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My Ex-Touring Bike

Cannondale T2000 (Sold in 2016)


Somewhat regretfully, I have sold this bike as I promised myself to pare down my bike collection in an effort to "downsize." I did try to sell my "Other Touring Bike" but I suppose with it being such an unusual custom break-apart bike, it was a "hard-sell." So the consensus was to keep the modified K2 and sell this Cannondale T2000; it proved to be quite an easy sell. The new owner will get many more years of touring service from this beautiful touring rig. My loss was his gain!
I'm leaving this page about the bike active as it still has a lot of good information about the bike, its components and all the modifications that it suffered at my hand!...


 My touring bike is quite a "Clydesdale" when compared to a "regular" road bike. However, that is a respectable attribute for a touring bike. The ride is slower, but don't get me wrong, this bike is not a "dog," just don't enter in the local criterium with this sturdy machine!

 This bike is a Cannondale T2000 and has carried me, and my heavy loads, for many, many miles. Amongst many minor differences, from a sport/road bike, the T2000 has slacker geometry, a longer wheelbase, longer chainstays and lower gearing. This is a bike that can be ridden all day, in comfort. The heavier build of the frame/rear triangle, gives the bike stability when loaded or when pulling a trailer. Stability translates to safe travel without the shimmy and shake that lighter bikes can develop when loaded with equipment.If you're interested in what I carry and/or how I carry it, see my "Bike Camping" page.

 The bike is designed perfectly for what it was designed for - loaded touring. Also, I used to commute on this bike in the winter time, but found that the wear and tear was excessive to a bike that I wanted to have in good order for extended, and spur of the moment, touring. So I converted another road bike for commuting and now the T2000 sits ready and waiting!

Current Components

 I've changed many parts on this bike for various reasons, some wore out, some were not to my satisfaction and some I just upgraded...

 One of the first changes that I made was to switch from barcons to STI (Shimano Total Integration) combination brake/shifters - "brifters." I have nothing against barcons, but I'm the type of rider that likes to ride on the hoods and the STI levers are at my fingertips in that position. Not to mention, the added advantage of having the brake levers accessible from the same hand position that I can shift gears with. With the barcons, I found that I was fumbling around for the shifters at the end of the drop handlebar. Some "old school" touring cyclists may frown upon my choice, for a variety of reasons...

 One of the most common statements against STI, for touring use, is that it cannot be used in friction mode when things go wrong. Well realistically, in literally thousands of miles of travel, these shifters have always worked admirably. Sure, on the very odd occasion they may "misfire," but then I know that it's time for a quick adjustment and everything's fine for many more miles. Anyone out there, touring on a bicycle, should know how to adjust front and rear derailleur cables and shifters. Granted, with friction shift, you can overcome minor foibles without a cable adjustment at that time, but sooner or later you will have to delve into shifter tuning.

 Another misconception, regarding STI brifters, is that they will break easily if the bike falls over, or if you have a minor spill. I've had a few spills, slipping on patches of black ice etc., and other than a few scrapes to the finish of the levers, no damage. The trick is not to tighten the levers too tightly onto the handlebar; just tighten the mounting allen screw snugly enough, so that the lever assembly will turn will a little force. This will allow the lever assemblies to turn on the handlebar, in the event of a collision, without damaging the components. Of course, if you crash hard enough, any shifter will break, but that will be the least of your worries!

 At one time, STI was also stated as being uncommon and that replacements were hard to find in bike shops. That is not the case now, as STI has been fully adopted by many bike manufacturers/riders with components available at the majority of better equipped bike shops. The only problem one could encounter would be in finding 7 and 8 speed replacement shifters, as most of the newer Shimano groupos are now 9 speed.

 I also added some V-brake noodles to the outer cable exit points at the levers which routes the cable at a sharper angle, thereby avoiding any interference with my handlebar bag, when it is mounted.

 Notwithstanding, if you plan to tour for extended periods of time, or to the more remote places of our planet, then keeping everything simple is a great advantage. Perhaps STI would not be a good choice when travelling to countries or areas with limited services, as parts could be hard, or impossible, to find in the unlikely event of a breakdown. Carrying a friction down-tube or bar-end shifter to use in an emergency, makes a lot of sense too, providing that your bike can adapt to another form of shifter - test it out before you leave!

 Ultimately though, everyone should try to choose a system that will combine reliability with ease of use/repair, dependant on their touring destinations!Combination brake/shifters, whether they be Shimano's STI or Campagnolo's Ergo units, really do work great and are smooth and convenient to use - that said, STI's are not easy to disassemble for repair; the inner component pod is basically a throwaway item if anything untoward should happen. But if your touring will all be within range of bike shops or overnight courier services, then you won't be disappointed with brifters.

Time to eat some crow regarding several of my statements above!

 During my cross Canada trip in 2002, my right (the rear derailleur control) STI lever failed me. A spring clip inside the mechanism broke, the unit would not shift from low gear and was un-repairable. Fortunately, I carried a down-tube shifter that I had adapted for just such an emergency and within a half-hour, I was on my way with full functionality of all the gears. Believe me when I say that without that down-tube lever, I would have been virtually stuck with riding a fully loaded "three-speed" bike in the hilly terrain of Northern Ontario. I was in a remote location with the nearest bike shop many, many miles away. And who would stock an 8-speed road STI lever in Northern Ontario? I did make it to the next largest city on my route, Thunder Bay, ON, without any further problems. There, after a fair bit of searching, I got extremely lucky and found a bike shop with some, new old stock, 8-speed levers (everyone else seemed to only have the newer 9-speed levers) - at great expense I might add! I fitted the new lever on and all was well again.

But will I ever trust those STI's on tour again? Unlikely!

 In retrospect though, my levers had almost 30,000 Kms of use prior to the breakdown. I should have changed out the guts of the levers before that 9,000 Km tour, as I had read an article once that implied that the road STI brifters are rated for a "reliable" lifespan of somewhere around 16,000 Kms (10,000 miles) - I was well beyond that before I started the trip - so some of the blame must lay in my court! Of course, "reliable lifespan" is dependant on where and how the shifters are used, maintenance performed etc. It's unlikely that anyone could predict when one of these shifters will go awry, they could go sooner or much later - touring cyclist beware!

 One indicator to keep in mind, is that the manufacturer does not offer a lifetime (or even extended) warranty with combination brake/shifter units, Shimano (at the time of writing) offers two years on most components other than the "Dura-Ace" parts, which have a three year warranty.

 A good lesson learned though. I have been contemplating changing my road handlebars to something a little more exotic, so this will be a chance to switch back to bar-end shifters that are, perhaps not as convenient as STI, but much more reliable and repairable in a tight situation. Bar-end shifters can be used in both index and friction modes and are easier to set-up than STI, especially for the front derailleur - trimming, if required, is also very easily accomplished with these simple levers.

 I'll miss my brifters, but as the old saying goes - "Once bitten, twice shy." At least I can still enjoy the STI's on my commuter and road bikes. If I get a problem with the shifters on those bikes, I'm usually not too far from "civilisation" for a quick fix or ride home!

 So here's what I've fashioned for future tours...

 

Here are some photos of my new Profile Design Stoker handlebar arrangement
including Profile Design ZB flip-up arm rests and bar-end shifter setup...

 The above photos show my new arrangement. The drop bars are gone and replaced with a "Stoker Bar." Bar-end shifters are mounted in the end of the new bars - a very convenient location, as this is the general area where one would ride "on the hoods" with a drop bar set-up. Mountain bike bar-ends are mounted as faux aero bars and flip-up arm rests still allow use of the top of the Stoker bar when climbing or sitting more upright. The brake levers are easily reached and can be operated from two different positions - i.e. with a thumb hooked either in front or behind the "aero" bar. Another good feature of this handlebar arrangement is that it obviously gives the rider many different hand positions for those long days at the helm! And I've also discovered that the flip down arm-rests are much more comfortable (for me, anyway) than going down into the drops for pushing those headwinds - much easier on the shoulders too.

 The forward bars are just Profile mountain bike bar ends with foam grips on them - I believe that the foam is called "Grab-on" in the States. The rest of the Stoker bar is cork wrapped.

 If you want to try the same arrangement, you'll have to hunt down some bar-ends that will fit or stretch over the larger diameter road bar. Most bar-ends are made for mountain bars that are 7/8" diameter in the grip area. Most road bars are 15/16" in the grip area. Bar-ends that have a thinner strap type clamp area, can be "persuaded" over the slightly larger road bars. Bar-ends with cast aluminium clamps have to be machined out to fit - no problem for me, I'm a machinist :-). The other trick is that if you use aero brake levers as I have, you'll have to file a smallish groove in the web of the casting for the brake cable to exit out of the hood, then route under the bar-end and into the Stoker bar - under the wrap. This groove is very easy to make with a small course round file. Hard to explain, but if you decide to go ahead, it will be self-explanatory and worthwhile - as you can see in my set-up, the cables are virtually all hidden. The shifter cables are fed through into the bar through holes that I drilled into the curve of the bar - hidden by the brake hoods. The shift cables exit the bar through factory pre-drilled holes under the wrap. Both shifter and brake cable then exit the cork wrap close to the stem.

Update...

 After a few years of the above set up for the handlebars, I found that I was favouring a more upright touring mode and that I wasn't using the "aero" position and pads of the bars too much; so I opted for a revamp once again. I'd heard rave reviews from many owners of the Nitto Noodle drop handlebar and I also liked that it was available in wider widths, which I find comfortable when riding for long hours when on tour. So I ordered a 46mm wide Nitto Noodle bar from Rivendell Bike Works online and set about dismantling the previous set up.

 When the new bar arrived, I opted to install the bar end shifters in the traditional position of "the bar end!" And I was able to reinstall the same brake levers as I had been using before, so no drastic changes.

 I took the bike out for a ride and immediately loved the feel of all the positions available and especially the nice flat ramp which makes for very comfortable riding when hands are on or behind the brake hoods. The top position when riding upright is also very comfortable and I think that the slightly swept back angle of the top of the bar make that so.

 I did a couple of short tours with the new bars and feel that these handlebars will be on this bike for many years to come.

 

Here's a couple of photos of the bike with the 46mm Nitto Noodle bar installed...

Nitto Noodle Handlebar
Nitto Noodle Handlebar
Nitto Noodle Handlebar
Nitto Noodle Handlebar

Another Endless Update!...

 The original stem was replaced with a Girvin Flexstem, which uses an elastomer to give a type of suspension. It has limited movement, but works very well in taking out the lumps and bumps in some of the rougher surface roads. The main benefit is less chance of numb hands and sore shoulders. I also machined and added two aluminium stubs to the Flexstem's hinge arms; the stubs replaced the original stepped hinge washers. This allowed me to install my Cateye computer and Air Zound horn on the stubs, rather than take up valuable handlebar real estate. (Sadly, the Girvin Flexstem is no longer available).

 

Cockpit
Girvin Flexstem & other accessories - showing noodles installed
to clear handlebar bag (Pre Stoker handlebar arrangement)

 The suspension Girvin Flexstem that can be seen in the above photos finally gave up the ghost! It was showing signs of excessive play and as the stems are no longer in production, parts are very difficult to source, if not impossible. Even machining new parts was not really an option as an integral part of the stem was beyond repair. So time for some modifications of the stem set-up. My biggest challenge was the loss of space that the stem afforded for my air horn and bike computer. Onto the Internet and surf for ideas!

 I ended up with a fairly simple solution which produced a very satisfactory arrangement. Although loss of the suspension was a concern at first, I found that riding without it to be not a huge detriment - after all, my other touring bike does not have a suspension stem either; in fact after the modifications, I gained more than I lost!

 The best selection of stems that are available are for threadless fork/headsets; the threaded fork that the T2000 sports is almost retro nowadays ("threaded" and "threadless" refers to the steering column of the fork). In order to fit all my accessories to my "cockpit" required the use of two stems. The topmost stem would be installed normally, but the lower stem would have to be of a sufficient angle to install it upside-down and use a short length of tubing to mount my accessories - one of which is a Garmin Legend Cx GPS (not really necessary, but a lot of fun to use - toys, toys, toys!). To allow the use of a threadless stems on my threaded fork column required the purchase of a "Stem Raiser," which basically fits into the steering column and locks in with a wedge system similar to the way that threaded stems are installed. The opposite end of the raiser is a slightly larger diameter to fit the 1 1/8" threadless stems. Raisers come in different lengths and my new raiser is a longer version with room to bolt on two stems; it also gives me the advantage of a slightly higher riding position - much favoured these days! Click here for an image of my raiser from Harris Cyclery.

 While I would have the handlebar stripped down, I figured on adding some "Cross" brake levers which would allow me to utilise the brakes from the top of the handlebar in addition to the regular brake levers on the curve of the drops. All this bearing in mind that my handlebar bag still had to fit and be accessible!

 Here's some photos of the results...

All in all, a very worthwhile change and my handlebar bag still fits with sufficient clearance for me to use the new brake levers and see my gadgets. In retrospect, I should have installed the "Cross" brake levers a long time ago as they have proved to be a very useful item and extremely convenient to use - especially so with top mounted shift levers such as mine.

 The gearing has changed from stock, not all at once, but individual items were replaced as they wore out. What I started with was a compact crankset - which is basically a mountain bike crankset - of 42-32-22. I first changed out the 42 to a 46 and the 32 to a 34. Recently I have switched the 22 for a 20, and the 34 back to a 32, ending up with a 46-32-20 set of chainrings. Why the switch back to a 32? Basically, the 32 gives less overlap and more useable gears in the most common ranges. The rear cassette is still stock size and although replaced many times, I have stuck with the 11-30, 8-speed cassette. My low gear is 18" and my high gear is 113", which gives me a respectably good range for touring in all types of terrain. Recently I changed out the cassette for a SRAM 8-speed, 11-32 giving me a low gear of 16.9" (I am getting older!)

 I've added an N-Gear Jump Stop as precaution to dropping the chain off the granny ring when down-shifting. The strap of the Jump Stop required a little modification to clear the large weld at joint of the bottom bracket and seat tube - see photo below...

N-Gear Jump Stop
N-Gear Jump Stop - modified with a coarse file/rasp to clear welded area,
which allowed the unit to be mounted low enough for functionality
V-Daptor

 The next component to change was the braking system. I switched from the stock cantilevers to Shimano XT V-brakes. Problem... The stock Shimano 105 brake levers did not pull enough cable, for full travel of the V-brakes, so this anomaly required a little gizmo called a "V-Daptor" which is basically a small eccentric pulley that reduces cable travel. At first I was skeptical that this component would last the rigours of extended use - especially the small 3mm screw that clamps the cable to the pulley - but it works well with no malfunctions to date. The V-brakes were an excellent upgrade and I found that my braking distance was quite short, even when the bike was fully loaded.

The problem? The squeal from the front brake! After trying many different shoe inserts, I concluded that the squeal was a result of the design of the XT brake shoe linkage. I have switched out both the front and rear brakes to Avid Shorty 6's - no more squeal - to speak of! And the Avids are a very powerful brake, highly comparable to the V-brake. Both front and rear brakes use the same style cartridge pads. As an added bonus, I don't need the V-Daptors anymore for use with the Avid Shorty's - one less thing to worry about!

 I've found the Mountain Mirrycle mirror to have one of the best mounts and lenses out of many of the stock bicycle rear view mirrors that I have used. However, I used to have the mirror installed in the end of the handlebar, and although it was almost vibration free, I found that it was too low to see over my rear panniers and also required some arm movement on my part for a clear view to the rear. These limitations prompted me to design a bracket to allow the mirror to be mounted higher. I had the bracket machined and installed it on the handlebar, just under the brifter. This mount turned out to be rock-solid - no vibration at all - and a clear view to the rear, much superior to any previous configuration.

 

Mirror Hardware

Custom Mirror Mount
Custom Mirror Mount
Custom Mirror Mount
Custom Mirror Mount installed
ustom Mirror Mount
Close-up of Mirror Mounting Bracket

 With the new stoker handlebar arrangement, mirror mounting was very simple. I drilled and tapped the top of the brake housing to accept a 4mm screw and installed the mirror as shown below. I also drilled and tapped the right side brake housing in preparation for touring in countries that drive on the left.

Another Mounting Method
Another Mounting Method

 A Shimano Ultegra cartridge bearing headset now replaces the stock open race Tange Seiki, which was not very water resistant, prone to rust and hence wore out quickly.

 The stock saddle was replaced with a Brooks Team Pro leather saddle. Recently, I tried my Brooks Conquest (basically a Team Pro with springs) out on this bike and found that the sprung Conquest is very efficient in taking out some of the vibration that rough tar and chip roads can generate through the frame. I'm going to leave the Conquest on for a whole touring season and determine which I prefer - the sprung Conquest or the solid Team Pro. Update... The Conquest wins! Those springs are sure comfy on long rides.

 I can't expound enough on the benefits of a comfortable saddle, and in my opinion, and in many other touring cyclists' opinions, there is no better saddle than a Brooks. They are still hand made in the UK, as they have been for many years. They do require a break-in period, but once they conform to your nether regions, you'll find that there'll be no going back to the non-conforming plastic and gel efforts.

 Brooks have many different styles of saddles in varying widths and shapes. A favourite of the touring cyclist is the Brooks B17. I personally found that the narrower nosed Team Pro suited me better, but this was definitely a personal choice. Saddle choice is governed, to a great extent, by the width of one's sit bones. A general rule is... The wider that your sit bones are apart, the wider the saddle you should require.

 Wheels! The stock Sun CR17A rims were the worst part of the bike. In fact, the rear rim started cracking around the spoke holes after just over one year. No warranty help from Sun! I replaced them with 36 hole Mavic T217's - Mavic has made minor changes/upgrades to some of their touring rims, resulting with the T217 being replaced by a T519 and now designated as a A719 - which are all rims designed to take heavier loads. At the time, I had the rear rebuilt with a Mavic X601 cartridge style hub and the front with the original Coda cartridge hub. The front hub has since been replaced with a Phil Woods touring hub - in many cyclist's opinion, Phil Woods hubs are the crème de la crème of bicycle hubs. Both wheels came stock with 15 gauge spokes which I replaced with 14 gauge when they were rebuilt. I reamed out the valve holes in the rims to 5/16", so that they can accept tubes of either Schrader or Presta configuration (the hole in the inner wall of the rim was 5/16" as stock, leaving only the outer wall to ream). When using tubes with the smaller Presta valve, the valve holes are bushed with a rubber grommet on the inner wall and a threaded stem ring with a spigot for the outer wall of the rim. I now build my own wheels and in early 2010 the rims required replacement due to excessive wear on the braking surfaces. I built up a replacement set of Mavic A719 rims with Sapim 14/15 double-butted spokes; I serviced and reused the hubs which are still in great shape after many thousands of miles.

 For tires, I am now using both Schwalbe Marathon XR's and Marathon Plus, 700 x 35C - mostly the Pluses lately. These are Kevlar belted tires with a fairly heavy tread and very hard rubber. Rolling resistance is a little more than with a lighter tire, but keeping the tire to an 85 psi inflation rating helps a lot; the rugged tread of the XR is suitable for riding on varied road and packed trail surfaces. I previously toured with Panaracer Pasela TG tires, and although I established them to be very durable with few flats, I discovered that their very thin sidewalls were easily susceptible to cuts from rocks and other debris. Furthermore, the Paselas have a relatively smooth tread and are not really suitable for anything other than paved roads.

 On my cross-Canada trip, I logged almost 9,000 Kms on my Marathon XR's with no punctures or cuts to the tires. Both front and rear still had lots of tread left too! The Marathon Plus tires have also remained puncture free on all the occasions that I have toured with them.

 That's all of the major components covered. Some other accessories installed on the bike are...

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