Last year I purchased a Surly frame with the intentions of turning it into a new touring bike. Nick renovated it, added some new transfers and put  new long haul trucker forks on it, using the Truvativ XC cranks and Tektro brakes off the old Tange-framed bike, there were some new parts added as well, including Shimano 2300 8 speed STI levers, Tektro cross top levers, a Kalloy seat post, an Altus front mech and a Tiagra rear mech. The wheels were also new, built by the master wheel-builder himself, Nick, using Shimano hubs and Mavic A119 rims. The original idea was for a disc brake on the front, but that idea was dumped as being impracticable at the moment. Other bits include a really nice Tortec expedition rack and a San Marco Rolls saddle which I have found to be very comfortable on my Langdale winter bike. The test ride started from Croesyceiliog at 14:30, the mild weather of the last week had been replaced by colder weather and we cycled into an icy headwind. The cycle track took us to Pontypool and then on the old road to Hafodrynys. The bike was performing well; I was surprised how light it was at 29.4lbs it was the same weight as a Dawes Galaxy. The 4130 tubing gives a similar ride to 531 and I was pleased with its performance. The forest track up the Cwm Glyn valley was taken, this is very similar to the paths of mid-Wales which the brothers encounter on our camping trips. The 11-30t Shimano cassette coped well with the ascent to the top  where there are commanding views of the Brecon Beacons. The descent down is a very fast rough forest track with a couple of switchback bends. The bike handled very well, the cross top levers  have good stopping power, but the main levers were not so good. Perhaps an upgrade from the Tektro Oryx to the Tektro frogs like on Nick's bike? We finished off the enjoyable ride on the main road to Pontypool and then to New Inn and the old abandoned road to Croesyceiliog….20 miles.

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