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Old 11-13-10, 12:48 PM   #1
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Component suggestions - first touring bike

Hi everyone - I plan on purchasing a Steelwool Tweed frame and building it up for light touring. I don't plan on any long trips, maybe 100 miles at most. I was wondering about a good pair of 700c clincher tires as I would like to go off road on crushed gravel paths and trails. I thought maybe a wider tire around 38 might be a good choice. but since I will be on the road often as well I need something that will give a smooth ride. I'm used to riding a XC mountain bike so tires around 38 still seem narrow to me! Also, any thoughts on a good pair of clipless pedals? Does anyone here use those for mountain bikes or are the road versions preferable? I was leaning towards something from Shimano like the R 670 or 105 SL as examples, or their XTR mountain pedal.This would be my first time using them. I was going to have some wheels built up from some hubs. Currently I have a DT Swiss 240S 28h front hub I would like to use. I'm on the light side but wondering if 28 spokes would be strong enough. I was thinking of a 32h Hope Pro 3 for the rear. There are so many rim options out there but of course I am wondering which of them is a good choice for strength without paying too much. I will probably mount a rear rack and have a saddle bag and a front bag on the bars. Lastly, as I will be using cantilever brakes ( hopefully the Trillium Big Squeeze ) any recommendations on brake levers? I have read that the Tekro RL 520 is a good design and along with that, whether a randonneur bar like one from Nitto would be preferable. I'm 54 and my wrists and neck are not what they were so comfort is my main concern. Thank you for any advice!

Last edited by VintageRide; 11-13-10 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 11-13-10, 02:04 PM   #2
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I use Shimano A530 and find them good and being dual sided you can use them when not wearing cleats.

Brake levers?

I use Shimano Nexave with my canti brakes but then I have straight bars.

Seems like you are about to spend a lot of money to go 100 miles but maybe you'll get the urge to go further after you've spent all that cash.

Last edited by Caretaker; 11-14-10 at 07:22 AM.
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Old 11-13-10, 03:00 PM   #3
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As for tires, I am having success rolling on Maxxis Overdrives, 38's. $30, usual road tread. Looks like they'll be good for about 4000 miles.

Comfort? I've gotten a lot more comfortable and faster recently by adding Profile Design Airstykes to my bars. No hand/wrist pressure. (I'm 69.)

Finally ditched the clipless pedals for platforms. Haven't missed them a bit, even when spinning at 80 rpm. Of course, I could never remember to pull up anyway.
The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

Last edited by Cyclebum; 11-13-10 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 11-14-10, 08:10 AM   #4
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Tires - 37mm wide 700c tires should do well. Lots of options out there.

Rims - for light duty, 28 spokes on front will probably do but I would use 36 on the rear.

Brake levers - I am not familier with the model numbers for Tektro, I have drop bars - Cane Creek levers on one bike and the nearly identical Tektro on another bike. You might consider also installing cyclocross levers so you can ride with your hands higher on the bars and still have braking. But if you install them, make sure that they work with your handlebar bag and bracket. Tektro makes levers that are specific to V brakes and different levers that work with cantilever, make sure you get the right levers for the brakes you use.

Pedals - I have not used Shimano on my touring bike but I use Shimano M324 on my foldup bike. On both touring bikes I use Ritchey V4 black MTB pedals. I am considering switching to M324 for touring so I can use both clipless shoes and normal shoes on the same pedal. Some have commented that the M324 takes an obscure tool to rebuild them but I am not worried about that. I just checked Ritchey website, V4 pedals no longer listed so my pedals apparantly are no longer made.
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Old 11-14-10, 08:30 AM   #5
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How much will you be carrying? I don't carry much over 20 pounds,
but if you camp, you will want the ability to carry about twice that.
I do credit card touring. With the lighter load I can ride traditional geometry.
It's lighter and livelier than a full blown touring bike. I don't know about
you ( I am almost 60) but camping is not an option for me without several pounds
of air mattress....

About that Tweed frame... I have seen roads in Canada that were so steep
I wouldn't dare ride them on a bike. An internal hub? I strongly suggest
you use a derailleur.

I use Shimano a520 pedals. The nice thing about SPD vesus
roadie pedals is that when touring you will at some point be doing
more walking than into a Starbucks.

Tires are even more of a personal preference. There are various trade offs in tire design.
Panaracer Pasela TG is a nice medium duty tire. My only real
complaint is a lack of traction in the wet. The Marathon Supreme
is another. There are a bunch of choices. Pick a price ceiling, then
a weight ceiling and then acceptable sizes. Once you do that, it's pretty easy.
Keep in mind that
a 38 from one company may be larger than a 40 from another.

You want 32 spokes on the front. As far as hubs go, Shimano.
Any of them, XT and XTR are nice if you want a little bling.
But it would be silly to spend almost as much on hubs as on the frame.
I'd get cheaper hubs and a better frame. The frame is the soul of a bicycle.
Look at it this way, Rivendell sells bikes for a few grand that have LX hubs.
Shimano makes good stuff.

Back when I was your age, I got a Gunnar Sport frame.
VeloOrange has a nice rando frame that looks like it would
do the trick. Anyway, it will give you an idea of what I mean.
Btw, I am a 650b fanatic now, the wheels are just a bit larger
than 26 and with large tires provide an extremely smooth ride
and nice handling.

I'm a fan of Velocity Dyad rims. I have one bike with them, and about
to get another built with them (and XTR hubs).

Last edited by late; 11-14-10 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 11-16-10, 07:09 PM   #6
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Thank you everyone for your replies and thoughts. I ended up buying a set of Mavic cxp33 36h rims laced to Hope Pro 3 hubs ( have Pro 2s on my XC Giant and really like them ), spokes are DT Champion 14/15 double butted. Should be strong enough as I am 140 and might pack 20 lbs. maximum between saddle and handlebar bags. A lot to learn but it is fun more often than not. The Lower Mainland, as we call Greater Vancouver and beyond is big enough to keep me occupied for the time being. There are a good number of hills, and I have climbed a few good ones riding off road XC. I plan on using a 44/32/22 FSA crank set for now and a 11-34 cassette. I keep trying to decide between a clipless SPD set up and just using a pair of Campagnolo Nuovo Record road pedals with toe straps I have lying around and a good touring shoe. I guess it is whatever I am comfortable with. I've used toe clips for years and just use a platform pedal on my XC bike, so I'm wondering if a SPD pedal is really worth it for shorter rides. My late '70's Italian road bike is great for going fast, but somewhat slower paced rides are more preferable.

Last edited by VintageRide; 11-16-10 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 11-16-10, 08:02 PM   #7
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I really like my Rohloff hub, but you have already chosen differently..

a mountain bike drivetrain and a Trekking bar are a good combination,
as the mountain bike controls slide right on the trekking bars .

indexed front shifters from shimano are in 2 camps .. mountain or road ,
not much Romeo and Juliet to get those together ..

the only crossover is bar end shifters.

Pauls thumbies let you turn Shimano's bar end shifters into a thumb shifter.
which is a good Trekking bar option.
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Old 11-19-10, 04:19 PM   #8
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I like the Shimano M511 brake levers. They allow you to rest two fingers on the levers although the names have changed lately. I think even the Shimano Acera might have a similar design anyway.
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