Rebuild – Part II

My ‘Orange P7’ touring bike has now taken on another transformation!
Project Orange P7 rebuild components
With further trips in the pipeline and destinations afar, she needed an upgrade of certain components. So I’ve set upon the winter 2011-12 of stripping her back.
Spray painting welds
All welded points required a little more protection, with small rust spots developing.  So I set about Hammerite spray painting these joins.
Ready for spraying
Previously the wheels were Shimano Deore XT. These started to cause problems after my first two journeys: ‘Bodmin Moor‘ & ‘The Dartmoor Way‘. As the axle is now manufactured from aluminium, and not steel (fine for mountain bikers). But they are just not up to the task of laden touring. 
Shimano LX hubs. Rigida Sputnik rims
I’ve opted for Shimano Deore LX. These are steel, so with a thinner axle, accommodating larger bearings. Opposed to aluminium, fatter axle, smaller bearings. It’s the smaller bearing been the problem.
Shimano Deore LX rear hub
I’ve also added a Tubus steel rear rack, to replace the Blackburn EXP aluminium rack. Steel is just easier to repair if it breaks than aluminium. These are also very light for steel.
Project Orange P7 tourer
Tubus racks come with a warranty that includes a replacement sent to anywhere in the world, for the first three years, and a 30 year guarantee in general. This warranty alone makes Tubus racks very attractive for anyone planning to do a lot of laden bike touring. They are not cheap, but are worth every penny.
Tubus Logo rear rack (2)
Considering I might be found in far flung countries, moving over to a complete Shimano group set seemed prudent, as more widely available for parts.
Shimano Deore XT rapidfire shifters
I’ve always used SRAM as a group set for my MTB’s. But, I find the Shimano Deore XT rapidfire shifters very precise, and with the index finger shifting, greater choice in control.
Shimano Deore XT 'Shadow' rear derailleur
The Shimano Deore XT ‘Shadow’ rear derailleur is indeed a nice bit of kit. Complemented with the Shimano Deore XT front derailleur, provides a very accurate setup.
Shimano Deore XT front mech
Sticking with steel chain-rings. Set-up with 22T-32T-42T. Should be a low enough to manage some respectable hills!
For sometime I’d been looking to replace the seat post. As the ‘Orange’ stem was not clamping sufficiently anymore. But, never really came across anything that really caught my eye. I eventually found a ‘retro’ Shimano Deore DX post. It’s retro, due to not been produced anymore, or come to that, DX as a Shimano brand. Looks cool too.
Shimano Deore DX seat post stem
One important change called for was to the brake system. The Magura H33 hydraulics have performed well, but are not light, and not the easiest to adjust. In jumps in a set of second-hand Shimano XT ‘V’ brakes.
Kona Project Two forks
Proving so far to be very good. Positive braking, even with weight. I’m also using anti-squeal blocks, effective with the correct toeing in.
Staying with my trusty Brooks B17 saddle. Just the best, as in time it contours to one’s sit-bones. Be patient with it, and it will pay you back.
Brooks B17 saddle
New components
Shimano – Deore XT ‘Shadow’ rear derailleur
Shimano – Deore XT front derailleur
Shimano – Deore XT rapid fire shifters
Shimano – Deore XT ‘V’ brakes
Shimano – Deore XT brake levers
Shimano – Alivio crank set
Shimano – Deore LX hubs
Shimano – Deore DX seat post stem
Rigida – Sputnik rims (SAPIM spokes)
Tubus – Logo rear rack
Hebie – 611 kickstand
BBB – Highsix adjustable stem  Failed! See Cornwall
Middleburn – Cable oilers
Additional components added summer 2012
Since the build back in the winter, the bike has racked up a few miles with a short tour, The Weekend, and the ill-fated Cornwall trip! Along with a few commutes to work.
BBB Highsix stem failure
With this, a few changes had to be made. The major one been the failure of the BBB Highsix stem, just not man enough for the job. As I’m now happy with the stem length and angle, a fixed stem replacement was the way forward.
Kalloy UNO ultralite stem 35deg 120mm
In steps the Kalloy UNO ultralite. This stem is also used on Thorn touring bikes, so that’s good enough for me. If you’re not prepared to go down the route of a homebuilt touring bike, Thorn is a very good option.
Middleburn cable oilers provide a port through which to perform cable lubrication in a matter of seconds”. That’s the manufacturers description. Seems a good idea, so will give them a shot!
Middleburn oilers (2)
With the experience of previous tours behind me, my main concern was the twitchiness in the front steering with laden front panniers. Also a problem with the front end twisting round when stationary and unsupported. I felt it required a front kickstand, but through a bit of net trawling I came up with the notion of a spring stabiliser. I ended up bettering that, with the Hebie elastomer stabiliser. Compared to a spring mechanism, this stabiliser does not squeak!
Hebie steering 696 elastomer (2)
Already I’ve found without front laden panniers, it produces a smoother ride and more stable steering. Wish I’d come across it sooner. Great recommendation.
Ergon GC3 grips, well they speak for themselves, superb. Well made, with top notch materials. I also run the Gp1 model on my ‘Cannondale Bad Boy’ commute bike. Nothing else compares.
Ergon GP5 grip (2)
The next problem: I purchased a new stove unit, the Trangia 27 HA. With this, I’ve also purchased a one litre fuel bottle. Then the realisation the bottle is not going to fit into any normal water bottle cage, too large. So once again after some research, in comes the Bike Buddy bottle cage.
Bike Buddy MK3 bottle cage (3)
The only model I could use was the MK3, as the standard cage will not fit my down tube. Then another dilemma! I have no bottle cage mounts on the down tube to fit the Bike Buddy onto. So again, further research insures to solve the problem.
Elite VIP bottle cage clamps
The Elite VIP bottle cage clamp is ordered. It does seem to grip firmly. I will only tell if it holds after some rough mileage. Watch this space.
Bike Buddy MK3 bottle cage
The Mk3 though turned out to be a good choice. The clamping mechanism stays on the bottle, so makes removing and fitting very easy.
Something I’ve not talked about on the previous build ‘Part I’, is the rims. I am using Rigida Sputnik 36 holed handbuilds from Spa Cycles.
Rigida Sputnik rims
A standard wheel set would normally contain 32 spokes, but with any laden touring bicycle, a 36 setup is advisable.
Using double butted SAPIM spokes throughout, except on the drive-side-rear where plain gauge (thicker) is utilized for strength.
Project Orange P7 tourer
Kalloy – UNO Ultralite 35 deg 120 mm stem (replaced BBB Highsix)
Hebie – Elastomer steering stabiliser 696
Ergon – GP5 touring grips
Bike Buddy – MK3 quick release bottle cage
Elite – VIP bottle cage clamps
“I thought of that while riding my bicycle” – Albert Einstein




7 responses to “Rebuild – Part II

  • paul

    hi nigel, I’m also looking to fit a tubus rack to P2 forks but am worried about the clearance required from the lower mount to avoid the rack clashing with the fork leg. i.e. the rack would seem to need to be offset by 20mm or so from the mount. Did you have any trouble with this?
    Great blog, keep up the good work

  • Nigel Francis

    Hi Paul,

    Apologies for late reply. Busy with getting back into society for a bit!

    The rack fitted fine. Enough holes on the rack to accommodate position.

    Good strong forks and racks.

  • aaron

    I have the XT hubs on a heavy fully loaded touring bike with nearly 8,000 hard miles, no problems. What problems have you had with the XT hubs?

  • Nigel

    The newer XT hubs are now aluminium and not steel like the LX.

    Here’s a link to a discussion on them.

  • rossi

    Hi Nigel.

    Very nice bike. I’m looking at a 2001 P7 frame (my 98 GT Karakoram is broken!). What attracts me to the P7, apart from it being very pretty, is the solidity and that the 2001 version uses more modern sizing (Suitable for my existing nice XT components) and has rack braze-ons.

    I’d go down the rigid fork route, geometry dictating which would work best.

    Can I ask, how tall are you and what size is your P7 frame?

    I do some (very) light touring and daily commuting.

    Any ideas appreciated.

    many thanks,


  • Nigel

    Hi Ross,

    I’m 5′ 11 1/2″.

    The frame headset on mine was the older 1″. The standard everywhere now is an 1″ 1/8″.

    It is a smashing frame particular with the nickel plating.


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