So, some decisions have been made… 🙂
Brixton Cycles kindly provided and fitted a nice set of rigid steel Surly 1×1 forks which are lighter than my old ones and contain the right fittings for both disc and v-brakes (the v-brake fittings are used for attaching my pannier racks – more on those another time).
Harry Rowland built me a lovely set of touring wheels. These are different to your average mountain bike wheels, with tougher, heavier rims to take the strain of carrying extra weight. Wheel building is an art and a hand-built wheel made by an experienced wheel builder is much more likely to stay true for longer. It’s all to do with ensuring even spoke tension which spreads the load uniformly across the spokes and avoids spokes unwinding or suffering excess fatigue.
– Shimano XT hubs. These can be easily service and repacked with grease once a year;
– Rigida Sputnik rims. These have double eyelets holding the spokes, which spreads the tension and helps reduce strain on the rim; and,
– Sapim Race and Strong spokes. Because a rear wheel is not symmetrical due to the space required to accommodate the rear cassette, the spokes on either side of the rear wheel come under different amounts of stress. Therefore it’s often recommended to use a stronger, less flexible spoke on the drive side (Sapim Strong) and a more flexible on the non-drive side (Sapim Race). The front wheel has the same on both sides (Race) as it is symmetrical. There’s a good explanation of this on Dave Hunt’s website.
I’ve also got my tyres. After much deliberating between Schwalbe’s Marathon Dureme and Extreme, I went with the Duremes. They are very similar tyres but the Dureme is more suited to the road (rolls better but less grip on the rough stuff) and the Extreme more suited to off-road (more grip on the rough stuff but harder going generally). I eventually admitted to myself that most of my miles will be on the road, and by all accounts the Duremes do also handle well on rough trails so they are probably the right compromise. I was struggling to find anybody who had used both and could offer a comparison until I came across Gyatsola who used a mixture of Duremes and Extremes doing the Great Divide and offered good advice. Sarah Outen is using them on her London2London (via the World) trip, so I’m in good company. Pics of these when they’re on the wheels…