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 Post subject: Do-it-all build ideas.
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 6:39 pm
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Trying to reduce my collection and upgrade at the same time. I currently have a Raleigh Ozark (early lugged 531 ATB) built up as a tourer and a Raleigh Yukon (90s 501 framed job) built up with better than original bits as an MTB. This pic was taken a while ago (and before I got round to taping bars etc.) but you get the idea.

Image

I rarely ride off road, although it's something I'd like to do more of. Touring is something that I enjoy now and then. I don't really need a tourer and an MTB. I have a single speed bike for daily commuting purposes and that's staying as it is for the time being.

The Ozark has seen the more use of the two bikes mentioned and over a couple of tours it took a load with ease and got me there. However it's built for strength rather than speed and truthfully it is a little sluggish. I'm not a heavy chap and have toured fully loaded on lightish winter road bikes OK - I feel that the Ozark is overkill for me. In spite of the cheaper tubing and more lowly origins, the Yukon is a great bike IMO - it's a lively frame and feels fast and agile. I'm considering turning the Yukon into a do it all bike but it lacks rack braze-ons. A rack could be mounted but I'm wondering about getting something else, better, to build up to do both jobs. I've got lots of bits (mostly LX) and plenty of wheels and tyres.

Any suggestions? Have been thinking an older specialized rockhopper or an orange clockwork might be a nice option. I like steel and cheapish is good. Is there any argument for getting a purpose-built 700c-wheeled touring frame? The Ozark doesn't quite have the "mile-eating" feel of a really good tourer but then all bikes are different...


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:37 pm 
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That might be a tall order. Tourers generally have fairly slack frame angles, much like earlier MTB designs, and long chain stays, for heel clearance when panniers are fitted, which together with the slack angles increases wheelbase and makes the bike slower steering, but more stable when loaded. Whereas, by the 90s racier MTBs had short chains stays, steeper frame angles and quicker steering which made them more "chuckable", but probably less suited being fully loaded. That and the fact that some "racing" MTBs had no mudguard or rack mount eyes.

Anecdotally, I have two MTBs and the heavier, slacker angled one definately feels better with heavy panniers on it than the lighter "racier" one.

If you find that the Ozark already works well as a tourer, perhaps keep it for that and replace the Yukon with something "racier" and lighter to use purely as an MTB. On this site 3 bikes would hardly be considered excessive. :D


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:21 pm 
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Any world traveler who ever had to get a frame welded back together in the middle of nowhere will tell you the same thing : When it comes to touring with a load, there's no such thing as overkill.
Seriously, there's no point in getting a light and sporty frame if you're going to hang 40lbs on the back of the bike. The weight of your load ruins the sporty frame's fine handling anyway.

Personally, I'd get a heavy frame with a neutral geometry and some bullet-proof quality components (M730 comes to mind). Or I'd just upgrade the Ozark.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:22 pm 
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An off roader that makes a passable tourer.

You need a Cleland or a Highpath.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:17 pm 
Feature Bike
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Getting down to one do-it-all bike is a worthy goal and will make you a true cyclist (or so they tell me). So make the Ozark lighter.

Assuming that they both fit you, the 531 frame should be zippier. But you are freighting it with lots of clobber. (I can't quite tell from the pic, but they look simillar in size, although the head tubes are different.)

So, lighter tyres/wheels, BB, Saddle, etc. will work wonders for its feel. (e.g. the Flite is 190g, the Brooks must be 700? & that rack must be just shy of a kilo.) Once skinny, ride it as an MTB and only add the touring components that you really need: mudgaurds, sure. But how much touring do you really do? And even if the answer is 'quite a bit actually', then why not try to do it simply: e.g. just small front and rear racks, and a large saddle bag.

I'd bet my pants that that Ozark becomes more enjoyable after a diet. And if it doesn't, hell, sell me the stem and give the Yukon a fettle.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:51 pm 
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yep i agree give the ozark a chance after a diet.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:35 pm 
Gold Trader
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"The Ozark has seen the more use ...... However it's built for strength rather than speed"

Something of a feature of tourers, really. So, that which doctor-bond says, plus one!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 6:39 pm
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Interesting responses and lots of good info. I'm glad I asked. Thanks!

531 aside, the Ozark frame is quite a bit heavier than the Yukon. If I'm right it's plain gauge, thick-walled 531 ATB, and it's only used for the main tubes. The forks are heavy, too (probably not even cro-mo). Yes it takes a load well, but the massive strength at the front and in the middle of the frame is overkill for road use - I'm only 10 1/2 stone. Components-wise I had already started putting it on a diet. Certainly the Brooks is heavy (and it has been removed since this pic was taken), but the current wheels are lighter than the originals in the pic, tyres are very light, also moved to a lighter stem. The rack's not as heavy as it looks. Despite the weight loss, the bike still has a sluggish feel, and while the load doesn't affect stability the bike isn't particularly smooth or stable with or without a load. The handling became worse with the addition of drop bars, too, which is a shame cos I generally prefer them for long rides.

As to fit - I never felt that it fitted quite right, although I've never quite been able to put my finger on why... Perhaps its just too small - if memory serves it's a 22" which although big by MTB standards is small compared to the 23.5" traditional touring frame which would suit me.

The other downside to the Ozark is the U brake - yeah it's retro cool (and it stays out of the way of my panniers) but it's also a pig to set up, gets really dirty (and causes cable to rust and stick), has been the cause of my only puncture, and is heavy (particularly the currently fitted Deore with steel stabiliser).

With all that in mind and the invaluable comments re 90s MTBs, I'm leaning towards getting a proper tourer - something like a Dawes Galaxy (or better). It would be a much lighter frame, but strong in the right places. I've owned and ridden Galaxys before and they handle much better on the road. I like the Yukon (I think these are good frames and well underrated) and as I rarely ride off road it's good enough for my purposes - what I really want is a nicer tourer, preferably one that's fun to ride unladen too. But I suppose I could revert the Ozark to a stripped-down off-roader at some point and see if it does what it's supposed to well. So three bikes it is.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:55 pm 
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which begs the question, is the brooks for sale? (it looks like a b33)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:21 pm 
King of the Skip Monkeys
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That Yukon looks right for you.

As you mention, brakes in the right place, right sized frame and so on. You have the makings of a 26" Galaxy right there.

Drop-bars, quality wheels, wide range cassette and a good spread of chain rings. Cantilevers and road levers work well with heavy loads if time is taken to set them up properly. V-brake road levers are available too but I find v-brakes a bit snatchy for touring use. I found some Tektro levers which are adjustable between canti and V and can take this abruptness out (fork judder - just ask any Specialized Tricross owner)

The Yukon also has all the mounts needed, headset is 1 1/8th so you can easily go to ahead with Surly forks and stems galore.

*Edit: Here is my 700c 'do-it-all' bike - its goes off-road quite well, commutes 30 miles a day and gets muddy during this overlong winter. It has survived winter road salt well but has literally eaten a set of 30 year old NOS Shimano brake blocks...

Gearing is absurdly wide with 34/ 28 through to 11/50!

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