A few words about my 2005 touring bike:

In 10,000 words or less.


This got so long that I moved the photos to separate pages:

[ set 1 ] [ set 2 ] [ set 3 ] [ set 4 ] [ set 5 ] [ set 6 ] [ set 7 ]


Web page purpose:

This web page was mostly written 2005, as I was getting things together to build the bike; after the fact notes added in color and finally put it up in 2012 in all it's glory. A little fiddling 2015.

I last toured on this in September-October 2015; I think by the next tour I'll've transferred most of the parts over to a Woodrup touring frame I'm having built, keeping the LHT for a commuter bike or whatever.

As with most of the rest of my website, it's written to document some ideas I had at some time, entertain myself, and/or puzzle and/or annoy friends and/or acquaintances and/or strangers with my opinions and/or facts and/or desires (and/or to show a few people the bike project during the build).
(2015.11: I think I'd started a version of this page but for that bike... to assist in the scheming and dreaming which was how this page started out 10+ years ago!


Bicycle purpose:

I've been tracking down, retrieving, and squirreling away the parts to build up a new touring bike to use on my winter '05-06 velotour in South America (that didn't happen because I wound up getting a longer gig for the NPS and working through the next few winters, so later turned into an Upper Peninsula touring bike).

It's become a pleasant hobby now, as well as channeling much of my bread out of the bank and into the ethers of online payments, checks, and occasional cash registers here and there... (I was making more money back then!) It's a great way to spend all my money (compared to, say, SUV lease or cable TV fees most people spend theirs on) and keeps me preoccupied trying to find everything (thus a 'quest' and thus fun)!


What's it made of?

This new bike idea started out simply enough - as a reasonable fill-in for my old Cannondale ST500, which is (like most of my stuff) in storage on the other side of the continent. As I saw the good bike parts of yesteryear were becoming increasingly scarce, I was touched with a bit of 'panic buying' (a behavior learned living in the USSR in the early 1990s: if you see it, buy it, since you might not see it again), and the project moved from a decent bike to a great bike with some long-desired parts. Finally it become more like my ideal bike, with the absolute best old and new stuff, sourced as necessary, down to the smallest detail as cable tips, chainstay guard, the best nuts and bolts, and even a home-grown toe strap colour. I also became sort of obsessive about getting green stuff whenever possible for the green bike.

Here's a list of the parts; those in the dark colour I've obtained; those in the regular colour are still being sourced (i.e., prowled for on ebay or assembled by 'what i need to buy from whom' lists) and are also subject to changes if something different strikes me. Often on the project I've bought one thing, then decided upon another, bought several to decide when I could see and fit them, or found a part previously thought unobtainable... so maybe I've got parts for the next project! (2012: and a good thing, too, since in the 7 years prices for old stuff have at least doubled or tripled, and supplies are also running thin or out.)

Codes: In my little scheme here, 'N' means I bought the part new, 'nos' means I got an old piece of unused equipment (New, Old Stock), 'uu' is unused, as in some stuff I got on ebay-not new in box, but unused and undamaged, 'u' is of course used (but in good condition).

The place where I bought the item follows. 'bc': Bicycle Classics, 'bn': Bike Nashbar, 'ls': Loose Screws, 'eb': somebody on ebay, 'pb': Performance bike, 'pw': Peter White, 'r': Rivendell, 'yj': Yellow Jersey, 'sc': Spicer Cycles, 'aeb': Alfred E. Bike, in kalamazoo, 'bs': Beaver Sports in Fairbanks...



Part:
Model:
Reasoning (and commentary of course):

Frame

Surly Long Haul Trucker, 58 cm

Also considered a Gene Spicer custom built frame. The thing was, in all the frame planning I did (geometry, braze-ons, fork), I kept returning to the reference point of the production LHT. When I heard that Surly was going to change the LHT colour from the much-discussed light green, I decided that I should get one of the last 'first generation'. I like the colour. The one thing (as of fall 2005) about this frameset I don't like is the 1.125" threadless headset (see bikerant). God what a stupid and annoying 'idea' threadless headsets are... I'm not looking forward to dealing with handlebar height on this new bike; if it were to have a threaded steerer and a quill stem, though, it's be a snap - and better looking too!

I'll wait until next year and have Gene build my next project bike, (probably a city bike; maybe a recumbent; already in thinking-phase) - if I'm gonna spend the big bucks on a custom build, might as well get something that is not already available. (in 2010 I contacted Gene again, but now he only makes track racing frames - so I lost my chance)

Headset

Chris King [n, pb]

I was unfamiliar with CK before this. Considered headsets like Tange Levin, Stronglight, etc., though the 1.125" threadless steering tube of the LHT eliminated those possibilities when I settled on that frame/fork. Would rather have a CK on a threaded fork than this one, though! So, the CK headsets seem to be built well, and the company seems somewhat green, if a little yuppie (and they have their #@!! logo etched all over an otherwise nice silver headset).

Headset shield [this technology has been un-invented] A simple thin dustguard to protect stuff flying up under the bottom race of a headset: they used to sell these for a dollar, but now I cannot find any source or make.



Human ...
'interface' ...
parts:
seat Brooks B-17 Champion Special, British Racing Green [n, bn] Legendary, cultish following for a bike seat (er, 'saddle' for you cowboys). Is the apex of traditional English hand craftsmanship; sometimes even ascribed to supernatural origin: This from 'Campag Fetish Boy': "My dad has had a Brooks Saddle for about 30 years, even then he found it in a small stream, near where we lived. The stream was the dumping ground from the local Kodak plant, so polluted that a group of kids managed to set it alight once."
Also considered the good old Avocet Touring I or II, but those are now pretty expensive for old used ones. And everybody else is selling only ugly, tiny, hard plastic 'racing look' seats. And the limited edition of the handsome green-with-copper-rivets B17 color sealed the deal. (2015, 10 years later, that same 'limited' green is still available and the only color besides brown and black!)

Seatpost

Campagnolo Super Record [u, eb]

Also considered SR Laprade, my overall favoritest-ever based on price design and quality (but that one hard to find too these days), Nitto (though also expensive and too modern-looking), Suntour (hard to find, expensive when found)

Pedals

MKS Touring Sylvan

also considered MKS Royal Nuevo [n, sc], sylvan road (more) [nos, ls] Suntour Superbe Pro (hard to find and very expensive NOS!), T.A., Look (which I liked ca. 1990-2002)... (2012: MKS Sylvans, in particular the Touring Sylvans, are my all-time favorite pedal - well-made in Japan, serviceable bearings, attractive, and cheap - even now well under $40!)

clips

Christophe special

Was also considering Campagnolo, MKS [nos, ls] or CCM/Verma [nos, eb]...depending on what comes up...

straps

Home-dyed 'British Racing Green'!: ALE [nos, r],

Also considered CCM/Verma [nos, eb],MKS, Christophe, Cinelli, Campagnolo... Binda? (YJ -!)

Strap End-Pulls

Campagnolo [nos, LS]

Also considered CicloLinea Italian toestrap end pulls, $4.95 (YJ) ... a rather small detail...

Handlebars

Nitto Grand Randonneur [spelled 'Raundoneur' for some ... odd ... reason] 135, 45cm [nos, eb]

Had to be Randonneur bend; and who else is making them anymore? Would've gone for wider, ideally, but too cheap to pay $20 more for new.

stem Nitto lugged, 95mm [n, r]. This a sort of best of the worst/forced decision, since the LHT has the ungainly 1.25" head tube, requiring the even more stupid 'threadless' headset (more on that here). Thus instead of a nice graceful quill stem I had to get some overbuilt clamp-on stem, and this one was the least ugly. (Ideally, it'd've been an old SR or a new Nitto quill stem.)
grips grab-on maxi! [n, aeb]. The only choice - I've loved these since trying them first time in the early 1980s. Don't seem to be as durable as 30 years ago, so I've done a bit of patching/covering/repatching with cloth handlebar tape. Gee, see pictures set 6 for that!

Brake Levers

Campagnolo Super Record [u, eb]

I like brake levers that have cables that come out the top! For one thing, it's a little like a safety shield if you ride the drops a lot like I do, and for another, I can use the old style mirrycle on them! The old Campys are the best of the best, surprisingly well-made beyond any actual use requirement. Also considered Suntour (more) Superbe, nearly as well-made as the old Campys, Dia-Compe, any weird French levers I might've come across... (note 2015.11 - only problem with the campys is to mount Mirrycle mirrors you have to tap thread the metal, and this recent tour it'd stripped enough that the mirror moving drove me crazy [and unsafe] until I taped the $#@! thing in place with more cloth handlebar tape).

Brake lever hoods

Modolo Anatomic [nos, bc]

I like the Modolo ergonomics best, and they're $25 (ha! try to find them for under a hundred or at all in 2012!!), compared to about $80 for NOS Campys! Thinking about the AMEs, too (the Modolo copies), but haven't found any in decent colour yet. (luckily, shortly after this was written the Cane Creek/Dia-Compe non-anatomic hoods started to be made, so at least there is some hood available again, even if not as nice as the old anatomics!) (2015 note: they're getting a little long in the tooth, these Modolo anatomics; patched with cloth handlebar tape, too. I've been thinking about making my own leather ones eventually.)




Slowing ...
this bird ...
down:

Brake Calipers

First Paul, then Suntour

Originally installed the Paul 'canti-combo' setup-a Neo-Retro on front, and a Touring Cantilever on the rear [n, aeb]. The Pauls were nicely-made, and worked fine, but I thought they stuck out kinda far, and looked a little over-built, so after the first tour I replaced them with the Suntour XC Pros.
Also considered any of various cyclocross cantis like onZa H.O., Empella frog(g)legs, old Dia-Compe (e.g., 981), and a few others.

Brake Cables Zmilano braided heavy-duty cables with gray housing [nos, yj] Also considered: Casiraghi Italian Teflon lined. (in 2011 I found some nice old-style translucent housings as I liked in the old days, available in silver but sadly not green...)
Cable Hanger Front: QBP silver one, rear: frame mount, unfortunately... BUT: Why the HELL can't I get a Q/R assembly anymore? See bikerant for a little (a lot) more on this!)
Brake Cable Carrier Don't know what brand this is, but I got them on ebay, and I really like the design and construction! Got some green too, but decided the silver looked better. Also considered: Paul Moon Unit, Salsa Wide Yokes... Mafac (somebody's got them on eb!)
Brake Shoes kool-stop Also considered: Suntour from the Cantis mentioned above, Others... I miss the old Matthauser ones with 'cooling fins'!
brake stiffener Odyssey u4-plus cantilever (zdelano v Rossii...) In the end, decided against using them, since not really needed, and they might be a bit tight with the racks.
Cable End Tips silver aluminum [n, ls] Didn't I say I got into the details on this bike?? (I think since then I found some green ones I squirreled away for later!)



Drivetrain ...
slash ...
crankset:

Crankset

Sugino Aero Tour (my favorite all-time crankset).

Originally I had the Sugino XD600 [uu, eb], since the XD was currently made, Japanese quality from Sugino, and only a little uglier than a AT... But then I got a decent AT and swapped this one off. Also considered T.A., Mavic, Stronglight....

Chainrings

24t (Vuelta), 34t & 48t (Sugino) [nos, ls]

Maybe I have tried some others since '05 for kicks.

Bottom Bracket

Phil Wood SS, 113mm [n, yj]

Logical decision. (2012: if I were doing the same now I'd be tempted to try that SKF version, and have also been using the much cheaper but very good Tanges on other bikes the last few years.)

Crank Bolts

Sugino Autex auto-extractor

(!) Had to look... and wait... and pay! for these extinct gems... (2012: since then, TA has started making some, and now White too, but they're not the same nice design as the old Autex! These are on most of my bikes.)

Chain Sram PC-58 Originally had the Wippermann 808 [n, pb], which I didn't like - it broke twice on the third tour (had never broken a chain until then). Also considered a nos Sedisport, the greatest chain in my opinion, though the Srams are sort of the descendent (since Sachs bought Sedis, and Sram bought Sachs, and their chains are now made in Portugal). Now the Sram chains are easily my favorite current chains - good shifts, not too expensive, no breaking!
Chainstay Slap Protector Chrome stainless [?nos or new?, eb] These used to be for sale in any decent mail-order catalog or shop. They were something you'd use if needed and replace every few years as they got scratched-up. But now (2005) try to find one anywhere that's not some ugly black sticker of a picture of black fibergla- er, carbon fiber.(2012: situation still as bad, and haven't seen one for sale even on eb in years; I tried a leather on a different bike and it's as ridiculous as it sounds.) Lucky for me there was a guy selling a few on eb [I think he made them himself, not exactly high-tech so why so rare?].



Shifting ...
and ...
derailleurs:

Shift Levers

Suntour Barcon Ratchet [nos, eb]

Friction shifting is much better all round, IMO. And what kind of touring bike doesn't have these legendary shifters (at least 25 years ago, before click-shifting)??

Shift cable stops

Suntour [nos, eb]

Pretty rare, but I got some! Other possibility was Shimano, but this kept the bike a 100% Shimano-free zone.

Front derailleur:

Campagnolo Racing-t

Also considered/bought: Suntour Cyclone (old style) [u, eb], Suntour Cyclone M2, other Suntour, Sachs New Success [nos, ls], or other... Andrew Muzi at Yellow Jersey talked me into the Racing-t, and I like it. Wish I'd bought a few, as they're impossible to find now!

Rear Derailleur

Suntour cyclone GT (old style)

Also considered Huret Duopar(more) [nos and u, eb] Campagnolo rally, Suntour Superbe Tech, other Suntours, Shimano Crane (for a token old Shimano part!

Pulley Wheels

Suntour Sealed bearing [nos, eb]

Also considered Bullseye, but the place that had them couldn't be reached, and Performance had some for sale, but they were wrong for a couple reasons (metal wheels, too narrow, maybe chinese).

Freewheel

Suntour! I said Suntour! - 7 speed, either winner pro 13-34t or winner 12-32. [nos, eb]

Have no interest in getting locked into the Shimano 'freehub' marketing. Ironically, I also considered the newer Shimano 11-34, Nashbar 13-32, Sunrace 13-30 and others...
Here's part of communication I had with the late great Sheldon Brown on this topic:
"That's a very Bad Idea. Nobody should buy a new hub that requires the obsolete thread-on freewheel system. Cassette hubs are superior in every respect... Modern stuff works WAY better, don't live in the past! ... Yuck! Modern cassette hubs are WAY better in every respect. This is like buying a new car and having a 20 year old engine installed..."
Note that he also liked to use the ellipses as I do. Anyway, I still don't agree with him, per my ideas, since I like the Suntours and how they work and look -- though the comment on the old car, if reversed (say a 1960 car with a 2005 engine I'd be all for!).
(2012-note of psychological interest mostly: in the 2005-2006 period while building this bike a number of nos Suntour Winner, New Winner, and Winner Pro freewheels became available from a certain seller, of which I bought about 12-15 in various 12, 13, or 14-30, 32, or 34 builds. So I'm set. In fact, I later realized that even in heavy use if I replaced freewheels more frequently than needed, there's be some left when I'm dead even if I live long... So hopefully what's left will get to a good cause (since, unfortunately, I can't take them along though maybe Suntour is still available in heaven (or hell, in the case of Sheldon!)




And now ... about ... the wheels:

Rims

Velocity Dyad 40 hole (the only Australian part on the bike!), 700c

These are great, handsome, well-made rims. Also considered Mavic A719, but they only make that rim black in 40h, and besides that, Mavic is getting rather weird in their corporate decisions... and their website is *fucked up!*

Hubs

Phil Wood FSA touring; 135mm 7-speed rear; both 40 holes [n; r (rear) and nos; eb (front)]

From the start I didn't consider anything but these! And, despite Sheldon writing me:
"... nobody needs a 40 spoke front wheel on a single, unless you are a VERY abusive rider."
... I built both front & rear with 40-hole (because I got a deal on the front hub) as well as, in my thinking, for aesthetic balance of the bike and weirdness and toughness - anyway, 'the hell's the weight difference, like 2 ounces??

QR skewers:

Suntour? [nos, r (front) and used eb (rear)]

Because the $X,000.00 Woods don't include the skewers... Would like to get a matched set; would like Campy just because Tulio invented the things, and it's one part that they *must* still be able to make well... So; also considered Campagnolo? Mavic? (Well, lucky I was able to find a set of 135mm rear Suntours - highly unusual to find such a spacing in Suntour)

Spokes (can't remember 2012; must've been DT butted 15ga.) DT? Wheelsmith?
Spoke guard Huret! Dang, tried this but it really didn't fit the clearance of the derailleur cage on the large cog so well; also tried a Suntour I'd gotten, & a Wheels Manufacturing [nos, ls], same results - so none ... I'm in favor of these, though, since derailleurs do sometimes get out of adjustment, and if not checked can have loud, or even disastrous consequences!
Tyres Panaracer Pasela ... kevlar, 32, 35, 37mm, 700c
Also interested in Schwalbe Marathons as my main tyres if I can get them, with the Panaracers as folding spares/alternates).
Tubes Michelin Slime? Any?
Rimstrip Velox cloth Hutchinson? Velox?



And now ... about ... some add-ons:

Racks

Surly "Nice Rack" front & rear

These are heavy, overbuilt, and expensive - so I bought a set. Only drawback for me is that the paint is lousy and soft and sort of melted when I tried to car-polish them.

Luggage

Panniers: Ortlieb "Mini Biker Light' front & Lone Peak "P-400 Ranier" rear; Handlebar bag: Ortlieb "Ultimate 3 Plus", rack trunk: Lone Peak "RP-700", and custom-made tent and air mattress bags by Apocalypse Design.

I had the pair of Ortliebs on hand already, and for the rear I went with the Lone Peaks (this is the exact same design that I used by Eastpack in 1989; that based on a Cannondale design of the 1970s). Lone Peak stuff is no nonsense, practical, and good US-made quality. I went with the Ortlieb handlebar bag because of waterproof (where my camera'd always be handy). Ortlieb stuff's also good, but I prefer the Lone Peak stuff. Because the Ortliebs were black already, I went with black for the other bags. Bags to hold the tent and air mattress were made so I could attach them to the top of the front rack.

Fenders Gilles Berthoud stainless, with mudflap (that I dyed dark green) [n, pw] Also considered Esge Chromoplast.

Bottle cages

Ciussi 'Elite' stainless (x2) and aluminum (x1)

Italian-made very well. Stainless have tubular construction, so bought the probably slightly stronger aluminum rod version for the underside of the downtube. That one I also fasten the bottle on with a velcro strap - you can't take chances there!

Pump

Zefal HPX Frame Fit [nos, yj]

My favorite, and the version they make now are of course uglier, so found a used one.

Wheel reflectors

"Acme" Wheel Reflectors

A nice velcro-on wheel spoke reflector made for Rivendell. (2012 - I don't think they have these anymore now).

Odometer

Sigmasport 1600

Bought this as it was advertised in Performance catalog 'made in Germany', which of course was incorrect - it's chinese. Too %$#!! lazy to return it, so fuck it, I'll just use it! Old US-made Avocets appear here and there, but go for high prices.




Did I ... forget... anything?

On the selection of the bike parts:

To assemble a bike from heaps of parts is quite a bit more involved than to buy a whole one new or used. It's compounded further if, like me, you're not very interested in many of the parts now made, instead preferring stuff that hasn't been made in 20 years... Like the late great Suntour!

The reward, however, for all the necessary reading, comparing, asking, searching, communicating, buying, eb bidding, and--ultimately--testing, is that you get to put together your 'ideal' bike, with exactly what you need and want (so long as you can find it and afford it), and It'll be unique in the world.

Another benefit is that the hunt is fun! You feel like you've gotten away with something rare when you score some NOS BarCons (note 2011 - try this these days, you won't!), or cool old Italian brake cables, or Super record brake levers, or Modolo anatomic hoods, or a Suntour Cyclone or sealed bearing pulley wheels - or, dare I suggest - a Huret Duopar derailleur!

Sometimes it seems almost a shame to cut open the packaging on something that'll never be made again, and subject the venerable old parts to actual use ... until you remember that that's what they're for (unless you're building a museum!)

There are, for me, a lot of reasons besides those above to look far and wide for these often obscure parts. You can get a faster idea of why by looking at my bike rant. In short, I don't think that the marketing of bicycle parts in the last 20 (now almost 30!) years has brought improvement in functionality or quality in what I can get now vs. what I could get in 1982 or 1985 [ link to 81 Bikeology catalog]. Shimano, thank goodness they're still around, but I'm uneasy about them as a mono-choice on derailleurs and shifting systems. Also, parts are made to be marketed now, with actual use a secondary consideration.

And give me silver anodized aluminum any day over the lack, logo-infested nonsense of today. The sense of aesthetic balance, subtlety, grace, and efficiency that was paramount in design 30 years ago is dead. Now it's hit-over-the-head, pseudo-overbuilt, planned obsolescent, non-interchangeable, designed to fail, black painted, and with as many advertising surfaces as possible.

So I'll stick with good old Suntour for the freewheel, barcons, and derailleurs, the old Campagnolo super Record brake levers (with old Modolo hoods) and seatpost, Italian made brake cables, and almost certainly go with some old toe clips and straps (since they're almost no longer made).

on the other hand, there are some manufacturers of parts that are either still making, or more recently producing, some great stuff; many of these are American companies. Phil Wood has made the best possible hubs and bottom brackets for 40 years, I'm looking forward to using the Chris King headset (they've been around nearly as long but weren't well known to me until recently - why?).

There are some other companies still making great stuff elsewhere; MKS (pedals); Nitto (handlebars, stem); and Sugino (crank) in Japan, Wippermann (chain) from Germany, and my English Brooks B17 (seat) are all going to be functional and attractive components on the new bike (note 2011: I didn't like the Wippermann chain after using it with multiple failures; only chain I've ever broken, and it did twice on a single tour! Now a fan of the Sram PC-8x0 chains; successor to the Sedisport).

Then there are some new manufacturers that I'm interested in: like Paul cantilever brakes (note 2011: replaced these after a couple tours with old SunTours), or the Surly 'Long-haul trucker' frameset as the skeleton of the bike. So other than a really great (frame) name, it seems designed as few other production frames are today: with true long distance heavy touring as its sole purpose. Also a fairly horizontal top tube, rather than the weird and unnecessarily slanting top almost ubiquitous on bikes nowadays, clearance for fat tyres and fenders, rack mounts, and a great color.

The frame's only available (in 2005) in one color; a sort of pea-soup green. I like it - it's low-key, the labels can, according to the Surly folks, be peeled off (their logo, by the way, is quite ugly), and I've already bought the Brooks B17 special green saddle to match it.

(note 2011 & 2015: will soon replace the frame with an English Woodrup frame I'm having biolt to order to 'complete' the bike. The LHT is OK, but the first one had bad welds, then the built one shimmied on the forst 3 tours, mysteripously disppaeraing without a trace for the 2015 tour... Also, I can't use a nice 1" quill stem, it requires an ugly external seat post clamp, it is tig welded instead of lugged, and I had to remove many ugly logo stickers when I got the frame - from (you guessed it): every surface!

Another thing Surly's got going is their racks! I haven't seen them yet, but from all the info I've reviewed, they seem to be among the best-designed racks for carrying large panniers made. I'm *hoping* to get these racks, but supply seems to be very spotty; recent communication from Surly has told me that they're out of stock. A deficit item! Just like in the Soviet Union! Adds further excitement to the project!
(note 2011: the racks are indeed over the top sturdy and heavy. The paint or whatever they're coated in comes off easily, though. They came with an exceedingly complete hardware bag for attachment.

I've considered custom-built frames as well. At first I wasn't able to justify it, as the LHT offers all that I need - especially when I intend to give it pretty rugged use, and so the less than glamorous paint is appropriate.
Then I came across Spicer Cycles in Evansville, Indiana. Gene Spicer tells me he can make a frame similar to the LHT, with a little customization to meet my interests, for what I think is a fair price. This is an intriguing possibility to take the project to the next level: a custom frame, fitted to me, with exactly the geometry and configuration of fittings and componentry to suit my plans. I'm looking into it! (note 2011: see top of page for why I bought the LHT in the end; a later plan will be to source a 1970s-1980s frame of Reynolds 531 to complete the perfection, relegating the LHT to a sturdy commuter bike)

At some future point, I'd like to build up either a custom built or old handmade Reynolds lugged frameset with only old componentry - say pre-1980... maybe Huret? This would be my super-beautiful tourist bike for travel in rich countries, on good roads, and with cool Berthroud, Carradice, or Brooks bags! Chromed lugs would be nice, and an ultra-glossy dark metallic green or orange paint job would fit the bill. But that's a different bike there; what this page is about is a functional and durable tourer that can go anywhere in the world and get covered in the best mud and dust to be found!

More on color:

Back in the early 80s when I was buying more bike parts, black anodized seemed like _the shit_. For one thing, only the better stuff was available black, not all of it was black (for instance, only the cage on pedals), and you had to usually pay more for it! but now everything seems to be black anodized - even to the point where many things are only available black. I assume this is as much to make parts appear 'worn out' faster as for customer/marketing preference. And there's the obnoxious 'carbon fibre' (both real and ersatz) look you'll see in the catalogs and magazines - horridly ugly, expensive, and bloody nonsense all round!

So, silver anodized has, by it's very 'uncoloured' nature, become attractive and exotic once again. It also gives a clean, balanced look and goes well with the green, not to mention that it hides scratches well (well there--I mentioned it). So silver and green only - no black anodizing will be allowed on this bike!

Ironically, for various reasons including it's what I've got and what's available for what I don't, the baggage is all going to be black - and hotter than $#@!! hell in the sun, I'm sure! On the other hand, they'll blend into the bush OK when wild camping, so that's ok. I briefly considered, then reconsidered and dismissed, getting the racks in black and not silver for similar reasons of availability and matching. And there's the black tyres ... and the grab-on grips (wouldn't consider anything else, by the way - they're the most neglected great part available) are only black. Well, we mustn't get too carried away with this colour-coordinating thing.
(note 2012: since I didn't wind up using this for a South American tour, but instead autumn and spring tours in the UP, the black bags/big heat issue isn't important.)

Sources of parts:

Here are some of the storefront and mail-order type places that I'm getting most of my stuff from, in addition to what I've found on ebay.

Most of the parts I'm looking for are of little interest to small 'sales and service' oriented shops who work mainly with modern bikes and very few freaks like me... Especially the stuff that's not been made in ages! Other things are just too small to be worth stocking if they're gonna sell one in five years. And i have to admit, I have little interest or anything in common with the sorts of bikes, products, and bikers I've seen at the shops: I don't want to buy third world crap, I've no interest in looking like a 'racer' or a 'extreeeeme!' mountain biker on carbon fibre and wearing a goofy and gaudy synthetic costume with advertising plastered all over it.

Some of the stuff is from 'local' shops, but in that case it was usually just special ordered for me from the distributor (usually QBP). And the closest 'local' shops to me are 125 miles away in Fairbanks or 250 in Anchorage anyway!

Internet, of course, allows all the real weirdos to unite and a few shops to specialize in the sorts of things I'm looking for - old stuff and uncommon domestic and imported stuff. And you'd be surprised how intense the competition is on ebay sometimes for some obscure parts! I guess there are others who feel as I do, and are aware that these old treasures are disappearing slowly from the world forever. I, for instance, have stocked up on freewheels to a potentially neurotic amount [will have to add a pic]. Oddly, despite the perceived high cost of some of the old parts, in real adjusted cost even NOS and good used parts are often cheaper than they were 25 years ago [e.g., Suntour items: new winner freewheel, Superbe Tech, cyclone MII sealed pulleys] (2012 note: less true now than in 2005!). And I won't start on their comparison to the quality of new $50-200 derailleurs...

Other things I was able to get easily from the big mail-order place (I'm talking about Nashbar/Performance here, and they are actually the same company now, so that's a little creepy), but they do have a few things unavailable elsewhere, and I have to say I got a really good deal on the tyres and headset and seat in particular.

Each of the businesses has a little bit of what I'm looking for in terms of items (both new, 'new old stock', and used), price, availability, and philosophy. I've mentioned above where I've bought or will be buying stuff, and here are the some things of interest (in 2005) and links in case you're interested to see what cool parts they might have to grace your cool bike! I recommend these places - they're all, in their own way, promoting the continued tradition of DIY bike-building and thus independent cycling.

yellowjersey: Zefal HPX (30-), silca pumps too, brake cables, brake casing per foot SILVER95c, Campagnolo Brake Wire Each (9.95), Z-Milano Pro teflon lined 1.2mm heavy stainless brake sets $9.95, Suntour Freewheel Manual Reprint (4-), yellow jersey (60), waterbottle??, cog support for SunTour Winner freewheels, Sugino Autex (30-), Campagnolo standard style chromed toeclips S-M-L-XL $29.95, campy -at brake hardware?,

rivendell: stem, phil rear hub,

loose screws: chain, toe strap ends, chainstay guard,

peter white: fenders (50), christophe clips (10), auto-extractor (2/$25), lights (25/ea) (2012: I finally got tired of dealing with this guy and his inflated ego a few years ago, as have others I've spoken with.)

Bike Works NYC

Shoes; Bike plus

nashbar - panaracer tyres...

Quality Bicycle products, via Beaver Sorts (Fairbanks) the frame,

Alfred E. Bike (Kalamazoo) the brakes grips; etc., and

Spicer Cycles (Evansville) - the racks and MKS RN pedals

Mostly written in autumn 2005 | finally posted 2016.04.03 | minor edit 2015.11
Location: rjl.us/velo/2005LHT.htm
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