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Salsa La Cruz for touring & everything, questions! Help a WWOOF'er out!

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Salsa La Cruz for touring & everything, questions! Help a WWOOF'er out!

Old 03-25-09, 06:20 AM
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Salsa La Cruz for touring & everything, questions! Help a WWOOF'er out!

I'm looking for a bike that will do everything pretty darned well. and most of all it should just be fun. not neccessarily the best at anything, but fun to go everywhere on. I love the feel and control of hydraulic disc brakes... I come from a motorcycle racing background so the feel of discs is intuitive for me. I have some questions and hope people can give me some suggestions! My main choice right now is the salsa la cruz disc.

I'm not a super rich ****** so i've got a budget of about $2k. Actually i'm a poor ass kid, but I sold my car and motorcycle and everything i don't need and I plan on traveling the world/country by bicycle volunteering on organic farms (www.wwoof.com & www.organicvolunteers.org) as I go. I'm actually in Japan right now working on a farm near the ocean, wishing I had my bicycle! The "mama cherry" heavy ass single speeds that the farm lets me borrow suuuck. So yeah. This will hopefully be the last bike I buy for a long time and should be bullet proof enough to not break down on the back roads of a country in which I don't speak the language.

My current tourer is a custom '77 scwinn SLT 12.2 with triple chain ring and 13-32 8-speed casette which I love but I can't fit very big tires and I've already ran into problems getting parts quickly for such an old bike. I took this bike on an 850 mile tour and the seat was my only real complaint. My lowest gear is something like 28 front & 32 rear, and I do find myself using that gear often, especially going up hills fully loaded. My highest gear is 48 front and 13 rear and I pretty much never use this gear, going down a steep ass hill trying to break my top speed record is the only time I get a chance to use that gear. Loaded or unloaded I'm almost always using my middle chain ring which is 36 or 38, shifting down to the smaller 28 chain ring for Colorado hills. In other words, i'm not a racer, and If I was I wouldn't be racing on a touring bike. I hope this gives you a decent idea of what kind of a rider I am.

Here are the specs on the salsa la cruz complete: https://www.salsacycles.com/laCruzComp08.html
12-25 casette, 39/48 double chain ring... everything else looks pretty awesome.
It comes with 29'er mtn bike rims, which apparently fit 700c tires? I'm a little confused about this as I though my old 27" schwinn rims were BIGGER than my 700c's? I guess 29er = outside diameter of tire? not the rim? could I run 700c x 25c road tires If i was so inclined, or would the rims be too fat since they're designed for mtn bikes?
105 gear is good from what I hear. Am I going to need new derailleurs if I run a triple chain ring on the front?

Would you all suggest I just buy the frame and get the components piece by piece? I don't have time to sit on ebay & craigslist for months trying to win auctions to save money... So will I save money buying the complete setup and just swapping out gears? will a double chain ring set up be OK if i get a cassette with taller gears? 10-speed cassette makes it a 20 speed w/ a double. My current schwinn setup is only a 24 speed with a triple & 8-sp cassette, so It doesn't seem like a huge difference, but my understanding of gearing is lacking.

Eggbeater pedals seem to be great from what I hear. I've never had major problems with my shimano SPD setup. I've never ever got stuck in my pedals and fallen over (knock on wood.) I do sometimes have a heard time clicking in, especially if i've been walking in fine gravel and walking around going click clack is pretty annoying and on my last tour I would have to stop and clean my cleats and pedals if I got into some gritty mud (one time i did when the pavement unexpectedly ended.) I use shimano MTB shoes because they look like normal shoes and were cheap. I'm guessing these aren't gonna work with eggbeaters. So, pedal shoe tips & suggestions?

Oh and I will be using this bike unloaded most of the time since it will be my only ride. Tire suggestions??? size and brand? mostly road I'm guessing, but should be capable off road as well. No plans to be riding in deep mud or racing cyclocross. I love my armadillos on my schwinn tourer as I've never gotten a flat! and they seem to last forever. I'm guessing tires with tread are going to wear faster, and that's quite alright.

Sorry I have so many questions! I would love to search and search and research this setup myself but I work in a rice feild every day for 6 hours and spend the rest of my time meeting people, sightseeing, practicing my Japanese and learning learning learning about agriculture and sustainable living. I hope someone can help me out! I can tell you where all the cool farms and communities are in Japan!

Oh, and if there is some other frame i've overlooked that fits my budget and desire for disc brakes let me know! is installing drop bars on a 29'er mtn bike a possibility? (is that basically what this la cruz is? or much different geometry?) And i'll be installing a brooks saddle of course! Domo Arigato Gozaimasu! Mata ne!!!!
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Old 03-25-09, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Malleabis
It comes with 29'er mtn bike rims, which apparently fit 700c tires? I'm a little confused about this as I though my old 27" schwinn rims were BIGGER than my 700c's? I guess 29er = outside diameter of tire? not the rim? could I run 700c x 25c road tires If i was so inclined, or would the rims be too fat since they're designed for mtn bikes?
Yes, you can run 700c tires on "29er" rims. Both have an ISO diameter of 622mm which is the diameter of the tire bead. The difference is usually width, and you're right that you can't run too skinny a tire on a wide rim. But The La Cruz is a cyclocross bike designed for tires in the 35mm range which is typical for touring.
105 gear is good from what I hear. Am I going to need new derailleurs if I run a triple chain ring on the front?
Yes. You'll need a triple front derailleur, and a medium or long cage rear derailleur if the bike doesn't come with one already.

Would you all suggest I just buy the frame and get the components piece by piece? I don't have time to sit on ebay & craigslist for months trying to win auctions to save money... So will I save money buying the complete setup and just swapping out gears? will a double chain ring set up be OK if i get a cassette with taller gears? 10-speed cassette makes it a 20 speed w/ a double. My current schwinn setup is only a 24 speed with a triple & 8-sp cassette, so It doesn't seem like a huge difference, but my understanding of gearing is lacking.
I'm assuming that the BCD of the stock crank is 130mm, so you're limited to a 38 tooth small ring (not even worth replacing the 39). I don't think you'd be happy with that setup going up a long hill fully loaded. Better to have a triple or at least a compact double (110 BCD, comes standard with 34 tooth small ring). Buying the complete bike will save you hundreds of dollars over buying the frame and components separately. If you're just replacing a few things and selling the stuff you take off the bike, you'll probably still come out ahead. If you're going to replace other things as well, then you probably should get the frame and build it up.



Oh and I will be using this bike unloaded most of the time since it will be my only ride. Tire suggestions??? size and brand? mostly road I'm guessing, but should be capable off road as well. No plans to be riding in deep mud or racing cyclocross. I love my armadillos on my schwinn tourer as I've never gotten a flat! and they seem to last forever. I'm guessing tires with tread are going to wear faster, and that's quite alright.
Armadillos would be a good choice if you don't mind the weight. 32-35mm width is nice and comfy for touring, commuting, etc.

If you go with disk brakes, then you'll need a rear rack that is disc brake compatible. Most are not. Disk brakes seem like liability to me for touring. The cost, complexity, and availability of parts would make me shy away from them. Good canti or V brakes will give you all the stopping power you need for touring. It's not like you're railing into sharp corners as fast as possible all the time. The La Cruz doesn't come with canti studs which is odd for an "all-around" kind of bike. I might consider something else like a Cross-Check. But if you're really into the disk brakes, the La Cruz is certainly a good choice.

To further comment on gearing, you could possibly keep the 12-25 cassette if you got a triple crank with a 24 or 26 tooth small ring, but even this would be too tall for some folks. You could get a mountain triple crank with a 22 tooth little ring, and then you'd likely be fine with the 12-25 in back. Gearing is really a personal choice, and you just have to decide what you like. Some people want the option to remain seated and pedal a nice easy cadence up a long climb, while others don't mind getting out of the saddle and working harder. Depends also on how much weight you're going to carry. The difference between a 25-30 lb. load and a 50-60 lb. load is very substantial when it comes to long climbs and the requisite gears. The most versatile set-up is probably a road triple with 24/36/48 rings and an 11-32 or 11-34 cassette in back. You'll want a long-cage mountain rear derailleur with this combination.

On edit: The La Cruz comes stock with 10 speed cassette, chain and shifters, so you'll want to stick with 10 speed cranks/chainrings up front if you buy the stock bike. This precludes a mountain crank. Personally, I would rather have 9 speeds for touring -- cheaper replacement parts like chains and cassettes and more configuration options. This might tip the scales in favor of building up the bike yourself.

Last edited by northboundtrain; 03-25-09 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 03-25-09, 05:44 PM
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awesome info northboundtrain! parts compatibility and availability of 9-speed stuff is something I know nothing about. I hope others comment as well! I'm a decent welder/fabricator so if I get a cro-mo rack maybe i'll modify it to suit my needs... or maybe i'll reconsider discs all together. i did read the avid bb7's this bike comes with are cable and not hydro, but they seem to be excellent brakes and will be easier to work on than a hydro setup. i'm pleased about that! I'll check out the cross check also. i luuust for discs though. On my last tour when i got into some wet sandy mud sand imbedded itself in my rim-brake pads and made an aweful noise when stopping. sounded kinda like sand papering my rims away!!! i had to stop a couple times on the trip and used my pocket knife to clean the sand and debris from the grooves on my rubber pads. this is one of the things I would really like to avoid.

I do fulllly loaded touring. clothes, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, stove, pot, water filter, looots of water, too much food, laptop : ), digital camera, a book or 2, and of course spare parts and a little tool kit. no credit card for mee. so my load is atleast 60 lbs.

Thanks much for the excellent gearing advise! I do tend to stay in my saddle and use the granny gear on long climbs. Going through the ozarks on my last tour (no shoulders!) when i attemped to stand up and pedal the weight of my gear made me swerve into the road, off the road, into the road, off the road. My technique will have to improve i suppose. sitting makes it much easier to go in a straight line when 18-wheelers are whizzing past.
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Old 03-25-09, 05:54 PM
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the cross-check does indeed look pretty awesome for a canti bike. touring setup reccomendations for a cross-check? links? as i'm sure it's been done before.
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Old 03-25-09, 08:41 PM
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I'm sure it can be done on the La Cruz, but it lacks the double eyelets front and back as well as braze ons for a rear rack and a front low rider rack.

You might want to consider the Fargo from Salsa. Much more of a tourer, but also, much less of a looker!
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Old 03-25-09, 09:39 PM
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If you're going to be carrying 60 lbs of gear, I'd recommend strongly against a 10-speed set-up. the largest cassette you can get that's reasonably priced is 28 teeth (you can get 10 speed 11-32 or 11-34, but they are $160 !), and you're limited to 10-speed road cranks with 24 teeth being the smallest ring. For heavily loaded touring, you'll want smaller gearing than 24-28 for sure.
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Old 03-30-09, 07:48 AM
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My son just got his Fargo last week. We have only taken it out a few times, but it seems like a very well thought out and put together bike. We changed the tires to semi slick 35's. He really likes it so far.
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Old 03-30-09, 08:54 AM
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I would also recommend the Salsa Fargo. Seems to be the perfect bike for what you describe.
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Old 03-30-09, 09:11 AM
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Have you looked into the Surly Long Haul Trucker yet? Yes it's kinda a cliche bike around these forums but for a reason - it's a damn good touring bike for a great price.
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