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The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions, and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world. My Plan

My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell books about touring

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Places I have been
(
How can I afford this?)

India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present

Alaska / Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010

New Zealand
Sept 2007 to May 2008

Australia
Sept 2006 to Sept 2007

SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006

South America
June 2003 to June 2004

AZ, Mexico, and Central America
March 2002 to April 2003

How I started
The 5 years before I left


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 Written on the road as I travel around the world on my bicycle


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Equipment Pages Index

Introduction
How Much to Bring and Weight
Some Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
(See more about Sponsorship)

START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames 
The Steel Repair Myth.
Steel and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs

Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Bike Computer
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Kickstands
Sealed Cartridge Headsets

How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps

Camping
Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground Cloth
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Camp Stove
Pots and Pans
Water Filter
First Aide Kits
Solar Power for Camp

Clothing
Bike Touring Shorts

Electrical
Short-wave Radio
Computer
Internet
mp3
Bicycle touring lights

Books
Packing list
Pictures of Equipment Failures
Shopping


See My Videos Here



(see all 3 book)

Steel Vs. Aluminum Touring Bicycle Frame Materials: Derailleur Hangers Bending, Braking, Repair and Replacement.

Replaceable type hanger Bent derailleur hanger  

I believe that good touring bikes can be made from either steel or aluminum. I have several years of experience of extended touring on both types of bikes and have had derailleur hanger problems with both frame materials. My aluminum frame derailleur hangers have gotten bent from traumas like a crash or rough baggage handling. My steel frame derailleur hangers got bent in the same circumstances and also seemed to bend with age. I am not sure why steel derailleur hangers bend over time without external trauma. It may be rust weakening the structure over time or just hard traveling. The fact is during any bike tour a field repair on either type of rear derailleur hanger may be necessary.

It is true that aluminum can not be bent back but steel can. This is why aluminum bikes have a replaceable rear derailleur hanger and steel does not. When touring on an aluminum bike I carry a spare derailleur hanger for emergencies. When the hanger gets damaged I pull out my new one and replace it. The whole operation takes about 60 seconds and can be performed on the roadside or by flashlight while camping. The replacement hanger is very small and (because it is aluminum) weighs only a few grams. Also because my emergency derailleur hanger is aluminum, and will not rust, I zip tie it under the rear rack and forget about it until an emergency arises. The question of where to find a new derailleur hanger to replace a used hanger is easily answered with global shipping but I personally have never experienced repeated problems with my rear aluminum derailleur hangers or needed to ship a replacement.

With a steel bike the solution for a bent rear derailleur hanger seems simple at first; bend it back. I have had numerous problems with my steel rear derailleur hanger coming out of alignment in time or getting bent. At first I was able to take my bike to a bike shop in the USA and have it bent back to perfection with their large shop tool. After I started venturing further on the road less traveled without modern bike shops, I learned about frame material the hard way. Two examples come to mind:

On an extended bike tour in Baja, Mexico and again deep in the Colorado wilderness my steel hanger became unaligned from hard traveling. At first I could tolerate the sloppy shifting but eventually the shifting system became unusable. I removed the derailleur, eyeballed the hanger back into shape with my Leatherman, and replaced the derailleur. This improved the situation but not to perfection. I tried many techniques over several hours such as trying to force it back with the derailleur still attached but my bike never shifted well again. Also with all this bending my hanger grew weaker. I discovered that the only way to bend a steel derailleur hanger back perfectly is with the big and heavy derailleur hanger straightening tool. It's a common tool in bike shops but it's too heavy to carry on a bike tour. For this reason I prefer aluminum replaceable derailleur hangers; 60 seconds of repair time is worth the few grams of spare part.

 


Park Derailleur Alignment Gauge (DAG-2)

Cant get your shifting just right? Maybe your derailleur hanger is out of alignment. Just thread this tool in your hanger and gauge the distance to all points on your wheel. Tool lets you align the hanger by simply applying pressure.


Picture of the Park Tools DAG-1 Rear Derailleur Hanger Straightening Tool

PARK TOOL DAG-2.2
DERAILLEUR GAUGE


This is a Large and Heavy Bicycle Tool (Weight: 2.1 lbs. / 1 kg) that Few Cyclists Would Carry on a Bicycle Tour.


The bikes below are sold online and shipped to your address.  Online bikes are a very good value but hard to find so I have rounded up my favorites.
Shop All Touring Bicycles Here

   
This is the type of bike I have done most of my traveling on.  Great for road and off road with an agile geometry and accepts wide or narrow tires.

REI brand Touring and Trekking Bikes

This is the bike I am buying next. I am tall and recently bought a mountain bike with 29er wheels and really like how it rides and would like to try this in my next touring bike.

Salsa Fargo
 

If comfort is your first priority check out these great bikes.  I have never toured this light but I know a ton of cyclist who like this style of bike.

Salsa Marrakes

 

The new breed of off road bike packing and snow bicycle. I have never owned a bike like this but I bet someday I do.

Fat Bikes

 

Seasonal - Surly bikes are not always available on line but they are a great deal. 


Surly LHT touring bicycle

 

 

 

 

eXTReMe Tracker

 

Steel Touring Bike Repair and Welding While Bicycling in the Third World

 

Bicycle Touring
Tips & Advice

- Bike Stuff
- Camping

Touring Bicycles
Panniers
Racks
Saddles
Tires
Lights

Fenders
Tools and Spares

Tents
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress
Camp Stove
Water Filter
Pots and Pans
First Aide Kits
Solar Power
Bike Maps
Preventing Flat Tires

Bike Computer
Cargo Trailers
Kick Stands
Pedals
Handelbars/Grips
Headsets
Commuting Bikes

Camp Shower/Toiletry Bag

Lights

Helmet
Bike Shoes
Bike Touring Shorts

Stealth/Free Camp

What I Have Learned On The Road

Dreaming of Endless Travel

Injustice of Poverty

Much MORE Gear Here!

Sponsors (how?)


Cycle Touring Racks

Tents and ground cloths
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress Pads


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