Author Topic: picking bits for a new bike  (Read 1400 times)

picking bits for a new bike
« on: October 22, 2019, 05:50:14 pm »
A year ago I did a transformation job on an old bike, and found talking through the options here really helpful. I'm looking at a new bike, and not finding quite what I want ready made, so here I am again :)

The background:
We're looking at moving house next year, quite possibly to somewhere with less space to store multiple bikes. (See also the For Sale board...) So I've been taking a look at the riding I do and enjoy.
The average ride is mostly on road, a half day to a day from home. Being able to take a bit of byway, forest track or easy bridleway really adds to a ride - but realistically its 10 - 20% of a ride in most cases. I'm happier to link a route with cycletrack than major road and I'm a fan of "lost lanes". There's usually a bar bag with a camera in it on the front.
I have a mountain bike, and have enjoyed riding the south downs a bit, but I'm not really a trail centre thrills type.
I've been known to cycle commute. It used to be most days, lately its a few times a year.
Once or twice a year I put some extra bags on the bike and go for a little tour. More often with YHA / pubs for the overnights but sometimes camping. These tend to be like the average ride, in that they're not purely road and often somewhere hillier.
Once or twice a year I do an audax of the 100 - 200km variety.

Will that change?
We're moving to Edinburgh from Sussex, so more hills rather than fewer. The kids are getting older, so I hope there'll be a few more weekends away and longer rides, maybe some adventure race type things.

I don't really see myself taking up time trialling, head-to-head racing or chasing segments on Strava. This is the only club i'm in, so group rides are rare.

So, I think I'm looking for a "gravel" / adventure road bike. It looks like a reasonable compromise to achieve all that.

What does that mean to me, given that I've already said that the ones in the shops don't seem quite right? This is an on-trend type of ride after all!
 - A build that won't break or be wildly sketchy if i go off road, but not the weight of a mountain bike. Can take maybe 38c tyres with guards of some sort. I can imagine a second pair of more roadish wheels if I do enough e.g. audax to merit them. I'm OK with Aluminium frame, carbon forks.
 - A geometry that's not sluggish, but ultimately nearer tourer than racer. Certainly i'd like to put small panniers on sometimes. Current bikes have a chainstay length of 425mm, but I have to put panniers quite well back, so lets make 435mm a minimum.
 - Bars etc: Shallow drops with a slight flare. Probably bar end shifters and shorter reach levers as I was underwhelmed by combined gear / brake (admittedly 10 years ago Sora).
 - Brakes: cable discs. From what I've read Spyres. Because I enjoy being a bit away from it all. Accepting that a broken calliper or lever is going to be an issue, I can repair a cable easier than a hose.
 - Gears. I'm not super strong, more of a sit and spinner than a sprinter, but don't mind a hill. Equally, somewhere above 35km/h I'd probably accept freewheeling as nature's way of telling me to catch my breath. Practically, i've found myself using gain ratios of 1.6 to 6.5 this year. I might get fitter, or go for bigger hills, but if I'm not pushing my component choice to achieve that then I can tweak over time. After a considerable time with Sheldon's gear calculator, assuming 700 * 35c tyres and 170mm cranks, that gives me a 26 / 36 double and 11-32 cassette.
 - Budget. Ideally under £1500. Some / all of it may go on a cycle to work scheme.

So, questions / assumptions that I'm going to put out there...

Frame choice, I think these would all work (give or take finding my size - standover 785mm max, effective top tube 560mm give or take):
Alpkit Sonder Camio Al
Ribble CGR Al
Kinesis Tripster AT (maybe depends on finding a discount)
Planet X London Road (as suggested)

Gear choice.
I hope this bike will be lighter and more sprightly than my old Trek, but I'm assuming that's rarely more than a gear different in practice.  I'm sure we've had threads before on the value of 50+ tooth chainrings, and I'm in the "not feeling it" camp - though i'm nervous about just how low that top gear is despite the maths.

Gear specifics.
I'm thinking 10 speed Shimano mountain bike, ideally XT sort of level. eg FC-M8000 chainset, RD-M786-GS rear derailleur (medium cage, shadow, clutch). The 11 speed seems to have 3 disadvantages: most of the cassettes are 40 tooth singlespeed things, not as thick / strong (though i accept we said the same about 9 speed in the past), and twice the price for chains and cassettes. I'm not sure whether there's bits that won't take a 10 speed chain though.

Also, that particular chainset seems to come in a couple of versions with different chainline (48.8 and 51.8mm). I've yet to work out what would tell me that I definitely want one or the other.

I'm sure there's other things, but that feels like plenty for now :)

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2019, 06:08:23 pm »
From what you've said, I'd consider giving local builder Shand  a call.

We're getting a couple of custom Stoaters built up right now for a South American Epic next year!


Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2019, 07:44:40 pm »
Yes, Shand were one that I've looked at ... and gone back to double check. But with frames comfortably over £1000 are out of my price range.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk


Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2019, 08:05:31 pm »
Although your current mountain bike is heavy I would say that the weight difference between typical "gravel" bikes and a good quality MTB hardtail is negligible.  I was sucked in by the hype and bought a GT Grade Carbon a couple of years ago and have been pretty underwhelmed in terms of both its off and on road capability.  In comparison my alu hard tail mtb is about the same weight, is superb off-road and capable of audax rides of any distance.  There're some bargains to be had in the secondhand market for vintage lightweight hard tails that have all the braze ons needed for luggage and guards.
Most of the stuff I say is true because I saw it in a dream and I don't have the presence of mind to make up lies when I'm asleep.   Bryan Andreas

Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2019, 08:08:35 pm »
Planet X London Road is the ideal gravel-bike-on-a-budget (even though they don’t use that word).

If you change your mind about integrated shifters, note that Shimano have messed about with pull ratios for 10 and 11 speed so you’d not be able to drop on an MTB mech like you can for 9 speed.

Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2019, 08:30:43 pm »
maybe I missed it but are you planning to use dropped bars or flats?

FWIW you don't need to use MTB kit for a 32 sprocket; modern 'road' stuff will do a 34T bottom cog.

Tiagra 4700 is 10s and those shifters (flat or dropped bar ones are available) will work with 11s 'road' rear mechs. [Tiagra 4700 is an oddball 10s grouspet that uses the 11s pull ratio].

If 37mm tyres are all that is required then I think you could run all 'road' kit on a well designed steel frame and it would be fine.  However with an alu frame I think you would be better off with a slightly wider chainline, eg using shimano GRX kit (which has a 2x10 option and +2.5mm chainline)

BTW it really matters if you are intending to run 11-32 in shimano or SRAM.

http://ritzelrechner.de/?GR=DERS&KB=26,36&RZ=11,12,13,15,17,19,22,25,28,32&UF=2200&TF=90&SL=2.6&UN=MPH&DV=teeth&GR2=DERS&KB2=26,36&RZ2=11,12,14,16,18,20,22,25,28,32&UF2=2200
I'd really miss the 15T sprocket if it wasn't there.

cheers

Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2019, 08:46:57 pm »
.................

Frame choice, I think these would all work (give or take finding my size - standover 785mm max, effective top tube 560mm give or take):
Alpkit Sonder Camio Al

Not sure there's any available, they were discounting them last month, which made me wonder if there's a new model on the way.  I went for a test ride, they're nice, but decided the steel Santiago would suit my purpose better and am in the process of building one up.  Probably too much of a tourer for you and won't take the tyre size, but for the usage you describe a tourer is probably what I'd be looking at.
Brakes - the prices are coming down, if the budget allows I'd go for hydraulics, are you likely to be anywhere that a failure would be a disaster?  If you do go cable, I haven't had the best of experiences with TRP Spyke, work fine for a while then they don't keep the adjustment, I prefer BB7's, the braking is as good and they're easier to live with.

rr

Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2019, 10:24:52 pm »
Have a look at rose bikes, I think they do something that you can tweak to what you are after.

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quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2019, 10:25:14 pm »
Gear specifics.
I'm thinking 10 speed Shimano mountain bike, ideally XT sort of level. eg FC-M8000 chainset, RD-M786-GS rear derailleur (medium cage, shadow, clutch). The 11 speed seems to have 3 disadvantages: most of the cassettes are 40 tooth singlespeed things, not as thick / strong (though i accept we said the same about 9 speed in the past), and twice the price for chains and cassettes. I'm not sure whether there's bits that won't take a 10 speed chain though.

Also, that particular chainset seems to come in a couple of versions with different chainline (48.8 and 51.8mm). I've yet to work out what would tell me that I definitely want one or the other.

I am running XT mechs on my bike, I have the 11 speed, with a 38/28 chainset, and a 11-40 cassette. I don't know where you're getting your chain from, but an 11 speed chain is only 5 euro more than a 10 speed here. (€38 vs €43). At 4000km per chain, that works out at about €0.00125 extra per km...

Perhaps consider the GRX derailures? they should work with normal road (tiagra if 10 speed, or 105+ if 11 speed) shifters ?

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2019, 10:33:52 pm »
Quote
Brakes: cable discs. From what I've read Spyres. Because I enjoy being a bit away from it all. Accepting that a broken calliper or lever is going to be an issue, I can repair a cable easier than a hose.

I use cable discs and I got them for this exact reason. They are adequate for road cycling but having tried to do cross races with them, they are definitely poor compared to hydros in comfort and stopping power when off roading. I appreciate learning a new component to fettle is a bit daunting but modern hydros are actually very robust systems, thanks to years of mountain bikers generously funding research and development into making them resilient. If I were on the market again... I think I'd take the plunge and go for hydro. If and when I have the cash and I see a SRAM hydro groupo going on Facebook I reckon I'll buy it.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2019, 09:24:00 am »
Although your current mountain bike is heavy I would say that the weight difference between typical "gravel" bikes and a good quality MTB hardtail is negligible. 

I have two MTBs:
 - a Trek 3700 (hardly top of the range). It weighs 17kg.
 - an On-One Inbred, which is a bit big, so I'd be selling it anyway.
I appreciate the suggestion, but I'm ready for something new.


Planet X London Road is the ideal gravel-bike-on-a-budget (even though they don’t use that word).

Added to the list, thanks (though not sure about the green)!


maybe I missed it but are you planning to use dropped bars or flats?

FWIW you don't need to use MTB kit for a 32 sprocket; modern 'road' stuff will do a 34T bottom cog.

Drops.
Is there an advantage to a road rear, if I'm looking at MTB front mech to get down to 26? Or just greater choice?


I don't know where you're getting your chain from, but an 11 speed chain is only 5 euro more than a 10 speed here.

Maybe I need to shop around more. On a quick look I certainly felt like the running costs of 11 speed would be higher.

Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2019, 10:07:09 am »
On the brakes, I've used hydraulics on the inbred. One set good, the other bad. As well as the repair issue, i prefer short reach drop levers and smaller chainrings ... it all felt like it was pointing towards cables.

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2019, 10:44:03 am »
Join the Kool Kids on Kinesis!  If the AT is a bit expensive, they do a cheaper version called the G2 which is £1500 for a full bike.

Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2019, 11:15:04 am »
https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m2b0s143p3873/SPA-CYCLES-Wayfarer-Frameset

more geometry details on here

https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m1b0s21p3866/SPA-CYCLES-Wayfarer


I have the non disc version . 11kgs inc front and rear racks (and a heavy chainset and BB)
Spa will custom the components for a build.

it's surprisingly fast with 25c tyres and I  swap in a set of chunky tyres on a spare set of wheels for rougher conditions .


happy shopping

Ian



Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2019, 11:47:02 am »
I really like the Fairlight Secan - but unfortunately I think the cheapest build comes in at about £2100 https://fairlightcycles.com/product/secan-deposit/?v=79cba1185463
The reviews and the ones I've seen in the flesh all look really positive. They're well thought out and one of the few bikes I could imagine owning and being happy with.

The Ribble CGR in its various guises also seems to fit your description well: https://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/ribble-cgr-al/

As a carbon alternative my brother really likes his On One Space Chicken: https://www.planetx.co.uk/c/q/bikes/gravel-adventure-bikes/space-chicken

Thoughts on your comments: I don't agree with you about hydraulic brakes. I've used them for years on my commuter and they've been absolutely fine. Never had any issue with them and the performance has been excellent. I don;t get the impression that any of the cable-activated brakes, except perhaps the hybrid cable/hydraulic brakes, are anywhere near as good. I'd go for hydraulics without hesitation.

Shifters - I'd also go for combined brake/gear shifters every time. I use them on my road bike and again, would never go back to bar-end shifters. They are really good and basing your decision on a 10 year old set of low-end Shimano shifters is not really sound for the amount of thinking you are doing here.

As for the riding style, I no longer have a mountain bike, but I'm completely happy to take my road bike (drop bars, rims brakes, 700x28c tyres and mudguards) onto bridleways and off-road tracks. It entertains me no end what it can handle and how quickly! If the routes you want to explore are closer to mountain bike territory, then yes, go gravel bike, 29er mountain bike, or monster cross. Otherwise, I think it's a lot of fun to embrace the Roughstuff Fellowship ideals of just getting out on the bike.


Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2019, 12:45:35 pm »
re 'road' parts vs MTB parts.

MTB parts let you get smaller chainrings (which you want) and larger rear sprockets (which you don't), wider chainlines (which you may or may not want, you certainly don't need them with 35mm tyres) and create problems for dropped bar users because the shifters are not so easy to come by in every case.

Road parts give you more choice in shifting parts (usually) and better chainlines (in most cases). In shimano mechs they have been more likely to stick with the same shift ratio across generations which can make things easier.

FWIW I'd prefer something like kellys take offs rather than bar-end shifters.  If you are thinking of Deore XT 10s rear mech then I'm not sure what shifter you would use; IIRC microshift might make a Bar End shifter that is compatible but they might be the only ones who do.

FWIW the frameset can have a governing influence on the choice of BB and chainset.  I would still go for a 68mm wide BSC bottom bracket shell but not every frame comes with that choice these days. FWIW there are a few chainsets that allow small chainrings and road (or near road)  chainlines.   I would probably base my frameset choice around the fitment of a suitable chainset/chainline and fill in the gaps from there.

I would also probably stick to standard QR wheels (rather than through axles) but I could choose differently if the 'standards' (ha!) had settled down and I had a shedful of any given type already.

cheers

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2019, 12:20:42 am »
If you are thinking of Deore XT 10s rear mech then I'm not sure what shifter you would use; IIRC microshift might make a Bar End shifter that is compatible but they might be the only ones who do.

I can vouch for that Microshift 10s bar-end.  No complaints, which is more than can be said for the several Shimano 9s and one Microshift 9s I've had before:  The Dura-Ace ones were made of cheese (presumably for weight-weenie reasons), easy to install incorrectly (that ring that needs to be fitted in the correct orientation) and were prone to coming to bits internally if bashed or leaned against things.  The 9s Microshift was much more durable (until a crash got it, fortuitously as the cassette was due for replacement), but the 10s seems better engineered and indexes far more precisely than the 9s ever did.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2019, 07:45:34 am »
Thanks for all the comments. I think the sensible thing to do is go and try one or two out, see how they fit and in the process try the integrated brake / shift and hydraulics too. If I end up back where I am then at least it will be informed by current parts (good point, well made Alex). If I end up with some new choices, or knowing a frame isn’t for me then that’s also progress. The Kelly’s things were a new one on me, so TIL.

Carlosfandango

  • Yours fragrantly.
Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2019, 09:24:24 am »
Quote
Brakes: cable discs. From what I've read Spyres. Because I enjoy being a bit away from it all. Accepting that a broken calliper or lever is going to be an issue, I can repair a cable easier than a hose.

I use cable discs and I got them for this exact reason. They are adequate for road cycling but having tried to do cross races with them, they are definitely poor compared to hydros in comfort and stopping power when off roading. I appreciate learning a new component to fettle is a bit daunting but modern hydros are actually very robust systems, thanks to years of mountain bikers generously funding research and development into making them resilient. If I were on the market again... I think I'd take the plunge and go for hydro. If and when I have the cash and I see a SRAM hydro groupo going on Facebook I reckon I'll buy it.

I agree with this, Spyres are a fiddily, complicated design. The pad adjusters on mine seized after one winter, the body is made of cheese, so difficult to reposition and my early ones are big and rub on the front wheel spokes. The cable deteriorates over time and the performance drops off.

Hydro's are simple and reliable.


Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2019, 12:43:49 pm »
re Kelly's take-offs;  the main reasons for preferring them to bar end shifters are that

a) the choice of gear levers is a bit better
b) the shifter is extremely unlikely to be damaged
c) the ergonomics might suit you better.

I've built quite a few touring-oriented bikes with shifters (of various kinds)  mounted under or near the tops; it is very much my preferred set-up for a touring oriented bike.

Despite using them for years I have an inherent dislike of STI type shifters because

1) they force you into a limited choice of brakes and gears
2) a fault in either the brake or the gear mechanism means new shifters/levers are required
3) they are really very easily damaged in a prang
4) when they go bad only the exact same thing will work; this is a very real problem if the particular model you have is unreliable and/or no longer available new
5) they are stupidly expensive, often the single most expensive part on many builds
6) the advantages they offer are vastly overstated and only of real benefit to racers and folk who don't really understand the best time to change gear.

Irony of ironies. it turns out that several types of hydro STI are unreliable because the shifting mechanism is pants, and often fails before the hydraulics spring a leak.  If I expected to be in the middle of nowhere when I had a problem, I'd definitely not choose hydro STIs for my bike.

cheers

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2019, 02:59:36 pm »
^^Brucey doesn't like STIs because he's a mechanic and he spends marginally longer in his day dealing with more complicated parts, leaving him less time for his tea break. 

STIs/Ergos are teh shiz, and they're reliable too.  Okay, Powershift ergos aren't, but you're not going to be buying those.  When was the last time you knew someone whose STIs 'just' broke?  I've never had a pair  collapse on me.  Any concerns about "what if it breaks while I'm in the middle of Greenland in winter" are ill-founded and should be ignored.  If you aren't crossing Greenland any time soon, it's an irrelevant question.  If you are crossing Greenland ... well you should still use STIs.  If I did another world trip, I'd use them, and I've met many people who've successfully used them on super-long tours - with no reports of them  breaking.  If you think bar ends are faultless, here's the news: they give you super-long cable runs which can make for poor shifting and difficult maintenance through having to unwind your entire bar tape - unless you're one of those awful people who have them coming out of your bars halfway, in which case you should be shot by the fashion police.  The super-long cables also mean that half the brands of gear cables sold in shops won't be long enough - which is a problem if those are the only cables sold in the shop halfway across Greenland! 

You should spec your bike to be nice to ride rather than worrying about mythical failure modes all the time.  Apart from the shifting awesomeness, most drop bars are also designed to mate to STI levers these days, so it's easiest to get a comfortable hand position.  Go for them, they're the best  :)

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2019, 03:20:27 pm »
the only time i had a problem with an sti shifter when i fell sideways into mud and the shifter filled up with liquid mud. i've replaced it afterwards (it still kinda worked though). i've also had several tumbles, both at speed and not, twisting the shifters inwards, but apart from scratches they continued to function just fine.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #22 on: October 24, 2019, 03:37:54 pm »
I have had STI dramas - specifically with Shimano ones. I still haven't got round to returning my busted tiagra one under warranty. I think SRAM ones are a bit better, my dad has run SRAM STIs for years without dramas. By contrast I've spoken to a few people who've had to warranty Shimano STIs. I've also seen other Shimano stuff including ultegra and dura ace cranks fall apart.

If/when I do make a specific 'adventuring' bike I reckon it'll be a 1x with a single bar end shifter, mounted on those big wide drop bars so I don't bang my shin on it.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2019, 04:56:43 pm »
^^Brucey doesn't like STIs because he's a mechanic …..

Mechanics earn their living by doing this kind of thing. IME they are usually so busy trying to make ends meet that they don't have time to drink cups of tea or post here come to that.  I spend quite a lot of my time messing about with bikes -often other people's- but I don't earn a living at it.

 Mechanics are fairly sanguine about unreliable parts; if they fail in warranty and it is a bike they have sold, it is a PITA. But if they are not, it just means more work and more profit.

Quote
STIs/Ergos are teh shiz, and they're reliable too.
 

Uh, I take a (possibly unhealthy) interest in what goes in the scrap bins of several LBSs and I can report that (in modern incarnations) they are not particularly reliable and that they break easily in crashes.

Quote
You should spec your bike to be nice to ride rather than worrying about mythical failure modes all the time.  Apart from the shifting awesomeness, most drop bars are also designed to mate to STI levers these days, so it's easiest to get a comfortable hand position.  Go for them, they're the best  :)

You can get brake levers which ape the shape of STIs if you like that or want (for some mad reason) to use those misbegotten handlebars that 'are meant for them'.   Plenty of riders have been riding STIs for so long that they have no idea whatsoever what shifting is like by other means;  with good sprockets and chain 'pretty bloody good' is the answer, and that is where the shifting awesomeness comes from.

 One of the reasons I like other shifters is that with many simple types you know what gear you are in because you can feel where the levers sit; this simple advantage (which still works in the dark.. ::-).) is lost with lots of other shifters and it beggars belief the elaborate (and largely ineffective)  crap that is added to replace this.

Punctures of any kind and tyre rips that need a boot/tube are 'mythical failure modes' too, until they happen. Honestly I think so many people ride in or near suburbs, near railways or with the (wifey-driven) sag wagon only a phone call away, that they forget the rest of the world isn't like that. I have had all kinds of things happen in odd places and 'having stuff that you can fix' is quite a high priority -certainly higher than any 'marginal gains' crap-    if you ride (or live in) such places.

cheers

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: picking bits for a new bike
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2019, 06:04:47 pm »
The problem isn't STIs, it's drop handlebars.  STIs are merely a symptom.   :P
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...