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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hahaha (maniacal laugh)

I took a hacksaw to my old Raleigh Technium (mtb frame used in my early mtb days, and as a commuter, and then a full tourer) and cut her up. In a strange sort of way I felt like I was disposing of a body. Now that was weird. Add to the fact that bike had seen many different countries and scenaries and phases of my life, and it was a tough -but necessary thing to do.

So why cut her up?

Well, over 2 years in the making, pouring over Craigslist and Ebay to build my tourer bike.......and I've finished!!! I wanted to get a decent touring-specific bicycle and was willing to be *very* patient. The Raleigh Technium is made of alu tubing chemically bonded to steel, and in the last year (I know, I was stupid, I still rode the thing) I just knew something was wrong. Sure enough, one of the joints had come loose -which was downright scary confirming my "feeling" -and add that to the fact the steel tubing had rusted noticeably internally -admittedly perhaps not dangerously (but I'm now going to be a huge fan of Weigle's frame saver!). I had ridden it through a lot of rain.

It has been a painful process -a couple of years ago I did buy a pristine condition late 1990's Schwinn Passage frame -only to find that after numerous "tweaks" it just did not work for me. Fortunately it went to a good place -my friend's daughter decided she wanted to take up cycling so I donated it to my friend who built it up with spare parts.

I finally found the right frame on Ebay -a 49cm Dawes Sardar -and at a great price. The Dawes Sardar is an entry level touring bike in 26" mtb wheel size. I realized that I really wanted to use 26" wheels due to my height which makes most frames borderline on toe overlap in the 700C size. Add to that I'm not (cough) lightweight, and the strength, price and easy availability of strong 26" wheels was too much of an advantage. The choice of wheel size pretty much brought it down to very few choices: i. a custom frame (wow, what was that noise? Oh yeah, that was my wallet screaming for mercy!), ii. A Surly LHT (which my friend has, and I think is a really, really nice frame, but I can't help but think it's a little overpriced and anyway, beyond my budget), iii. a converted mtb or iv. a Dawes Sardar. Obviously there might be more choices out there, but those were the only ones I could find.

I just want to digress a little here and make a small claim to brushing with the famous -I almost bought a used Bianchi mtb frame off Sheldon Brown. There, I dropped his name shamelessly! To be honest, half of me wanted to buy the frame simply to have bragging rights (picturing myself at some cafe, casually mentioning "...yep, that frame, yep, used to be Sheldon Brown's...."). The Seinfeld episode of George Constanza buying Jon Voight's car did come to mind. But well, it didn't work out as at the time Sheldon was out of town on business and in the meantime I saw the Sardar frame on ebay, and just knew it was for me. FYI, I was very impressed with Sheldon -my correspondence with him started off when I asked some obscure question and he very nicely took the time to reply to me.

Anyway, on with my touring bike story -there were only two problems with the Dawes Sardar -I live in Boston, Mass, whilst the frame was in Hertfordshire, UK. In the end, I phoned up the seller(a bike store) in the weary hour of 5:00am EST and made sure it was OK to ship to the USA, and for a set price. I exercised the "buy it now" option, and I became the proud owner of a Dawes Sarder frame for about $100! However, I did have to add on another $60 for shipping -still, a pretty good price for a specific touring steel frame though. Now, the other problem -I thought at one stage the frame had been lost in shipping and my mind wandered, imagining a crushed Dawes Sardar frame in some neglected shipping container off the coast of Borneo..... But after 52 days (yep, you count 'em when you're anxious to get that frame, I think alot of us know how that one feels) the frame arrived at my doorstep. Even my lovely wife called me at work to pass on the good news -she could tell I was getting anxious.

But... I was then faced with a new and potentially more worrying problem; the frame did not come with a fork, and it has a 1" steerer -so no easy way to get a 1" fork with disc tab mounts (oh yes, did I mention that my ideal touring bike was going to have Avid road disc brakes?). In the end I took a gamble and bought a 1" cross fork with disc tabs only from aebike for $50. Obviously at that price the fork is not a lightweight item, but it should be sufficient (can you see the fork is really a 700C fork in the photo anyway?). It certainly doesn't seem to effect the handling so far.

So, the total cost of the frame was $210. My other major expense were Avid road brakes ($140 inc. shipping off ebay). Add in some items I had to buy specifically for the bike (headset $30, stem $15, racks $40, cables $20) but I had all other parts already on my old Raleigh Technium mtb/commuter/tourer bike, or in my spare parts drawer, and I think I got a pretty good touring bike for a good price. I did all the disassembly/assembly myself.

One caveat for me for this whole project were the disc brakes -after experiencing Avid mtb disc brakes on my off road ride, I've been more than impressed and wanted to go the disc brake route with the touring bike. But if you are thinking of doing likewise, just be aware I had to fabricate some custom brackets so that the rack would not interfere with the calipers. Additionally, I found that one set of fenders would not mount, whereas another did. Adding disc brakes to the equation does cause some issues, and I've yet to confirm whether or not the effort has been worth it in improved braking performance (I finished my complete bike build on Sunday evening, much to the chagrin of my wife who just saw my disappear down to the basement every weekend evening) so I haven't really test ridden the bike much, and anyway, there is a bedding in period for the brake.

After I finished building her up, I sat back satiated, and wondered whether this would be the bike to go coast to coast on across the USA. In the short term, I'll be using this bike to do a cross Massachusetts tour this fall, and can't wait!

One last thing: my Raleigh Technium does live on as a tool for me. After noticing the downtube was a perfect diameter, I kept part of it (squaring it off with a file) as a crown race installer.
 

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A Canadian in Sweden
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6,130 Posts
Hello Nige!!
Wow, nice to see you're still alive and kicking. I was wondering just this afternoon what you're up to. The Dawes looks great and a nice story too. I wish you many, many happy km and fun tours with your new love. I'm working tonight, heaps. I'll email you in a few days when things calm down a bit work-wise.
Cheers, Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter #3
HEY YOU SHOULD BE WORKING!!!

Just kidding.... so did you get a workstand?(notice mine in the photo). Send me an email -enquiring minds want to know! Nice avatar by the way, hope the kids are doing well.

wayneanneli said:
Hello Nige!!
Wow, nice to see you're still alive and kicking. I was wondering just this afternoon what you're up to. The Dawes looks great and a nice story too. I wish you many, many happy km and fun tours with your new love. I'm working tonight, heaps. I'll email you in a few days when things calm down a bit work-wise.
Cheers, Wayne
 

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bike looks great.
if you still have the tubes from the raleigh you can make a cool windchime.
also, the driveside chainstay can be made into a nice bottle opener using the dropout.
 

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Just Riding Along
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Very nice looking bike.

You left out a few details, such as the components!

Congrats on a great and successful project.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thought I'd also put in the prices too for interest (all these parts I'd been using on my old bike so they're really all take-offs):

Tiagra shifters ($75 shipped, like new from Ebay)
Shimano Deore rear derailleur and 105 front ($50 Nashbar)
SRAM PC-89 chain ($20 Nashbar)
SRAM cassette ($30 from some place, can't recall)
105 front triple and bb (freebie from my friend, we trade stuff we don't use and he got a compact crank)
Sun CR-18 wheels (had a front rim, bought a rear 36h rear rim for $35)
WTB front disc hub 32h ($15 new from Ebay)
Deore rear disc hub 36h ($25 Nashbar)
Specialized 1.25" Fatboy tyres ($20 a piece from the LBS).
Generic stem from Nashbar ($15)
Modolo Something-or-other handlebar (was given new)
Selle Italia gel saddle (freebie from my friend)
seatpost -stock on a Cannondale 2001 R500
Shimano low end pedals
Zefal Fenders (think they were $15 from Nashbar)
Cable guide (freebie from LBS)
Avid Rollamajig (had it and was in a parts drawer)

Total: $320

I think I managed a disc touring steel bike for less than $700 total (misc such as handlebar tape, spokes and the cost was very much spread out over 2-3 years), so I'm pretty pleased! I really like STI shifting, but didn't have too much money so went for the Tiagra. Honestly, I find them very comparable to my friends Ultegra in performance, just a bit weightier.
 
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