a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

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mig
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Joined: 19 Oct 2011, 9:39pm

a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

Postby mig » 26 Sep 2012, 9:02pm

so the question is - if you were to set out to build a long lasting, comfortable, efficient, all weather tourer / commuter / all purpose / training bicycle what would you choose in every aspect?

frame (type, material, angles) brake type, wheel construction, drive type, BB type, tyres, clearances, mudguards, off the peg? builder? gears? (hub, derailleur etc)

what's the consensus on the definitive machine if money were relatively no object?

(and what greases would you use on it? :) )

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cycleruk
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Location: Lancashire

Re: a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

Postby cycleruk » 26 Sep 2012, 9:34pm

Frame would be titanium - light weight, no rust, and depending on the design - comfortable.
Although I suppose stainless steel may be O.K.
Ali' could corrode over time and carbon can possibly be damaged in a fall.

Wheels - more than one set, tough ones for touring and a lighter set for training/sport riding.
There's no such thing as a tailwind.
It's either a headwind, or you're going well.

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531colin
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Re: a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

Postby 531colin » 26 Sep 2012, 10:11pm

And why would you NOT have the back end offset for a reduced dish wheel?

Brucey
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Re: a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

Postby Brucey » 26 Sep 2012, 10:19pm

this grotty looking thing is the product of many years of diligent abuse;

Image

anything that didn't work dropped off or got replaced many years ago. Uses include commuting, training, light touring, brideway-standard rough-stuff. Mileage estimated at about 35- 40000 to date ( about 1000 in the last four months alone).

-72 degree angles, 531 main tubes, chunky chainstays, pencil seatstays, 531 fork (with older style narrow oval and skinny tips, butted steerer) paint, tape, waxoyl, copper ease etc in relevant places
-Tange Levin headset with loose balls and additional seals
- old-style three piece ST BB with additional seals (will be replaced with UNxx when it finally dies, been waiting 20 years so far)
-chromoplastic mudguards, (painted with self-etching paint) with stainless brackets and stays. > ~15mm radial mudguard clearance.
-ITM fluted aluminium micro-adjust seat post (will be replaced with hockey-stick adjuster style one if it fails)
-Mafac pattern (Weinmann) cantis with Weinmann levers, with exposed non-aero cables for ease of maintenance.
-brake blocks prioritise kindness to rims over absolute braking power.
-Chambers Churchill Maes bends, GB stem with hollow stainless/aluminium expander bolt. Bars are taped with a corrosion-proof underlayer, then bar ribbon.
-cheap SR steel chainring/aluminium cranks, non-anodised type in corrosion resistant Al grade.
-stainless cables where possible
-Brooks saddle (although I've also used durable solid plastic ones e.g. Sportex A70, and suede-topped ones e.g. Arius). The Brooks takes my favoured saddlebag support so may stay just for that reason.
-stainless bolts where possible
-currently cheapo flat/spd pedals, but have used aluminium platform pedals. Pedals have lube ports and extra seals.
-GH6 front dynohub, oil/grease lube, old SA dynamo lamps, QD electrical connections.
-SA FW hub modified to five speed, revised seals, lubed with gear oil or thixotropic grease
-1/8" chain, lubed with anything, if it is lucky.
-wheels handbuilt with spoke washers etc, mavic rims, (anti-seize/wax sealing on nipples, corrosion proofing on double eyelets)
-various tyres, currently Bontrager 700x35C select K (have used tyre savers -mounted on special braze-ons for this purpose-)
-michelin rim tapes with added tape layer for crack mitigation
-gear levers mounted near stem nosebolt.

I use aerosol chain grease meant for motorcycle chains, or Castrol SBX on the pedal bearings, SBX in the BB bearings etc. Headset gets Finish Line grease once every ten years whether it likes it or not.

This grotty concoction clearly works OK but isn't necessarily what I'd choose if I had to start again right now.

Possible spec revisions would include;

-SA hub brakes with improved bearing seals on brake side, better quality grease etc.
- more durable paint job(s)
-presently undecided between rear hub brake with; hub gear, 'disposable' quality freewheel, or cassette mechanism. The main reasons for not choosing a current model SA five speed would be that; a) I'm not 100% sure they are reliable, b) they have even more widely spaced ratios than the ones I've got. The main reasons for not choosing any derailleur system would the faff and/or replacements required. A derailleur system would be a 1x6 , 1x7, or 1x8 system, with a ~90" top gear and about a 40-44" bottom gear; I don't need any more than that for this bike.
- LED lights
-longer mudguards
-if rim brakes are retained, I'd choose an ERD that allowed a choice or rims using the same spoke lengths, with a target weight of ~500g and a target cost of about £15-20 per rim. If I doubted their long-term availablity I'd buy a stash of half a dozen spares early on.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ribblehead
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Re: a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

Postby Ribblehead » 26 Sep 2012, 10:53pm

For me, it would probably be a 531 frame and forks, brazed with lugs. It won't be the lightest or stiffest frame, but it'll take a hell of a beating, and the natural compliance of 531 will soak up bumps and road buzz.

A flip-flop hub with a choice of fixed and single-speed will be highly reliable, extremely efficient, cheap and easy to maintain. If it gets too hilly you can always get off and push.

Cantilever or V-brakes for reliable easy-to-maintain powerful stopping.

I think sealed bearings on hubs and bottom brackets are fine as long as they are good quality, and there isn't anywhere water can pool next to the bearing (e.g. an overhanging freewheel). I'm less keen on sealed bearings in headsets, is there enough room to use decent size balls in a sealed headset unit?

Brucey wrote:waxoyl


I'd be interested to know the best method of getting the waxoyl inside.

Brucey wrote:Tange Levin headset with loose balls and additional seals


I've just fitted one of these headsets as they seemed like a good balance of price and quality. I intend to use a neoprene (wetsuit material) head sock as an additional seal. Is that what you meant by 'additional seals'?

Brucey
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Re: a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

Postby Brucey » 26 Sep 2012, 11:24pm

When I fitted that headset (in 1980-something) it was only available without seals of any kind. The current model now has seals (hurrah!). In fairness they lasted well without seals on bikes with mudguards, but occasionally water would get in.

I manufactured and trialled two kinds of seal; a plastic (PP) 'L' section seal which I could source in lengths, but could be trapped in position; and a seal machined (at vast expense) from solid PTFE bar stock.
Obviously the former had a butt joint in it but seemed to work OK despite this. Both seals in practice had a flaw which was that both polymer materials swell slightly when in prolonged contact with oil, and temporarily more than that with some other solvents. This lead to slight binding at times, but eventually the seals settled down.

Since I also changed to Finish Line grease at about the same time it is difficult to say what has done the most good, but I have yet to find any obvious contamination in the headset bearings.

I'm not sure those neoprene socks are terribly good. They stop the worst mud from getting at the headset, sure; but they are not waterproof, and the finish wears beneath the sock. If you leave the sock on all the time it potentially just holds the damp in. I've had as good or better results using a length of old inner tube on an MTB subjected to daily use, but nothing beats good seals, waterproof grease, and regular inspections. If the seals are anything less than perfect on MTB headsets with cartridge bearings, I have just had spare bearings ready to go in, and that way I can take my time refurbing the set that have just come out.

Re adding waxoyl; thinning it with white sprits and running it in the frame works pretty well; you can just tip the excess out.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ribblehead
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Re: a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

Postby Ribblehead » 26 Sep 2012, 11:46pm

Brucey wrote:When I fitted that headset (in 1980-something) it was only available without seals of any kind. The current model now has seals (hurrah!). In fairness they lasted well without seals on bikes with mudguards, but occasionally water would get in.

I manufactured and trialled two kinds of seal; a plastic (PP) 'L' section seal which I could source in lengths, but could be trapped in position; and a seal machined (at vast expense) from solid PTFE bar stock.
Obviously the former had a butt joint in it but seemed to work OK despite this. Both seals in practice had a flaw which was that both polymer materials swell slightly when in prolonged contact with oil, and temporarily more than that with some other solvents. This lead to slight binding at times, but eventually the seals settled down.

Since I also changed to Finish Line grease at about the same time it is difficult to say what has done the most good, but I have yet to find any obvious contamination in the headset bearings.

I'm not sure those neoprene socks are terribly good. They stop the worst mud from getting at the headset, sure; but they are not waterproof, and the finish wears beneath the sock. If you leave the sock on all the time it potentially just holds the damp in. I've had as good or better results using a length of old inner tube on an MTB subjected to daily use, but nothing beats good seals, waterproof grease, and regular inspections. If the seals are anything less than perfect on MTB headsets with cartridge bearings, I have just had spare bearings ready to go in, and that way I can take my time refurbing the set that have just come out.

Re adding waxoyl; thinning it with white sprits and running it in the frame works pretty well; you can just tip the excess out.

cheers


Ahhhh. I've got the re-incarnation of the Levin, which comes with seals. The main reason I use a headsock is to keep the spray of water and grit off the bottom race when I'm riding without mudguards. In the absence of mudguards, I don't think even the best seals can defend a headset from water and grit for very long. Headsocks have a velcro fastening, I take mine off as soon as I'm in the front door to let everything dry. Years ago I used to use old lengths of inner tube, but I much prefer a neoprene headsock now. I found the stock headsock didn't fit my current bike very well, so I bought a small square of 2mm neoprene from a surf shop, some velcro from a craft shop and made my own on a sewing machine.

Thanks for the tip about diluting waxoyl with white spirit.

Brucey
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Re: a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

Postby Brucey » 27 Sep 2012, 12:06am

I guess your headsock use is about as good as it is going to get; for spray protection on a mudguardless bike I've toyed with the idea of mounting a small shield on the back of the fork crown, using the brake bolt as a mounting, but not done it.

I've also tried fitting grease nipples above the lower headset race; this doesn't work quite as well as I'd hoped, because if the seals are any good whatsoever, the fresh grease goes up, not down, and contaminants are not purged from the lower bearing properly.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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hubgearfreak
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Re: a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

Postby hubgearfreak » 27 Sep 2012, 12:11am

531colin wrote:And why would you NOT have the back end offset for a reduced dish wheel?


i think i can answer that one

as to the OP;

conti 28x1 1/2 tyres
steel frame
3 speed hub
drum brakes
brooks b72
carradice bag

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al_yrpal
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Re: a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

Postby al_yrpal » 27 Sep 2012, 12:41am

I guess we would all choose our current machines, or in my case how I would like my current machine to evolve into.

Frame, sloping top tube steel with MTB geometry ( intending to buy a Salsa Vaya frame as soon as finances allow)
26" 36 spoke wheels Grizzlys/lx with Son dynohub built by 531Colin, shod with Panaracer Paselas
Cable operated Avid disc brakes for simplicity and stopping power fully loaded.
SRAM derrailieurs 44/34/22 11-32 bar mounted combined brakes/shifters
Butterfly bars with cork tape on foam grips
Brooks Flyer saddle
Tortek silver plastic mudguards with reflective strips
Topeak disc rack
Built in Dutch type rear wheel lock
Bar bag with charger and phone battery pocket inside and transparent smartphone pocket in lid
Featherlight panniers made from 5000 mew tent fabric.
Led lighting
Wireless cycle computer/ heart monitor.

If I ever went on a long arduous tour I would take a spare deraillieur, BB and headset, folding tyre tubes and chain.

Al
Last edited by al_yrpal on 27 Sep 2012, 9:30am, edited 1 time in total.
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

andrewjoseph
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Re: a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

Postby andrewjoseph » 27 Sep 2012, 8:05am

cycleruk wrote:...
Wheels - more than one set, tough ones for touring and a lighter set for training/sport riding.


I thought this too, built up a set of mtb disk hubs and 36h rims for touring. planning to get lighter wheels for day rides etc.

Then I weighed my wheels (minus tyres and cassette). They come out at around 1650 g for the pair.

To get around 1300 g for a set of wheels I need to spend a lot of money. To get lighter than 1300 g, I have to spend a hell of a lot of money.

I'm sticking to my touring wheels and maybe lighter tyres.
--
Burls Ti Tourer for tarmac
Saracen aluminium full suss for trails.

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cycleruk
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Re: a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

Postby cycleruk » 27 Sep 2012, 9:02am

andrewjoseph wrote:
cycleruk wrote:...
Wheels - more than one set, tough ones for touring and a lighter set for training/sport riding.


I thought this too, built up a set of mtb disk hubs and 36h rims for touring. planning to get lighter wheels for day rides etc.

Then I weighed my wheels (minus tyres and cassette). They come out at around 1650 g for the pair.

To get around 1300 g for a set of wheels I need to spend a lot of money. To get lighter than 1300 g, I have to spend a hell of a lot of money.

I'm sticking to my touring wheels and maybe lighter tyres.


When I say wheels I mean to include tubes and tyres as well at the same time.
So a strong/large rim plus appropriate touring tyre alongside a lightweight pair with "sport/racing" tyres.
The O.P. did say money not a problem. :roll: :D
There's no such thing as a tailwind.
It's either a headwind, or you're going well.

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meic
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Re: a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

Postby meic » 27 Sep 2012, 9:08am

I think that at 1650g for a pair, these are the lightweight wheels and that a pair of more robust, cheaper wheels are called for* for every day use.

*when money does matter.
Yma o Hyd

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Mick F
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Re: a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

Postby Mick F » 27 Sep 2012, 9:28am

mig wrote:so the question is - if you were to set out to build a long lasting, comfortable, efficient, all weather tourer / commuter / all purpose / training bicycle what would you choose in every aspect?
I've done all that on my Mercian.
Bike.jpg
Mick F. Cornwall

andrewjoseph
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Re: a robust, sensible, long lasting bicycle.

Postby andrewjoseph » 27 Sep 2012, 9:29am

cycleruk wrote:...

When I say wheels I mean to include tubes and tyres as well at the same time.
So a strong/large rim plus appropriate touring tyre alongside a lightweight pair with "sport/racing" tyres.
The O.P. did say money not a problem. :roll: :D


:oops: oops, yes I forgot about that!
--
Burls Ti Tourer for tarmac
Saracen aluminium full suss for trails.