I need your help.
I have a c. 1980 Roberts handbuilt touring frame. This may have been one of the last frames built by Charlie Roberts. He passed away shortly afterward and his son Chas has continued the business. The frame is made of Reynolds 531 double-butted tubing – state-of-the-art at the time. Light. Strong. Flexible.
This was my first expensive bike. I had several bikes previously but this was the first time I attempted to build one myself. I carefully selected the frame, all of the components and assembled the bike in an empty spare bedroom I had at the time. This was before children when I had time and money to spare. I have ridden this bike for 30 years. It is a treat, particularly on long rides. And, it is as enjoyable a ride today as it was 3 decades ago.
I have just stripped the bike down and want to rebuild it as a touring bike with more up-to-date and suitable components. I will, no doubt, save the vintage Campagnolo, Cinelli, Weinmann, Phil Woods and TA parts. They may very well become a piece of art hanging proudly in my den.
My objectives are to built this frame out so that I can enjoy several of the items on my cycling bucket list with it and, when I am gone, leave it as a reminder to the next generation that the old times were good times. Everyone has an opinion on how to build out this bike. And, this is my dilemma. I am conflicted. There are a lot of options. 26″ vs 700 cc wheels. Drop or straight handlebars. Clip in or flat pedals. Compact or triple chainrings. Sealed bearing bottom brackets and hubs or not. Shimano. Sram. Sugino. Phil Woods. The list goes on …
I have listened to many – friends, mechanics, shop owners, cyclists – and have been researching online for months, perhaps longer. I want to pick the most suitable components like I did 30 years ago but my objectives have changed and so has the technology. And, I am considerably more experienced. I have some ideas. Preferences. I do not have a budget in mind. That is never a consideration when it comes to bikes for me. I want a reliable, comfortable and, long lasting ride.
This is where you come in.
I am looking for input from other touring enthusiasts; people who have spent a week or more on a bike travelling mostly in North America and Europe; cyclists who have have learned the hard lessons on the road; and, cyclists that ride 100-200 km / day for days on end. If this is you, I would like to hear from you. Either post a comment on this blog or contact me directly.