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Looking for some advice on LHT rejigging/components for tour

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Looking for some advice on LHT rejigging/components for tour

Old 09-13-22, 01:34 AM
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afrowheels
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Looking for some advice on LHT rejigging/components for tour

Hi All,

This might be a slightly frustrating question/set of questions so apologies in advance. I've not been touring for a while and I am dealing with a bike that I built in a hurry over a decade ago.

Basically, I have a Surly LHT 64cm (as I recall but might be 62cm) for 26 inch wheels that I want to get ready for a potential tour (that I've posted about before). I still don't know whether that's going to happen but if it does it will be a last minute decision so I want to get as much ready as possible in case it comes off.

I previously had a Hewitt and transferred quite a few of the components from that to the LHT: front and rear derailleurs, wheels, racks, cogs (3x front and 8x rear). I ended-up doing all that before a short, easy tour in France but it was very rushed. For some reason, which I now can't remember, I ended-up using a different set of (rather low quality) shifters. I'll post pictures in my next post below this one. On the tour and subsequently I found that the shifting did not work well except in a few gears, but I wasn't able to figure out why. I also found that the butterfly bar setup did not feel comfortable or stable for me.

I am thinking of changing the handlerbars to (quite high) drops and replacing the shifters and brakes, but possibly also replacing the front and rear cogs/rings (which did take quite a bit of a hammering on my first tour - 5500km in East & Southern Africa). I am wondering whether the wheels are good enough to reuse for a long, hard tour in South America. What would you do/recommend in this situation? (in terms of replacing components)

Last edited by afrowheels; 09-28-22 at 01:47 PM. Reason: incorrect number
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Old 09-13-22, 01:47 AM
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photos

(original post re the tour: this: https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1...g-working.html)

Photos of the bike





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Old 09-13-22, 07:29 AM
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It probably doesn't shift well because the shift cables are too tight..

I'd pull it apart, clean and re-grease everything to include the hubs, then see how it all works.
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Old 09-13-22, 09:22 AM
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Here is my biased option:

Wheels: Are they true, or can be trued? I see wear bars on the barking surfaces of the wheels. Is there plenty of rim left? If yes to both, I don't see any reason not to reuse them.

Current butterfly bars: If you had them in the position they are in now, they might work a lot better for you if you if they were positioned flat. I like drops better, but butterfly worked fine. I have also found that a flat bar with curved, taped bar ends works well.

IF you go to drops... You are going to replace the shifters and brakes, and a new chain is in order also.... you might as well consider going to 9-speed with only an additionally cassette replacement. 8-speed crankset should work fine for this. If you go to drops, are you considering going STI or bar-end?

The chain rings look warn. Should inspect and replace if needed. Middle looks the most worn to me. Maybe could get by with only replacing the middle.

Oh yea... and you might consider putting a front wheel on it!
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Old 09-13-22, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by afrowheels View Post
On the tour and subsequently I found that the shifting did not work well except in a few gears, but I wasn't able to figure out why. I also found that the butterfly bar setup did not feel comfortable or stable for me.

i think i've located the problem.
you seem to have misplaced the front wheel, so of course the shifting is off and flutterby bars feel unstable!

otherwise, chris might be onto something with cable runs too tight. maybe reposition the levers to get some more slack in the housing and the shifting will improve.
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Old 09-13-22, 01:39 PM
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My guess is that your shifting problems could have been caused by your chainline. Most mountain bike cranks use a 50 mm chainline and most road bikes use 45 mm. I use a mountain bike drivetrain on my LHT with STI shifters, but used a shorter bottom bracket to pull the cranks into a 45 mm chainline. I use the shorter BB because of also using A shimano 4503 front derailleur, which is built for a 45 mm chainline. It is the most versatile FD that I've seen. I have set up 5 touring bikes with this setup including 3 LHTs.

It would not hurt to check the chainline. If you are replacing the drivetrain this chainline will be important when you start mixing and matching components, e.g., STI road shifters/ brake levers will not work with the brakes that are currently on your bike without adding some Travel Agents.

Last edited by Doug64; 09-13-22 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 09-13-22, 03:31 PM
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Another option to make 45 and 50mm chain line components, or road shifters and mtn bike front derailleurs, play well together is by using a Jtek Shiftmate.

Shiftmate 7 mixes Shimano & Campagnolo triple road shifters with mountain bike front derailleurs

I recently did a drop bar conversion on a Trek 7.5FX hybrid with a trekking/mtn bike crank. The Shiftmate 7 makes Ultegra 3x9 shifters play well with the mtn Deore front derailleur. As mentioned(if you're converting to drop bars and road shifters), Travel agents will be needed to make the current brakes compatible, or switch to a set of cantilever brakes.

All that said, you have mtn bike shifters on their currently. I too think your cables are really tight. I'd guess you mounted the trekking bars using the cables from the flat bar you removed and tried to make them work without replacing with new, properly sized, cables and housings.

As for the wheels..yes, no, maybe. You haven't shown any good pics of the wheels, hubs..etc, so it's hard to say what shape they're in. What are they? At a minimum, I'd go through the hub bearings by cleaning up the races and cones and (properly) reassemble them with fresh grease(Park Tool has all kinds of videos to show how to do hub, derailleur, shifter, chain..etc.. maintenance). Then go through the spokes to check the spoke tensions, true the wheels etc..
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Old 09-13-22, 06:39 PM
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What's that rear hub? I can tell it's a Shimano XT, but I mean which model? I had a M780 (I think) which is a known lemon. Besides that, I learned that my bottom bracket had a lot of play, where there shouldn't be any. I don't know if one issue made the other worse, or if they were both inevitable on their own. 🤔

Anyways, I'm guessing your shifters are just fine, but that hub & maybe the BB need replaced.

Good luck. 🙂

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Old 09-14-22, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by stardognine View Post
...I had a M780 (I think) which is a known lemon.
I think the M770 was the lemon.
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Old 09-14-22, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
I think the M770 was the lemon.
You're probably right. 👍 I have a terrible memory, for numbers, so said "I think". 😉

Mostly wanted the OP to be aware, that there's a lemon to be careful of. It would really be bad, to learn that in the middle of nowhere. 😟
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Old 09-14-22, 10:49 AM
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You're probably right. 👍 I have a terrible memory, for numbers, so said "I think". 😉

Mostly wanted the OP to be aware, that there's a lemon to be careful of. It would really be bad, to learn that in the middle of nowhere.
I have a XT 770 on my LHT, and have toured at least 15,000 miles, plus a lot of prep miles on it without any problems. What makes it a lemon? The main concerns I've heard are the 13 3/16" bearings vs. the 9 1/4" bearings found in most rear hubs. The aluminum axle also seems to have spooked folks. I've serviced the hubs several times and could not see any wear.

My only concern is that it take a 14 mm hex to remove the free hub.

Last edited by Doug64; 09-14-22 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 09-14-22, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I have a XT 770 on my LHT, and have toured at least 15,000 miles, plus a lot of prep miles on it without any problems. What makes it a lemon? The main concerns I've heard are the 13 3/16" bearings vs. the 9 1/4" bearings found in most rear hubs. The aluminum axle also seems to have spooked folks. I've serviced the hubs several times and could not see any wear.

My only concern is that it take a 14 mm hex to remove the free hub.
The problem is pretty well known, just do a search, and you'll see what I mean. 🙂 It has to do with the pawls not engaging properly, and you wind up not getting any forward movement, when you pedal. Or rather it just doesn't move anything, inside the hub, like it's supposed to.

It also can completely separate the axle itself, from the part that holds the cassette on. As mine did, AFTER I serviced the bearings as best as I could, on the side of the road.

I thought it was a good hub too, rode it from Sacramento to Seattle, then most of the way back to Sacramento, with no problems. But when it died, it REALLY died.

I've heard that some folks never had problems with them, and hopefully you're one of the lucky ones. But there's definitely an issue, which has affected a lot of people, not just me. 😉 Our forum member @Tourist in MSN is familiar, and enlightened me.

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Old 09-14-22, 01:22 PM
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Pretty much everything that needed to be said, but I cannot get past the rusty chain or the position of the bars.
Makes me wonder.
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Old 09-14-22, 09:26 PM
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If i was going to do a long tour in South America i would start out by replacing your drivetrain and wheels. If you plan on being on rougher roads i would consider a wider alt bar like a Denham bar or Velo Orange crazy bar.You want a bike you can count on to not give you many problems. Spend the dough and go to South America without worrying about old parts. A 10 speed rear would be nice.
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Old 09-15-22, 09:34 AM
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I did a little more reading last night, about the M770 rear hub failures. Some guys over in England suspect that the very early M770s had a weakness, which was solved somewhere along the way. A lot of people have no issues whatsoever, so theirs were "probably" made later. But who knows exactly when they solved the problem?

If I were just riding close to home on it, I wouldn't even really worry about it. But out touring, I don't think I'd want to gamble on it. 🤔😉
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Old 09-16-22, 05:15 PM
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Regarding shifting, almost all of my bikes use friction shifting for front. With a triple and if you have any mis-matched shifter and front derailleurs, friction is often the simplest way to go.

Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
Another option to make 45 and 50mm chain line components, or road shifters and mtn bike front derailleurs, play well together is by using a Jtek Shiftmate.

Shiftmate 7 mixes Shimano & Campagnolo triple road shifters with mountain bike front derailleurs
...
I am running a Shimano rear derailleur, Sram eight speed cassette and Campy 10 speed brifter for the rear on my rando bike. The Campy 10 speed and Shimano eight speed rear derailleur are both nearly identical 2.3 mm of cable pull per shift.

Regarding going to nine from an eight speed, I see no great reason to make such a change. My two derailleur touring bikes have eight speed in back and triples in front.
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Old 09-16-22, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by stardognine View Post
I did a little more reading last night, about the M770 rear hub failures. Some guys over in England suspect that the very early M770s had a weakness, which was solved somewhere along the way. A lot of people have no issues whatsoever, so theirs were "probably" made later. But who knows exactly when they solved the problem?

If I were just riding close to home on it, I wouldn't even really worry about it. But out touring, I don't think I'd want to gamble on it. 🤔😉
I do not really know if it was just the early ones or not. But one other problem was that some of the early ones had a freehub that was not well attached to the hub shell. But that was over a decade ago. I think that any hubs of that vintage now that have not yet gone bad probably won't.

That said, when I built up my Lynskey five years ago, I found that Shimano still made the M756A rear hub with steel axles which is what I used. I must admit, I do like the idea of quarter inch ball bearings in a rear wheel.

I have an aluminum axle on my front wheel on my folding bike, the aluminum does not bother me, as it is quite oversized should be beefy enough to do the job.
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Old 09-28-22, 11:19 AM
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You guys are hilarious

I was a bit rushed and didn't seem worth the time to put the front wheel on for photographs 😅😝

My question was primarily about the handlebars, shifters and drivetrain. Though the comments about the wheels have definitely given me something to think about... I'll elaborate in my actual reply after this one.

Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
i think i've located the problem.
you seem to have misplaced the front wheel, so of course the shifting is off and flutterby bars feel unstable!

otherwise, chris might be onto something with cable runs too tight. maybe reposition the levers to get some more slack in the housing and the shifting will improve.
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Old 09-28-22, 12:38 PM
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Thanks and some replies/further thoughts

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions: much appreciated. (I was travelling and only seemed to get one notification so didn't realise there was so many responses).

I should re-emphasise a couple of points. First, that while I have at various points tried to get myself basically competent with the workings of bicycles (before my one long tour and when I was putting together this LHT) I have never felt very competent and I haven't done much cycling or mechanical stuff in the last 5-10 years (the latter may partly answer your concerns re some of the rust, etc MarcusT ). Second, I may not have mentioned but I am a bit short on time for preparation and exploring/experimenting with different options...doing this tour will likely be a last-minute decision in November and I need to get all the crucial things ready before then (while of course doing everything else that day-to-day life requires!) With that said:

Bars and shifters:
My current thinking is to still make the switch to drop bars but get some of these friction shifters:
https://www.gevenalle.com/product/audax/ [not cheap but seem like a better bet than buying a new, touring quality groupset]

That is consistent with what Tourist in MSN suggested.

timdow I did experiment with the butterfly bars in different configurations and none of them really felt especially comfortable.

Thanks for all the suggestions re checking the tightness of the cables ( Germany_chris fishboat and others) to deal with the shifting issue. Wish I had thought of that at the time... Mind you, I was literally putting the peddles on this 'build' 20min before riding to a train station for a short, easy tour so it was a very rushed job. Thing is that since I am thinking of changing the setup it would probably not make sense to try and fix that now. Having said that, I still wonder whether it could (also) be due to some kind of mismatch in the components of the kind Doug64 alludes to (and frankly, because of my limited knowledge, I still do not understand the issues you refer to Doug!).

Wheels:

timdow fishboat I don't feel like I am able to make an assessment of the state of the wheels with much confidence. These wheels survived a heavily loaded 5,500km tour in East Africa 15 years ago and perhaps a few thousands kms of tarmac in general riding. Then I transferred them from my Hewitt to this Surly LHT. I guess the hubs are okay if they held up on that tour 😬 ( stardognine fishboat ) at least in the sense of not being complete lemons. Presumably anything can fail badly after long enough. Not so sure about the rims; I think I will need to at least get a second opinion from a full-time bike mechanic.

So where does this leave me? I like to have confidence in my gear but I also don't want to spend unnecessarily since I'm trying to be frugal. It seems to me that a change to drop bars, an investment in the Gevenalle friction shifters, getting the wheels checked, and maybe replacing a chain ring or two would be the way to go. Hoping I can avoid getting new wheels (though if anyone has ideas for good value, expedition tour-quality wheelsets I'd be interested to hear about them).

Cheers
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Old 09-28-22, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by afrowheels View Post
...
Bars and shifters:
My current thinking is to still make the switch to drop bars but get some of these friction shifters:
https://www.gevenalle.com/product/audax/ [not cheap but seem like a better bet than buying a new, touring quality groupset]

That is consistent with what Tourist in MSN suggested.

...
I have a strong preference for friction front shifter when using a triple on a touring bike, but for the rear I really prefer indexed.

I have one bike that is friction front and rear, have not ridden it for a few years. But my two derailleur touring bikes and rando bike all have friction front with a triple and indexed rear. Touring, my rear indexed shifter is bar end and the rando bike has the Campy rear brifter.

Djb on this forum has experience with Gevenalle shifters, he may have more to say.
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Old 09-29-22, 01:27 AM
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Okay, thanks for clarifying. Decisions decisions...

Any thoughts on Gevenalle shifters djb ?

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I have a strong preference for friction front shifter when using a triple on a touring bike, but for the rear I really prefer indexed.

I have one bike that is friction front and rear, have not ridden it for a few years. But my two derailleur touring bikes and rando bike all have friction front with a triple and indexed rear. Touring, my rear indexed shifter is bar end and the rando bike has the Campy rear brifter.

Djb on this forum has experience with Gevenalle shifters, he may have more to say.
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Old 09-29-22, 12:58 PM
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I love my Gevenalles. The simplicity of down tube/bar end shifters at a more convenient location. I have the Audax levers with Rivendell "Silver" friction shifters with a triple on the front and 9 speed on the rear. I'm sure the standard Dia-Compe shifters work fine also.

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Old 09-29-22, 02:15 PM
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Just an FYI, looking at the photo that BobG posted, if you plan to use a handlebar bag or bikepacking handlebar harness, looks like the cables are not in an ideal place. A friend of mine had the older SHimano shifters that routed cables towards the middle of the bike, he used V brake noodles to re-route the cables downward so that they did not interfere with his handlebar bag. I think this photo is almost a decade old, those shifters are getting rare.

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Old 10-01-22, 05:49 AM
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Thanks BobG , useful to have that endorsement.

Tourist in MSN : hadn't thought about that...I do have quite a nice Ortlieb handlebar bag that I'd probably want to use, so will bear this problem in mind when putting everything together.
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Old 10-01-22, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by afrowheels View Post
Thanks BobG , useful to have that endorsement.

Tourist in MSN : hadn't thought about that...I do have quite a nice Ortlieb handlebar bag that I'd probably want to use, so will bear this problem in mind when putting everything together.
Not a bad idea, but I have been able to carefully push the cable into a position that was fine without the need for the v brake noodles as long as the cables weren't super tight of something. The noodles are probably a good idea, but if you have the bike ready to go and want to mount the bag you probably can. I have done so on a number of bikes with similar cable routing without issue. Even with a pretty large bag that was a litttle tighter fit that the noodles might have accomodated I managed.
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