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Need advice fellow bikers, on setting up a SULRY LHT frame and fork only right now

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Need advice fellow bikers, on setting up a SULRY LHT frame and fork only right now

Old 06-10-12, 06:23 PM
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Need advice fellow bikers, on setting up a SULRY LHT frame and fork only right now

Here is the deal,

I was lucky enough to get a SURLY frame and fork for 300$ shipped to my house( its a 52 cm LONG HAUL TRUCKER )


( Im 5 feet 9 , have longer legs and a shorter torso, i tested the 54 cm at a local bike shop and felt too stretched out on it the 52 looks to be the same size as my Giant cyclo cross bike, and even though it only fits 26 inch wheels, ill be able to ride better on gravel pathways and be a bit more comfortable on this one than my cyclocross bike.)


I can get a Surly long haul trucker complet and brand new for about 1250 with tax

now so far the " COMPLETE BIKE setup will cost me

i got a quote of 600 - 800 plus possible labor

and from another bike shop

its 975 plus tax total for building the bike
..... hes including STI shifters for that price and a regular kit from the surly site


IS this a fair amount to pay ? I was hoping to save myself some money but looks like will basically be paying just as much as a new bike, any websites that sell complet kits for touring bikes?

I dont want to over pay just for reagular SURLY kit if there are better deals out there


thanks

Steve
from NW suburbs of Chicago
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Old 06-10-12, 06:59 PM
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I confess that I am a cheapskate. I got a Vaya frame a couple of years ago and built it up in my garage from parts accumulated. I shop end of year sales, which seem to be underway now, I shop Ebay and stuff like that. Amazon has deals with bike shops and they sometimes have good prices. I no longer build my own wheels. I have in the past, but it is a pain and I pay a friend to do it for me. Everything else I do. If you are planning on taking the LHT on tour, it is a good idea to know every nut and bolt on that bike. One way to do it is to put it together yourself. If you then need help getting it dialed in, you can take it to your LBS. By shopping sales, etc. you can save a ton of money. By putting it together yourself, you can save money and get valuable familiarity with your bike.

On the subject of tires for a 26” wheeled bike, many 26” tires are what I call tractor tires. They may be fine for riding in dirt or gravel paths, but they can feel like riding in wet cement on pavement. I have found one fast tire is the Conti Sport Contact. It comes in two sizes, 1.3” and 1.6”. I weigh 265 and like the 1.6”, but since you are much lighter than me, you may be happier with the 1.3”. I’m sure there are plenty more fast tires out there. This just happens to be one I found that I like.
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Old 06-10-12, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ClemY
I confess that I am a cheapskate. I got a Vaya frame a couple of years ago and built it up in my garage from parts accumulated. I shop end of year sales, which seem to be underway now, I shop Ebay and stuff like that. Amazon has deals with bike shops and they sometimes have good prices. I no longer build my own wheels. I have in the past, but it is a pain and I pay a friend to do it for me. Everything else I do. If you are planning on taking the LHT on tour, it is a good idea to know every nut and bolt on that bike. One way to do it is to put it together yourself. If you then need help getting it dialed in, you can take it to your LBS. By shopping sales, etc. you can save a ton of money. By putting it together yourself, you can save money and get valuable familiarity with your bike.

On the subject of tires for a 26” wheeled bike, many 26” tires are what I call tractor tires. They may be fine for riding in dirt or gravel paths, but they can feel like riding in wet cement on pavement. I have found one fast tire is the Conti Sport Contact. It comes in two sizes, 1.3” and 1.6”. I weigh 265 and like the 1.6”, but since you are much lighter than me, you may be happier with the 1.3”. I’m sure there are plenty more fast tires out there. This just happens to be one I found that I like.
Thanks for the advice!

I will look into that tire, as im hoping the 26 inch wheels wont slow me down too much, definately need to put the conti sport tires on my Surly then.
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Old 06-10-12, 08:04 PM
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Even though a stock bike is a turnkey alternative for a lot of folks, I think one ends up being way more satisfied (and with a better FIT!!) with a full build from the frameset up. If you are not in any rush, the best and most inexpensive way is to buy all the parts online and consolidate purchases from two or three stores with free shipping. Then have your LBS put everything together for you. You just need to know a bit about bikes so as not to make compatibility mistakes that could throw off the project. Otherwise, the quotes you received from those local bike shops seem adequate. An advantage is that if you run into any issues (i.e., fitting, part failure, etc.), they will be there to help you and back warranties. Ask them about this.

BTW, there are quite a few choices of 26" tires for touring, I am using Schwalbe Racers in 1.75" and they feel very lively and do not feel any slower than on my 700c X 32 bike, plus it's absolute comfort throughout the entire ride. 26" wheels will NOT slow you down but the choice of tires will. I also hear good things about Panaracer Paselas as far as "faster" 26" touring tires. Remember this is touring so it's not like you are in a competition against anyone.

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Old 06-10-12, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Pringle
Even though a stock bike is a turnkey alternative for a lot of folks, I think one ends up being way more satisfied (and with a better FIT!!) with a full build from the frameset up. If you are not in any rush, the best and most inexpensive way is to buy all the parts online and consolidate purchases from two or three stores with free shipping. Then have your LBS put everything together for you. You just need to know a bit about bikes so as not to make compatibility mistakes that could throw off the project. Otherwise, the quotes you received from those local bike shops seem adequate. An advantage is that if you run into any issues (i.e., fitting, part failure, etc.), they will be there to help you and back warranties. Ask them about this.

BTW, there are quite a few choices of 26" tires for touring, I am using Schwalbe Racers in 1.75" and they feel very lively and do not feel any slower than on my 700c X 32 bike, plus it's absolute comfort throughout the entire ride. 26" wheels will NOT slow you down but the choice of tires will. I also hear good things about Panaracer Paselas as far as "faster" 26" touring tires. Remember this is touring so it's not like you are in a competition against anyone.

Chris, thats definately something to consider if my local dealer throws in a warranty for the parts and a tune up here and there , I might just go with him to make things simpler for me, and get me up and running on my LHT

also very glad to hear that with the right tires the 26 wheels wont slow me down, I will be training on the LHT here and there, using it for my long rides and gravel pathways, heard so many good things about the LHT that i decidet to get one for myself as I have never had a touring comfortable bike, ( mosty road bikes and a single speed Scott which is a comfortable ride but for shorter distances and less hilly terrain )
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Old 06-10-12, 11:00 PM
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I've built up several bikes,and more often than not the builds cost more than the stock bikes. I tend to use better components than the stock bike and STI shifters which add to the cost. This is the case even though I pick up most of the parts online, get a discount at my LBS, and buy when parts are on sale. However, the bike is really dialed in to my needs, and it is worth the extra cost.

Chris
You just need to know a bit about bikes so as not to make compatibility mistakes that could throw off the project.
This is very important, especially if you are using STI shifters and want to have mountain gearing on your bike (44/32/22 cranks). However, I believe that you have to have more than a "bit" of skill to do a really good job, not to mention a pretty good complement of tools. If your LHT frame is new, you will probably have to have your bottom bracket threads "chased" and the BB "faced" The tools are expensive, and the LBS usually charges $25-$30 for the service. Installing headsets also require some skill to do it right, and specialized tools make it a lot easier.

Having said all this, building up you own bike is a rewarding experience. Also as mentioned the knowledge gained is good experience when something needs fixing. The tools you buy are a good investment.

A good compromise might be to work with your LBS on component selection and have them do the build, with you assisting. The extra cost could be "written off" as education. You would also get a good idea of the tools necessary to do future maintenance. You can also try different sized stems at the LBS as you start to dial in your fit instead of guessing when you order it.

Good luck to you regardless of how you decide to do the build.
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Old 06-10-12, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
This is very important, especially if you are using STI shifters and want to have mountain gearing on your bike (44/32/22 cranks). However, I believe that you have to have more than a "bit" of skill to do a really good job, not to mention a pretty good complement of tools. If your LHT frame is new, you will probably have to have your bottom bracket threads "chased" and the BB "faced" The tools are expensive, and the LBS usually charges $25-$30 for the service. Installing headsets also require some skill to do it right, and specialized tools make it a lot easier.
Yes, the O.P. would need to know what he's doing to put his bike together himself. I might be mistaken, but I don't get the impression the O.P. wants to go this route. He wants to keep his costs down and buying specialty tools et al. would actually increase his initial costs, although I agree that it would be more satisfying. The "bit" I was referring to was in the technical aspect of choosing of compatible components if he were to buy them online: handlebar to match stem, seatpost diameter for his seat tube, brake levers for his type of brakes, tires to match his rim, etc.


A good compromise might be to work with your LBS on component selection and have them do the build, with you assisting. The extra cost could be "written off" as education. You would also get a good idea of the tools necessary to do future maintenance. You can also try different sized stems at the LBS as you start to dial in your fit instead of guessing when you order it.
That would be nice if he could assist the LBS in putting his bike together. I'm afraid this is very unlikely due to bike shops liability concerns in the U.S. Most bike shops will not allow customers to enter their repair areas unless it's a paid class with all kinds of signed waivers. The OP should definitely work closely with LBS in the selection of parts and fitting: handlebar width, stem size, comfortable saddle, cranks length and so on.

Last edited by Chris Pringle; 06-10-12 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 06-11-12, 06:33 AM
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I've built up several bikes, including my LHT. I always spend substantially more than if I had just bought a complete. I've heard that completes cost less because the company buys parts in bulk and gets a much better price than you or I can. I built a mountain bike up from a frame. I don't mountain bike that often and wasn't picky. I got some good deals on serviceable parts on Ebay, looked for items on sale, etc. That bike didn't cost too much more than a complete. On the other hand, I didn't want to scrimp or settle on the LHT because I wanted excellent overall quality, and I didn't want parts that might break down when I'm out on tour in the middle of nowhere. I probably spent at least 50% more than I would have if I had bought the complete.

Why do I like to build up bikes rather than buy a complete?
  • I get exactly the components I want.
  • I know how everything goes together. That makes me more confident that I can fix something when I'm on the road.
  • When I buy a few parts each month, rather than everything at once, it spreads out the pain in my wallet. I know I end up paying more, but paying a little at a time seems more manageable.
  • It's fun! I like working on bikes, learning new skills, buying tools, and knowing that "I did it myself."

If you have a lot of parts that are serviceable, or a donor bike to take parts off of, buying a frame and building it up could be a cheaper alternative. However, it never has been for me. But I'm going to keep doing it. I'm building up an Allez frame for my wife as we speak!
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Old 06-11-12, 06:46 AM
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gripempire, Building up a bike is a great experiance, rewarding with a bike that suits your needs and desires. An off the shelf bike is a combination of compromises, suitable for general usage. You'll need to define (to yourself) what you want that is different from a standard OEM build to come close to justifying the additional cost of a personal build.

Let the LBS sort out which stem and BB you'll need and start amassing parts. Handle bars, saddle and pedals are 'personal' items so choose carefully there.

Brad
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Old 06-11-12, 07:55 AM
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When I built my frame up, I feel like I spent less then the Complete bike, but I doubt that would have been the case had I simply taken the Complete parts list and bought those parts. To make a cheaper build:
  • Used existing parts from my supplies when possible.
  • Got some 2nd hand parts from the local bike co-op.
  • Made a list of parts I would need, and bought from that list every time I saw something on sale.
  • Went with cheaper then stock parts when I felt the quality was acceptable.

If you just walk into a bike shop with a list of parts, your build will cost at least as much as a Complete bike. The only reason my bike was built as cheaply as it was is because I spent months gathering parts as cheaply as possible and did all the assembly work myself or with the assistance of my bike co-op.
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Old 06-11-12, 10:36 AM
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Chris
Yes, the O.P. would need to know what he's doing to put his bike together himself. I might be mistaken, but I don't get the impression the O.P. wants to go this route. He wants to keep his costs down and buying specialty tools et al. would actually increase his initial costs, although I agree that it would be more satisfying. The "bit" I was referring to was in the technical aspect of choosing of compatible components if he were to buy them online: handlebar to match stem, seatpost diameter for his seat tube, brake levers for his type of brakes, tires to match his rim, etc.
You are right. I went back and reread the OP and your post a "bit" more carefully
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Old 06-11-12, 04:44 PM
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Another idea is to look for a complete "donor" bike and take its parts off to make yours work. A decent hybrid or mtb from the last 10 years should give you wide range gearing and fairly sturdy parts, I'd look for deore and above in the specs. Used wheels can be full of surprises but new wheels built on cr-18 rims aren't bank-breakers either. If you're willing to use friction bar-end or even stem shifters, it'd really make it easy to use almost any bicycle as a donor for parts. That would leave lots of money leftover for racks, fenders, panniers, bottles, cages, etc. I know there are a few co-ops in Chicago but haven't made it out to any but they might be a source of helpful advice and/or parts.
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Old 06-12-12, 08:42 AM
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Surly used to only sell frames and forks, not complete bikes. That is how I bought mine, frame and fork from one supplier, rims from another, front hub from another, rear hub from someone else, spokes from a local bike shop, several parts were used from ebay. I probably spent what I would have paid if I waited a few years and bought a complete bike. And I spent a lot of hours looking for bargains including buying several used components.

Manufacturers and wholesalers (including Surly) pay a lot less for components than a retail customer. Thus, it is virtually impossible for a retail customer to build up a bike for less money. Also, I think most bike shops have a smaller percentage markup on a complete bike than they do for individual parts.

If you plan to do touring, it is a good idea to know how everything is put together. Thus, it is a good idea to do as much of the work as you are comfortable doing and avoiding paying too much for labor. You might want to have a local bike shop install the headset and possibly the bottom bracket and do the rest yourself. Regarding wheel building, if you have good mechanical aptitude and some spare time, building up your own wheels can give you a sense of accomplishment, but if you lack the mechanical skill then you may be better off buying complete wheels. My local bike shop is where I bought spokes, I let them calculate the lengths I needed after they measured the hub and rim dimensions.
https://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html

Good luck.
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Old 06-12-12, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by gripempire
Here is the deal,

I was lucky enough to get a SURLY frame and fork for 300$ shipped to my house( its a 52 cm LONG HAUL TRUCKER )


( Im 5 feet 9 , have longer legs and a shorter torso, i tested the 54 cm at a local bike shop and felt too stretched out on it the 52 looks to be the same size as my Giant cyclo cross bike, and even though it only fits 26 inch wheels, ill be able to ride better on gravel pathways and be a bit more comfortable on this one than my cyclocross bike.)


I can get a Surly long haul trucker complet and brand new for about 1250 with tax

now so far the " COMPLETE BIKE setup will cost me

i got a quote of 600 - 800 plus possible labor

and from another bike shop

its 975 plus tax total for building the bike
..... hes including STI shifters for that price and a regular kit from the surly site


IS this a fair amount to pay ? I was hoping to save myself some money but looks like will basically be paying just as much as a new bike, any websites that sell complet kits for touring bikes?

I dont want to over pay just for reagular SURLY kit if there are better deals out there


thanks

Steve
from NW suburbs of Chicago
Surly bikes typically have a longer top tube length in any size compared to some of the other offerings. Compared to my Masi CX of the same frame size, the Surly equivalent would be about 40mm longer on the top tube even including their Cross Check model. Each manufacturer design their frame sizes based on their own criteria. Basically, there is no standard other than judging the top tube length, seat tube and down tube lengths to determine overall handlebar height and overall bike stiffness. Having said that, what you paid for the whole build isn't expensive if your STI shifters are Tiagra class and Deore/Tiagra derailleur and XT rear. Basically against a stock LHT that has the bar-end shifters and an XT rear, it's really difficult to save money except you have the ability to customize your own saddle, bar width and length and shifters preference to your liking without having to pay extra on top of the stock build..

Comparing an STI shifter based LHT with your preferred saddle and drop bars against a stock LHT is like comparing apples and oranges. Not a fair comparison.
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Old 06-12-12, 11:52 AM
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You can save money if you go for a flat bar or trekking bar or any other bar that accepts mountainbike shifters and brakes. I built my LHT with all mountain bike components (SLX drivetrain, Deore brakes) and was able to include a good hub dynamo (DH-3N72), a Brooks saddle, the best Busch & Mόller lights available, fenders, a Tubus Cargo rear carrier and hand built wheels for less than the complete LHT would've cost without any modifications. So if you're flexible regarding handle bar choice, it could be interesting...
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