The bike I used on my big trip east was quite Spartan. No fenders, friction shifters front and back, make-shift bottle holders and big 47-622 Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tyres. It worked a treat, but is a bit overkill on the roads here in the Netherlands. Hence, time for a make-over.
The Dura Ace barcon shifters lost indexing halfway my big trip and worked well in the friction mode. But I had some Shimano lx triggershifters collecting dust so I installed a triggershifter on the right/rear side.
The headset kept coming loose no matter what, I think it was the wear on the thread of the steerer tube of the front fork. I do not like the old style headsets (the double bolts you have to span with the big headset spanners), especially for big trips as you have to bring heavy headset keys. Therefor I opted for a new front fork; the Surly Crosscheck front fork, the 1″ version.
This poses some problems. The old threaded headsets were made for 1″ steerer tubes. The new threadless headsets use a 1 1/8″ steerer tube. Using a 1″ threadless system will place you somewhere between two worlds. Surly is the only manufacturer that sells 1″ threadless forks (Surly Crosscheck) for hybrid bikes (for big tyres), and Cane Creek makes a beautiful 1″ threadless headset in their 40-series. With some online searching you should be able to find 1″ threadless headset spacers. Now the only part you still need is a stem that fits your 1″ steerer tube. And as far as I know, you cannot buy them new. So you have to make do with what you can find second-hand, or use a shim.
So there are some problems, but you can work around that. The installation of the headset is never a job I like but the following tricks will make it a bit easier.
– Use a tube with the right diameter to hammer down the crown-race which is to go on the for crown. You can use the 1″ headset spacer between the tube and the crown race, the spacer will probably be more exact in terms of diameter than the tube you can find.
– Hammer the headset cups out of the frame from the inside.
I used SKS Bluemels with a width of 45mm. The rear fender rubs the front derailleur a bit, but shifting is not compromised. There is enough room between the fenders and the 35-622 Schwalbe Marathon Racer tyres.