Thursday, August 14, 2008
I've been putting together a list of components for the next longtail build. Not that there's anything wrong with what I'm currently riding, but a few people have expressed interest in building up something similar, and if I were to do it again(and I am) these are the parts I would use and why(There's a theme here: durable, economical, functional).
Big Dumb Hybrid Parts
Frame: Surly Big Dummy
More frame triangulation equals a more stable bike under load, lots of handy braze-ons, built for the job. Not as easy to ship but I'd take the extra fee for the extra frame strength.
Comes with the frame, more handy braze-ons, zero mainainance for the utmost dependability in the long run. A longtravel suspension fork is nice too, especially since you can't unweight the front end of a longtail, but a good fork can cost half as much as the bike these days.
Headset: FSA The Pig DH Pro
Heavy duty sealed bearings last forever, decent price, nuff said.
Stem: Kalloy Adjustable
Nice four bolt stem thats adjustable to suit the conditions, priced very reasonably too. Also works well for mounting a passenger handlebar off the seatpost.
Handlebar:Origin8 Spacebar/On-one Mary bar, Dimension C-bar, Nitto Albatross, or Titec H-Bar/Jones H bar.
Straight bars are hard on wrists, drop bars are hard on spines, any of these will make a much more comfy place for your hands to stay. The H-bars are a little pricy and sometimes a bugger to fit controls on, but they offer a couple of different hand positions and prolly handles the off road excursions the best. Wider bars help to better control a heavily loaded longtail. A more upright position helps fight off back and neck fatigue, reduces pressures on your wrists and elbows, and you get a better view of your surroundings.
Grips: ESI Chunky
Cushy, but not too cushy. Still grippy when wet. Warm in the winter.
Seat: Selle An Atomica
Most comfy seat I've ever been on, Brooks included. Almost like sitting on a hammock. The way this seat spreads the pressures evenly has made riding in non cycling specific clothing a reality. I think the only way to do better than this in the upright position may be the Pederson.
Simple, durable, economical, does the job.
Brake Levers: Tektro 319A
Simple(one moving part), durable, economical, does the job. Also happens to have a comfortable lever profile with a nice little hook on the end so your fingers don't slip off. As Tektro's cheapest levers they are also the lightest, not that it matters here.
Brakes: Avid BB7 203mm F/R
Simple, durable, best mechanical disc on the market. And yes, you will want the 203mm rotors, you will thank me later.
Cables: Full length housing or Gore RideOn Xtralong Sealed Low Friction cables
Standard full length housing to keep the crap out, or Gore RideOn cables if you don't want to touch them for a few years.(Note: Big Dummys run all solid housings).
Crank: Shimano MC-442
Square taper. Durable, economical.
Bottom Bracket: Shimano UN54 or Phil Wood square taper
Sealed bearings(no, really), weatherproof, durable. I've tried nearly every BB, and BB interface out there(minus Campy) All the new stuff fails within a year if you ride them in incliment weather. I've yet to have a square taper perform so poorly, and you simply can't go wrong with a Phil(though I'm not sure it's necessary as the much cheaper Shimanos seem to last just fine).
Chainring: for single chainline Surly stainless, for derailer stock steel rings that come with the FC440.
Chain: For single chainline KMC Rustbuster, for derailer KMC X9.
Rust resistant, super durable, super high tensil strength, dependable.
Front Hub: Shimano 32 hole Nexus DH-3N71 Disk Brake or Schmidt Son 28 disc 36hole
The Nexus is an Ultegra quality sealed bearing dyohub at a steal of a price, only slightly less efficient than the Schmidt, and only comes in 32hole. Schmidt is the best dynohub there is, but it's damn pricy. Dynolighting works good down to 5mph and a little electrical knowledge can work around occasional slower speeds as well. Not worrying about how much longer before your batteries go dead is very freeing. B+M or Spanninga are the easy budget ways to get good dyno lighting. Or if you're down with the DIY method a homebuild dyno led lamp is unbeatable. The current crop of leds is amazingly bright, and way cheaper than trying to buy a new sytem. For non dynamo I'd go with XT or Phil Wood 36hole disc hub.
Rear Hub: Rohloff 32hole disc gearhub or Nuvinci CVT 36hole Weatherproof, durable, dependable, shift gears from a stop, single chainline, never break another chain. The Nuvinci only has about half the gear range of the Rohloff and weighs a bit more, but it also costs a third of what the Rohloff does and may be a bit more durable yet(Rohloffs are quite durable). For derailer use I'd go with either XT or Phil Wood 36hole dic hub.
Rims: Alex DX32 36hole A wider rim lessens the chance of a tire rolling off under load and adds volume to the tire. This reduces pinchflats and makes for a stronger wheel in general.
Spokes and nips: Silver double butted 14ga spokes(2.0-1.7-2.0) and brass nips. Double butted spokes are actually stronger than straight gage due to the pre-stressing involved in creating the butting. Three cross for the front wheel and rear if you're not using one of the gear hubs. Three cross is of the strongest lacing patterns, less has reduced lateral load strength, more overstresses the spoke heads and rim eyelets which can lead to spoke breakage or cracked rims. Due to the larger hub diameter of the gear hubs they require two cross for the Rohloff and one cross for the Nuvinci to keep from overstressing the spokes. Silver because the black ones scratch and look crummy after while. Brass nips only because aluminum nips are prone to failure and seizure.
Shifters:Rohloff and Nuvinci come with their own. For Derailer SLX.
Tensioner/Derailer: Rohloff for the Rohloff, I'm not sure what for the Nuvinci(its a problem), or SLX front and SLX shadow rear for derailers. The Shadow derailers are super compact with shorter cable runs, very nice and less prone to getting knocked off.
Tubes: Double thick, slimed, schraeder
Fixing flats on a fully loaded bike is no fun, may as well prevent it before it starts. Schraeder for ease of use.
Tires: Schwalbe Big Apple 26x2.35 or WTB Weirwolf LT 26x2.55
Big volume, strong sidewalls, fast rolling treads. The Big Apple is the ultimate urban touring tire, puncture resistant, and reflective sidewalls. The LT is the perfect gravel touring tire, like a giant CX tire, rolls fast, grips good, super cushy. There is really no reason to go with anything smaller as the advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages: flat resistance, comfort, braking traction, grip, saftey...
Pedals: Time Z Control or Rivendell Grip King
Times have proven dependable for me in all conditions and these have a nice platform too. Grip Kings for really cold weather or if you don't care about pulling up.
Fenders: Planet Bike Cascadia
The only true full coverage fenders that work with a 2.55" tire. It's nice to go on a ride and not get completely covered in grime.
Bottle cages: Velo Orange retro stailness bottle cages
Strong, secure, won't mark up your bottles.
Kickstand: For heavily loaded riding stout dual kickstands are a must. A single Greenfield is good for light loads, but has been known to rip the frame segment when overstressed. Val Klietz's doublestand is about the only workable option currently available.
Other worthwile accesories:
Best bar mounted mirror I've used. Doesn't shake uncontrolably(maybe the tires help)
Xtracycle accessory kit
Vracks/bags/snapdeck gotta have it. Forget the footsies, just buy a set of wideloaders, way more useful.
Surly Nice front rack
Need more room? Durable, adjustable, best rack you can buy.
Ihome Bike to beach
Heck yea, radio!
RealLights and/or Planet Bike Superflash
Realights, never go dead no drag. Superflash bright as crap runs for a really long time. Remember to throw a rubberband over the clamp though or you'll lose'em.
Kleen Canteen stainless water bottles
They don't hold odors/tastes, easy to clean, cap to keep the dust off the bite valve, cook in them, double as a weapon if thrown
22oz MSR fuel bottles
Fit nicely in a waterbottle cage for carrying stove or motor fuel.
Suburu/Robin EH O35 with clutch/dual bearing holder
The motor on mine has worked flawlessly so far.
Fully enclosed 2 or 3 stage Gates timing belt gear reduction
The Staton gearbox might be bulletproof, but it's also noisy and heavy with a good month lead time. I'm working on replacing it and all the chains with what should be a much quieter fully enclosed belt reduction and complete drivetrain.