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Surly Disc Trucker Build Project -- Help Wanted

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Surly Disc Trucker Build Project -- Help Wanted

Old 08-04-15, 09:00 PM
  #1  
wagonfanatic
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Surly Disc Trucker Build Project -- Help Wanted

Last week I got in a little wreck, and cracked the frame of my Dad's old late 80s/early 90s Centurion Accordo. I absolutely loved that bike and had put 2,000 miles on it the past two years of commuting. But, alas, it seems its not worth the hassle to weld the low-quality C****ly Frame.

So I've decided to do something I've been wanting to do for some time: Build my own commuter/ touring bike from the frame up.

I'll riding about 2k miles/ year on this bike, and want it to be capable of 4 season trekking with excellent braking power under weight (I'll be carrying significant weight with books/ laptops when I commute to University). I'm looking for something that can be both quite fast going down hill, but also provide the appropriate gear when climbing a mountain with significant weight.

After some research, I've decided that the Surly Disc Trucker is the ideal candidate.

Beyond commuting in Boston, I hope to do some weekend touring and perhaps even a trip down the West Coast when time allows.

I'm 195 lbs, and 6'1. My budget is $1000-1200. The frame itself is $500, which leaves me $500-700 for the new parts that I need.

I've decided to build the bike NOT because I think its necessarily cheaper than a pre-packaged LHT (although it may be), but rather I want the experience and I have several parts from my old bike that should be compatible.

Here are the parts I aim to reuse:
-A set of newer (9 months old) 700x28C CR-18s with Gatorskin Tires and sealed hubs (just for commuting, NOT long-distance touring)
-Pedals, seat and seatpost
-Centurion Stem (if compatible), headset, and drop down bars w/ bar tape
-Brake levers
-Rear rack

NEW PARTS
Frameset: 2015 Surly Disc Trucker (only comes in Maroon)
Brakes: Avid BB7 Disc w/ full metal Jacket SS lines
Front derailer: Shimano M771
Rear derailuer: Shimano M772 OR M781 (not sure which is best-- 781 is cheaper)
Shifters: Shimano Dura Ace 7900 10-speed Bar end (tempted by STI brifters, but looking for maximum durability)
Crank: Shimano XT 44/32/22 (?) or a chainring set that goes from ~24/42/50
Bottom Bracket: Shimano UN55 square taper
Cassette: SRAM PG980 11-34t (I could also be convinced to go Shimano M770/M771-- open to your thoughts)

I'm also looking for a good cross top brake lever.

This is my first build, and I'm still very much a noob, so any help/ tips would be greatly appreciated!

Last edited by wagonfanatic; 08-05-15 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 08-04-15, 09:07 PM
  #2  
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While style is secondary to functionality for my build, my plan is to create a British Racing Green Disc Trucker w/ a Saddle Brown saddle and leather handle bar tape. Perhaps also white brake tubing. Here are a few sources of inspiration

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Old 08-05-15, 09:48 AM
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I've just realized a major flaw: My existing wheels are not fit for Disc brakes. So I'll have to go with a whole new wheel set, which means I might as well just buy the whole bike used and swap out individual parts as I see fit. I shame, really, I was looking forward to the build
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Old 08-05-15, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by wagonfanatic View Post
I've just realized a major flaw: My existing wheels are not fit for Disc brakes. So I'll have to go with a whole new wheel set, which means I might as well just buy the whole bike used and swap out individual parts as I see fit. I shame, really, I was looking forward to the build
I assume you are no longer looking for advice.
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Old 08-05-15, 10:50 AM
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As an FYI, it's also likely that your rear wheel hub (probably 126mm or 130mm) was the wrong size for an LHT frameset (135mm) but finding out stuff like that is one of the benefits of building your own bike.
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Old 08-05-15, 11:26 AM
  #6  
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Yeah, I one of the main reasons I want to build from the frame up is to get an intimate knowledge of the bike, all the parts, and how they fit together.

For the time being, I suppose I'm no longer looking for advice.

I'm going to just patiently search Craigslist for Surly Disc Truckers, Salsa Vaya 2s, and maybe even a Specialized AWOL. If I find a cheap frameset though, its on!
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Old 08-05-15, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by wagonfanatic View Post
Yeah, I one of the main reasons I want to build from the frame up is to get an intimate knowledge of the bike, all the parts, and how they fit together.

For the time being, I suppose I'm no longer looking for advice.

I'm going to just patiently search Craigslist for Surly Disc Truckers, Salsa Vaya 2s, and maybe even a Specialized AWOL. If I find a cheap frameset though, its on!
Don't rule out the rim brake version. With so many people jumping on the disc bandwagon, there might be some bargains out there that are perfectly useable.
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Old 08-05-15, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Don't rule out the rim brake version. With so many people jumping on the disc bandwagon, there might be some bargains out there that are perfectly useable.
Also I imagine there's the possibility of getting a disc fork and going with discs on the front and rim brakes on the back. I just got my first disc brake bike, and I like them so far. I'm considering the disc fork option for my LHT, but that'll be somewhere down the road, after my current build is done.

Still doesn't help the OP, though, if the current wheels aren't compatible with LHT spacing.
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Old 08-05-15, 07:46 PM
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I just picked up a stock LHT for about $1,200. The shop I went to, Comrade Cycles in Chicago, was letting go of their '14 for 10% off. The only problem was that the only color I could get was silver . I understand wanting to put it together yourself, but you can always gain knowledge by attending free bike workshops at local collectives. It seems like a '15 or '16 LDT for $1,200 may be pushing it considering the stock build goes for $1,450. Unless you bid your time and get really lucky you may be sacrificing quality parts to stay on budget.
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Old 08-05-15, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by wagonfanatic View Post
Yeah, I one of the main reasons I want to build from the frame up is to get an intimate knowledge of the bike, all the parts, and how they fit together.

For the time being, I suppose I'm no longer looking for advice.

I'm going to just patiently search Craigslist for Surly Disc Truckers, Salsa Vaya 2s, and maybe even a Specialized AWOL. If I find a cheap frameset though, its on!
2 years ago I bought a Disc Trucker frame & built it up (mostly) myself; had LBS install headset & BB 'cause they have tools to face properly etc. Components I picked mostly like you are thinking about. Some vanity involved: I had frame sent to Bilenky for S & S coupler so hey, why not get a sweet turquoise powder-coat vs mousy stock Surly colors? Got all-black components to help set off the turquoise color. All told it was more of a PITA than I expected though mostly it went fairly smooth & yes, did give me some time to understand the latest tech like threadless headsets, disc brakes etc. Can't afford the dream Ti IGH/belt bike but at least the Surly looks pretty sharp.
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Old 08-06-15, 10:08 AM
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Don’t worry. If you ride the sh*t out of it, especially in winter, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to take it apart and put it back together again. In four years I’ve replaced:
Tubes and tires (many times)
Cables and housings (several times)
Cassette and chain (several times)
Pedals
Rim
Chain rings
Bottom bracket
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Old 08-06-15, 10:12 AM
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Oh, and you can get a Novara Safari new and complete inside your budget.
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Old 08-06-15, 11:31 PM
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I decided to continue with the advice just in case you change your mind (and because when I started writing I didn't fully read all the comments):

the DT seatpost diameter would be 27.2 if you have one that is of that diameter you are fine. The headset would be threadless 1 1/8" and you would need a stem that will fit that and also fit the bars you plan on using. That Centurion is most likely a threaded 1" headset with a quill stem so they aren't compatible.

For brakes I would go with TRP Spyres or the new Paul Klampers (which are finally out) Klamper Disc Caliper. BB7s aren't a bad brake at all but I would rather have dual piston or MUSA. For lever I would go with the Cane Creek Crosstops or if you have the cash Paul Cross levers (MUSA baby).

For shifters make sure you get the right ones, if you are going 9 speed get the proper shifters, if 10 speed you might have some issues with bar ends due to Dyna-Sys. You could also consider getting Gevenalle "brifters" which combine the ruggedness of downtube or bar end shifters with the ease of STI/DoubleTap/Ergopower "brifters".

The cranks you have selected unless vintage square taper XT cranks are not compatible with that bottom bracket. My suggestion would be to go with a Sugino crankset (I did the Alpina 2 triple) or Velo Orange/IRD (I am pretty sure their triples are the same) and an IRD Defiant Bottom Bracket or if you have the cash Phil Wood or SKF. The issue with the Shimano BBs is they do use a plastic cup which is not going to be durable and could crack with tightening.

The cassette is fine assuming you are doing 9 speed. Shimano or SRAM both make a good quality product.



If you are looking at a 56cm I will hopefully have one for sale quite soon. Nice British Racing Green DT that will have been tuned up and probably come with some extras (new Fizik tape, Nice Rack, cross levers...) it is a 26er. Shoot me a PM if you are interested and we can chat about such things.
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Old 08-07-15, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by TheReal Houdini View Post
Oh, and you can get a Novara Safari new and complete inside your budget.
+1 That's a very functional build.
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Old 08-24-15, 06:18 PM
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Thanks all for the advice so far-- its been very useful as I figure out how to move forward.

I just found a 1997 Novara Randonee on Craigslist for $150 and pulled the trigger. There was only 1 previous owner who had ridden it for 17 years, and it was always well serviced at a local LBS in Boston.

It has Shimano RSX STI brifters, RSX groupset, Mavix 32-spoke wheels, and canti brakes. Best of all, it comes in British Racing Green.

Overall the bike is in great shape for its age, but for that amazing price I can begin swapping parts as I see fit and really create my ideal commuter/ light tourer on a budget.

I've heard varying opinions about where the Randonee's frame is built-- either Taiwan or China. I just want to ensure it will last for another 10 years or so and I dont have to go through another frame being cracked!

Will post some pics soon
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Old 08-25-15, 03:21 AM
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Here is what I ended up with:




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Old 09-25-15, 06:20 AM
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I am using my Disc Trucker everyday for commuting.
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