My ‘Orange P7’ touring bike has now taken on another transformation! 🚴‍♂️

With further trips in the pipeline and destinations afar, she needed an upgrade to certain components. So I’ve set upon the winter 2011-12 of stripping her back.

All welded points required a little more protection, with small rust spots developing. I set about Hammerite spray painting these joins.

Previously the wheels were Shimano Deore XT. These started to cause problems after my first two journeys: ‘Bodmin Moor‘ and ‘The Dartmoor Way‘. The axle is now manufactured from aluminium, not steel (fine for mountain bikers). But they’re just not up to the task of laden tourer.

I’ve opted for Shimano Deore LX. These are steel, so with a thinner axle, accommodating larger bearings. Opposed to aluminium, fatter axle, smaller bearings. It’s the smaller bearing that was the problem.

I’ve also added a Tubus steel rear rack, to replace the Blackburn EXP aluminium rack. Steel is just easier to repair if it breaks. These are also very light for steel.

Tubus racks come with a warranty that includes a replacement sent to anywhere in the world, for the first three years, and a 30 year guarantee in general. This warranty alone makes Tubus racks very attractive for anyone planning to do a lot of laden bike touring. They’re not cheap, but worth every penny.

Considering I might be in far flung countries 🗺 moving over to a complete Shimano group set seemed prudent, as more widely available for parts.

I’ve always used SRAM as a group set for my MTB’s. But I find the Shimano Deore XT rapidfire shifters very precise, and with the index finger shifting, greater choice in control.

The Shimano Deore XT ‘Shadow’ rear derailleur is indeed a nice bit of kit. Complemented with the Shimano Deore XT front derailleur, provides a very accurate setup.

Sticking with steel chain-rings. Set-up with 22T-32T-42T. Should be a low enough to manage some respectable hills!

For sometime I’d been looking to replace the seat post. As the ‘Orange’ stem was not clamping sufficiently anymore. But I never really came across anything that really caught my eye. I eventually found a ‘retro’ Shimano Deore DX post. It’s retro, due to not been produced anymore, or come to that, DX as a Shimano brand. Looks cool too.

One important change called for was to the brake system. The Magura H33 hydraulics has performed well, but aren’t light, and not the easiest to adjust. In jumps a pair of second-hand Shimano XT ‘V’ brakes.

Proving so far to be very good. Positive braking, even with weight. I’m also using anti-squeal blocks, effective with the correct toeing in.

Staying with my trusty Brooks B17 saddle. Just the best. In time it contours to one’s sit-bones. Be patient with it, and it will pay you back.

New components

Shimano – Deore XT ‘Shadow’ rear derailleur

Shimano – Deore XT front derailleur

Shimano – Deore XT rapid fire shifters

Shimano – Deore XT ‘V’ brakes

Shimano – Deore XT brake levers

Shimano – Alivio crank set

Shimano – Deore LX hubs

Shimano – Deore DX seat post stem

Rigida – Sputnik rims (SAPIM spokes)

Tubus – Logo rear rack

Hebie – 611 kickstand

BBB – Highsix adjustable stem Failed! See Cornwall

Middleburn – Cable oilers

Additional components added summer 2012

Since the build back in the winter, the bike has racked up a few miles with a short tour, The Weekend and the ill-fated Cornwall trip! Along with quite a few commutes to work.

With this, a few changes had to be made. The major one been the failure of the BBB Highsix stem, just not man enough for the job. As I’m now happy with the stem length and angle, a fixed stem replacement was the way forward.

In steps the Kalloy UNO ultralite. This stem is also used on Thorn touring bikes, so that’s good enough for me. If you’re not prepared to go down the route of a homebuilt touring bike, Thorn is a very good option.

“Middleburn cable oilers provide a port through which to perform cable lubrication in a matter of seconds”. That’s the manufacturers description. Seems a good idea, so will give them a shot!

With the experience of previous tours behind me, my main concern was the twitchiness in the front steering with laden front panniers. Also a problem with the front end twisting round when stationary and unsupported. I felt it required a front kickstand, but through a bit of net trawling I came up with the notion of a spring stabiliser. I ended up bettering that, with the Hebie elastomer stabiliser. Compared to a spring mechanism, this stabiliser does not squeak!

Ergon GC3 grips, well they speak for themselves, superb. Well made, with top notch materials. I also run the Gp1 model on my ‘Cannondale Bad Boy’ commute bike. Nothing else compares 👍

The next problem: I purchased a new stove unit, the Trangia 27 HA. With this, I’ve also purchased a one litre fuel bottle 🍼 Then, the realisation, the bottle isn’t going to fit into any normal water bottle cage, too large. Once again after some research, in comes the Bike Buddy bottle cage.

The only model I could use was the MK3, as the standard cage will not fit my down tube. Then another dilemma! I’ve no bottle cage mounts on the down tube to fit the Bike Buddy onto. So again, further research insures to solve the problem.

The Elite VIP bottle cage clamp is ordered. It does seem to grip firmly. Watch this space.

The Mk3 though turned out to be a good choice. The clamping mechanism stays on the bottle, so makes removing and fitting very easy.

Something I’ve not talked about on the previous build ‘Part I’, is the rims. I’m using Rigida Sputnik 36 holed handbuilt 👐 from Spa Cycles.

A standard wheel set would normally contain 32 spokes, but with any laden touring bicycle, a 36 setup is advisable.

Using double butted SAPIM spokes throughout, except on the drive-side-rear where plain gauge (thicker) is utilized for strength.

Kalloy – UNO Ultralite 35 deg 120 mm stem (replaced BBB Highsix)

Hebie – Elastomer steering stabiliser 696

Ergon – GP5 touring grips

Bike Buddy – MK3 quick release bottle cage

Elite – VIP bottle cage clamps

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