Upgrades to the 'Shift - Tour displacement therapy - CycleBlaze

Upgrades to the 'Shift

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Getting my usual tourer, the "Blue Shift", out during the first rides of the year I always ask myself the same question: what sort of maintenance does it need. And I'm always amazed, and frankly a little disappointed, when I find: not that much. This is more a testament to the Surly and component build quality than anything to do with my mechanical skills. Compared to the sequence of often slightly crumby bikes I've had in the past that needed continuous fiddling with brakes, drivechain, spokes etc the lack of attention the Shift needs is remarkable. I barely needed to pump up the tyres.

There were one or two snagging issues from the last tour that I thought were worth looking at. One, the fraying shifter cable, had managed to last through the entire tour and I still hadn't replaced it. The other was the general wear to the drivechain - the rear derailler in particular had seen a lot of action, with the jockey wheels now very worn (so much so that notably I installed them the wrong way around).

So I decided to replace the drivetrain - rear mech, chain and cassette would only come in at £50 or so, which seemed a small price for a yearly service. All the same components as before: the "megarange" cassette may be basic and cheap, but I've never found anything better. While I was at it I got a new middle chainwheel as well, partly because it was much more worn that the others, but mostly for the fun in installing it into my chainset.

The only other thing I had my eye on replacing was the saddle. My current saddle was a pretty basic synthetic one, and after ten years and three (or four, depending on how you count it) tours was falling apart. Seeing I could pick one up for £70, I decided to take the plunge and get the Brookes standard B17. Breaking the devil in would be another incentive to get on the bike this spring. Reading up online I realised that it would be silly to keep riding without mudguards and the leather saddle, so invested in some nice SKS ones from Germany (still find it hard to get excited about mudguard purchases).

The drivechain went on with no trouble. The new middle chainring I bought was a slightly fancy one because it was on offer (the SLX FCM660 for anyone interested) - despite it having the right bolt diameter to fit my chainset, annoyingly some apparently non-functional plastic tabs prevented it laying flat against the spider of my (M361) spiders. I ended up filing them off, and then shimming the chainring with a couple of copper washers which had a big enough diameter. Amazingly this bodge-job seemed to work, and the chaining has been running true and shifting well ever since.

Mudguards are always a PITA to fit, but it was weirdly satisfying spending a couple of days getting them right and then cutting down the stays. The SKS Bluemels are really good, they don't contact the wheel at all even bumping down very rough tracks.

The Brookes was ... pretty comfortably out the box . I treated it lightly with Proofide and stuck to padded shorts, but even immediately it wasn't drastically less comfortable than my old synthetic saddle. 500km or so later and it's really starting to wear in - my legs are definitely hurting more than my behind on any given ride.

The revamped Shift, with mudguards and new saddle
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Shiny new drivetrain, which I'm already covering in mud. Nothing beats that big cog on the back of the "megarange" (though they're no longer branded that way).
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