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Help me customize a Rodriguez touring bike?

Old 08-06-13, 09:17 PM
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Help me customize a Rodriguez touring bike?

Hi, I'm looking for a touring bike that I could take on long trips in less developed parts of the world. I had my eye on a Thorn Raven for a long time, but now I'm looking at Rodriguez, partly because they're not as far away (I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area and they're in Seattle, and I'm planning to take a trip up there to do everything in person and get fitted) and because I've read great things about them on this forum and elsewhere.

Here are the standard components on the bike I'm interested in. (From here... Specs I'm interested in on the right side of the page and popular upgrades at the bottom.)

Frame - Reynolds 725
Fork - Steel Tandem Grade
Shift levers - Rohloff twist grip
Brake Levers - Tektro Ergo
Brakes - Tektro Cantilever
Eccentric - Bushnell Retro pat. 8,070,633
Bottom Bracket - Shimano Sealed
Cranks - Origin8 Alloy
Wheels - Hand-built 3-year warranty
Rims - Weinmann ZAC19
Rear Hub - Rohloff Speedhub 14-sp
Front Hub - Formula Sealed Bearing
Spokes - Stainless 14G
Tires - Serfas Seca 26"x1.25"
Handlebars - Kalloy Uno Drop
Head Set - FSA Sealed 1 1/8" Standard
Stem - Alloy
Bar tape - Black Cork
Seat post - Alloy 27.2
Seat - WTB Speed V
I was just wondering if there's anything I should think about changing. Two changes I know I'm gonna make are to get flat handlebars with Ergon GP5 grips and different, wider tires. I thought I would try the saddle, since I don't have one I know I like yet. And I'm gonna get S&S couplers.

This is already an investment, so I'm totally happy to stick with solid standard components beyond the changes I'm already planning unless there's something I should really consider. I'm new to serious cycling and have a lot to learn about components and maintenance, but I've done a lot of traveling, and I'm confident that I'll take to touring, so that's why I'm thinking of starting with this kind of bike instead of starting less expensive and working my way up.

But is there anything that you would suggest swapping out? Or any other advice? Thanks!
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Old 08-06-13, 10:42 PM
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The only advice I have is to give Dan and the staff as much information about your riding/wants/needs/plans/successes/failures as possible. They are great at putting together a package that just flat out works and the more information you give them to work with the better the outcome will be. When we picked up our Rodriguez tandem last summer, my wife mentioned some issues she was having with her wrists. Dan suggested a handlebar change that worked like a dream both on the 460 mile ride home that weekend and on the many thousands of miles since. (She rides captain, so her wrist health is important to our riding joy.)
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Old 08-07-13, 12:07 AM
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San Francisco has a bunch of bike builders around there /..

Bruce Gordon' Rock and Road X is available as a 26" wheel bike built around having his racks on them,
he is in Petaluma..

Bernie Mikkelsen is in Oakland, not far from the A's / Raiders stadium,,as examples..


reads like some parts are 'OK' but not top shelf..

Rohloff shifters are for 22. 2 Mountain bike bars, not 23.8 Road bars ,,what do you want?.
road bars drop the Rohloff stick with derailleurs .

trekking bars take the shifter , other than that you need a kludge. though the side of the stem mount may be OK, IDK ,
not my choice seems like stem shifters , I'm having the shifter on the bars with my kit.

I have 2 bikes with trekking bars an Rohloff hubs,
and trekking or MTB bars with Bar ends are compatible with Magura's Hydraulic rim Brakes [HS33]
Or Hydraulic Disc brakes ..

seat post: Cane Creek Thud-buster

If you like electronic widgets ?get a Dyno-hub built into the front wheel , so you can recharge some of that stuff ..

Schmidt .. their finish matches the rear hub.. . red black or polished.

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-25-13 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 08-07-13, 11:16 PM
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We own two Rodriguez custom bikes. We are elated with the work done by R+E Cycles. My personal touring bike (based on the UTB) is Rohloff-ready, but I built it up with a derailleur system as the Rohloff hub was out of my budget at the time of the build. It is clear that there might be several builders in your neck of the woods, but I wouldn't trust just anyone with a Rohloff system. The guys at R+E Cycles build lots of Rohloff frames every year and know exactly what they're doing. Also, their Rohloff builder (Todd) trained extensively at the Rohloff factory in Germany.

In regard to the components for your build:

* Wheels - Ask them to use double-butted spokes. For a 26" wheel you should do fine with 32 spokes, but it might be best to consider 36 spokes (rear only) if the Rohloff hub allows these many spokes (can't remember.)
* Tires - I love the Schwalbe Marathon Racer. The 1.75" are quite versatile -- they work well both on ashpalt and on gravel roads. You're right to consider wider tires. For example, my frame was spec'd to 2.1" w/ fenders and 2.4" w/o fenders.

Other Suggestions:

* I suggest adding a derailleur hanger as a low-tech back up. It won't affect the operation of the Rohloff in any way. If your Rohloff hub ever breaks down on tour, it will be nice to know that you can always use a traditional drivetrain to continue your trip.

* Chainstay length: I believe they use somewhere around 440mm chainstay length. For loaded touring with big panniers, you might want to consider something longer to avoid heel strike. I went with 460mm to be on the safe side. You should look closer into that when they measure your shoes and you go over the rear rack and panniers models you have in mind.
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Old 08-08-13, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris Pringle
* Wheels - Ask them to use double-butted spokes. For a 26" wheel you should do fine with 32 spokes, but it might be best to consider 36 spokes (rear only) if the Rohloff hub allows these many spokes (can't remember.)
Rohloff with 36h is available.

Your wish list had very narrow tires. If you might use wider tires later, consider that when you set up your fenders, if you use fenders. I always put the widest tires on a touring bike that I might ever use and then install the fenders. When I use narrower tires, I live with the large gap between fenders and tire.

Start thinking about the highest and lowest gearing that you want. You will need to decide what chainring size you want based on that. If you are new to bike touring, you probably will need help from the sales staff on deciding this.

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Old 08-08-13, 03:56 PM
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There's a lot of personal preference stuff you could do. I prefer trekking bars and disk brakes. I really don't like cantilever brakes but plenty of people tour on them swear by them. I'd definitely spring for generator lighting. But even that doesn't make sense if you will never ride at dusk-night-dawn or in the rain.
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Old 08-08-13, 04:54 PM
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FWIW, the 4 bolt Rohloff disc is the same bolt pattern as 4 bolt chainrings , so if you feel a need for 'Belt and Braces'
you can drive the wheel, turned over.

gearing My 26" wheel bike, had a 39t 130 bcd, I put on a different crankset a 110,
and fit a 38t, Surly, stainless steel chainring. though a 130 bcd SS could also have been chosen..

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-08-13 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 08-24-13, 06:30 PM
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Thank you all so much for your help. I'm sorry it's taken me such a long time to follow up. I got completely sidelined for about a week after I posted, and then it was time for me to head up to Seattle to meet with the guys from R+E and get fitted. (I had never been to Seattle before. Man, it's gorgeous! Water everywhere, fir trees, seaplanes... I have to keep reminding myself that the sunny weather I experienced isn't year-round, or else I'd be really tempted to move.)

Anyway, the visit to R+E couldn't have gone better. Smiley did the fitting and answered all of my beginner questions. At 6'5", I'm too big for the standard sizes, so I'm getting a custom frame. They gave me a bike to test ride that was close to my size, and it was really a pleasure. I've mostly only ridden bikes that are small for me, so it was cool to ride one that fits, and I was kind of reluctant to stop riding.

After the fitting was over, I met Dan, the owner, and he gave me a tour of the shop and showed me all of the machines. Really cool to see where and how the bike will be made. I came back the next day with a few more questions and to obsess over the choice of paint, and Dan and Smiley were really friendly and helpful. Later that day, Dan sent me a drawing of the bike. It's now in the queue to be built, with all of the frame decisions finalized, but a few things concerning the wheels still to be determined.

Changes from the standard components listed in my first post:

I'm gonna get mountain bike handlebars with Ergon GP5 grips. I haven't ridden with them before, but they seem really comfortable, and I'll have a couple hand positions.

I'm gonna go with the Big Squeeze brakes that R+E does in-house. I did a search here, and people seem really happy with them.

Smiley suggested 180mm cranks. At first we looked at daVinci cranks, but they're a bit pricey for me, so I'm going with IRD cranks (these ones, I believe) unless anyone has any other recommendations.

Chris, thanks for the suggestion to think about longer chain stays. I wear size 15 shoes, and the cranks will be longer, so it definitely seems important. The chain stays are set at 455mm, so just shy of yours, but hopefully that will be enough to avoid heel strikes. By the way, I saw your touring bike in your thread detailing your Rodriguez experience, and it's really beautiful. That thread was one of the reasons I went with a Rodriguez.

And B. Carfree, hearing about how R+E worked with you on getting all the details right was also really encouraging.

Let's see, what other components? I decided not to get the S&S couplers in the end, since the couplers took the bike out of my price range and since the airlines I fly most often actually have pretty reasonable bike fees. I do think they would be cool to have, though.

Still going with the Rohloff hub.

Mainly it's down to the wheels...

fietsbob and TheReal Houdini, I think I will get a generator hub, probably the SONdelux. Will be good to have for use with a light, and I'm thinking that on long tours, I would rather try to rig up some way to charge my electronics on the bike than always have to hang around places with outlets.

I believe the spokes will be double-butted, but I'll check on that.

The standard rims are Weinmann ZAC19, which only get a so-so review here. Should I be looking at a different brand?

[Edit: On second thought, maybe those reviews aren't so relevant, since it seems like rims could be suitable for touring but not quite hardy enough for mountain biking. In addition to coming standard on Rodriguez tourers, the ZAC19 rims are a standard option on Thorns, and they held up over more than 30,000km on Pete Gostelow's tour of Africa, so I think that's good enough for me.]

[Further edit: My mistake, I think Pete Gostelow used different, hardier rims from the same company. At least, it seems like Rigida and Weinmann are the same company.]

And then I still can't decide on tires. Tourist in MSN, I will take your advice and consider the widest tires I might want when installing fenders. It occurs to me that I should check on how wide I can go. I know this bike is designed to be able to take wide tires, but I should get the exact specs. I imagine on long tours in less developed parts of the world, I might want 2" width?

I'm planning to work my way up to such tours with some shorter tours in the US, so I don't know if it makes to start with slightly narrower tires and then get a new pair of "expedition" tires when the time comes? Or should I go ahead and invest in the tires I would take on those longer tours and start getting used to them? In any case, I would like to start with fairly puncture-resistant tires that I would mostly use on the road but that could hold up to a little off-road. R+E seems to favor Serfas, and they recommended Serfas Drifters in my case, but I kind of have it in my head that Schwalbe are the best. Chris, thanks for the Schwalbe Marathon Racer recommendation. I will look into those.

Oh, forgot gearing... I know I want to be able to make it up hills fully-loaded, and downhill speed is less of a concern, so we were looking at 38/16, which I tried at the shop and it seemed like it might strike the right balance.

Anyway, thank you all for your input. It's really been a huge help!

By the way, the bike will look something like this one. That color paint, but solid, with chrome decals. With mountain handlebars, without the couplers, and with some different components but otherwise probably pretty similar.

Thanks again!

Last edited by trippingly; 08-26-13 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 08-24-13, 10:21 PM
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That's going to be a sweet ride. Good call on the brakes and dynohub. I have the same ones on my tandem. The only downside to the brakes is proper adjustment requires a 16 mm wrench, which is an odd size. In a pinch, you can usually do without it. Of course, an adjustable wrench can do the job as well.

Plan to take some time when you pick up the bike, if you choose to pick it up in person as opposed to having it shipped. Even though we picked ours up two days prior to STP, when all Seattle bike shops are slammed by the last minute needs of riders, the mechanics spent several hours making sure everything was just perfect for us. That was particularly nice since we were riding our bike home from Seattle, sort of an STP+E one day early.

Maybe you'll choose to ride yours home too?
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Old 08-24-13, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
San Francisco has a bunch of bike builders around there /..

Bruce Gordon' Rock and Road X is available as a 26" wheel bike built around having his racks on them,
he is in Petalima..

Close. Petaluma.
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Old 08-24-13, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree
That's going to be a sweet ride. Good call on the brakes and dynohub. I have the same ones on my tandem. The only downside to the brakes is proper adjustment requires a 16 mm wrench, which is an odd size. In a pinch, you can usually do without it. Of course, an adjustable wrench can do the job as well.

Plan to take some time when you pick up the bike, if you choose to pick it up in person as opposed to having it shipped. Even though we picked ours up two days prior to STP, when all Seattle bike shops are slammed by the last minute needs of riders, the mechanics spent several hours making sure everything was just perfect for us. That was particularly nice since we were riding our bike home from Seattle, sort of an STP+E one day early.

Maybe you'll choose to ride yours home too?
Hi B. Carfree, I was actually just reading the thread about your "STP+E" trip!

I really wish I could pick the bike up in person, do some fine-tuning with the folks at R+E, and ride it home to Berkeley, but I'm in school, and I'll be right in the thick of it several weeks from now when the bike will be ready. But I would love to do that ride someday soon. I'm an East Coast transplant, and I've been really impressed with the natural beauty of the two parts of the West Coast I know: the SF Bay Area and now Seattle. Would love to check out Oregon as well, and I think it would be cool to see how that natural beauty transitions as you go from the Pacific Northwest to Northern California. Well, someday.
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Old 08-25-13, 12:03 AM
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Oh, and thanks for mentioning the need for a 16mm wrench. I'll get one for brake adjustments.
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Old 08-25-13, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by trippingly
... ...
And then I still can't decide on tires. Tourist in MSN, I will take your advice and consider the widest tires I might want when installing fenders. It occurs to me that I should check on how wide I can go. I know this bike is designed to be able to take wide tires, but I should get the exact specs. I imagine on long tours in less developed parts of the world, I might want 2" width?

I'm planning to work my way up to such tours with some shorter tours in the US, so I don't know if it makes to start with slightly narrower tires and then get a new pair of "expedition" tires when the time comes? Or should I go ahead and invest in the tires I would take on those longer tours and start getting used to them? In any case, I would like to start with fairly puncture-resistant tires that I would mostly use on the road but that could hold up to a little off-road. R+E seems to favor Serfas, and they recommended Serfas Drifters in my case, but I kind of have it in my head that Schwalbe are the best. Chris, thanks for the Schwalbe Marathon Racer recommendation. I will look into those.
... ...
If I was going in third world countries and carrying a load of camping gear, I would use 2.0 (50mm) or maybe 2.25 (57mm) width tires. I have used 2.0 width Schwalbe Dureme on front and 2.0 width Schwalbe Extreme on rear for touring on gravel, been very happy with that combination. The Dureme would have also worked for both front and rear. The Extreme is quite noisy on pavement. The Dureme and Extreme I believe are now discontinued.

I bought a set of 2.25 (57mm) width Schwalbe Extremes that I might take on a trip I am thinking about where the roads may be terrible. I only got them because they had a great clearance price, otherwise I would have stuck with the 2.0 width.

A year ago I did about a 500 mile tour on pavement. Instead of using my 700c touring bike, I decided to use a 26 inch wheel bike. But for good quality pavement for 500 miles, I decided to use narrower tires than the 2.0 width. I bought the Schwalbe Marathon (with GreenGuard) tires in 40mm width. They worked great, took high pressure and rolled well. They had a wired bead and were not too expensive.

For around town, I use cheap tires. Right now I have tires that I paid less than $10 each for on a couple bikes. I save my expensive touring tires for the trips.

In other words, for my 26 inch wheel touring bikes, I have three sets, (1) wider gravel touring tires, (2) narrower pavement touring tires, and (3) cheap around town tires.

If the manufacturer recommends the Serfas, there is no reason to avoid them. If you decide later to invest in some additional expensive tires, compared to the rest of your investment another set of tires is quite reasonable.

Originally Posted by trippingly
... ...
Oh, forgot gearing... I know I want to be able to make it up hills fully-loaded, and downhill speed is less of a concern, so we were looking at 38/16, which I tried at the shop and it seemed like it might strike the right balance.
... ...
That should be a good hill climber.

Since both front and rear are even numbers, consider this.
https://sheldonbrown.com/chain-life.html

I can't say for sure if that will lengthen the life of the chain or not, but why not try it. I put a little slot in the teeth with a cutting wheel on my Dremel on my bike.

Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 08-25-13 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 08-25-13, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
San Francisco has a bunch of bike builders around there /..

Bruce Gordon' Rock and Road X is available as a 26" wheel bike built around having his racks on them,
he is in PetalUma..




Close. Petaluma.
Fixed that .. yea we do have the I & U keys on our keyboards next to each other ,
and you can take a commuter Bus From SF to get to the town too.
so, Close, in double meanings..


..in 08, I got a 2nd Hand 04 Koga Miyata WTR.. it has Magura hydraulic rim brakes,
ITM Trekking bars AXA ring lock and chain Double stem stack..bar bag mount

2 kickstands , 1 on the front lowrider .. Tubus racks SKS mudguards ..


https://www.cyclofiend.com/working/20...clark1008.html

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-25-13 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 08-26-13, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
If I was going in third world countries and carrying a load of camping gear, I would use 2.0 (50mm) or maybe 2.25 (57mm) width tires. I have used 2.0 width Schwalbe Dureme on front and 2.0 width Schwalbe Extreme on rear for touring on gravel, been very happy with that combination. The Dureme would have also worked for both front and rear. The Extreme is quite noisy on pavement. The Dureme and Extreme I believe are now discontinued.

I bought a set of 2.25 (57mm) width Schwalbe Extremes that I might take on a trip I am thinking about where the roads may be terrible. I only got them because they had a great clearance price, otherwise I would have stuck with the 2.0 width.

A year ago I did about a 500 mile tour on pavement. Instead of using my 700c touring bike, I decided to use a 26 inch wheel bike. But for good quality pavement for 500 miles, I decided to use narrower tires than the 2.0 width. I bought the Schwalbe Marathon (with GreenGuard) tires in 40mm width. They worked great, took high pressure and rolled well. They had a wired bead and were not too expensive.

For around town, I use cheap tires. Right now I have tires that I paid less than $10 each for on a couple bikes. I save my expensive touring tires for the trips.

In other words, for my 26 inch wheel touring bikes, I have three sets, (1) wider gravel touring tires, (2) narrower pavement touring tires, and (3) cheap around town tires.

If the manufacturer recommends the Serfas, there is no reason to avoid them. If you decide later to invest in some additional expensive tires, compared to the rest of your investment another set of tires is quite reasonable.
Thanks very much! I think I'll take your advice and start out with the Serfas road tires, and later I can get expedition tires when I actually go on that kind of tour.

It's too bad Schwalbe has discontinued the tires that seem to be most popular among long-distance tourers. I've read that the discontinued Marathon XRs were really great touring tires. I might check out the Marathon Mondials that are supposed to be similar. (Or at least they have the same tread.)
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Old 08-26-13, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
..in 08, I got a 2nd Hand 04 Koga Miyata WTR.. it has Magura hydraulic rim brakes,
ITM Trekking bars AXA ring lock and chain Double stem stack..bar bag mount

2 kickstands , 1 on the front lowrider .. Tubus racks SKS mudguards ..


https://www.cyclofiend.com/working/20...clark1008.html
Wow, that looks like an awesome touring bike! Rugged, with everything you could want on it... Really nice!
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Old 08-26-13, 09:59 PM
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If you're going for the SON D luxe consider their integrated Dropout face contact wiring scheme,
In the Fork Build, since It eliminates the plug in wiring..

the act of putting the wheel in makes the contact..

I found the wiring cable wrapped around the axle after my schmidt allen bolt skewer was a bit loose ,

with out the cable and spade connectors that wouldn't happen ..
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Old 08-26-13, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
If you're going for the SON D luxe consider their integrated Dropout face contact wiring scheme,
In the Fork Build, since It eliminates the plug in wiring..

the act of putting the wheel in makes the contact..

I found the wiring cable wrapped around the axle after my schmidt allen bolt skewer was a bit loose ,

with out the cable and spade connectors that wouldn't happen ..
Interesting! Thanks, fietsbob, I will look into this!
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Old 08-26-13, 10:49 PM
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Wait, I just realized... If I go with the Weinmann ZAC19 rims, would I be able to put 2.0" tires on them for heavy-duty touring? I'm new to this, but I gather the inner rim width on the ZAC19s is 19mm (hence the name?), and according to Sheldon Brown's chart (toward the bottom of this page), that makes them good for tires up to 44mm. The chart is supposed to be conservative, but if I know I'm likely to use 2.0"/50mm tires at some point, should I consider getting wider rims now?
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Old 08-26-13, 11:38 PM
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My Koga Came with Mavic Ex721 rims ( and 26- 1.75 tires ), really strong rims .

I like that they extruded a definite channel for the rim strip inside ..

welded seam, machined brake track

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Old 08-27-13, 01:12 AM
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Glad to hear everything went well in your trip to Seattle and that your build is now under way.

RIMS - I'm sure Weinmann are good rims, but yes, make sure about how wide tires you can use. Build the wheels now to meet your future needs/goals. For excellent quality heavyduty rims I personally trust Mavic or Velocity. Velocity, in particular, has the reputation of being really supportive with cyclists on tours. Give them a call at Velocity USA.

TIRES - I like the suggestion of starting with the Serfas tires or whatever R+E carries/recommends in the range of 1.75 to 2.0". Just before you start your tour, switch to Schwalbe Mondials or something along those lines.
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Old 08-27-13, 06:30 AM
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One last comment, a lot of touring bike owners have bought their bikes and decided later that they wanted handlebars a bit higher but the steerer tube was cut too low. There is nothing wrong with setting up a new bike with an inverted stem so that flipping the stem upside down will raise the bars higher. There also is nothing wrong with putting a couple 10mm steerer tube spacers above the stem. These options gives more flexibility to adjust later.



On the bike in the photo I could cut the steerer down more, but it is not worth the effort to do so.

It is pretty easy to cut a steerer tube later if you want it shorter, but once cut it is cut. On a bike that I have been setting up over the past few months I have cut the steerer tube three times. I would rather cut a little bit at a time than accidentally cut a bit too much initially.
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Old 08-27-13, 08:51 AM
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^^^
Concur. The good thing is that Rodriguez is known to leave long steerer tubes uncut as default.

Racks - have you picked those, yet? Tubus is the way to go for RTW tours. I would highly suggest choosing at least your front rack now. It would be best if you ship it to them ASAP. The location of the mid fork eyelets tend to vary by rack manufacturer. BTW, they don't do mid-fork DUAL eyelets needed for front racks like the Tubus Duo unless you ask them to do so. Rear racks are generally easier to deal with.

Other little braze-ons that are neat, add value and are easy/cheap for them to do are a chain hanger and chainstay protector. Manufacturers used to do these things standard back in the days. Now you only see them pretty much in custom bikes. They can do a chainstay protector a la Miyata 1000, but there are other similar ideas out there. Run it by them.

Last edited by Chris Pringle; 08-27-13 at 09:49 AM.
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