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Touring Bike Build - Spec Advice Needed!

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Touring Bike Build - Spec Advice Needed!

Old 04-03-15, 02:48 AM
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visage_11
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Touring Bike Build - Spec Advice Needed!

Hi everyone,

New to this forum - and cycle specs etc in general, so please bear with the questions! (That's what you're all here for too, isn't it? :-P)
After a few months' research, I have decided to buy a Surly Troll frame (Troll | Bikes | Surly Bikes). This was my thought process:

- I wanted a bike that I could use on my daily commute (I currently own a basic Ridgeback Hybrid alu frame)
- I like the feel of a road bike, but I like riding single tracks / forest trails (not into off-road downhill)
- I loved the thought of a cyclocross bike, but wanted it to be able to handle touring load
- We are planning a big trip around the world, and quite a bit of it will be done on our bikes

So - basically, I needed a bike that might tick all those boxes. I totally recognise that it might be a jack-of-all-trades (and never really good at any of them) but as long as I can ride the trails in the weekends, pack it up for longer journeys, and not feel like I'm riding a donkey going uphill, I will be pretty happy.

Now for the spec...looking to build the bike something like this Bike Shop Builds: Surly Troll | Bike Shop Girl (and yes, I am female.)

And I've been following this blog: Surly Troll Off-road Touring Bike - Pedaling Nowhere - but I don't particularly want Liam's complete build. What I DO know is that the Troll CAN take 26"s and 700c tyres. My questions are the following:

1. Any suggestions on the tyres? I was thinking of getting a pair of cyclocross rather than touring, but can they take a load? I don't have a heavy build but I am over 178cm tall. I would prefer road / gravel tyres over mountain bike ones.

2. Suggestions on disc brakes? Not too keen on hydraulics (just imagining being in the middle of nowhere trying to sort these out)

3. Overall geometry: how do I build the bike with dropbars so that the geometry feels like I am lower down but not too low so that I get neck pain on longer rides?

4. I've got double sided clipless pedals and I plan to continue using these. Any suggestions on how to save weight on other components but not to compromise on strength?

5. Forks: I am totally clueless about forks, but learning more everyday. I'm not too fussed on getting suspension. Does anyone know of a cyclocross fork or similar - that would have the eyelets for both mudguards and front panniers? Would you go steel or alloy, thinking of the weight here.

I am sure more questions will come out of this - a suggested spec is always welcome. Just so you know - I chose the Troll over the Surly Long Haul Trucker, Genesis Croix de Fer, and Kinesis Decade.

Thanks all, looking forward to your responses!
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Old 04-03-15, 01:41 PM
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I can't answer all your questions, but do have recommendations for some:

For tires/tyres, I like Schwalbe Marathons.

For mechanical disc brakes, I have had good experiences with Avid BB7 disc brakes.

Don't worry too much about trying to save grams here and there. With a fully loaded bike on tour, it is going to be heavy. The double-sided clipless pedals are good.

Be sure you have well built wheels. I recommend at least 36 spokes, and you might want to get tandem wheels. You can bend/break a rim with heavy loads on rough terrain.

Switching from straight bars to drop bars can be tricky due to different cable pull between road shifters and mountain bike derailleur gearing. You may need Microshift shifters for that.
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Old 04-03-15, 01:53 PM
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Costs Less to change a few Parts on a factory Build than to buy frame and all the parts, each, at full retail, separately.
agree BB7 is well supporting all the spare Parts.

You are Buying a Frame that is Done , no Geometry changes just fit change options .. Bar Stem choices

Forks ? steel ... you should be able to get it with the built Bike , as Shown ..

its touring ... weight really important? you need Paid Minions to carry all Your stuff for You Then..

Mens Frames are Often a long Reach to the bars for Women's proportions. leg:torso:arms

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-03-15 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 04-03-15, 03:27 PM
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I've been following this guys ride report and he is on a Troll.
Starting at 155kg he experienced wheel problems.
Contact him... Mellow fellow, a vegan. His videos on youtube are pretty good with great music.
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/..._id=13745&v=TP

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Old 04-03-15, 03:35 PM
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There are lots of Bristols, so that does not tell me which country you are in. But, I assume you are in the UK from the way you spelled tyre. So, I will make a few suggestsions on sources in the UK. SJS might be a good place to order a lot of things, they stock a lot of bike touring gear.
SJS Cycles Online Bike Shop for Touring, Mountain & Road Bikes and Specialised Bicycle Parts

1. I like Schwalbe tires. The models I currently use for off road are discontinued, I think the current off road touring tire from Schwalbe is the Mondial. I use their plain Marathon (with greenguard) on pavement. If you carry a spare tire, carry a lightweight one, no need to carry a heavy tire for months when you probably would only need an emergency lighter weight one. I use different tires for near home use than I use for touring, you could get some cheap ones for now, then upgrade before your around the world tour.

2. I only use rim brakes, can't make any suggestions.

3. Don't cut the steerer tube until you have ridden the bike for a while. Then you will have an idea how high you want the bars, that is the best time to cut the steerer. Or, cut it long planning to cut it more later. On my last build, I cut my steerer tube three times to make sure I did not cut too much the first time. On geometry, frames designed for flat bars often have too long of a top tube for someone that uses a drop bar. Thus, you might need to order a size frame that is a bit smaller than you normally would and use a longer seatpost. The key is to look at top tube length when you decide which bike size to get. And you might need a pretty short stem too.

4. For most riding around town, I prefer double sided pedals. But for touring, I prefer ones that have one side for SPD cleats, other side platform. Then I can wear normal shoes on the bike too. The specific pedals I used for past tours have been the Shimano M324. But I recently bought a pair of A530 pedals, they are much lighter and I might use them for future touring. Evans Cycles in the UK has a good price on both of those models right now.

5. If you go with a solid fork that is not a suspension fork, there are not a lot to choose from because a frame designed for a 100mm suspension fork can't use most off the shelf forks that go on non-suspension frames. Anything wrong with the Surly fork? Thorn makes a fork that can be used on a bike designed for a 100mm suspension, but you want disk and I think the Thorn fork won't take disks, so the Surly fork is the only one I can think of.

If you are going around the world, if you will have electronics that can be charged from a USB charger, consider getting a dynohub for charging things. Son is the current favorite for that sort of travel, but that is quite costly. I use a SP Dynamo hub, but I have less than 3k km on the hub so far so I can't speak about long term reliability, yet. Do not decide to upgrade later if you might get a dynohub some day - the cost to replace the regular hub and buy new spokes to build a new wheel (or instead replace your front wheel) is much more costly as an upgrade later than it is for initial purchase. So, if you might want it some day, buy that initially.

Are you using this with an IGH or with derailleur gearing?
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Old 04-03-15, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Costs Less to change a few Parts on a factory Build than to buy frame and all the parts, each, at full retail, separately.
agree BB7 is well supporting all the spare Parts.

You are Buying a Frame that is Done , no Geometry changes just fit change options .. Bar Stem choices

Forks ? steel ... you should be able to get it with the built Bike , as Shown ..

its touring ... weight really important? you need Paid Minions to carry all Your stuff for You Then..

Mens Frames are Often a long Reach to the bars for Women's proportions. leg:torso:arms
That's the way I see it too. Also its not really "build" rather assemble unless one is fabricating frame,wheels,etc

I was a fabricator / tin knocker (union skilled building trades) for nearly 20s. Once, back when, I decided I needed a certain utility trailer. I had the entire shop,welders,all for my personal use when I wanted. By the time I speced it out, not including my time fabricating, it cost substantially more than buying a well made one and modifying it to what I wanted
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Old 04-04-15, 01:36 AM
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Old 04-04-15, 05:58 PM
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I forgot to mention tire sizes above I mentioned Mondial for off road and Marathon for on pavement.

For off road, I use 559X50 or 559X57 and for on pavement I use the Marathon (with greenguard) 559X40mm. I only mention the Greenguard because there are lots of Schwalbe tires with the Marathon name on them.

For off road I do not use the Mondial tires, I use the now discontinued Dureme in 50mm width and Extreme in either 50mm or 57mm width depending on which bike I am using. But I think the Mondial replaced the ones I use.
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Old 04-06-15, 02:04 AM
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Thanks for your detailed responses!

Yes, I'm in the UK. I was going to fit it with dérailleur gearing, because I'm familiar with it, and the bike did not come with a fork so wanted to see if there were any other options apart from the surly fork but will probably end up getting that.

Loads of awesome advice, thank you. I'll check out the components you suggested and yes, good point on testing the ride before cutting steering tube. You've answered most of my questions but am sure I will be back with more once I've looked into it. Thanks again!

I'm building some of the bike from secondhand parts too based on suggested specs so hopefully some savings from there. To be honest I've got a lot of research and speaking to people to about the build so this forum has given me a great headstart.

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Old 04-19-15, 09:04 AM
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Thanks, I've got A530s and really enjoying them because I use them on my commuter. Thanks for the suggestion on the dyno hub, I'm hoping to get some bits second hand and some bits new so dyno hub will be one of them!

I think I will be going for dérailleur gearing, mainly because of familiarity.
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Old 04-19-15, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by visage_11 View Post
Thanks, I've got A530s and really enjoying them because I use them on my commuter. Thanks for the suggestion on the dyno hub, I'm hoping to get some bits second hand and some bits new so dyno hub will be one of them!

I think I will be going for dérailleur gearing, mainly because of familiarity.
Even though you said you used double sided clipless pedals, I thought you would prefer a pedal like the M324 or A530 to give you more choses of footwear on the bike. Glad you like the A530 pedal.

There is nothing wrong with a derailleur system for an around the world tour. I have both a Rohloff touring bike and two derailleur touring bikes. Even though I owned the Rohloff bike last summer, I chose one of my derailleur bikes for my last tour.

I am quite happy with 8 speed cassette on my derailleur touring bikes. I am not sure what the best gearing is for finding parts like chains world wide is, but I suspect that an 8 speed system would be much better than 9 or 10 speed in the less developed countries when you need a chain or other part.

Good quality used parts can certainly work well, I have bought used derailleurs and on one of my bikes I have a used headset. But, anything I bought used, I disassembled as far as I could to give it a detailed cleaning and re-greasing. Even my used headset, I figured out how to take apart the sealed bearings to pack it full of waterproof grease.
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