drop on my stock-at-the-time 1984 Voyageur SP, and it was horrible! I could not get it to work right, downshifting was very dreamy (not in a good way), upshifting was sketchy, and that was the main reason I dropped the whole 'half-step plus granny' crank idea, and replaced it with my current 24-36-46 setup.

What did you do, Keith? Did it involve sacrifice of the innocent?
Nope, the Suntour Mountech handles it just fine.

Here's a video:

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Old 09-25-11, 10:18 PM
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What about 650A?
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Old 09-25-11, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by khatfull
What about 650A?
It's a good size to achieve the same results desired when doing a 650b conversion, but there are many fewer choices of rims and tires. Especially in the higher quality/higher performance caliber. So, for me, the argument pretty much ends there.

Brian, the Portage is awesome. Looking forward to seeing more of it.
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Old 09-26-11, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by khatfull
Nope, the Suntour Mountech handles it just fine.
Same derailleur I had. You must be really good at what you do, Keith.
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Old 09-26-11, 09:16 AM
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IT looks great man! I'm looking forward to seeing it this weekend
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Old 09-26-11, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by olek
Same derailleur I had. You must be really good at what you do, Keith.
Heck Olek, I dunno, it's what the TS V had stock, including the half step plus granny. I just switched to Biopace. Stock was 50/45/28.

I downshift, it drops, I upshift and the 46 catches the chain. Seems to work just fine.
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Old 09-26-11, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by khatfull
Heck Olek, I dunno, it's what the TS V had stock, including the half step plus granny. I just switched to Biopace. Stock was 50/45/28.

I downshift, it drops, I upshift and the 46 catches the chain. Seems to work just fine.
FWIW I've run this gearing with similar mechs, and it seems to work just fine.
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Old 09-27-11, 08:45 PM
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Just as a matter of record, I thought I'd let it be known that I fixed my large chainring/small cog clearance issues by installing a 124mm spindle , replacing the 115 that was in there. I know how full use of all 9 speeds without and rubbing. Actually, the chain does still rub very slightly on the inside of the big chain ring if i'm in the small chain ring and a small cog. But I can live with that as I don't see myself using that combo. I'm not really sure how you get around that.

So now I'm very happy with the bike, the way it shifts, and so forth. I've been spending almost all of my time in the large chain ring. Next up is a new VO Hunters Pass rack with the integrated Decaleur. Should be here Friday I believe.
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Old 09-27-11, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by -holiday76

I like this more each time I see it. The TA crank logo accent, the Bluemels, the frame pump are all nice vintage touches. The bike looks older than it is. Black is one of my favorite bike colors and with some brick red Hetres it would have a killer rat-rod with a French accent vibe.
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Old 09-27-11, 09:59 PM
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Thanks ColonelJ. I'll try to get some better and up close pics sometime too, before it gets all dirty. I will be doing the Hetre thing at some point as well and was leaning towards red.
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Old 09-28-11, 12:44 AM
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I like the way you mounted that pump. I don't know why I never thought of doing that before.

Red tires and green bar tape. Are you Santa Claus?
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Old 09-28-11, 05:50 AM
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True, I was thinking about the red tires before I out green bar tape on it. That wouldn't work.
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Old 09-28-11, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234
Red tires and green bar tape. Are you Santa Claus?
Even one of our color blind members wouldn't let that slip.

"Red hair (er, tires) and black leather. My favourite color scheme." Richard Thompson
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