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Thread: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

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    Default Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    So a fair while ago I reserved my place in the line for a Bishop Bikes frame and I'm slowly trickling to the front (as an aside Chris Bishop is an incredibly nice man to deal with).

    Whilst I am going to let Chris' superior experience guide me I wanted to pick people's brains here about what to think about in advance and perhaps discuss with him regarding a travel bike. Generally the aim is to have a bike which I can box up with relative ease and bring with me when I travel. I mainly do urban or road cycling; some of it in less developed countries (China) but definitely no unpaved roads in Africa stuff. Thus, I'm thinking:

    1. S&S;
    2. Stainless;
    3. Solid non carbon set like a Campag Athena;
    4. Braze-ons for racks (if ever wanted);
    5. Designed to take up to 28-32mm tires

    I didn't know whether others had some solid thoughts about what to do or not do. For instance:

    1. Is there a benefit to having 26 vs a 700 wheel? I've only ever ridden 700s and can see the size benefit in the 26 when packing. On the other hand I am a 6ft3 guy and ride 63cm top tubes so it may look absolutely ridiculous (though on the other hand I love a Brompton/ Moulton so not that sensitive).
    2. I've read some people love the new electronic systems due to automatic tuning and that it is actually not unsuited to this kind of use. Still I can see that being potential madness due to replacements if breaking...
    3. Or is a modern groupset a bad idea with STIs or Ergos... should I go back to bar end shifters etc or downtubes?
    4. Any other thoughts on geometry/ practical tweaks

    Thanks all

    Tom
    Tom Walshe

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    This sounds like it will be a fun project. Travel bikes are great and I'm pretty sure I'll always have one in the fleet. But unless you travel a ton and don't think you'll use it much at home, I wouldn't make too many concessions. Particularly regarding wheel size or geo tweaks. I ride my S&S bike at least 1 day a week at home, and most of my time in the mountains is on this bike, so handling and performance was a key consideration. In fact, I'm in the queue for a new S&S bike later this year and after 4 or so years on my current bike, the next one will be even more race oriented and will likely see more use than my current one.

    To answer your questions more specifically,

    1. S&S - Yes! It's a great system and looks pretty cool, IMO.
    2. Stainless - No real opinion here. Mine is not stainless. With frame pads when packing, it's well protected. I have no more scratches or dents than on any other bike. One benefit, though, might be that you don't have to worry about moisture or rust if you get caught in the rain and are stuck in a hotel room and don't have everything you need to properly dry out the bike.
    3. I have Red/Force on mine. Plenty of carbon without any issues.
    4. If racks are your thing...
    5. Room for bigger tires...good call. The carbon fork on my current S&S really won't accept anything over 25. The next one will go to at least 28.

    As for the wheel size, I'd stick with 700c. I learn something new every time I pack or unpack my bike, and a recent revelation was that If I take the tires completely off instead of just deflating them, everything goes in nice and easy and won't shift around if Airport security opens the case. The tires also make for nice additional padding between parts.

    For the shifting system, my advice is to go for whatever will be easiest to find replacement parts for or that you feel most comfortable working on. I prefer SRAM and stuck with it because where I travel it is easy to find parts, or at least reasonable substitutes with some Shimano cross-compatibility. Athena might be harder to find compatible components. I see less shops carrying Campagnolo in stock than Shimano or SRAM, but that may just be where I travel. I also highly recommend cable splitters. Makes packing much easier and I've never had to adjust my derailleurs once I reconnect the cables.

    I also recommend a Soul Run wrench/tool roll for the basic tools you'll need to travel with for assembly and disassembly. It keeps everything from banging around the case and can be used to fill voids and keep everything nice and tight. I also throw a few pages of newspaper into the case so I can create a makeshift workspace in my hotel room. And get a frame pump. Way easier to re-inflate the tires. I'm sure I'll think of more as the thread goes on.

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    At that level of tire thickness, maybe think about the Paul Racer M brakes. They have a straddle cable much like cantis which makes it easier to pack.
    my name is Matt

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    S&S - YES!
    700c - YES!
    Di2, EPS - YES! YES! YES!

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    If I were going to less developed parts of the world I'd probably use bar-end shifters. If you're going to places where probikekit can mail you something then get whatever makes you happy. I'm thinking about whether I want to do S&S or not for my touring bike. If I don't, it'll encourage me to ride places instead of flying?

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    Depends on where you are traveling. The more remote the simpler you want the repair process and spare parts acqusition to be.

    S&S...clearly. Make sure to get the case, the tube wrapping the Coupler wrench and the TSA net. Also get the lube for the couplers. You will want a small tool kit to break down and reassemble the bike.
    Wheels - 700 . In addition, get something where spokes and spares are easier to find in case you have a breakdown. Stay away from proprietary spokes IMO
    Group - I have Campy on all my bikes but the travel bike. I have Shimano on that. Shimano parts are available everywhere. Campy....I havent found a shop in Indy that has Campy spares. Since you have limited time when traveling, the ability to get spares is important IMO...don't want to miss a dy riding.

    Other parts. (Bars, stem, seatpost) durability over weight. No telling what baggage handlers will do.

    Cool project

    Len

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Len J View Post
    get something where spokes and spares are easier to find in case you have a breakdown. Stay away from proprietary spokes IMO

    ^^^This

    ...but also: You have to balance the requirement for durability with the need to actually get everything to fit into the S&S case. So while 36-spoke wheels might seem ideal for traipsing across the veldt, you'll tear your hair out everytime you try to thread your bars through those wheels to get the thing packed! Depending on the size of your frame and amount of drop in your bars, even 28-spoke can be a nuisance.

    If I weighed less than 150lbs I'd have 24-spoke wheels on my S&S bike. But I don't...

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Len J View Post
    Other parts. (Bars, stem, seatpost) durability over weight. No telling what baggage handlers will do.
    Agree with the above sentiment except that baggage handlers aren't your enemy here. The TSA is far and away your biggest worry. They are clueless on this issue (and pretty much every other issue) and do not give a rat's ass about your bike (or anything else for that matter except when they go on break next).

    Simplicity is important with a travel bike.

    I will say that TooTall has one he brought to France with us last year and he loved it AFAIK. Not really the same type of mission but travel bikes have a lot in common when it comes down to it. As far as I can tell, this TooTall character has a bit of experience with bikes and he loves the 'plug and play' Di2 Ultegra for the travel bike mission.

    But yeah, go for strength and simplicity and durability on a travel bike. I would even consider down tube shifters if it were me. Even less to go wrong.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    Saab

    Good point on the packing...I was less thinking of a 36 spoke wheel than I was staying away from Proprietary spoke wheels. Trying to find a replacement for a broken spoke was my main point.

    Len

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Len J View Post
    Saab

    Good point on the packing...I was less thinking of a 36 spoke wheel than I was staying away from Proprietary spoke wheels. Trying to find a replacement for a broken spoke was my main point.

    Len
    Absolutely. I had a travel bike and will again have one and good planning kept troubles to a minimum. One lost bolt or nut can ruin a trip. Carry a ziploc baggie with a few extra things like ferrules, cable ends (even an extra cable for shifter and brakes), water bottle bolts, spoke nipples, etc. And double check your tools. Make a packing checklist.

    I can't wait to get my next bike with couplers!
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    I'm also 6'3" and I recently had my ti CX frame coupled, after having a coupled single speed MTB with 26" wheels for the past 6 years or so (it is so easy to pack a SS bike with 26" wheels). I picked the CX frame because it has a slightly shorter TT than my road bikes 57.5 vs. 59-60. With a 63cm TT (and I assume an equally long ST?) you are not going to have an easy time packing that bike in a traditional box. You may want to think about a triple or quadruple set of couplers like Zinn builds.

    Custom Travel Bikes | Zinn Cycles website

    Nothing as frustrating as a travel bike that is so hard to pack that you don't want to travel.

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by TomW View Post
    1. S&S;
    2. Stainless;
    3. Solid non carbon set like a Campag Athena;
    4. Braze-ons for racks (if ever wanted);
    5. Designed to take up to 28-32mm tires
    1. Yes to S&S
    2. Stainless can be T-H-I-N, which is what I'd worry about. Not sure if much has changed over the past couple years, but I know of at least one Salonista that put a dent in a seat stay on a stainless bike when it fell over... My Hampco is painted steel, but I'd look into powdercoating through Spectrum (not TK, the other one) if that's a possibility. They do incredible work.
    3. I'd be less worried about carbon bits than Campag in general. A couple people have already mentioned parts availability. If something happens to your rear wheel, it's going to be near impossible to find a spare, unless you use/carry a Mavic freehub body and find a shop with some Mavic wheels for sale. Forget finding a casette, rego, etc.
    4. Talk to Bishop about this. I dont have racks on mine, but have a small click-fix h'bar bag and a Carradice for the rear. Supporting a rack and the load involves stiffer tubing, design considerations, etc. My set-up is about what you can run without taking it away from a normal bike.
    5. Definitely. I'd suggest a Wound-Up up front, and aim for clearance for 28s and fenders. Fenders are a necessity IMO. Esp. if you are going to do an extended tour.


    Quote Originally Posted by TomW View Post
    I didn't know whether others had some solid thoughts about what to do or not do. For instance:

    1. Is there a benefit to having 26 vs a 700 wheel? I've only ever ridden 700s and can see the size benefit in the 26 when packing. On the other hand I am a 6ft3 guy and ride 63cm top tubes so it may look absolutely ridiculous (though on the other hand I love a Brompton/ Moulton so not that sensitive).
    I'd stick with 700c. If you're thinking about being remote enough that 26s would be a consideration, then I think I'd follow Garro's advice. But I think we are talking about something much more "civilized" (or more supported, I hope this makes sense) than this.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomW View Post
    2. I've read some people love the new electronic systems due to automatic tuning and that it is actually not unsuited to this kind of use. Still I can see that being potential madness due to replacements if breaking...
    TT's has Ultegra Di2, which has ONE wire to connect, making it easy peasy to connect. The downside again is parts availability, though the technology has proven reliable. I think it is a step too far for me, personally. This is why I went with SRAM, even though I like Campag stuff more.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomW View Post
    3. Or is a modern groupset a bad idea with STIs or Ergos... should I go back to bar end shifters etc or downtubes?
    I don't like either downtubes or bar ends. If you were really worried, you could carry a spare dt shifter, though there is an advantage to having the "slip fit" downtube cable stops (you can slide the cables out easy, making packing the h'bars easier. I guess you could carry a metal DT cable stop. I don't really worry about it. If worse comes to worse you take the cable out and put it under your bottle cage, and tension it to an easier gear, then have something like 50/18 and 34/18. That would be fine to me until you can find a replacement. Thinking that in most countries you can have a shifter overnighted or find one locally.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomW View Post
    4. Any other thoughts on geometry/ practical tweaks
    I think there are lots of little tweaks to make it work better (compact geo for bigger frames, lower spoke count wheels, the slotted DT cable stops, etc.). I'd ask Bishop what he thinks, since I think he has built his fair share of these things. But compact geo might be the one to think of. And long reach brakes like the Racer M make it easier to pack (disconnect the r. brake at adjuster, shifter cables at adjusters, unhook the front at the straddle cable using something like a Paul Moonunit, slide the cables out of the slots in the stops, then you have a completely separate h'bar and stem unit (this is a long parenthetical)).

    I hope all of this is clear. If not, lemme know. You're welcome to view my Hampco in September, too.

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by TomW View Post
    1. S&S;
    Definitely.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomW View Post
    3. Solid non carbon set like a Campag Athena;
    Other have said as much, but if you go with Campagnolo you might consider using a Shimano-compatible freehub with either a conversion cassette (Wheels Mfg) or a J-tek Shiftmate. Or buy the Shiftmate as a backup if you have to replace your Campagnolo rear wheel & cassette with Shimano while you're travelling.


    Quote Originally Posted by TomW View Post
    3. Or is a modern groupset a bad idea with STIs or Ergos... should I go back to bar end shifters etc or downtubes?
    I'm of the view that unless you're expecting the harshest possible conditions you shouldn't trade-off too much of what you would ideally want at the onset. You could take a pair of bar-end shifters and spare cables and install them if your Ergos/STIs break (which probably won't happen, but would be tragic if it did & you didn't have a backup plan).

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Strongin View Post

    5. Room for bigger tires...good call. The carbon fork on my current S&S really won't accept anything over 25. The next one will go to at least 28.

    [. . .]

    As for the wheel size, I'd stick with 700c. I learn something new every time I pack or unpack my bike, and a recent revelation was that If I take the tires completely off instead of just deflating them, everything goes in nice and easy and won't shift around if Airport security opens the case. The tires also make for nice additional padding between parts.

    [. . .]

    I also recommend a Soul Run wrench/tool roll for the basic tools you'll need to travel with for assembly and disassembly. It keeps everything from banging around the case and can be used to fill voids and keep everything nice and tight. I also throw a few pages of newspaper into the case so I can create a makeshift workspace in my hotel room. And get a frame pump. Way easier to re-inflate the tires. I'm sure I'll think of more as the thread goes on.
    Matt - thanks for the tips. All gratefully accepted and noted. I will do some research on carbon forks and tire size. I'm partial to a bit of ENVE but think it is probably more sensible to just ask Chris to make a nice steel fork. Harder to damage and can be sure fit all kinds of tires. And 700c was the way I was rolling... was just curious to see if anyone was using 26inchers for size reasons.

    And Soul Run is definitely on the order list. I emailed them previously about shipping one to Seoul and they don't do international shipping. The plan is to pick this bike up from Los Angeles when I visit my wife's parents this Christmas. Soul Run will hopefully be supplying the tool roll I will be smuggling back to Seoul along with the bike :/
    Tom Walshe

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Len J View Post
    Depends on where you are traveling. The more remote the simpler you want the repair process and spare parts acqusition to be.

    S&S...clearly. Make sure to get the case, the tube wrapping the Coupler wrench and the TSA net. Also get the lube for the couplers. You will want a small tool kit to break down and reassemble the bike.
    Wheels - 700 . In addition, get something where spokes and spares are easier to find in case you have a breakdown. Stay away from proprietary spokes IMO
    Group - I have Campy on all my bikes but the travel bike. I have Shimano on that. Shimano parts are available everywhere. Campy....I havent found a shop in Indy that has Campy spares. Since you have limited time when traveling, the ability to get spares is important IMO...don't want to miss a dy riding.

    Other parts. (Bars, stem, seatpost) durability over weight. No telling what baggage handlers will do.

    Cool project

    Len
    Len thanks for the advice. I picked Campag Athena more because I have all the tools already so I can do all the maintenance myself. I'm currently getting my wife Di2 Nagasawa to tempt her into riding (now that is a fairly fun project as well) so might just stock up on the Shimano tools as well. That would mean no reason not to use Shimano.

    On the wheels, I've already got a great set of 700c touring wheels which I am using on another bike and will probably use on this. Royce hubs laced to Exal LX17 rims. Nothing fancy but my local wheelbuilder back in the UK said he thought they were the best he had come across for toughness over the years on touring. They have no proprietary spoke issues etc.

    On the other components I'm tending towards Nitto stuff as it is fairly cheap and in ten years of using it across a load of bikes I've never had a problem.
    Tom Walshe

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Saab2000 View Post
    Agree with the above sentiment except that baggage handlers aren't your enemy here. The TSA is far and away your biggest worry.

    [. . .]

    Simplicity is important with a travel bike.

    I will say that TooTall has one he brought to France with us last year and he loved it AFAIK. Not really the same type of mission but travel bikes have a lot in common when it comes down to it. As far as I can tell, this TooTall character has a bit of experience with bikes and he loves the 'plug and play' Di2 Ultegra for the travel bike mission.

    But yeah, go for strength and simplicity and durability on a travel bike. I would even consider down tube shifters if it were me. Even less to go wrong.
    On TSA... I am in a good situation as I am going to collect the bike in the USA and probably never again ride it there. It will immediately be taken to Asia and then hopefully have the ass riden out of it. Over here customs see a bike box and panic and run away with it. Never had any issues at all.

    Interesting to hear about TooTall using the Di2 on a travel bike. I am severely tempted because, well, its cool and well... That said downtube shifters are pretty cool as well.
    Tom Walshe

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
    ^^^This

    ...but also: You have to balance the requirement for durability with the need to actually get everything to fit into the S&S case. So while 36-spoke wheels might seem ideal for traipsing across the veldt, you'll tear your hair out everytime you try to thread your bars through those wheels to get the thing packed! Depending on the size of your frame and amount of drop in your bars, even 28-spoke can be a nuisance.

    If I weighed less than 150lbs I'd have 24-spoke wheels on my S&S bike. But I don't...
    Dammit... the wheels I already have and which I like are 32s... And I am a long way away from being sub 150lbs... something like 97kg after a cold, fat and slow winter. Need to get back to 85 this summer.
    Tom Walshe

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by DrZRM View Post
    With a 63cm TT (and I assume an equally long ST?) you are not going to have an easy time packing that bike in a traditional box. You may want to think about a triple or quadruple set of couplers like Zinn builds.

    Custom Travel Bikes | Zinn Cycles website
    Yeah I have a long ass seat tube as well... my bikes tender to look like oversized freaks of nature... but they fit. The tip on the triple or quad coupler system is much appreciated. I think that may be a definite. Still interesting seeing all the carbon on the Zinn travel bikes... it kind of goes against my thought of making it all as indestructible as possible. On the other hand the lightness upside is probably worth it.
    Tom Walshe

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by mccx View Post
    I'm of the view that unless you're expecting the harshest possible conditions you shouldn't trade-off too much of what you would ideally want at the onset. You could take a pair of bar-end shifters and spare cables and install them if your Ergos/STIs break (which probably won't happen, but would be tragic if it did & you didn't have a backup plan).
    I have to say I agree... hopefully the broken/ hassle bit of your riding should only be 1 to 2% of your total time on that bike. If you build the whole bike around that 1 to 2% you might be missing out on a lot of the good things.

    Previously it has always been the most stupid stuff which has scuppered me. Like turning up in Guangzhou in China, reassembling my fixed gear bike (always a good idea I think as minimal parts to break - obviously only applicable in certain geographical conditions but Canton is flat), and shearing the seatpost bolt. Standard campag bolt but four hours of traipsing round shops no-one stocks it. Eventually ghetto-fixed the bike with a few bits and bobs from a plumber's shop and still ride it that way to this day.

    I think taking a replacement set of shifters and spare cables would probably be overkill. I've always thought when cycling of the number of things you would have to carry to assure you could keep going if things break. I mean if a peddle goes completely or your seatpost snaps when you reassemble... Pretty much everything is a game breaker. I now carry as standard:

    1. spokes
    2. seatpost bolt
    3. zip ties / duct tape / electrical tape
    4. spare hub bolts/ skewer
    5. valve converter (as in China they typically use some bizarre car type thing)

    If I can't fix it with that... time to get drunk.
    Tom Walshe

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    Default Re: Preparation for a new travel frame by Bishop Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by cody.wms View Post

    I think there are lots of little tweaks to make it work better (compact geo for bigger frames, lower spoke count wheels, the slotted DT cable stops, etc.). I'd ask Bishop what he thinks, since I think he has built his fair share of these things. But compact geo might be the one to think of. And long reach brakes like the Racer M make it easier to pack (disconnect the r. brake at adjuster, shifter cables at adjusters, unhook the front at the straddle cable using something like a Paul Moonunit, slide the cables out of the slots in the stops, then you have a completely separate h'bar and stem unit (this is a long parenthetical)).
    Can't quote all of this as is an epic haul of good advice but much appreciated. Will happily take the opportunity to view the Hampco in September in Korea. Hopefully the guys in Hong Kong have got in touch with you and you can fit a few loops in!

    I am definitely going to let Bishop lead it as what I am paying for is his expertise but is great to get a good overview of what to discuss and how to understand the options. The ability to completely disconnect the handlebar and stem unit will be damn useful. I imagine it is going to be a tight squeeze given my size. If you can completely disconnect it I could even take it on carry-on...
    Tom Walshe

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