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And just FWIW, a preference for STI is just like any other preference -- personal.Personal? Are you still using 27" wheels instead of 700C? Are you using freewheels instead of cassettes? Does your frame have 120mm spacing instead of 130 or 135mm spacing? Are you using centerpull brakes instead of cantilever brakes?
If I were going to make only one upgrade for this trip, I think it would be the lower gearing on the crankset, followed closely by a change in stem length/position and/or comfier drop bars.
So on touring bikes you have to make a compromise and pick a next best, second choice to make road and mountain components work together. Thus bar end shifters. What new bike seller is going to sell a NEW bike with now 5 year old 10 speed STI shifters, and 10 year old 9 speed rear derailleur? This combination works but is not current.
- Liv Brava SLR Cyclocross
- Giant Revolt 1
- Specialization Dolce EVO
- Surly Straggler
Could they handle racks and bags or it's not recommended?
Also if you aren't already using one, I find a handlebar bag more convenient than a trunk bag.
Also, do pretty much all panniers fit any rack - will I be safe buying my panniers before I have the racks?