I finally got around to getting Sara’s headset installed at the LBS, which let me begin putting her together.  As a result, she is beginning to look more like an actual touring bike.


To go with her new wheels and freshly pressed headset, I have installed an XT triple crank set, an XT long cage rear derailleur, and an XT 3 x 10 front derailleur.

When I was deciding the components for Sara, my initial thought was to just transfer everything over from Amy, but since Amy needed, or would soon need, replacement and/or maintenance of most of her drive-train I decided to just get new parts.  While looking into newer XT components I realized that by going to a 10 speed group-set I would gain a little bit more in the ‘granny-gear’ due to a 22(crank)-36(cassette) combination in the 3×10 group which replaced the 22-34 gearing of the 3×9 group.  Granted, this isn’t much of an improvement but after fighting several 10% plus grades on my travels last year I decided that every little bit helps, even if it’s only in my mind.

I also lose some gearing on the big ring, but since I don’t plan on doing any time-trialing, or frantic sprints on my fully loaded steel bike, I shouldn’t miss it much.

Some things that I have added which were formerly part of Amy’s build are the On One Midge handle bars, Tektro Brake levers, the Surly front rack, and the Toba rear rack.  All  of these things served me quite well last year and I saw no need to replace them 1.

Obviously, there is still a ways to go before Sara is complete, but with each passing addition she becomes more and more beautiful, and and more importantly; more ready to ride.

  1.  Though I am considering replacing the rear rack with the “Logo Evo” from Tubus.