Could you help me with some small mods to my bike?

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Could you help me with some small mods to my bike?

Postby Mtde » Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:17 am

Hey guys, just hoping you could help me out here. I've got a Giant Defy and I want to take it over to the UK for some touring. Won't be fully loaded extreme touring with a tent and a kitchen on the back, more like some panniers with some clothes and the essentials, I'd just be sleeping in hostels/B&B's. It's already got eyelets for a rack so I don't see any reason it can't be up to the task.
Here's the specs:

FRAME
Frame ALUXX SL FluidFormedâ„¢ alloy: smooth welded, Endurance geometry
Fork Advanced composite | tapered OverDrive alloy steerer
COMPONENTS
Handlebar Giant Connect oversize alloy medium drop/reach
Stem Giant Connect oversize alloy, 4 bolt, 8 degree
Seatpost Giant Connect composite 30.9
Saddle Giant comfort road
Pedals Shimano R540 SPD-SL clipless
DRIVETRAIN
Shifters Shimano Tiagra STI 18 sp. w/reach adjust
Front Derailleur Shimano Tiagra
Rear Derailleur Shimano Tiagra 9 sp.
Brakes Shimano Sora dual pivot
Brake Levers Shimano Tiagra w/reach adjust
Cassette Shimano HG50 9 sp. 12-25T
Chain Shimano HG73 9 sp.
Crankset Shimano Tiagra Compact 34x50T
Bottom Bracket Shimano Tiagra integrated, outboard
WHEELS
Rims Giant S-R2 alloy double wall 32H
Hubs Shimano Tiagra 9 sp cassette
Spokes 14G stainless
Tyres Giant P-R3, front & rear specific, w/IronCap Belt, 700 x 25c

Basically I'm just wondering what you guys think should be changed. First things that come to mind are the crankset, shifters, front derailleur, brakes, wheels & saddle.

Is there anything else I'm missing? And what sort of parts would you guys recommend, and what sort of price range am I looking at? I don't really want to go all out on this, I mean I'm perfectly happy to swap the saddle over and go, I'm just not too keen on getting stuck half way up a hill or something. Any help would be truly appreciated guys.
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by BNA » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:32 pm

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Re: Could you help me with some small mods to my bike?

Postby TassieRambler » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:32 pm

Sounds like you're over-worrying the problem to me.

It's worth considering changing your cassette to give yourself some easy "granny gears" as the extra weight on steep hills can be a killer.

The other main problem you may have is that your rear wheel may not be strong enough once you load it up with a pannier (assuming you're not putting on a front rack), but then again if you don't weigh much yourself it may be sufficient. I recently spent three months cycling through Europe with a friend who had a similarly spec'd bike to yours and she had no problems (but she only weighed 55 kgs).

Any half decent bike shop should be able to advise you on this.

As for shifters, brakes, saddles etc. if you like them there's no need to change them.

Finally, remember that you'll be in the UK and there will be bike shops everywhere in case something goes wrong.

I'd save my money, and instead spend it on getting a good rack and panniers and maybe joining the CTC to get access to maps and routes.
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Re: Could you help me with some small mods to my bike?

Postby jet-ski » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:48 pm

I'd change the rear cassette to 12-28T, and that's about it....
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Re: Could you help me with some small mods to my bike?

Postby il padrone » Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:23 pm

TassieRambler wrote:Finally, remember that you'll be in the UK and there will be bike shops everywhere in case something goes wrong.

And it will be a whole lot cheaper to by parts and racks/panniers over in the UK than here in Australia :idea:
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Re: Could you help me with some small mods to my bike?

Postby Uncle Just » Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:20 pm

I also intend to do some touring next year in the UK and France, doing the E2E and the Alps/Pyrenees. As jet-ski wrote, 12-28 s/be ok even for the short steeper climbs in Cornwall and some in Scotland with your 34-50. If going that way, some are very steep! I'm using that combo but an 11T as I don't want to spin out on some descents. :) Are you happy with the saddle after a couple of back to back 100km rides now? If not research and look for one that suits you.

A rear rack such as a Tubus Fly is v good but does not allow for much on the top part of the rack for say a top bag. A Vega might be better but as with all panniers be aware of the heel strike potential with shortish chainstays on road bikes. 25c tyres s/be ok for lightweight touring if riding mostly on sealed roads. The 32H wheels s/be ok provided as another poster wrote you don't carry too much. I prefer 36H handbuilt wheels even for everyday riding and also for light weight touring as they are strong and reliable ime. One item for the UK with its notorious weather, is to consider fitting mudguards. I use Crud Catcher's mark 2 version that allows fitment of full guards even with close clearance frames. Light weight and better than getting soaked.

Good luck and enjoy your tour.
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Re: Could you help me with some small mods to my bike?

Postby Mtde » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:06 am

Thanks heaps guys. When I was listing possible changes I meant change the derailleur & shifter only if the crank needs to be swapped. Basically everything I've read from these hardcore tourers says they use triple cranks, 28-38-48 or the like. I haven't read anything yet from someone with a double, and I know nothing about UK landscape and roads so I've got no idea how it would hold up.

The current saddle is appalling, even one day in it can get uncomfortable let alone weeks on end. Sora brakes are terrible, I don't even want to know what they're like with a rack on the back. I'm not a heavy guy, 75kgs so the bike wont be under much of a load, so clueless on the wheel. I might change the rear one to a mavic, apparently they're indestructible for touring.

Thanks alot guys, I'll start looking into some parts for it.
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Re: Could you help me with some small mods to my bike?

Postby Aushiker » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:06 pm

il padrone wrote:
TassieRambler wrote:Finally, remember that you'll be in the UK and there will be bike shops everywhere in case something goes wrong.

And it will be a whole lot cheaper to by parts and racks/panniers over in the UK than here in Australia :idea:


Hi

Actually it is cheaper to buy them from the UK whilst here in Australia as you avoid the VAT and if you buy from the likes of Wiggle it can be free postage.

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Re: Could you help me with some small mods to my bike?

Postby il padrone » Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:11 pm

Aushiker wrote:
il padrone wrote:And it will be a whole lot cheaper to by parts and racks/panniers over in the UK than here in Australia :idea:


Hi

Actually it is cheaper to buy them from the UK whilst here in Australia as you avoid the VAT and if you buy from the likes of Wiggle it can be free postage.

Good point, you are correct :wink:

Mtde wrote:The current saddle is appalling, even one day in it can get uncomfortable let alone weeks on end.

Hmm, yes. Time for some Rx in that case

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Re: Could you help me with some small mods to my bike?

Postby Aushiker » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:55 pm

il padrone wrote:Hmm, yes. Time for some Rx in that case

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Hi

Another vote for a Brooks but given it is a Defy I would suggest the Team Professional Pro is a better design in this situation than a B17. I have a Flyer on my Surly LHT which is fine for that riding position but on the Look and Kinesis a Team Professional works better; well for me any way.

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Re: Could you help me with some small mods to my bike?

Postby avalon » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:21 pm

Hi Mtdi. The British landscape offers a wide variety of hills and flat, so a good range of low gears would be useful, even in flatter areas as it's often windy.
How are you transporting your bike, I am interested as it's something I am considering doing when I go to visit family in the next year or two (although I havn't asked the wife if I can take my bike yet). I have been wondering if it would be cheaper to ship it there through Australia Post than to take it on the plane with me.
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Re: Could you help me with some small mods to my bike?

Postby Mtde » Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:29 am

Ahh yes I've heard good things about the Brooks saddles, only thing is they're ugly as hell. But if I'm sitting on it what's the difference eh?

avalon wrote:Hi Mtdi. The British landscape offers a wide variety of hills and flat, so a good range of low gears would be useful, even in flatter areas as it's often windy.
How are you transporting your bike, I am interested as it's something I am considering doing when I go to visit family in the next year or two (although I havn't asked the wife if I can take my bike yet). I have been wondering if it would be cheaper to ship it there through Australia Post than to take it on the plane with me.


I've had to look into this a bit. Postage of a bike is quoted as a few hundred and I don't even have an address over there so that's out. I've looked around at different airlines and decided that Thai Air is the best bet to get it over there (For me anyway as I intend to stop in Thailand for a week -24hr flight to UK? NO THANK YOU!). They allow 20kg checked baggage and 7kg is allowed on the plane. If you've got a big, heavy mountain bike you might be in trouble, although from what I understand it just counts as normal overweight baggage so you get hit with the same fees as everyone else. I've read stories of other airlines charging people hundreds to transport a bike even if it's under the weight allowance, so be sure to check with whoever you choose before you buy tickets. You can just pack it in a bike box (like what they're sent to the stores in, I believe you can buy these at Qantas check in points), or a bike bag. They come unpadded or padded. A padded one will set you back anything from $100ish to over $600, and weigh about 5.5kg so take that into account when choosing airlines. The list goes on but just apply some common sense and you should be alright, maybe even print out airline policies from their site in case an argument ensues at the airport. Best of luck mate, and thanks all you guys for the suggestions/tips.
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Re: Could you help me with some small mods to my bike?

Postby il padrone » Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:48 am

Mtde wrote:Ahh yes I've heard good things about the Brooks saddles, only thing is they're ugly as hell.

For a road bike perhaps consider one of these. The Brooks Swift - very sweet profile and very comfy shape for me, right from the 'get-go'. They are pretty expensive in the titanium rail version but there is a steel rail model for a better price. The leather is the same grade as the Team Pro, but I found the shape, especially the run-off from the top to the sides, was much nicer. My firs ride was 110kms and I did it in perfect comfort.

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Re: Could you help me with some small mods to my bike?

Postby Mtde » Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:53 pm

Wow, I Googled the Swift and it took me to the titanium version, I almost had a heart attack at that price! Has anyone here used a B17? I found a picture of it in black and I don't think it's all that bad, and for $72 inc shipping from the UK that sounds like a pretty good deal to me. The Swift is $133, is it really worth almost double the price? Couldn't find a price on the Team Pro.

And a thought that occurred to me earlier when I was riding, does anyone have experience on the UK roads? What are they like? I live beyond the suburb limits so my riding is on some pretty rough tarmac, surely the UK couldn't have such harsh roads as ours. Could probably avoid a seat change altogether and just spend the money on some good cycling shorts.
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Re: Could you help me with some small mods to my bike?

Postby il padrone » Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:02 pm

When I bought my Swift Ti it cost me ~$230 delivered. Not that much more today from Wiggle, $285 with free delivery.'Twas a lot cheaper than a Swallow at ~$450.

Despite the cost, it is a glorious saddle that I am very glad I bought. Yes, it's a tougher grade of leather, should last longer than a B17. Mine, in use for ~4 years has only slightly changed shape to suit me, however it was very comfortable from the word go. Ti rails may help a bit in flex and impact absorption.

On tour, travelling day after day, saddle discomfort is about more than just some rough surfaces. If the shape of your saddle is wrong it continues to plague you, causing discomfort that gradually gets worse and worse....... and worse!! Best to start with a comfy saddle, and if it's a Brooks you go for, make sure you have it beforehand, to be able to get in 1000-1200kms to break it in well.
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