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Are lower-end technology/builds better for touring bikes

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Old 09-22-16, 04:51 PM
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Inpd
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Are lower-end technology/builds better for touring bikes

Hi,

When I built up my road bike the discussions was always get as higher-end build as you can afford. If you have the money get the 5800 groupset. If you have more get the 6800. Sealed bearing wheels etc. So my build ended up being a 11 speed groupset, sealed bearings 5800 STIs etc.

But I figured with touring bikes simplicity is better (hence the popularity of bar end shifters).

So I was considering when doing my build to stick with lower-end stuff as:

a) 8 speed cogset paired
b) Thumb or bar end shifters (no STIs)
c) Lower end RD/FD
d) loose ball bearing wheel sets
e) JIS BB and crankset 48/38/28

etc.

My reasoning being that:

a) The simpler the better and
b) With the money I save I can buy backups of the lighter things (i.e. RD) which I could even take with me.


Am I missing something?
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Old 09-22-16, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Inpd View Post


a) 8 speed cogset paired
b) Thumb or bar end shifters (no STIs)
c) Lower end RD/FD
d) loose ball bearing wheel sets
e) JIS BB and crankset 48/38/28

Am I missing something?
1. Yes to 8 speed friction. Easy adjustments and chain replacemet.
2. Don't go too low on the FD / RD. Middle of the road works so well nowadays at not much $.
3. 48-38-28. I find that a 10t jump between middle and small is too close for optimal granny use. That and janky Shimano -mega- cassette jumps.
4. Spend all that extra money on a nice hand built rear wheel.
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Old 09-22-16, 05:31 PM
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here's my take on it--first of all, where are you going to tour? If its north america, europe, first world places and not in really tough tough conditions, sti shifters work great. Do regular cleaning of them and they just work. Sure you could crash, but you're just as likely to hurt yourself, or bust something else (in my opinion) to worry about sti's. As for speeds, 9 is pretty darn common, heck, 10 is too, but I have yet to have a 10 speed bike, but having toured going back to 6 speeds, I'll happily take any extra speeds there are that work fine, and frankly, common shimano stuff or whatever , whether its 9 or 10 is pretty darn long lived, but again, depends on where you plan to go.

re levels of stuff, I've been very happy with mid or slightly more than mid level stuff and it works fine. Sure higher end stuff shifts a bit better, but we are touring, not racing, and frankly, the trickle down effect is always happening, and mid stuff works perfectly fine. again, my opinion.
I have used deore level, tiagra sti's , xt stuff, but not really below that for well over 25 years, and remember too, the higher end stuff costs a lot more for a few grams here and a few grams there, frankly I'll use good mid or slightly more level stuff and buy a new tent, or panniers, or whatever.

get out and tour on what you have, and in my opinion, the deore level stuff works great and will not make a smidgen of difference of how you actually enjoy a trip, nor the 300grams or whatever more it weighs.

I do realize that the slightly higher levels can have a somewhat nicer feel to shifting or whatever, but at the mid ish levels you are talking about, the diff is by no means like the low end stuff.

Ive only had loose ball bearing hubs, so for me they work, but then again, sealed hubs will work fine too and from what folks say, good ones work great a long time.

I say dont obsess over levels too much, obviously get at least mid level, it generally will feel nicer and last longer than the low end, and for me , a certain tactile pleasure is part of my riding enjoyment, but I can use tiagra shifters, or whatever and not need ultegra to enjoy a trip.

I have worked on bikes with low end stuff a lot , and you can see and feel the diff, but in my experience, not with the mid to slightly higher than mid stuff.
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Old 09-22-16, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Inpd View Post


a) 8 speed cogset paired
b) Thumb or bar end shifters (no STIs)
c) Lower end RD/FD
d) loose ball bearing wheel sets
e) JIS BB and crankset 48/38/28

Am I missing something?
1. Yes to 8 speed friction. Easy adjustments and chain replacemet.
2. Don't go too low on the FD / RD. Middle of the road works so well nowadays at not much $.
3. 48-38-28. I find that a 10t jump between middle and small is too close for optimal granny use. That and janky Shimano -mega- cassette jumps.
4. If you roll square taper bb self extracting cranks bolts are nice.
5. Spend all that extra money on a nice hand built rear wheel.
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Old 09-22-16, 05:39 PM
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You may be correct that simple is better but that does not necessarily mean low end. For example, the commonly used bar end shifters are Dura Ace. Sometimes a low end component is used because it is functionally different from the higher level ones. For example, the Tiagra triple front derailleur has been used, not because it was cheaper than the others but because the flatter cage worked better with a variety of cranks. The middle and upper level derailleurs were shaped to fit specific cranks. You should decide what function you want, then buy the appropriate components. I can't see any functional reason for choosing 8 speed cassettes or square taper cranks. BTW, based on your prior posts, I'm afraid to ask what you consider low end! joking....
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Old 09-22-16, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
I'm afraid to ask what you consider low end! joking....
very good point, there are lots of people who drink all the koolaid and feel that something like Tiagra is lowend, but generally that comes from the roadie crowd.

re friction rear shifting, thats like wanting to have a car with points again. Index just plain works and has for eons. FD sure.

to put things in perspective, I recently set up a Surly Troll and decided to go with 9 speed, drop bars but no sti's and not keen on bar ends so went with Gevenalle shifters--simply because of the idea to use the bike in Latin America and or in more remote areas, so went with simple and for right or wrong, went with 9 speed.
If I was going to be doing trips in the same type of areas that I have toured in over the 25 years, I woiuld have gone to 10 speed, why not, one more cog to play with, and Im easy on drivetrains so dont have worries about busting stuff.
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Old 09-22-16, 06:02 PM
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A few years ago I thought about upgrading my old seven speed rear hub, but then started reading about how durable they are, and that parts are still readily available. So I didn't upgrade and still have that money.
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Old 09-22-16, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
A few years ago I thought about upgrading my old seven speed rear hub, but then started reading about how durable they are, and that parts are still readily available. So I didn't upgrade and still have that money.
but you do have much larger jumps between shifts. Thats ok and if you are fine with that, its not an issue. I toured on 7 speed a lot, and the 20% jumps sometimes on my 13-30 were frustrating sometimes, so for me its a case of "been there, done that" and common 8 speed cassettes of 11-32 have big jumps too, so 9 or 10 speeds to me is simply making it easier for me to ride along with a heavy touring bike, with smaller spaced jumps between gears.

doesnt mean you enjoy your riding less than I do, but again, been there, done that--connected of course with me the fact that I have never have durability issues with 6, 7, 8 or 9 speed, and Im sure 10 is similar (but then, Im a light guy, dont put out a lot of power, I spin more than grind, and I keep my drivetrains clean)
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Old 09-22-16, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Inpd View Post
Hi,


Am I missing something?
Yes,
You live in the age of Amazon.com
You can get almost any bike part delivered to you almost anywhere....fast.
Use whatever parts tickles your fancy.

(I've never had a part break during two cross country tours, a few 1500 mile tours, a few 500 mile tours, etc...
All on cheap bikes that never cost more than $400.
I've never crashed.
I only ride on pavement....so far)
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Old 09-22-16, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Inpd View Post
...
But I figured with touring bikes simplicity is better (hence the popularity of bar end shifters).

So I was considering when doing my build to stick with lower-end stuff as:

a) 8 speed cogset paired
b) Thumb or bar end shifters (no STIs)
c) Lower end RD/FD
d) loose ball bearing wheel sets
e) JIS BB and crankset 48/38/28
...
First a general comment. When you look at a top end touring bike from Co-Motion or another expensive builder, they went high end on a lot of parts. You want simplicity and durability, mid level components often deliver that very well, but don't assume that low and and mid level will always be better than high end. There is some very reliable and durable high end stuff out there.

A. I have 8 speed on my derailleur touring bike, my rando bike, and my foldup bike. Great stuff. But, if you get a good deal on some 9 speed stuff, consider that too. I do not know what you mean by "cogset paired."

B. What kind of bars are you using? If drop bars, then bar ends are good. But bar end shifters are mostly used for touring as a tradition because before brifters existed you had a choice, downtube or bar end shifters. Of those two, bar end shifters allowed you to keep both hands on the handlebars while shifting which downtube did not. More and more high end touring bikes are sold with brifters. If you like the brifters on your road bike, use brifters on your touring bike too. I have bar ends on my derailleur touring bike and foldup bike, but I use a brifter for the rear on my rando bike, and I have friction downtube shifters on a vintage racing bike, and my flat bar errand bike has some indexed thumb shifters. Pick what you like to use, not because it was tradition years ago.

C. I am using 1990s vintage XT rear derailleur on my rando bike and derailleur touring bike. And I am partial to vintage Suntour high normal front derailleurs from about the 1980s. These are not low end, I would say medium to high end. You want reliable and durable stuff.

D. There are some very good sealed bearing hubs out there. Also if you go with a dynohub, the better dynohubs do not have loose balls. That said, my derailleur touring bike and rando bike have loose ball steel axle XT rear hubs. But I tour with a friend that uses Phil hubs, not loose ball. Again, pick what is durable and reliable. If given a choice I think the decision to use 135mm instead of 130mm dropout spacing is more important than loose balls.

E. I use square taper bottom bracket, I like it, it lasts and is easy to fix. But you want a 24 or maybe lower granny gear, not 28.


Originally Posted by escii_35 View Post
...
4. If you roll square taper bb self extracting cranks bolts are nice.
....
That is what I thought, until the extractor hardware self extracted somewhere during the previous 636 miles. I think when I pulled the crank off (I needed to pull both crank arms to fit the bike in an S&S case) that I loosened the self-extracting part of it. Then at the end of my trip when I had to pull the crank off later to pack it to go home, I really wished I had brought a regular crank pulling tool instead. Next trip, no more self extracting stuff.
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Old 09-22-16, 08:04 PM
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Inpd,
a) 8 speed cogset paired
7, 8, and 9S have proven reliable. 10S hasn't been in use as long, but seems to work okay.
b) Thumb or bar end shifters (no STIs)
I have one touring bike with STI and another with bar ends. Use whatever you prefer.
c) Lower end RD/FD
Neither of my touring bikes are high tier equipped. I can't fault lower tier Shimano.
d) loose ball bearing wheel sets
No complaints with mine.
e) JIS BB and crankset 48/38/28
The HollowtechII crank set and BB combo seems to be working pretty well also. I suggest a 22/32/44T.

I used this forum for info when I built my first touring bike. One generalization that shown through was a gearing range of 20-100 GI.

Brad
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Old 09-23-16, 06:37 AM
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There may be different reasons to use or not use some particular high end parts, but this might not be the general case for all high end parts. For one is cost, it may be functionally identical to the next level down, but with different metallurgy that makes it lighter, but at substantially more cost. For long distance touring, if you're carrying many pounds of extra weight in clothes and gear for example, spending double the price on a component to save 50 grams is pretty meaningless. Also sometimes it seems the highest end racing components might actually make parts more fragile by shaving the metal down to the bare minimum, again this may be beneficial for a race but not the long haul. Something like a rear cassette, I wouldn't probably get a Dura Ace cassette unless I was racing, and I believe racers often change them out regularly. A more solid (and heavy) cassette might be better for touring.

I'm not sure what the big deal about loose ball bearing wheels are, but if you have em and don't mind the maintenance then go for it. I believe all the bikes I use regularly, including my touring bike, are all sealed bearings, all from the 80's, and still work fine and I have never touched em (I'm not an expert mechanic though, still learning, so hopefully I'm not neglecting something I don't realize).
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Old 09-23-16, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
re friction rear shifting, thats like wanting to have a car with points again. Index just plain works and has for eons. FD sure.
So does non-indexed. There is really no performance difference between my indexed and non-indexed rear shifters, unlike a car with points and a car with computer timing. Actually it is quite nice when I approach a hill to just be able to flip the non-indexed lever and drop a bunch of gears at once.
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Old 09-23-16, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
So does non-indexed. There is really no performance difference between my indexed and non-indexed rear shifters, unlike a car with points and a car with computer timing. Actually it is quite nice when I approach a hill to just be able to flip the non-indexed lever and drop a bunch of gears at once.
yes, sti's generally can only do 2 or maybe 3 downshifts at a time, but non sti indexed shifters, downtube, bar ends, the Gevenalle stuff I have, can all dump a bunch of gears, and being indexed, its faster and takes less attention than friction--from my memories of last using friction rear shifting sometime in the 80s . The indexed downtube shifters I used in the later 80s and all through the 90s were nice for that, being able to quickly go down a bunch, and I certainly appreciated it when touring. I did however appreciate the always accurate "clicks" to settling into a gear. I have memories of using my water bottle to click up gears when sitting and drinking.

again, you are happy with friction, fine with me, I just find indexed to mean you dont have to be as attentive with the lever as you dump a bunch of gears.

happy riding whatever one uses.
cheers
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Old 09-23-16, 09:05 AM
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Non-index FD are great

Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
So does non-indexed. There is really no performance difference between my indexed and non-indexed rear shifters, unlike a car with points and a car with computer timing. Actually it is quite nice when I approach a hill to just be able to flip the non-indexed lever and drop a bunch of gears at once.
I have an old MB which has non-index FD and a twist-shift thingy. It was like having continuous trim!
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Old 09-23-16, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Inpd View Post
Hi,

When I built up my road bike the discussions was always get as higher-end build as you can afford. If you have the money get the 5800 groupset. If you have more get the 6800. Sealed bearing wheels etc. So my build ended up being a 11 speed groupset, sealed bearings 5800 STIs etc.

But I figured with touring bikes simplicity is better (hence the popularity of bar end shifters).

So I was considering when doing my build to stick with lower-end stuff as:

a) 8 speed cogset paired
b) Thumb or bar end shifters (no STIs)
c) Lower end RD/FD
d) loose ball bearing wheel sets
e) JIS BB and crankset 48/38/28

etc.

My reasoning being that:

a) The simpler the better and
b) With the money I save I can buy backups of the lighter things (i.e. RD) which I could even take with me.


Am I missing something?
+ 1 on this. I'd go lower on the crank, more like a 48 (or 46)/36/24, Sugino XD500 110/74mm 48-36-24 teeth - Harris Cyclery bicycle shop - West Newton, Massachusetts

That's pretty much the way I set up my soma double-cross for touring except I went for 3 x 9 gearing
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Old 09-23-16, 09:29 AM
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I read the first OP article and decided to stop reading any further.

After bicycling across the Australian outback (Perth to Sydney) and along the Savannah Way I have decided that the KISS principle applies. Lube your chain and keep the tyre (!) pressures at the needed-for-the-tyre requirement. I use 65 psi after getting sidewall failures on Schwalbe Marathons when using a cheap pressure gauge that measured only to 50 psi...

Next June I will do the Cape York trip... then maybe the Outback Way.

Why? Because at the age of 68 (now) I can...

As the Boy Scouts say "Be Prepared". Easier said than done
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Old 09-23-16, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
.....
You can get almost any bike part delivered to you almost anywhere....fast.
.......
Not necessarily.

For example, if you need a special part it will take TIME. For an example (of something special)....

My credit card was compromised in the UK/France in August. By late August I noticed (on my on-line) statement that it was compromised and the bank issued me a new card and sent it to my billing address in North America. When he received it (at my billing address), my brother sent it by registered mail to me here in the MENA. It was just released by Customs" and I will get it (at work) hopefully in the next working day.

KISS is better. Specialized stuff takes time.
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Old 09-23-16, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by tmac100 View Post
It was just released by Customs" and I will get it (at work) hopefully in the next working day.

KISS is better. Specialized stuff takes time.
And when it finally does get through the customs queue, they may well decide that you owe a massive import tax on it, as a few of my study abroad classmates found out when their parents mailed them computer parts to Prague...
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Old 09-23-16, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Inpd View Post
Hi,

When I built up my road bike the discussions was always get as higher-end build as you can afford. If you have the money get the 5800 groupset. If you have more get the 6800. Sealed bearing wheels etc. So my build ended up being a 11 speed groupset, sealed bearings 5800 STIs etc.

But I figured with touring bikes simplicity is better (hence the popularity of bar end shifters).

So I was considering when doing my build to stick with lower-end stuff as:

a) 8 speed cogset paired
b) Thumb or bar end shifters (no STIs)
c) Lower end RD/FD
d) loose ball bearing wheel sets
e) JIS BB and crankset 48/38/28

etc.

My reasoning being that:

a) The simpler the better and
b) With the money I save I can buy backups of the lighter things (i.e. RD) which I could even take with me.


Am I missing something?


Have you been reading Grant Petersen's writings!?!

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Old 09-23-16, 11:39 AM
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Shimano has spread world wide , so chances are better when you need stuff that is what shops will carry.

Factories Buy cranks by the Millions, they install them as they get them.

So although it comes as a " 48/38/28 " you are free to try to fit a 24t instead of the 28, to get the 4t lower gear.
1/2 the t count of the Big Ring...


Cautionary Tale:
I have had a Self Extracting Square Taper Crank simply force the ring, out stripping the threads from the crank arm,
when I tried to Use It.





./.

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Old 09-23-16, 11:59 AM
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It never hurts to have high end. Lighter, stronger, more durable. Out in the middle of nowhere you might appreciate the difference.
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Old 09-23-16, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
It never hurts to have high end. Lighter, stronger, more durable. Out in the middle of nowhere you might appreciate the difference.
You're a marketer's dream come true😀
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Old 09-23-16, 12:04 PM
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You can always keep it simple .. A bike that works.. is comfortable to ride, then eat at nice restaurants on the trip itself.
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Old 09-23-16, 12:30 PM
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With companies like Shimano advancing their technology, at the rate they're going, the lower end is benefiting from the trickle down effect. This years XT may become next years Deore and so on and so forth...8 & 9 speed will still be there, but could eventually roll to the budget big-box bikes when 12 speed and beyond come into full swing. Heck, front derailleurs might even be pushed out and become a thing of the past for road bikes as well (as SRAM did on the CX1.)

Just a little bit of bicycle science fiction I've been pondering on. I think touring bikes are more "Franken-bike" than any other bike class out there...people will make things work as things progress. Improvise, adapt and overcome...that's my two cents worth.
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