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Beginning a new build

Old 08-30-18, 09:21 PM
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Beginning a new build

I just ordered a new frame for my wife. It's a Surly Troll in XS. This will be my 3rd build, My first was a Surly Disc Trucker and my second was a Surly Orge. (I'm betting your noticing a pattern here) Anyway, I'm looking for ideas for the build that will be more suited for a woman's touring bike. Obviously I'll be looking for a lower geared group set and more upright position. Any and all ideas would be greatly accepted. Thank you
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Old 08-31-18, 12:37 AM
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Why are you making decisions about gearing and fit, and asking us for fit, based on nothing more than the fact that she's a woman?

You're not designing a generic WSD bicycle, plastered in purple powder coat and sent to thousands of bike shops, to be sold to the esteemed Mrs. Generic Woman. You're building a particular bike for a particular person. This should be no different than building up a bike for a dude.

Make fit decisions based on her physiology and how she prefers to ride a bicycle. Make gearing decisions based on the sorts of routes you'll be riding, the load she'll be carrying, her strength, and how she prefers to pedal. Etc.
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Old 08-31-18, 05:01 AM
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That's a good point. When I built my bikes I just ordered the size recommended and tinkered with saddle height and stem till it felt right. How does a person build more specifically? Is there a web site that helps with that?

P.S. I was just looking for ideas and I'd like to keep this positive.
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Old 08-31-18, 07:26 AM
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Best place to start is by looking at her existing bike and try to mimic the contact points. Then ask her what she likes and doesn't like about it; what she is expecting from this bike. Adjust as needed from there.

Getting her input from the get-go will make her love the bike and appreciate your work even more. Trying to build a bike for one without their input often results in a lot of money rebuilding.

Curious, how did you settle on the Surly Troll?
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Old 08-31-18, 09:25 AM
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As others have said, you're asking the wrong people. Ask her. Shes going to get a far better bike for HER if she gives the input than if you set it up how I'd like it.

Did she have any input on the frame? Buying a frame already locks you considerably into a riding position, even if there is quite a bit of flexibility in setup.
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Old 08-31-18, 06:17 PM
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We decided on the Troll for many reasons. First she wanted a more upright position because of her back. (she had a back surgery years ago). Second she wanted fatter tires for riding on gravel and rail trails. and Third she wanted to be able to go with me on some of my shorter bike camping trips. I wouldn't expect her to carry much but she wants to be able to carry some of her own gear. Her current bike is an XS Trek Neko. The seat tube sweeps up so high she has trouble dismounting in front of the seat, there's just no room there. for example her fork tube is actually higher than mine on my large Surly Ogre. We just got back from a bike trip to Chicago. I had to lower her seat so she could stop with out getting off the seat because of this issue. And fourth, when your husband has a Surly tattoo ya kinda have to get one.

We looked at a lot of bikes before we decided, and this one checked off all of the boxes.
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Old 08-31-18, 06:23 PM
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I guess I should have worded the original question a little better. The advice I'm really looking for is about components. for example is a 1 x 11 better than a 3 x 9? What about hubs with ceramic bearings? Who makes the best rims these days? ect... It's been a couple of years since my last build and a lot has changed.
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Old 08-31-18, 08:24 PM
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Depending on what she might want the Velo Orange Crazy Bars are pretty neat and offer some great hand positions maybe have her take a peek and see what she might dig. As far as gearing does she want a 3x9 or 10 or is she more interested in a 1x set up? Where does she plan on riding? Maybe one of those ScRAM Eagles would be just the ticket with the 1x12 and a wide range? Or maybe she is more the IGH type of gal and a Rohloff would be the cat's pajamas?

Ceramic bearings on a touring bike, probably not. No real need unless racing. White Industries makes some great hubs in 'Merica that aren't super 'spensive but very high quality plus you can get some colors which she might like. Also if you go 1x or 2x they also makes some really nice cranks as well. For rims I would look at Astral Cycling (the folks who do Rolf Prima) or Velocity or HED Belgiums are always in good taste.

However as everyone else has said talk more with your wife and ask her what she wants and how she wants to go.
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Old 09-01-18, 04:06 AM
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Hey jargo,
as you said, let's keep this positive.
First of all, good choice of bike. I have a troll and bought a xs stock one for my wife and she really likes it.
Re gearing, my bike is used for full on loaded touring, 4 panniers plus, and was bought for doing long Latin American trips, and it has a 44/32/22 on it, 9 sp 11-34. Gear inch range 16.7-104 I think
My wife's 2017 stock uses the standard 48/36/26 but with a 10 speed 11-36. Don't have gear chart near, but I think with 1.5 in tires, it's about 18-110

For general riding, the 48/36/26 is a good compromise, but for heavier load and slower riding, a MTB triple works wonderfully, as I find the chain rings are well suited to loaded riding speeds.

I put trekking bars on her bike, changed shifters to 10sp deore trigger shifters, and along with the uncut steerer, makes a good comfortable riding position that my wife enjoys. Bar height quite a bit above seat height.

re rims. I have lighter 32 hole rims that aren't made anymore, stock rims are Alex adventurer 2 which have rim brake surface and 36 spokes. I was concerned about my rims, but they have held up very well with 4.5 months of heavy touring, but I'm a light guy, 135-140, so take that into account vs your wife. My experience shows that a lighter wheel set can still be very reliable, even loaded up.

Re triples, I still find them to be the most useful, for gear range, chain line, and despite what gets wrongly stated, shifting just isn't an issue as any good shifter just plain works. I guess for off road stuff, it makes things easier, but a single ring setup still has limitations that even a mountain double gets past.

Do you think it will get used more off road or paved dirt roads?

What are your thoughts on what setup will work best for the riding you will be doing together? Despite what others have said, if the case is that your wife doesn't know bike stuff, or has no interest in tech stuff, it's potentially good that you come up with a set up that will work best for making the riding you will do together the most enjoyable.
I bring this up because my wife has no interest in bike stuff, but I knew the changes I did would increase her riding comfort, especially as changing out the jones bars to trekking was an easy switch, and trigger shifters were more enjoyable than the thumbies.

Ask away with other questions.
The main thing is that the troll is still a neat versatile bike, 26 wheels make a xs frame work well for no toe strike and the bike is an extremely robust solid bike.
I've ridden mine through Central America and half of Mexico and wouldn't hesitate taking it anywhere in the world.
Cheers
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Old 09-01-18, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by jargo432
....she wanted a more upright position because of her back......wants to be able to carry some of her own gear....seat tube sweeps up so high she has trouble dismounting in front of the seat.....
there was a recent thread on step-thru touring bikes. might could be even more difficult with a bad back to mount a loaded bike with a high top tube.

if she's XS, check the threads on posters touring on small-wheel bike fridays.

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Old 09-01-18, 05:44 AM
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@jargo432

I built this Trek 930 for my wife, and she has similar issues as your wife with regard to flexibility and the need for a more-upright riding posture. I worked with her every single time we took a ride, asking how her legs felt, back, seat position, handlebars, etc, until we got it dialed in just right for her.





This is last year's pic. It now sports an SQ Labs saddle. We had quite a time finding one that fit her well and didn't cause numbness "down below." I finally had her do the SQ Labs sitbone measurement and we selected the proper seat for her. Now she can ride for miles and miles in comfort and security. I know this isnt a Troll, and I'm a Surly nut myself, but this might give you some ideas.
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Old 09-01-18, 08:25 PM
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Wow, thanks for all the neat ideas and pics(nice bike). On thing I haven't mentioned is "She" is going to build a lot of the bike. (with my help, and some from our LBS) That's half the fun and she is really excited about it. She is making all of the decisions with all of our help and input. It's going to take a while and I can't wait to post a picture of it here. Thanks again
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Old 09-01-18, 09:25 PM
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here is my wifes XS Troll, with trekking or butterfly bars. I looked at my gearing charts, and with 1.5in tires, the stock 48/36/26 with ten speed 11-36 gives 18-108 gear inches, an excellent good range as is. Again, if you are going to be offroad, perhaps a mtb triple would be better, but the 36t mid ring is a great all rounder chainring along with the 26, which by the way, its super easy to put down to a 22t on the granny position of deore triple cranksets., or a 24 or whatever.
The rear rack is what I had kicking around, but a shorter one would be nicer to put the panniers down lower, but didnt realize the issue that occured because its a xs small, this rack was fine on my med troll when I bought it, rack came with my bike.
As you can see, the uncut stem makes it easy to have bars at a nice high position, which is really going to help with neck and hand issues for someone less flexible, and just a more comfortable ride if someone isnt a strong rider. The odd looking angle of seat works well for my wife, but as the bars are so high, the angle works fine for her, along with the peculiarities of brooks seats sometimes being better slightly tilted up if your bars are higher. My brooks are all flat and work better that way.
My wife is about 5'1", maybe 5ft only actually.
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Old 09-01-18, 09:39 PM
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what have your thoughts been on 9sp, 10sp? More?
also, thoughts on cranksets?
how much stuff do you think she would carry, in pounds more or less? My wife carried two rear panniers for a month long trip, incl her sleeping bag and campmat, and while we never weighed her panniers, I suspect they must have been 25lbs. The gearing range with the triple works great for this range of weight. The mid ring pretty much works for all flat and slight uphills, easily up to speeds of 30kph, and the 26t chainring for all climbing and slower than I dunno, 15kph or so.

One thing you havent mentioned is why you bought a frameset, and obviously you thought of setting it up diff than stock.
I never did weigh her wheels, but they are quite a bit heavier than my 32h lighter rims, no longer made Mavic XC 717.
From the experience i have with my wheels, I certainly think its worth getting lighter wheels, as they can easily be tough still.
I do question going to a 1x or 2x drivetrain, as I really dont see the weight savings to be anything worth the tradeoff of the nice wider range of a triple. And again, triple trigger shifters like the Deore ones I got to replace the stock microshift thumbies , work so well and precise, with a really nice light action also that my wife really really appreciates (having had cheap bikes with much stiffer harder trigger shifters that take a lot more thumb pressure to shift.)
Deore 10 sp triggers are somewhere in the 75 dollar range, and will last and last and last.

have you thought about brakes? Disc, rim?
Her bike and mine both have BB7s, cable mech discs, and I can attest to them working perfectly well on my heavily loaded Troll in seriously mountainous riding. Cant speak for other mechanical disc systems, but Im sure spyre stuff works fine too.
Just takes learning new mech skills working on disc setups , adjusting and whatnot.
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Old 09-01-18, 09:50 PM
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ps, trekking bars are inexpensive, like 25 bucks, and I tried some on my Troll for a while, and I see their big advantage is the width. For riding on gravel etc they would have a good wide hand stance, and of course the diff hand positions.
I double taped them , all around, and my wife likes them for the varying hand positions.
I guess to be fair, the only thing is that when your hands are on the widest postion, you have to bring your hands back in to shift and brake., and the inner part isnt as wide as a riser mtb bar, or Jones bars and all that sort of bars.
I do have an old commuter bike I put my butterflys on after deciding to go to drops for my troll, so I ride them regularly, and I find I usually have my hands on the outer widest part, my hand in the same shape/position as when on the hoods of a dropbar bike, which I find the most comfortable, but like how I can go to the inner area or far forward.

the good thing with trying either trekking or jones bars and similar, is that if you have trigger shifters, you can use them on all of these bar types, and probably even not have to change cables and housing to do a bar tryout change.
I havent ridden on Jones bars enough to know how they are with long riding time and day after day riding.
I still have the pair that came on my wifes bike, and one day will change my troll to them just for fun.

Oh, as you know, the 2017 and up Troll frameset can take even wider tires, up to 3in both front and back now, so a real plus for comfort and helping with bike handling with looser surfaces.
Again, its a cool bike.
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Old 09-01-18, 10:00 PM
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and finally, my Troll, somewhere in Honduras, so you know Im not making it up about riding a Troll a lot loaded up.
And to show how it can be setup with drops very well and still be a very well handling, competent tourer.
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Old 09-02-18, 03:13 PM
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djb
I have the trekking bars on my Ogre and really love them, and will agree with you on the bb7s because I have those on my Disc Trucker. (however it does drive me nuts that I end up having to readjust the calipers every time I take the wheel off, which is why I put rim brakes on my Ogre) I've never have the thumb shifters and would love to try them out. So far she wants the trekking bars but we haven't decided on rim or disc. My wife too is 5 ft tall so it was a real joy to see your build for your wife. I'll see if I can post a pic of my bikes on here too.
Thanks again
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Old 09-02-18, 03:42 PM
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well, I tried many times to post my pictures but when it lands in the post it is too huge to fit. I couldn't figure out how to resize to fit.
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Old 09-02-18, 05:59 PM
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If you have to readjust your pads each time, you most likely have to be more precise in positioning the wheel when tightening the qr. we’re talking a mm makes a difference, and is a pain in the arse factor of disc brakes I find. If you’re careful and have enough clearance of pads to disc, it’s not that hard to do. I personally find more lever movement before engagement , about half way, to brake better with more modulation, bonus is more fudge room for wheel placement and avoiding rotor rub.
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Old 09-15-18, 09:02 AM
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I looked up your thread here to look at the rack on my wifes bike, I still want to look for a much shorter one, but still has long attachment things , given the long way to the very low down and far off mounting points on an XS troll frame.
Did you get more of the bike completed?
re photo size, yes, yoiu have to resize the image to a smaller file size, but you'll have to ask a kid to help you, there are usually work arounds but if you are not famililar with this stuff, its not an easy or black and white answer.

if I find a rack that is physically much lower and still able to do the long reach without too much forward lean, I'll put the name up.
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Old 09-15-18, 10:01 AM
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I was away from internet access for a couple weeks when this thread started. A year and a half ago I was building up another touring bike. I asked a bike shop mechanic that I respect what he thought of a particular touring rear hub that sold for over $100, he said that if he was building up a touring bike that he would only use a hub with quarter inch steel ball bearings. I decided to buy a Shimano M756A rear hub, that is an XT that has a steel axle and disc rotor mount.

I am sure you already have ideas on what you want so I won't bother suggesting things that might conflict with your ideas. But I will say that for touring you want robust, reliable, easy to replace and easily repairable parts.

Rims, the 26 inch ones I like are no longer made, thus I have no suggestion. I did build up a set of Velocity Dyad 700c wheels for my newest touring bike, if there is a 26 inch equivalent that would be one to look at. But since she is light and won't be carrying much load, perhaps look for a lighter set of wheels than you would normally put on a touring bike? When I go rim shopping, the first thing I do is decide what range of tire widths I would want on that bike. I then use the graphic on the bottom of this page to tell me what inner rim width I want.
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

Once I know inner rim width, then I research the rims that meet that criteria.
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Old 09-15-18, 06:41 PM
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Since she’s small, won’t be carrying much stuff, and won’t be running skinny race tires, I say get her basically the lightest rims you can in 32 spoke. I think rim destruction fears are worried about more than necessary unless it’s a large rider or hauling a ton of weight. Your wife isn’t putting Nearly as much stress on a wheel as one of these 220lb guys on the forum hauling another 50lbs of gear. I’m ~150lbs and my current touring wheels are running 32 spoke Stans Crest ZTR rims. They’re ~350g each. They’ve seen tousands of miles of touring on chunky gravel and singletrack, road, and commuting. The Velocity Dyads* I had before were just an extra pound of rotating weight for someone my size running higher volume tires. I think it would be the same for your wife. She’ll have an easier time pedaling around, and in general handling a lighter bike. My girlfriend is 5’2” and about 130lbs and has a much easier time and is happier with a light weight bike.

*The Dyads are nice rims and would be a good recomendation if going for a more stout rim.
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