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Would you choose a "cheap" flat-bar touring bike?

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Would you choose a "cheap" flat-bar touring bike?

Old 09-30-21, 03:34 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
While people may have the skills necessary, they donít have X-ray vision. Most people going for this kind of repair may not tell the welder about the thinness of the steel tubing. The bicycle owner may not know or know that itís important.
superpowers required? now that's just silly.

we're not talkin' 'bout metal foundries or boiler making plants y'know. these are common shops you'll find in the hundreds in modest sized cities, in the dozens in small towns, and shirley at least one in a village of more than 500 inmates.

ya walks into a local shop that specializes in thin-wall steel tubing, you marvel at the 10-meter long floor-to-ceiling display of available tubing stock, you mosey into the back and chat with the workers who spend years.......10 hours a day, 30 days a month, cutting and shaping and welding thin steel tubes into all sorts of household and shop items.

what? you think they've never seen a bicycle before? you think they're not clever enough to remove the seatpost to check the wall thickness of the seattube?

jinkies! i'll bet you a steaming hot bowl of dog-noodle soup the average worker could dink the frame with his fingernail and estimate within a couple hundredths of a millymeter the tubing wall thickness.
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Old 10-01-21, 11:07 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
In some cases, not all, there are holes that allow you to see wall thicknesses. These holes are used to for pressure equalization when welding. If you cap off both ends of a tube or pipe, when you go to weld the last cap the pressure change between inside the pipe/tube and outside will deform the weld bead/pool. I did exactly this a couple weeks ago - capped off tubes. They were real small (3/8" OD, around 1/4" ID) and I "spot welded" around the tubes to build up the material to close the ends. The weld pushed out - I assume from the hot tube causing the air inside to heat up and expand as I welded = higher pressure inside than outside until the part cooled.

In any event, holes in parts will alleviate the pressure differential. So if there are holes in the tubes, especially - you can find the wall thickness from that hole.

On my Disk Trucker I noticed the rear dropouts had holes that opened up inside the stays. This wouldn't give you the stay tube thickness, as the hole is in the dropout, but is an example of such a hole existing.
The vent holes in the tubing wonít let you measure the thickness of the tubing. How are you going to measure it?

Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
superpowers required? now that's just silly.

we're not talkin' 'bout metal foundries or boiler making plants y'know. these are common shops you'll find in the hundreds in modest sized cities, in the dozens in small towns, and shirley at least one in a village of more than 500 inmates.

ya walks into a local shop that specializes in thin-wall steel tubing, you marvel at the 10-meter long floor-to-ceiling display of available tubing stock, you mosey into the back and chat with the workers who spend years.......10 hours a day, 30 days a month, cutting and shaping and welding thin steel tubes into all sorts of household and shop items.

what? you think they've never seen a bicycle before? you think they're not clever enough to remove the seatpost to check the wall thickness of the seattube?

jinkies! i'll bet you a steaming hot bowl of dog-noodle soup the average worker could dink the frame with his fingernail and estimate within a couple hundredths of a millymeter the tubing wall thickness.
You are missing the point. Most peopleÖboth the bike rider and a welder doing the repairÖare unaware of how thin steel bicycle tubing is. People who are going to get a bike repaired in the middle of nowhere arenít going to have a shop that specializes in thin tube, even if the bike owner knew that the bike uses thin tubing. The most common type of welding is going to be on those boiler parts (or tractor parts or car parts etc.) The welders doing the welding are going to be used to thicker parts and proceed accordingly unless the bicycle owner warns them first or they have prior knowledge of bicycles. If the welder isnít warned, they are likely to treat the bike as if it were a piece of pipe with 1/4Ē (6mm) wall. The broken tube is more likely to end up as a pile of rust than repaired.
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Old 10-01-21, 11:31 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The vent holes in the tubing won’t let you measure the thickness of the tubing. How are you going to measure it?
Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
In some cases, not all, there are holes that allow you to see wall thicknesses.
...
So if there are holes in the tubes, especially - you can find the wall thickness from that hole.
If you can see the wall thickness you can measure it. As to how precisely - if you were trying to make an emergency repair I don't think a precise measurement is required. If you can see the wall thickness you can see that it is pretty thin. If it is pretty thin that will be a good guide to whoever is doing the repair as to how much heat the parts can take.

One technique for "measuring wall thickness" through a vent hole of the like is to use the head of a safety pin - the kind with a mushroom top like a carriage bolt. You can lock the lip of the head on to the inside wall of the part at the edge of the hole. Then mark the position on the pin where it is level with the outside of the part. If you want to get even closer precision - factor in the paint thickness (not much on modern bikes). Then measure the distance between the lip of the pin head and the mark on the pin shaft.

Machinists rules have marks on them down to about the .010 mark. When you get past that you really need something like dial or digital calipers or a micrometer to resolve (but if you are measuring a rather crude mark on a pin shaft you're not going to be even within .010 probably - maybe .025 if you're good - .0625 is 1/16",.03125" = 1/32 - thats a pretty fine increment).

Unless a fabricator has identical material to practice with to dial in their heat settings and techniques there isn't any good way to ensure great results. It is kind of a "try it and see what happens" approach. If there is too much heat then, yes, the welder will blow through some of the metal. A good welder will be able to minimize that risk - and knowing an idea of how thin "thin" is will give them a better idea of what they're up against, but still no absolute.

If they do blow through something - a good welder can also fix a blow out. It might not look pretty, but that is a pretty important skill in fabricating.

When you are talking TIG welding, torch welding, and brazing (joints other than slip joints/sleeve joints) - you have to be an expert on part fitment. That is because these processes can't handle any slop in the fitment. You don't build up metal to close a gap with these processes. Slip/sleeve joints only pertain to brazing - and you do want a tight slip joint and if you're talking a slip joint you're not talking "filling a gap". In some respects, the depth of the part inside the slip joint doesn't really matter - you could cut it at an angle and still get a good brazed joint - just you minimize the surface area of the brazing. With any other joint - like a butt joint (think stay welded to bottom bracket) - part fitment is imperative for TIG welding, torch welding, and brazing - because these processes aren't to add much metal, only fuse the joint. If there were the requirement to build up metal (say you needed to cut out a cracked section of a stay) then you would be best off to replace the base metal/add to the base metal (with sheet metal, another tube, etc). If that isn't available - you can "build up" metal with MIG, Flux Core, and Stick welding - if done carefully. It won't be a pretty repair, but it might do the trick to get you back riding.
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Old 10-01-21, 12:48 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
...You are missing the point. Most peopleÖboth the bike rider and a welder doing the repairÖare unaware of how thin steel bicycle tubing is. People who are going to get a bike repaired in the middle of nowhere arenít going to have a shop that specializes in thin tube, even if the bike owner knew that the bike uses thin tubing. The most common type of welding is going to be on those boiler parts (or tractor parts or car parts etc.) The welders doing the welding are going to be used to thicker parts and proceed accordingly unless the bicycle owner warns them first or they have prior knowledge of bicycles. If the welder isnít warned, they are likely to treat the bike as if it were a piece of pipe with 1/4Ē (6mm) wall. The broken tube is more likely to end up as a pile of rust than repaired.
i'm missing the point?

Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
situation depends on where you tour.
if you live/tour in asialand, steel repair is not going to be a problem.
Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
....we're not talkin' 'bout metal foundries or boiler making plants y'know. these are common shops you'll find in the hundreds in modest sized cities....
Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
...ya walks into a local shop that specializes in thin-wall steel tubing...and chat with the workers who spend years.......cutting and shaping and welding thin steel tubes....
dude, in these shops that you can find conveniently.....in asialand......in any city or town and in most villages, cuttin' 'n weldin' bicycle tubing thickness steel tubes is what they do all day every day.
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Old 10-03-21, 08:52 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
i'm missing the point?

dude, in these shops that you can find conveniently.....in asialand......in any city or town and in most villages, cuttin' 'n weldin' bicycle tubing thickness steel tubes is what they do all day every day.
Donít assume that because some people in your area have specialized skills that everyone everywhere has the same skills. Thatís the point you are missing.
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Old 10-03-21, 09:15 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
If you can see the wall thickness you can measure it. As to how precisely - if you were trying to make an emergency repair I don't think a precise measurement is required. If you can see the wall thickness you can see that it is pretty thin. If it is pretty thin that will be a good guide to whoever is doing the repair as to how much heat the parts can take.

You canít really ďseeĒ how thick or thin the wall of a bicycle tube is by just looking at the vent holes. Someone doing the repair who isnít familiar with bicyclesÖby far the most likely scenarioÖmay not even know about the vent holes in the frame. Iím also going off my experience long ago with a welder who was used to delicate welding and a cyclist himself. He was the one who was surprised by how thing bicycle tubing is.
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Old 10-03-21, 10:41 AM
  #32  
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OP. People have toured on single-speed bicycles with an upright handlebar. If they got to a hill t hat was too steep to ride up comfortably they got off the bicycle and walked and a lot of time enjoyed the scenery as they did so.

The thing that I notice when looking at bicycles in Canadian Tire is that in many cases they are very close to bike shop bike in price. The other thing about a Canadian Tire bike is its setup. many are NOT properly setup and that can cause undue rapid wear of components. I'd be inclined to check the offerings at local bike shops and compare those to the offerings at Canadian Tire.

However, it is possible to tour on a Canadian Tire bicycle that has an upright handlebar. Many people do short tours on such bikes and enjoy it a lot.

Cheers
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Old 10-03-21, 10:45 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Donít assume that because some people in your area have specialized skills that everyone everywhere has the same skills. Thatís the point you are missing.
Many years ago I had a German welder at an autobody shop braze together two frames that I'd temporarily screwed together to make a road tandem with 26" x 1&3/8" wheels. He stated that brazing would be far better than trying to weld. We had that bike for many many years and never had a problem with any of the brazing failing.

Perhaps brazing a broken frame on tour would be better than trying to weld it?

Cheers
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Old 10-03-21, 10:50 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Donít assume that because some people in your area have specialized skills that everyone everywhere has the same skills. Thatís the point you are missing.

i need to take a break now. my forehead smarts from banging it against the wall.

Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
situation depends on where you tour. if you live/tour in asialand,...
Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
....local shop that specializes in thin-wall steel tubing....
.
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Old 10-03-21, 10:57 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
Many years ago I had a German welder at an autobody shop braze together two frames that I'd temporarily screwed together to make a road tandem with 26" x 1&3/8" wheels. He stated that brazing would be far better than trying to weld. We had that bike for many many years and never had a problem with any of the brazing failing.

Perhaps brazing a broken frame on tour would be better than trying to weld it?

Cheers
Maybe. At least it is a lower temp more forgiving process. Also someone previosly mentioned slip joining and precise fitment. That fails to consider the possibility of using fillets. There is such a thing as building up fillets that serve in the place of lugs in frame construction. Building up a thichness of bronze can be used in repairing as well. Poorly done it may ruin the temper of the tubes, but as an emergency repair I'd take my chances with it. I have fabricated or repaired a lot of stuff with an oxyacetelene torch and either brazing or silver solder. I've even done a little welding with the torch way back in the day.
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Old 10-05-21, 10:19 PM
  #36  
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I read a story years ago, how 2 guys bought the cheapest bikes from Canadian Tire and toured across Canada. Every time there was a problem with the bike, they would stop at a Tire and have the bike repaired or replaced under warranty.
A slow, but practical trip
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Old 10-06-21, 04:30 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
I read a story years ago, how 2 guys bought the cheapest bikes from Canadian Tire and toured across Canada. Every time there was a problem with the bike, they would stop at a Tire and have the bike repaired or replaced under warranty.
A slow, but practical trip
On a somewhat similar note I met a guy from Japan who bought a cheap bike and cheap gear here rather than ship stuff. It was all walmart level stuff. Some of it lower end walmart type stuff. He was riding down the Pacific Coast. We weren't able to communicate very well since neither of us knew more than a few words of the other's language, but I gathered that the plan was to dispose of it all at the end or the tour before flying home. He seemed to be getting along fine and having a great time.
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Old 10-06-21, 05:52 AM
  #38  
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Doable, but depending on the specifics, you've got the very real chance of having to waste time dealing with broken stuff, the inconvenience, and then you get into the whole quantifying the enjoyable tactile experience.

Sure, as a real foodee or someone who loves to cook, you can use a crappy knife or peeler or whatever, a musician can play a crappy instrument, etc etc but will you enjoy it if you are aware of said crappy item?
Up to you in the end.

but within reason, a cheap bike can be ok.....just depends on the bike.
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Old 10-06-21, 06:40 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Doable, but depending on the specifics, you've got the very real chance of having to waste time dealing with broken stuff, the inconvenience, and then you get into the whole quantifying the enjoyable tactile experience.

Sure, as a real foodee or someone who loves to cook, you can use a crappy knife or peeler or whatever, a musician can play a crappy instrument, etc etc but will you enjoy it if you are aware of said crappy item?
Up to you in the end.

but within reason, a cheap bike can be ok.....just depends on the bike.
It doesn't just depend on the bike, it also depends on the rider and their expectations.

I didn't say it would be my choice of ways to tour, but it is one way and the guy I met seemed to be having a great adventure.

I'd rather not ride junk, but on the other hand none of my bikes are high end either. I figure that once you get to a pretty modest price point the bikes can be pretty good. Something in the $600-1000 range can be quite functional and not really compromise the touring experience much if at all IME and that is buying new

My Japanese friend had something that may have been somewhat similar to the "Walmart Beaumont City Bike - 7 Speed". it is currently listed at $350. It was probably cheaper back then (2011). His may have has a double crankset (not sure), but was probably still limited gearing wise. I don't know if he needed to walk any of the steepest climbs or not, but if he did I doubt he was worried about it. He was of a mindset to just take stuff in stride. Looking at the bike it really looks like for what he was doing it would be reasonably functional. You'd want to have the right mindset, but he did. I'd rather spend more even when doing what he was since my budget would allow it if I wanted to, but I can see someone spending less.
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Old 10-06-21, 03:28 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
It doesn't just depend on the bike, it also depends on the rider and their expectations.
...
I didn't say it would be my choice of ways to tour, but it is one way and the guy I met seemed to be having a great adventure.
oh absolutely.
I recall meeting a Scots couple somewhere in Mexico, they had been in the States and bought two old bikes (80s road bikes) and headed down through Mexico. Road gearing, pulloing a trailer, stuff attached all over the place with strings etc, no maps (just notes gleaned from locals) They were super intereseted in my map and pored over it, but I needed it so didnt give it to them.
They were having quite an adventure and were very much hippyish in looks and attitudes, but hey, young and having one hell of an adventure.

I've mentioned them before, but fits here as like your Japanese dude, the same attitude of just going for it and not worrying about stuff.
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Old 10-07-21, 12:24 AM
  #41  
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I wouldn't go around the block with any defaileurs again. LOL. One Ozzie guy on CGOAB bought a 600E alu girls bike with a coaster Nexus 7i, in Denmark. He then went 12,330 miles across Europe and the M.E. to Baku, Toronto to Vancouver, then double crossed Australia S to N then to the south again. Only a couple days rest between, fly over then start riding.

I just went to a one man welding shop here and did 4 different things. He does anything, up to using I beams for buildings.
Two old 1/16" tubes together, to attach shifters to the TT. Perfect joint with NO deforming.
A 3/4" x 4.5 mm piece to the end of the dropout.
A metal mart pipes made into a stem, .083 chromo to 1/8" thick plain steel tubes.
All very well welded and completely bonded where the joint was. He used a wire feed welder to heat up 1/16" rods, looks like a tig weld.
I have deconstructed a brazed joint on another DIY stem. You can sand it all off an not know it was ever joined there. It is almost as strong, but not fused together like a weld is.

WAY better job than what was previously done by the owner of a Midas Muffler shop. LOL.

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Old 10-10-21, 11:02 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
I wouldn't go around the block with any defaileurs again. LOL. ...
That might be your opinion, but I use my Rohloff bike for some bike tours and derailleur bikes for others. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. But I have said that to you before so I am sure you are not surprised at my comment.
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Old 10-11-21, 06:34 AM
  #43  
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For 2+ summers, my wife toured using my son’s old department store hybrid. She rode the entire GAP, the C&O, and the Katy on that bike as well as thousands of miles of gravel. Only changes were 35mm Paselas, handlebars, Axiom rear rack and Sunlite(!) front rack. Ancient panniers that we’ve used offroad since the 1980’s. Zero issues but I was more at ease when she bought a new gravel bike for the Mickelson & Black Hills.


Cleaned up and waiting for the train.

We didn't care if the Katy was closed.
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Old 11-10-21, 12:29 PM
  #44  
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The thing that makes me chuckle about the fear of welding steel frames is the plethora of aftermarket steel fabrication involving bike frames that have been welded in various forms and configurations over the last century or so. Just Google homemade rickshaws, ice-cream vendor bikes, double or triple high clown bikes, side car bikes, home made cargo bikes and more recently ratrod bikes... jinkies! How'd they do it?

Personally I wouldn't care about steel or aluminum in itself (both are strong enough) but rather the build quality and wheelset. The drivetrain, as long as it works well and has low gearing, is good enough - as touring usually isn't high performance racing.

Flat bar vs drops is just personal preference.

Would I tour on a crappy bike? Probably not these days as I have some disposable income and enjoy wrenching on bikes, but I have. My first big tour was on a POS 1980s heavy gaspipe mtb with 2x5 gearing and stamped caliper brakes that only marginally worked. Still fond memories 32 years later.
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Old 11-10-21, 05:10 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
The thing that makes me chuckle about the fear of welding steel frames is the plethora of aftermarket steel fabrication involving bike frames that have been welded in various forms and configurations over the last century or so. Just Google homemade rickshaws, ice-cream vendor bikes, double or triple high clown bikes, side car bikes, home made cargo bikes and more recently ratrod bikes... jinkies! How'd they do it?
You missed my point entirely. I wasnít addressing a ďfear of welding steelĒ but the fear of not being able to weld an aluminum frame for repair that causes most bicycle tourist to choose steel in the first place. In addition to that fear of aluminum being weak, the common bicycle tourist thinks that steel frame repair is so simple that any idiot with a arc welder can do it. Hereís what an idiot with an arc welder can do to BMX handlebars which arenít really known for how thin the metal is.





They tried to add material to the handlebar to make a shim. You canít see them but there are 9 holes in the bar from where the welder burned through the handlebar. Think of what that same idiot would do to a bike with far thinner walls.

Personally I wouldn't care about steel or aluminum in itself (both are strong enough) but rather the build quality and wheelset. The drivetrain, as long as it works well and has low gearing, is good enough - as touring usually isn't high performance racing.
I donít care about steel or aluminum either. As you say both are strong enough (now). I would agree that touring isnít ďhigh performance racingĒ but not in the way you think. Itís far more rigorous than racing. Race bikes only need to carry a fairly lightweight rider. Touring bikes usually carry heavier riders and more load. Itís harder on the bike (and rider) than racing.
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Old 11-11-21, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
I've ridden bikes with a mix of Alivio/Deore and Sora/Tiagra. And those might be fine to ride and fun. But when I bought a cheap Canadian Tire bike once and installed Shimano Altus shifters, I found the bike worked well enough even with Tourney derailleurs. So I was thinking if you could find a bike with flat bars, front and rear racks, fenders and Shimano Atlus or Acera components, would you go for that?
I wonít go for an expensive flat bar touring.
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Old 11-11-21, 06:51 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
On the subject of TIG welding
Thanks for this, interesting read. I've done a lot of brazing....I can haul an oxy-acetylene tank cart on tour loaded with gear, perhaps they come in carbon (just joking).

Regarding a cheap touring bike....Nooooo. I am always trying to get to the middle of nowhere on tour, and the middle of nowhere is precisely where something will break (see Murphy). A cheap bike simply increases the odds.

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Old 11-11-21, 07:18 AM
  #48  
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Yes, you can. Any new components today will be fine.
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Old 11-11-21, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
...
They tried to add material to the handlebar to make a shim. ...
That is really funny.

I needed a shim for some 25.4 handlebars to fit a 26mm stem. My micrometer told me exactly how many layers of aluminum sheet I needed from a beer can to make the perfect shim.

I know your point was bad welding, I am not disagreeing with you on that.
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Old 11-11-21, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
That is really funny.

I needed a shim for some 25.4 handlebars to fit a 26mm stem. My micrometer told me exactly how many layers of aluminum sheet I needed from a beer can to make the perfect shim.

I know your point was bad welding, I am not disagreeing with you on that.
The really bad part is that it didnít work. The handle bars spun in the stem with the slightest of pressure and the stem was severely erroded from all the movement. Poor kid must have had to readjust the bars every time they hit the brakes. Wonder how many teeth they still have?
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