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Expedition Touring MTB build

Old 08-31-09, 11:16 PM
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norcalhiker
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Expedition Touring MTB build

Having not found a suitable bike in my price range, I'm diving in to building an expedition, adventure touring bike on my own. I've never done this. I have some knowledge, but the intricacies of parts choices are somewhat beyond me. I plan to use this as my only transportation in the USA, a fair amount of dirt road touring in the southwest, some general mountain biking and an upcoming LONG adventure tour through Central Asia. So I want a third world burly tourer. 26 inch wheels are a must, so is steel, a comfortable ride and a front shock. I plan to use front and rear racks.

What follows is my knowledge and choices after LOTS of internet research. I'd heavily appreciate comments, revisions, etc

I'm leaning hard towards the On-One Inbred Frame, Not Sliding Dropout model. It's $355 shipped. Long top tube is good, but I wonder if the chain stay is long enough for my heels to not hit my panniers. I hope to use Avid BB7 brakes, and have the option of adding cheap v-brakes if something goes wrong while on tour. Will it be possible to have V-brakes and a rear rack at the same time? As far as I can tell, the rack will need to attach to the V-brake bosses.. I've seen two Inbreds set up as tourers online, so it seems like an OK choice.

I'll be using trekking bars. The Kalloy and Nashbar ones are about the same price, the Modolo Yuma's are double the price. Any reason to go one over the other? I haven't figured out what stem I want, but I figure that it'll have a lot of rise to it.

Brakes.... Avid BB7s with 160mm rotors

Brake levers... Seems like I can go with any mountain bike lever and that it's not a big choice.

Headset... Cane Creek S-3 headset gets good and bad reviews, seems fine with me. You can see the trend that I don't have the budget for ultra nice stuff like Chris King, Paul Hubs, etc

Shifters... Here my knowledge fails me. Shimano 9spd Bar End shifters would be durable and allow for friction shifting mode, but require the addition of Paul Thumbies which gets expensive. Also, they wouldn't be “fast” for mountain biking at home. Other options? Some SRAM Attack Shortys? Are they durable? XT or LX shifters?

On the subject... Is it true that some Deore LX components are beefier and heavier, though functionally the same as XT? If so, I'd like that.

I figure I'll got with Shimano XT of:
- Hubs: there are so many choices here. I know that I need disk brake compatible ones, and for the front I think that I need a wider one that will work with a front shock. Is that true? I want 36 spoke wheels, but I can't seem to find an XT front hub, that's 36h and disk compatible.
- Rear Derailleur: again, there are too many things I don't know. Short arm, long? Etc, etc? Seems like upgrading to XT is the way to go here though.

And for Shimano Deore LX:
- Crank: most votes seem to go for 44/32/22, but I also see advice for 46/34/24 and 48/34/26. How do these combine with my cassette choice? I figure I want to be able to pedal up steep stuff with a heavy load, but also be able to ride down steep stuff while pedaling that load. And I now that most of the time I'll be in the middle rings. In terms of arm length, I have read “18.5% of the distance from the top of the femur to the floor in bare feet should be the crank length. You can find the top of the femur pretty easily. It's 5" to 6" below your hip bone, and moves rearward when you raise your knee.” but haven't figured out what that means for me yet. Help? I buy a Bottom Bracket based on what my Crankset requires right? Shimano UN-53 or 54?
- Front Derailleur
- Cassette: 11-32t or 11-34t???

And the rest of the wheels:
- Velocity Dyad seems like a good mix of weight and cost at $60. And they'll be able to take v-brakes even though I plan to use Disks. Better than Sun Rhyno Lites, only $25 but 100 grams more, Mavic XM719 ($75/each) or Rigida Sputniks.
- DT Swiss 2.0 Double Butted Spokes ( a box of 100) with alloy nipples
- probably Schwable Marathon XR, slow on pavement, good on dirt.

Racks:
- Old Man Mountain Front Rack – Sherpa $110 good with suspension and disks. And it'll fit more cleanly if I get a fork that has bosses on it.
- For the rear, I was thinking of a Tubus Cargo. I think it'll fit, but will it fit if I'm using V-Brakes?

Panniers:
- I'm pretty much decided on big Lone Peaks. Front, back and Handle bar.

Fork:
- I want a front shock, both for recreation at home, but also to take out some of the bumps on my trips. I know that it'll be a weight penalty and perhaps a point of failure. To minimize this I've learned to look for coil springs, no air cartridge. A lockout and hopefully mount points for both Disk and Rim brakes. Marzocchi gets recommend. I believe that my frame can take 3-5 inch forks. This piece becomes scary expensive and difficult to spec. It seems like I have very rare and specific requirements. Any specific recommendations?

Seatpost:
- I haven't done much consideration. I've heard that Race Face ones have a good seat clamp. What length range am I looking at? I know this will depend on my specific setup, but does a 300mm post seem right or should I be looking at the 400mm one from On-One?


The Inbred only has bosses for 1 water bottle. What's a way to securely add more cages, or do I need to bring it to a frame builder and have bosses added (how much does such business cost?)


Whoa, OK. I'm in my final research stage before I buy. So I'll probably have a lot more questions and be able to post pictures before too long! THANKS.
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Old 08-31-09, 11:26 PM
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Gordon P
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Wow you are putting a lot of thought into your build?

So what was your question again.
 
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Old 08-31-09, 11:51 PM
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Gordon P
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Ok, I had to focus on this one!

There is a British guy, based in China, wrote an article on Crazy Guy on a Bike about his experience with custom building and how he ended up using a On-One frame - which he was very happy with. I’m too lazy to look it up.

Sifters really depend on how long you plan on touring. On my expedition build I use an XT 9 speed and it works well. If I was to do a multi-month tour I would probably switch to friction shifters and go 8-speed.

Trekking bars are great for touring, however I still prefer riser bar for trails and commuting.

Shimano makes good, inexpensive and widely available components and I would go with what you can afford and consider them replaceable. Shimano recently came out with a trekking group and it is based on the LX line and should be reliable but have yet to read any touring reviews about it.

I use OMM racks and I think they are great! They make heavy duty p-clips so you do not need V-brake bosses.

Also, I have toured on a lot of gravel roads, rail trails and singletrack and I prefer to use a rigid fork for the simplicity, reliability and the lightness.
 
Old 08-31-09, 11:59 PM
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Thanks for the advice Gordon. Why would you go to 8speed if you used friction shifters? Good to know that that the P-clamps on OMM racks are a decent option. I've indeed seen Bill's CGOAB page, hopefully he'll chime in as he seems to know his stuff.
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Old 09-01-09, 01:53 AM
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sounds pretty good,

personally, I owuld reconsider the disk brakes and the suspension fork. If it were me, Id rather have a rigid frame and fork, and use bigger tires as a form of suspension.... Much simpler, lighter and less to break.

8 speed allows for a slightly tougher chain. its possible that this is stronger, Im not convinced, but if it were me, Id probably err on the 8 speed side of things too.

shifters, friction. I would look for old thumb shifters on Ebay, some XT or suntour shifters... avoid paul thumbies because they are pricey. you can get the same thing for less if you look around. Scour the thrift shops ofr an old MTB and rob the shifters off of that, or call the local police and see if they have a stock of abandoned bikes. you should find something...

If you do get a sus fork, marzocchi is good. look for an older version of the Z1, coil, oil, tough as snot. heavy though. Make sure it doesn't have a 20mm axle! (but Id really reconsider on this )
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Old 09-01-09, 02:54 AM
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My two cents here. An 8sp setup can be run with a 7 or 6 sp chain. I'm not sure if this can be done if you go with 9sp. All this at the expense of having a short gap in your ratios.
Paul thumbies are pricey, but don't expect to get NOS XT or in good condition (which I consider essential of an expedition) thumb shifters for a lot less. I know because I went that route and ended with Paul's, with the added bonus of having the possibility of using downtube shifters instead of barends. I'm not sure if it's easy to get SunTour 8sp shifters out there or even make them work with a Shimano derailleur in SIS mode.
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Old 09-01-09, 05:01 AM
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Velocity Dyad are 700c rims not 26 in(559). Velocity has Aeroheat in 26 which are good rims.I would go with a rigid fork and use fat tyres for some suspension. The on-one seatpost is good quality and should be fine.

Cranks , Go for integrated set with external BB, the new LX is more ahybrid style. get an older model M582or M580 get 22,32,44 size because when your struggling up a steep mountain you cannot get low enough gears

Hubs look at www.chainreactioncycles.com they have Shimano Disc Hub Front M475 in 36 hole quite cheap.

Look at the following for some MTB tourers https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/334033-i-would-love-see-photos-your-mtb-conversion.html
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Old 09-01-09, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Gordon P View Post
Ok, I had to focus on this one!

There is a British guy, based in China, wrote an article on Crazy Guy on a Bike about his experience with custom building and how he ended up using a On-One frame - which he was very happy with. I’m too lazy to look it up.
.
Pete Jones.

You can run OMM racks with v brakes installed.
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Old 09-01-09, 08:19 AM
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wow, reading your post, I realized how little I know about modern mountain shifting.

I suggest some Suntour Power Shifters, if just because I know what they are
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Old 09-01-09, 09:16 AM
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yep, those are great shifters.
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Old 09-01-09, 09:58 AM
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Another vote for a rigid fork and canti brakes. V brakes are also good, but are more sensitive to wheel true. BB7s are good brakes also, and I keep intending to put them on a bike up front as a third brake. Brake failure up front is a scary proposition. The downside is the weight and the effect one your rack options.

You are using a 29er frame? That's an idea, overall I would think you would be better off with a touring frame. You really need two bikes. Once you want some fancy MTB with suspension, but want to go out there on an expedition touring bike, I think you have too many things pulling in different directions. No reason it can't happen, because almost anything that will mount a rack will work to a point. But when you are out there for weeks or months at a time the better ergo and function of a properly designed touring rig will probably be appreciated. Almost any one thing can be done by a given person, but that doesn't make it a good idea.

I really hate expedition bars, poor ergo for the most part, a kludge to get MTB semi comfortable compared to straight bars, which were really not designed for long term use. So what you get are two straight bars with a bendy bit that is hardly a grip. Break the major hand positions into idividual grips, none of them are great. Others don't agree which is fine. The thing is one rarely sees expedition bars on a normal bike, they aren't so superior they end up in the tour, yet drops hold their own on any bike with a modicum of versatility. From Dirt drops to racing bikes, messenger bikes.
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Old 09-01-09, 11:01 AM
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Nope, not going with a 29er frame. It's 26inches, which I'm committed to. As for the bars... I like them. One thing that seems interesting to me is that they are not very popular in the USA, yet around the world, they are one of the most common touring options.

On that account, I was recently in Asia and am doing this build akin to what I saw many tourists using and enjoying. Seems to me that amongst third world touring, mountain bikes with disk brakes, front suspension and trekking bars are strongly represented. This goes against most advice that I receive in the States though. I met the Barkleys (link below) who are riding some rough stuff. They were on 29ers and commented about how suspension was something to strongly consider and that people on conventional 26ers with no suspension were having a very difficult time on rough stuff and that such a setup was a poor choice. Now I know that some people do ride the dirt of Central Asia on rigid forks, but I wonder if that's because they spend significant time on the tarmac more than for weight and durability reasons.

You've all got me really thinking about the drive train. The advantage of 8spd is that the chain is tougher and more replaceable? Anyone know what type of stuff is available in the "good" bike stores in cities like Urumqui, Bishkek, Dushanbe, Islamabad?

FKS, good advice all around. You're right about the Dyads being the wrong rim. Thanks for the link to the hub. I really appreciate links to good deals.


https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...ey&context=all
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Old 09-01-09, 11:20 AM
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It seems reasonable that the latest technology would be featured by people with the money to afford it. I have nothing to advise you on except you appear to have the important parts figured out. I'm curious if some shocks have insufficient adjustment for loaded touring depending on the weight of the rider and gear.
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Old 09-01-09, 11:51 AM
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I couldnīt find an on one inbred that had v brake and disc brake mounts, any chance you have a link? Thatīs sounds like itīd be a great setup if you had the option to run either, especially considering they place the disc mounts on the chainstay.
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Old 09-01-09, 12:03 PM
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V brake bosses are removable on the Inbred.

https://www.on-one-shop.co.uk/acatalo...ropout_31.html
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Old 09-01-09, 09:16 PM
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Anyone know of a good suspension fork for touring?
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Old 09-02-09, 05:22 AM
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Hiya,

I used a Fox Vanilla with lots of travel and had no problems. Description of bike bits and bobs here:

https://www.gurdon.cam.ac.uk/~ad327/i...8/kitlist.html
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Old 09-02-09, 11:54 AM
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Nice site. I'm wanting to build a similar bike. The Vanilla looks pretty good but is disc only (which I'd be ok with if it comes down to it). I see you were able to afix a tubus swing to it. Care to shed any more light on how you did that?

What i've found so far:

rock shox Tora XC SL Coil – seems right $170 at Mikes bikes steel steerer tube normally $232


marzocchi 33 TST2 $280


Fox Vanilla 32 $390 140mm and disk only


Magura Odur $325 highly recommended ('08 and '09 are the same)

I'm leaning towards to Magura or the Rock Shox.
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Old 09-03-09, 05:57 AM
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Hi Norcalhiker,

Disks are great - the BB7s were absolutely brilliant, downhill, fully laden, they inspired complete confidence and, a year later, I'm still using the same set of pads I started the tour with! And spares pads are also tiny compared to V-brake blocks. The *only* thing I'd say against them is that, because they're mechanical (essential!), you might need to do some fiddling to allow the movement they require inside the legs of the rear rack you like to use. If you know what I mean.

Magura Odur are good forks too - I think they're the default spec on Thorn bikes where people tick the box for suspension to be included, at least they were when I was building my own bike. BUT... Fox forks were available as a more expensive option, and I was able to get a really good deal on the Vanillas from another online retailer. As long as you get well-reviewed, coil-sprung jobs with lockout, you'll be fine.

Here are a couple of photos of the Tubus Swing plate at the crown of the fork. All I had to do was introduce a few little washers on either side of the plate, and bend the legs of the Swing out to accommodate them. Easy! I think I didn't even have to use longer bolts - the original bolts were plenty long enough.



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Old 09-03-09, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by norcalhiker View Post
etc

I'm leaning hard towards the On-One Inbred Frame, but I wonder if the chain stay is long enough for my heels to not hit my panniers.

This is the most important detail of all, is it not? You better find out. I suspect the stays are not long, as this bike is intended for singletrack mtb riding, not touring.

Crankset . . . a 94/58 BCD can offer you the super low and high gears. Rings from 20t to 50t. If you want flexibility, don't buy a 4 arm 104/whatever BCD crank . . . limited chainring choice. 94/58 and 110/74 are king here. I personally think tapered cranks are better long term than the revolving door OBB ones. The Sugino XD triple is a fine 110/74 if it fits you. 94/58 cranks are like the TA Carmina, Vega and Surly Mr. Whirly(these have interchangeable spiders) They cost more, but you get what you pay for.

my 2 cents
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Old 09-03-09, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Garthr View Post
This is the most important detail of all, is it not?
The right choice of rear rack and loading system (heavy at front) can compensate for a short chainstay. The Tubus Logo for example, has low rails which extend well back. My bike has a fairly short stay, and I have feet like flippers, but I didn't have any problems with heelstrike.
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Old 09-03-09, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Al Downie View Post
The right choice of rear rack and loading system (heavy at front) can compensate for a short chainstay. The Tubus Logo for example, has low rails which extend well back. My bike has a fairly short stay, and I have feet like flippers, but I didn't have any problems with heelstrike.
I concur with Mister Downie here. I think the importance of a couple of cm on the back of the frame is vastly over-rated in practice. Panniers can be tilted, get a longer rack, move bags on the hooks, etc etc etc: many possible workarounds. Its really not the issue that people seem to think it is... and in this case, the OP wants something specific enough that he might have to concede the point of 42-44-46cm chainstays. Ive been impressed with on-one stuff ive seen, but never seen an inbred.
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Old 09-03-09, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by norcalhiker View Post
Having not found a suitable bike in my price range, I'm diving in to building an expedition, adventure touring bike on my own. I've never done this. I have some knowledge, but the intricacies of parts choices are somewhat beyond me. I plan to use this as my only transportation in the USA, a fair amount of dirt road touring in the southwest, some general mountain biking and an upcoming LONG adventure tour through Central Asia. So I want a third world burly tourer.
Hi,

I agree with the workaround possibilities to solve the heel strike issue. I've done it myself by using a longer rack and sliding the panniers back, and mounting the pannier j-hooks back farther. It works fine, even with very large panniers and size 12 shoes.

For very long, rough expedition touring, I would recommend going with the Tubus Locc (if you want to go with that company). It is significantly stronger than any of their other racks.

If you search this site, you can find their reviews and experiences with racks and other gear:
https://www.mountainbike-expedition-team.de/

Example: This front rack also did not survive the Mongolian roads - we traveled with self-made ones afterwards, and now use the Faiv Hoogar [and the Faiv Hoogar Plus] in combination with suspension forks.

There are some other accounts that mentioned breaking the Tubus Cargo after long, rough usage.

Here is one of them:

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...id=109478&v=Lg

One other important thing, I am ditching my trusty Tubus Cargo rear rack, now that it's breaking regularly under the enormous strains I've been subjecting it to.
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Old 10-18-11, 11:48 AM
  #24  
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https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/thorn-mt-...een-prod15585/

I know its not a suspension fork but this is amazingly comfortable and coupled with a fat tire would do the job well, has all the braze on's you could want but cant run disks ..it really does soak up the bumps and steerer is like the Eiffel tower.it is also suspension corrected to 100mm.
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Old 10-18-11, 01:39 PM
  #25  
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FWIW, The Kalloy and Nashbar trekking bars, are the same thing, just re branded.
that's why they cost the same.

German built Tout Terrain PanAmerica, is a serious expedition full suspension bike

https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/tout-terrain.asp

note [scroll down,] the rear suspension mount is also the rear rack, and the fork is backwards , the slider tubes at the bottom, the loaded panniers on the stationary part on top.
the Silk Road is a fine Hardtail, and can be fitted with a Sus fork if desired , ir a Sus corrected one. the rear rack is made to be a welded on part of the frame.

I found a Koga Miyata trekking bike , they modified the lower slider casting,
Spinner made the fork.
to mount low rider racks on there, the mass of the bags are added to the weight of the wheel,

Al shows, Ttubus is offering their Swing.. to separate the bag mass from the wheel mass.

+ as Niles point's out, stuff breaks in remote places,
so be prepared to know who would ship you stuff,
to where you may need it sent.

FWIW , I reccomend Cane Creeks Thud buster suspension seatpost.
they make a variety of elastomers to tune to the rider's weight
grey<blue< black< and purple, at about 210 I'm using the black ones.

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-18-11 at 01:57 PM.
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