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bike setup considerations before world tour

Old 07-31-13, 08:29 AM
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bike setup considerations before world tour

Hi! Greeting from Norway

My fifth summer tour is over. Next autumn if everything goes as planned I'll be setting off on a long tour for several years. I've been pondering over the different options in setup. I own a custom made Sakitt touring bike made by Robert Beckman back in 2007. This is my only touring bike so far, therefore I have no reference to how good it is compared to others. I'm leaning towards using this one, but then I need to do some improvement. The problem is, I'm not very apt in bicycle mechanics and as I live in a small town in Norway, with little expertise to lend from the locally sport shops, I'have to figure out these things myself. Ordering the neccesary parts from abroad could soon amount to a lot of money also. Tips are welcome.

The changes I want to do from my current setup:

- the gearing have caused me problems: I have a 8 speed cassette (11-32) and a crankset with 48-44-24. The bike was delivered with this setup, but it was a tight fit from the beginning. When I needed to replace the cassette and cranks before this summers trip I couldn't do it satisfacory, neither could three different bicycle mechanics. Adjusting the front derailleur to be able to make these big leaps has proven difficult. Are these combinations unusual/manageable? I love the gear range as I'm able to climb anything with the lowest gear, I could probably do without the 48 crank as I seldom use it.


- I have drop bars, but want to be able to have a more upright position. I'm considering different types, but this means I have to drop the bar end shifters and get different brakes I guess?

- I'd like to install a dynamo hub in the front, mabe a son 28. I'd probably need a new wheelset for this, no wheelbuilders around here... I have Sun rims rhyno lite, 48 spokes in the back, 36 in the front. I've never had any problems with these. Recommendations for wheels are welcome

- I'd like to replace my cantilever brakes with v-brakes. I use 1,75 tires. Any problems, considerations?

The alternative is to by a new one. Over the last tours I'm chosen more and more rugged terrain for my travels and I want to be sure my bike can handle this. The sakitt is a sturdy bike, the racks and panniers work great together (except in rain, since I can't seem to find covers that sits tight and don't collect water in the bottom). But, If I'm not cautious with the weight distribution I experience frame shimmy. With the added weight for a world tour I'm a little worried if the bike is strong enough for long periods on bumpy gravel roads. If I where to buy a new one the Thorn Nomad mk2 with a rohloff seems like a good option.

All kinds of tips are most welcome,

Jan Petter
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Old 07-31-13, 08:45 AM
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One thing that looks odd - are your chainrings really 48-44-24?! That does look odd to me! E.g. the Thorn Sherpa uses a 22-32-44. I'm guessing that more equally spaced chainrings would help shifting, by eliminating such a big step.

Sun Rhyno rims seem like a really good choice. I would think it should be pretty simple to get the wheel you want built someplace and shipped to you. Wheels are really important so that is not a place to skimp!

I would certainly recommend putting some loaded miles on any new set-up before you start your big trip!

It does sound like you are quite well prepared & just dialing in the last details... your questions seem very smart & indicative of experience.
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Old 07-31-13, 08:48 AM
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Also - to get a more upright posture, can't you just raise the handlebars somehow? Drop bars are nice and you are right that switching handlebars seems to bring a ripple of changes... seems to me that with all your riding experience, how big a change do you really want?

I think v brakes with drop bars is a little tricky - I have heard that tektro levers are the solution.
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Old 07-31-13, 09:21 AM
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Jan, I presently use an 11-30 8S and 22-32-44 chain rings, the shifting is quite smooth. I would try an adjustable stem to raise the handle bars if you want to keep the drop bars. Send your front wheel to a wheel builder to have the dynamo laced into your rim, but on the other hand you may wish for a new wheel set for a multiple year tour. This would allow your present wheels to be available for shipping to you in the event you need them. Linear pull brakes require matching levers or a Travel Agent to alter the pull ratio. There may also be clearance problems with fenders.

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Old 07-31-13, 10:02 AM
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You say you want V brakes , then," I have drop bars, but want to be able to have a more upright position."

I'm using Magura HS33 brakes on my trekking bar equipped bike ..
the Hydraulic rim brake , made in Germany is quite popular over there .

trekking bars figure 8 bend will do what you wish for upright position..

I have mine higher than my saddle by a bit.

48-44- is a half step , consider a 36 t middle ring. instead ..

rebuilding the SON hub in a 36 hole configuration will be fine.

I like my Rohloff bike .. their grip-shift works perfectly with Trekking bars.

a 36 hole hubshell version is made for tandems and heavy users ..

a retrofit on your Sakkit is possible , Ortlieb Panniers are extremely popular for their waterproof construction.


But I had a very nice set of rain covers hand made for me for my Beckman Panniers they kept things nicely dry..

not as convenient to remove, but that inconvenience was a security feature on the road,

I could offer the raincovers for sale , fietsbob@gmail.com (since BF PM has a low threshold of 100 posts)

3 pieces , the rear I made to cover top of the rear rack load and the pannies as one piece.


I resolved the speed/weight shimmy on my loaded touring bike witha Frame with a rather novel use of a side by side pair of toptubes

adapted from the materials of a cargo bike builder where I lived in Eugene..

I could sell it too, it's a 700c wheel though..

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Old 07-31-13, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim Kukula
I think v brakes with drop bars is a little tricky - I have heard that tektro levers are the solution.
There's nothing about drop bars that is inherently incompatible with V-brakes. Vs just have a different cable pull, and this can be accomodated, as suggested above, by the correct levers. I happen to be fond of the Cane Creek Drop-V lever:

https://road.cc/content/review/2032-c...ke-road-levers

I think if you want to run brifters you are likely out of luck, however.
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Old 07-31-13, 03:32 PM
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V-brakes work great with brifters and the use of Travel Agents, a cable pull multiplier:
https://www.jensonusa.com/Problem-Solvers-Travel-Agent

Been using these for years on our tandem, trouble-free.
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Old 07-31-13, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim Kukula
I think v brakes with drop bars is a little tricky - I have heard that tektro levers are the solution.
Nope, I got rid of the cantis on my Cannondale T1 and replaced them with Vs. Tektro makes a set of drop bar brake levers for V brakes (RL520). I friction shift my 3X9. AL
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Old 07-31-13, 06:00 PM
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My wife's bike is set up with brifters and V-brakes with travel agents. They work fine. However, I think for a "world tour" the less moving parts the better.


Last edited by Doug64; 07-31-13 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 08-02-13, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Jan Petter
Hi! Greeting from Norway
- the gearing have caused me problems: I have a 8 speed cassette (11-32) and a crankset with 48-44-24. The bike was delivered with this setup, but it was a tight fit from the beginning.
...
Adjusting the front derailleur to be able to make these big leaps has proven difficult. Are these combinations unusual/manageable? I love the gear range as I'm able to climb anything with the lowest gear, I could probably do without the 48 crank as I seldom use it.
You do not need the 48, could replace with a bashguard. But I suspect that your shifting problem is an upshift from the 24 to 44. Thus, getting rid of the 48 would not really help you much.

I have a 52/42/24 front. I find that the upshift from the 24t to the 42t is not very smooth but I can usually make that shift in a distance of less than 30 feet and always less than 50 feet. I put up with the poor quality shift because the advantage of having that wide gearing is so great.

If you have a problem dropping the chain when you shift down from the 44t to 24t, get a chain catcher.

Originally Posted by Jan Petter
Hi! Greeting from Norway
When I needed to replace the cassette and cranks before this summers trip I couldn't do it satisfacory, neither could three different bicycle mechanics.
Jan Petter
I am not sure why they could not replace the crank. I would assume that you could put on a mountain bike crankset with the mountain bike gearing if you wanted to.

Originally Posted by Jan Petter
- I have drop bars, but want to be able to have a more upright position. I'm considering different types, but this means I have to drop the bar end shifters and get different brakes I guess?
I think most touring bikes with drop bars have the top of the drop bars set at about the same height of the saddle. Your photo shows it about that same height. Maybe you could buy a taller stem?

Originally Posted by Jan Petter
Hi! Greeting from Norway
- I'd like to install a dynamo hub in the front, mabe a son 28. I'd probably need a new wheelset for this, no wheelbuilders around here... I have Sun rims rhyno lite, 48 spokes in the back, 36 in the front. I've never had any problems with these. Recommendations for wheels are welcome
If you are willing to learn how to build up a wheel, you could buy spokes and the hub and use your existing rim.
https://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html
If you build your own wheel, you might want to have a bike shop check spoke tension when you are done.

But since rims are relatively cheap, you probably are best off buying an entire wheel - 36 hole.

Originally Posted by Jan Petter
- I'd like to replace my cantilever brakes with v-brakes. I use 1,75 tires. Any problems, considerations?
If you change handlebars, do so at the same time as any change in brakes. A change from cantilevers to V brakes may mean a change in brake levers - or use of the travel agent. I suspect that you would be happier to change the levers if you make this change.

Originally Posted by Jan Petter
If I where to buy a new one the Thorn Nomad mk2 with a rohloff seems like a good option.
If you are not skilled at doing your own work, the Nomad may be a good option because of the Rohloff. There are on-line videos that tell you how to change the oil, install the cables, etc.

That bike is very robust and would certainly handle a world tour. But it is a heavy bike, you should decide how much you want your bike to weigh. If you got the Andra 30 rims, your wheels would be quite heavy, but very robust.

One unusual feature of the Nomad is that they have short or long top tube frame sizing, shorter for drop bars and longer for flat bars. Thus, if you know which bars you want, you can get the frame sized better for you. For this reason it would be best if you make your decision first on which bar types you want - then order the bike.
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Old 08-02-13, 01:21 PM
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Thanks for all the good advice.


I think I'm gonna experiment a little more with the stem height adjustment before I take a decision as what to do with the bar and brake set-up. The most frustating has been the gearing. The problem was not replacing the chainrings, but adjusting the gears afterwards. The biggest problem with it has been adjusting the drop from the middle chainring to the smallest while still beeing able to reach the biggest one. It would not drop smoothly, only if I used the two smallest chainring on the cassette.
Back up is quite smooth.


Since I've found out that I seldom use the 48 chainring I think I will try what a few of you have suggested: a 32/36 in between. I think that a 24 chainring at the bottom is low enough for me. If I move the middle 44 to work as the outer, I would only need to buy a new middle one: 32 or 36, any opinions which would be the best?


When searching for and ordering these chainrings I'm afraid I might get the wrong modell...
I have a 8-speed chain, and the crankdiameter is 110/74. I've used Specialites TA and would like to continue with those. Would this be the correct one?: https://www.londonbicycleworkshop.com...chainring.aspx


If not, or if you have a better option that ships internationally, please give me a link.


Thanks, Jan Petter
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Old 08-02-13, 06:11 PM
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If you have a 110 bolt circle diameter, the smallest chainring you can fit for the middle would be 34, not 32. The one you cite should work. You however should ask the seller of that chainring if the ramps and pins are correct for using a 44t as an outer ring.

If the ramps and pins are not compatible with each other between your middle and large chainrings, the shifting won't be as smooth. In the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, nobody had ramps and pins, shifting was ok. So it is not a big problem if your ramps and pins are not compatable, it is just a less smooth shift and you can't be pedaling hard when you shift.

I can't figure out why the downshift onto the 24t chainring only works well if you are on one of the two smallest cogs on the cassette. Perhaps it is a front derailleur issue? I am using a derailleur from the 1980s, seems to work best for me.
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Old 09-29-13, 03:53 AM
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Hi! I haven't had the time to work on my bike since I started this tread in august. Thanks for all the good advice. I have some further questions abot the gearing before I decide what to do. First, what I forgot to stress in the original post is that my crankset has 130BCD for the two biggest chainrings (48 and 44 teeth) and 74mm for the smallest (24teeth). The cassette is a 8-speed (11-32T). This was the original setup when I bought the bike back in 2007. As I said, the front derailleur could barely manage these big leaps in gearing from the beginning. When I replaced the front chainrings this spring, the local bikeshop could't do it satisfacory (they also told me that the 74/130 BCD was an uncommon combination). Later on I've read that the front derailleur rarely handles leaps bigger than 22 teeth:


Most mountain type of front derailleurs handle up to a 12 tooth between individual chainrings (e.g., 48 to 36 equals 12 teeth) and up to a 22 tooth between largest to smallest chainrings (e.g., 48 to 26 equals 22 teeth).- https://www.bicycle-touring-guide.com...cycle-gearing/


As I said earlier, I really like to be able to use the smallest chainring (22t). I could probably do with a smaller one at the top. When doing research I've found out that 46T is the smallest amount of teeth on a outer chainring 130BCD. That would put me in the 22 teeth interval mentioned in the link above. Still I'm a little sceptical if this would work when considering it's only two teeth less than I've used. The suggestions I got from a few of you in the last post indicated that you used 110 BCD crank I guess...


My questions are:
Going on a world tour with a relatively heavy load, knowing that I like steep mountain roads and that I have to replace parts as I go, what would your suggestion for a good reliable gearing system be (crank arm 110/130 – 74 BCD? - 8 speed/9 speed? - chainrings front?) Should I experiment more on the crank I have, or would it be better to start from scratch? If you have links to products I'd be grateful.


Thanks, Jan Petter
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Old 09-29-13, 04:10 AM
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Find a course to take on bicycle mechanics. You should be fluent with the bicycle if you are going to embark on such a journey. It will pay you back many times.
Personally, I started by pulling things apart & building up bikes. You don't want to learn some things on the fly.
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Old 09-29-13, 05:23 AM
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I agree with others that you need to learn bicycle mechanics better, but I also recognize that some people do not have a good aptitude for that. I suspect you are one of the later. A good book on bicycle mechanics may help. I can't recommend a book, I have none, and if I did recommend one it would be in english. If you do not have a good aptitude for mechanical things, there is nothing I can suggest to improve that.

If you do not have a chain catcher, consider getting one. You never explained well what your downshift problem was. If you were dropping the chain, the chain catcher is intended to prevent that. They are cheap and can prevent a lot of frustration.

I think you should consider a new crankset, 110/74mm. Your 24t 74mm chainring would still work. You would have to decide what size chainrings you want for the middle and outer positions.

If you get a new crankset, a new bottom bracket may be appropriate if spindle length or method of connecting the cranks is different. I you get a new bottom bracket, you will have a lot of additional questions about which one to get.

Eight speed versus nine speed cassette, I am perfectly happy with the eight speed 11/32 that I have on three different bikes. I can't speak about Shimano cassettes, mine are all Sram. But when I built up my first touring bike almost 10 years ago, I was trying to decide which to buy, the eight or nine speed. The Sram eight has 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 26, and 32t cogs. The Sram nine has 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 24, 28, and 32t cogs. The only difference is that the eight has a 26 and the nine instead has a 24 and 28. I concluded that I would be perfectly happy with a 26 instead of the 24 and 28, thus I chose to go with an eight speed. Since then I have been happy with my choice.

I think I would be perfectly happy with your gearing, but you are obviously not. So, you need to decide what you want and get it.
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Old 09-29-13, 05:42 AM
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For gearing, I'd say use what you have. If you end up not being able to source a replacement chain ring on tour you could just replace the crank set then with the money you saved by not doing it now. Every bike shop in the developed world should stock 8 speed cassettes. I'd just be sure to have a fresh one installed and possibly a spare in my luggage for crossing, say, central China. Worst case, you just might have to replace the entire drive train with whatever is available wherever you happened to land.

If you're still trying to improve braking, consider replacing your fork with something like the disk trucker fork and installing an Avid BB7 road disc brake, which is compatible with your current levers. As I'm sure you know, the front brake provides the majority of your stopping power; you could just leave the rear cantilever as is. With a really solid fork up front you could install a beefy front rack and shift your load forward, which will make the bike handle nicely and reduce that wobble you mentioned.

Lastly, while SON is the best money can buy; you can get a pre-built Shimano dynohub wheel for less than the SON hub alone.
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