Getting a Smitty Ready for the Long Haul
I've been working on this Smitty as a candidate for some extended riding and touring for next season as well as a ride that can handle lots of gravel and occasional off-road excursions. Sort of a Monstercross meets Touring bike.
In keeping with the Smitty theme of doing many things as doing them all well, I set this bike up as a more traditional touring-type rig than the more urban-oriented Smitty's we typically build with an internally geared hub.
For this particular set-up, I went with a Large Smitty frame to stretch the cockpit out a bit because I know I wanted a fairly short stem with some rise to get Woodchipper bars where I wanted them and to get the handling of the bike crisp both on the hoods and in the drops.
The drivetrain is pretty traditional with a sweet, gold RaceFace Dues mountain bike front triple crank and a 12-34 9-speed rear cassette. An Ultegra rear derailleur does the job in the back while the Shimano SLX front derailleur in the short cage version does the trick up front.
Since this was one of the first Smitty prototype frames we had gone with linear pull brakes on the back (current production Smittys have a disc in the rear as well as the front) so an Avid 5.0 V-brake is the choice in the rear while a Shimano disc is on the front.
The Salsa Delgado rims, laced to Shimano XT hubs with DT 2.0/1.8 comp spokes, are shod with Continental 700x42 Cyclocross Plus tires. The Continentals offer good puncture protection and the reflective "Reflex" sidewalls are super when the ride runs late.
For the present I've been working on getting the bike as comfortable as possible while doing 25-30 mile rides in preparation for longer jaunts to come. So far, so good. The basic riding position is very close to what I want with only minor tweaking left to do.
Remaining to be done are the addition of fenders plus front and rear racks. I don't see myself doing fully self-contained touring yet but the versatility of being able to carry a couple of days worth of gear and provisions seems like a good idea plus the bags sure coms in handy around town!
A possible upgrade to STI levers is also a possibility. I really like the bar-end shifters but the wide Woodchipper bars coupled with the way the Woodchippers angle out puts the shifters out in the breeze quite a bit but to date that has not been a problem so we will see what we see!
More on this evolving rig as it happens.
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