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surly long haul trucker build - is this bike a mess / how to do I make it fit ??

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surly long haul trucker build - is this bike a mess / how to do I make it fit ??

Old 04-11-15, 10:31 AM
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icj63
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surly long haul trucker build - is this bike a mess / how to do I make it fit ??

warning - I don't know anything about bikes! have endeavoured not to ask stupid questions but no guarantees

photos are here because I don't really know how to use this forum yet - click to enlarge

I bought this on eBay about a year ago because it was a bargain (listed in bicycle parts) and apparently the right size. Took it to the highlands where I realised it wasn't very comfortable & had a bunch of problems with the gears. found a tiny lbs and got the chain replaced (stretched) and gears adjusted (a lot). He reckoned the guy who built it (sorry if you're reading!) didn't really know anything about building bikes and had selected a bunch of very high quality components that don't really fit / make sense. Said the new chain would be stretched soon enough and seemed to think I should replace pretty much everything. much more rideable now, and have since consulted another lbs who saw no such problems with it. I don't know if these photos are useful.. any thoughts??

really want to replace the handlebars.. ideally with drop bars but if that'll require a bunch of other expensive changes then I guess narrower flat bars with bar ends would be easy enough? also don't know if I'd be more comfortable with a shorter stem? could I remove some spacers?? was this bike maybe too small for the previous owner? stem seems pretty long to be but I really wouldn't know. frame is 54cm and i'm 5'10 so according to ~the internet~ it should be a pretty good fit for me

I've vague plans for Holland to the Black Sea & would like to leave by the the end of this month. my other bike's a trek 7.3fx, ridden through the winter on edinburgh's salted roads, so a bit worse for wear.. will sell one or the other before I leave, and at this point I'd rather sell the touring bike?! planning for a lots of bitumen to be honest so the surly is maybe a bit surplus to requirements anyway. I rode melbourne to sydney on a 7.5fx and only suffered 3 broken spokes

thanks if you read all that // tia for any tips!
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Old 04-11-15, 11:54 AM
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You can lower a stem quite easily by putting some of the spacers above instead of below the stem. You can also buy different stems with different angles and lengths. Or if you are not sure how you want it set up, you could get an adjustable stem.

Changing to drop bars would likely mean a lot of expensive parts. Narrower bars could be done quite easily.

If you do not know how to remove the stem and shift the position of some of the spacers, do you have any friends that might know how? It involves adjusting the headset bearings when you are done moving things around, so it does take a bit of knowledge.

If you went to a bike shop when they were slow with very few customers in the store, you might be able to get some advice from a knowledgeable person if they thought you might want to buy some new bars, or a stem or if they thought you might want to pay them the labor to do that work.
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Old 04-11-15, 12:07 PM
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If the chain was stretched for long enough it could have damaged the cassette or even the chainrings. Peening on the teeth in the rear would be visible and the fronts may a little hook to them instead of being symmetrical. That may be the basis for recommending "replacing everything". Can't say for sure without a close inspection. If a 2nd shop saw no issues then ...?

Replacing the bars will require new shifters, brake levers, cables, bar wrap etc... Just did a conversion the other way to flat bars myself.

How this bike got configured and whether or not it fit the previous owner makes no difference at this point. Stem length is important in the overall fit of the bike. Go to a reputable LBS and get a fitting before you buy anything. Spacers for the steerer tube can be removed from under your stem and stacked on top. The LHT can even use the full uncut steerer tube without issue, its a proven steel frame with an extra long headtube for strength (see how far the headtube extends above the top tube compared with other bikes?) I would not cut it unless you absolutely know that the fit is perfect and you never plan to change it.

5'10" in a 54cm is ballpark correct, again a pro fitting will pay dividends many times over.
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Old 04-11-15, 12:56 PM
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if the chain has adjusted to the rings/cassette and it's not skipping, just ride it.
after 4-5000 km you'll be needing a new chain anyway, replace the other bits
then if needed.

don't want to remove spacers or cut the stem just yet. if you do, then the
handlebars will be lower than the seat. (i assume the seat height is correct.)

drop bars? or trekking/mustache bars?

and are those downtube shifter bosses in the photo?
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Old 04-11-15, 01:13 PM
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If you feel a need ...trekking Figure 8 bend handlebars are a common change on Straight bar bikes because You keep everything but the bars and Bar ends ..

a Popular Touring Choice amongst European Tour/ Trekking Cyclists


Ride the bike all day for a few days to get a sense of what changes you need for a Tour since you will do that days of Riding for weeks on end ,

if you have big adventurous trip ambitions.

I definitely would not cut anything off the .. fork steerer.. buy a shorter siem , different higher rise, or perhaps an angle adjustable one.

Buy a new chain and cassette, be able to replace them and get extra right length spokes .

, Touring ambitious to wild places without bike shops , better have some independent problem solving skills ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-11-15 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 04-11-15, 01:21 PM
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I generally think that buying a bargain bike is a bad idea. Your example is no different. You don't like this bike. You want a different bike. If it was such a bargain, you won't lose your shirt selling it.

In the meantime, I suspect you'd like to explore what is going to making riding really fun this year.
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Old 04-11-15, 03:08 PM
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I'm 5'9" (down from 5'10" past 65) My KogaWTR is a 54 FWIW WB Bicycle Gallery: Robert Clark's Koga Miyata WTR

I have rebuilt it from the Factory Build, and have made other changes since the Photos here were taken ..

The mixed parts issue is mostly in the Indexed shifting , some combinations work , others dont

Now that you are in a bigger city again (Glasgow? Edinburgh?)
maybe that shop can do a better go thru and changing components that dont work well for those that Do.

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-11-15 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 04-11-15, 04:01 PM
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Doesn't look much different than mine is set up . If the shop has it shifting good I would ride it for a while. If you have one shop telling you you need to change everything and another saying it was fine I would be suspect of the 1st shop He may just want to sell you stuff.. Admittedly I don't make multi-day trips but, I take multiple 50-60 mile trips over the summer
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Old 04-11-15, 04:53 PM
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Just from the pictures it does not look bad,it actually looks pretty good!

To change from straight bars to drops it would cost about $200. These parts are close to the quality found on a stock LHT.

Drop Bars- $35, stem-$26, brake levers-$27, new cables if needed-$20, bar tape-$15, bar end shifters-$85

I suspect that you have trouble shifting the front the front gears. A mountain bike shifter does not usually work well with a road derailleur.

My daughter and I have LHT's. Our bikes are set up with drop bars and road STI shifters(combination brake/shift levers) The LHT has a very long top tube, an does not fit folks with short arms or short torsos very well. However, I am 6' and ride a 58 cm frame which I feel is a little on the large size for me. My daughter is about 5'5" and rides a 50 cm frame, which fits her well.

Last edited by Doug64; 04-11-15 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 04-11-15, 05:04 PM
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Hard to tell from the pics, but are those v-brake levers with canti brakes? If you seem to have no brake power, that would be why. It also looks like a road front derailleur being shifted by a mountain trigger. This is not ideal at all as the cable pull on mountain shifters vs road is different and the derailleurs for road vs mountain are designed with this in mind. I would be surprised if the front shifts properly. The good news is that if you want to switch to drop bars, the road brake and shifter levers should be plug and play with the drive train and brakes.

Looks like Doug64 caught the front shifting issue also.

Last edited by likebike23; 04-11-15 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 04-11-15, 06:18 PM
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thanks for taking the time to reply!


consensus seems to be not ideal, but not awful? chainring/cassette closeups..front shifting improved at bike shop no1 I think... I guess I'll leave that alone for now since it feels okay. could afford to replace cassette / front derailleur at the expense of days spent touring, but sounds like it's not strictly necessary and I can deal with any recurring problems if/when they recur? fingers crossed that doesn't happen in rural bulgaria fietsbob - got some hitchhiking skills to make up for any lack If I try to make it perfect or replace it with a perfect bike I'll spend all my money and never leave, think making it comfortable is the main thing. will give it a good shakedown ride before I go anyway


brake power bit of a problem - could that be remedied simply and cheaply with the right kind of levers? at $200, drop bars are a bit much- will go for flat or trekking


have been recommended another bike shop, so will check that out tomorrow and ask about fitting / stems etc


cheers
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Old 04-11-15, 07:54 PM
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I agree on the brake levers. Have your lbs verify the levers are correct for the brake type. If so, it will most likely not be too costly to correct if you stay with straight or trekking handlebars.

I had a similar problem on a used bike I bought. It took all I had to stop the bike. I finally figured out the problem and measured the distance from the lever pivot to the cable anchor. The previous owner put v-brake levers on cantilever brakes. You may have the same situation looking at the pictures.
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Old 04-12-15, 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by icj63 View Post
brake power bit of a problem - could that be remedied simply and cheaply with the right kind of levers?
faster and easier and cheaper......replace the cantilevers
with an inexpensive set of deore v-brakes.
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Old 04-12-15, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
faster and easier and cheaper......replace the cantilevers
with an inexpensive set of deore v-brakes.
yep definitely v brake levers. checked prices and that sounds like a plan... had wondered if there are any advantages at all to cantilevers? first time I'd come across them to be honest
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Old 04-12-15, 07:17 AM
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Something else to consider is which shop to use. The first shop sounds like a good one. Not only was he right about the bike, he actually tried to get it to work for you. The second shop sounds like the mechanic had no clue.
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Old 04-12-15, 08:34 AM
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Given you would like parts on a budget...
Perhaps becoming an E-Bay master would help.

I'm about to go out in search of a reasonable tiagra, or better, 9 speed front triple deraileur...

I got most of my expensive parts as tear offs from a local Builder.
THANKS, FRANK!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Frank...91738510899969

Anyway, sounds like it is ride-able. If so perhaps its transition is a winter project?
Carry tools. Watch a few (or many) internet videos on repairs... Ride on!

Ride it, figure out what you like and don't... Then adjust accordingly.
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Old 04-13-15, 06:46 AM
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icj63, From the photos it appears that you're really not too far away from obtaining a good fit. You can cut the handle bars yourself if you wish to try a narrower handle bar. Make short cuts, perhaps 1 cm, on each end. Trekking bars are gaining popularity here in N. America. I don't use them, but they maybe more versatile than a drop bar and I may try a set on my back-up touring bike.

The front derailleir is wrong for the shifter. An inexpensive mountain bike FD will have the front shifting as designed. Even with needing new cable and cable housing a switch to linear pull brakes (V-Brake) is the least expensive venue for more effective braking. Avid and Tektro are alternate brands to Shimano.

Brad
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Old 04-13-15, 09:17 AM
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I'd change to drop bars and pick up a pair of cheap Shimano Tiagra brifters, or if you want to go even cheaper, a pair of dedicated drop bar brake levers (perhaps Tektro brand) and bar end shifters. The last is the setup I use myself. This shouldn't set you back more than $100 USD, especially if your bike shop, like mine, has an old parts bin they let you salvage out of for reduced price.

Those are Shimano BR-R550 cantilever brakes, a fine product. They work with regular road levers. It'd be a waste to replace them. Everything else on your bike looks fine too.

You need to pay for a proper fit from an experienced shop, and buy a stem accordingly.
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Old 04-13-15, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by icj63 View Post
really want to replace the handlebars.. ideally with drop bars but if that'll require a bunch of other expensive changes then I guess narrower flat bars with bar ends would be easy enough? also don't know if I'd be more comfortable with a shorter stem? could I remove some spacers?? .....stem seems pretty long to be but I really wouldn't know. ...
stem looks kinda long.....maybe 120mm? you could pick up a cheap shorter stem, perhaps
70mm with a higher rise....$10-15. if not comfy, you could try flipping the stem over.

if you're not sure of what rise you'd like, try an adjustable stem, like this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Adjustable-R...item43d332f8fb
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Old 04-15-15, 02:03 PM
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shame the first shop's 400 odd miles away! but finally found a decent local place, who tinkered with my front derailleur, replaced my cantilevers with mid range v brakes & lowered my bars a bit by moving some spacers. gears & brakes feel great. thanks for the heads up - br r550s seem hard to get hold of in the UK, so listed on eBay at a ridiculous price - offers welcome ! cut the bars a couple of inches & put some new grips & barends on for now - much more comfortable. was recommended leaving the stem til I've ridden it a bit with handlebar modifications. I'm sure I can get hold of a shorter stem in that there europe if needs must all set with front & rear blackburn racks. it ain't perfect but it's not too shabby for 330 total


booked a night on my cousin's floor in cambridge on the 22nd and a harwich - holland ferry ticket the night of the 23rd! will figure out the rest when I get there. weather looks good, which is the main thing!

thanks for all your help!

Last edited by icj63; 06-20-15 at 07:09 AM.
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Old 06-20-15, 07:10 AM
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sorry if it's poor etiquette to bump old threads idk ?? but thought you might like to see your time & effort paid off

been a comfortable couple of thousand km, & yet to have even a puncture
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Old 06-20-15, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by icj63 View Post
sorry if it's poor etiquette to bump old threads idk ?? but thought you might like to see your time & effort paid off

been a comfortable couple of thousand km, & yet to have even a puncture
Not bad etiquette whatsoever, we all like to read how an issue is worked through to success.

Brad
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Old 06-20-15, 10:59 AM
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Glad everything got sorted out. Consider it a learning experience for you and anyone else coming across this thread in a search.

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