Revelator – Iron Horse AT90 Detailed Build List – 2012

This list is an addendum to the Iron Horse build story. I wanted to document the true cost of assembling a bicycle from scratch and the thinking that goes into selecting parts for a build. It should be said that the components on this list are generally in Shimano’s second-from-the-bottom range of selection. After about the Alivio/Deore segment, all you get from Shimano is lighter weights, more exotic constructions and of course higher pricepoints. For a touring bike however, it is more important that a part has long-term reliability between normal services, has as few moving parts or extra pieces as possible, avoids exotic or proprietary tools and can be bodged in the field in order to limp you along to a bike shop. Additionally, because my bike is a rather ancient 21 speed, most of my rear drive parts are rather inexpensive without being cheap. Over time, newer parts will go on the bike and I’ll explain those in later posts.

Parts Purchase Lists and Notes Subtotal (2012US Dollars)
Handlebars: non-descript straight MTB bars, steel Upgrade to BBB Multibar trekking bar ($31.99), with some bar tape ($21.85) and carbon fiber bar ends ($27.70). Ergon GP1 handgrips (around $25 at REI) completed the package and ended the wrist pain. Added a t-bar extension that allowed me to mount a bike computer and camera: $5.99 $112.53
Headset bearing: non-threaded ball and race I knew nothing about this and because the steering was smooth and no major rust was present, I left this alone. In 2015, I would finally take the headset apart, clean it thoroughly and regrease the bearings and races with Phil Wood (was $7 when I bought it in 2009 and is WORTH IT!) $0
Shifters and brakes. The AT-90 has some late model Shimano shifters that, because of the metal construction, had corroded badly. I wanted to keep the bike equipped with the cantilever brakes it came with because I thought they looked cool, so they were upgraded to Tektro CR 720 (brakes $15.12/pair, $42.24 total after shipping; brake levers via Cannondale-branded Tektro RL720, $15). Shifters were upgraded to Shimano ST-EF51 set (7×3 trigger shifters ($30.75). Note on the shifters: I settled on these because the cable was easily replaceable as some of the cheaper shifters have permanent cables, meaning the whole unit has to be replace when a cable goes south. This package was for the international market and had to be sourced from Australia. $72.99
Cables and Housing The cable housings were all cracked and dried, as was to be expected. Cables and housing were sourced online and cut to match the lengths of the original housings. Ferrules (end cap metal that guides the cable out of the housing for exposed travel) and donuts (the little rubber things that keep the exposed wire from rubbing the bike frame) were all sold in bulk. Six Feet brake housing in green: $4.95; Cable dounts (25), $5.95; Cable End Cap Ferrules (20), $4.27, Cable crimps (to keep the cut cable ends from unraveling) (8), $0.99; Shifter housing (10 feet) $21.99; brake lever barrel adjusters, 2 for $2.72; brake cable, $4.70 (only needed 1). Subtotal: $45.57 $45.57
Front and Rear Derailleurs The rear derailleur was replaced with another Shimano (Tourney TX75 for 6/7 speed, $21.39). I had intended to replace the front one but bought the wrong size ($7.90) (the 90’s era cro-moly frame has tubes that are rather narrow when compared to contemporary MTB’s). In 2015, I found a proper-fitting bottom pull front derailleur (Tourney FD-TZ30, $10.68) and will install it after I get the frame repainted in 2015 or 2016. $39.97
Seat and Post Attached was a no-brand bike seat and the cheap, two bolt plate seat post that requires a wrench to adjust and is always a pain in the ass to keep adjusted. Some searching online and I found an Origin8 post in my size with front and rear Allen key adjustment, $27.95. The seat was a holdover from the Sorrento because it is awesome. $27.95
Bottom Bracket The plastic bottom bracket cable guide was sourced on line and replaced with a Shimano SP-18-T ($5.94) (Later on, I bought an extra for later overhauls as this part is hard to find in person). After some help from Sheldon Brown, I learned that the BB was a hub and cone design. While reliable and easily serviced, I could not identify the size of the bearings used, not could I find a replacement axel or hubs or cones. So, despite its reliability, not easily finding parts online led me to upgrade to a Shimano UN-55 square taper cartridge bracket ($26.09). This is the one with metallic caps on both ends. Inexpensive without being cheap, readily sourced. $32.03
Pedals New pedals were going on be in order anyhow, so the Japanese made MKS Sylvan touring pedals (in copper!) with field-serviceable bearings came in (Pedals $45; flips $9; Toe clips $10). Lightweight MKS pedal wrench (good for touring), $21.99. Dust cap wrench for these (also lightweight): $10.79. $96.78
Crankset I learned about different types of crank arms by ordering the wrong cranks for the bottom bracket above. I jumped too fast on what I thought was a good deal and bought Octalinks by accident. I returned them to the original seller and ate $15 in restock and return shipping costs. I settled on Acera M361 (175mm x 42/32/22T) which is strong and sturdy and have replaceable chain rings and a pants guard ($36.48). Subtotal: $51.48 $51.48
Cassette and chain The original rear wheel utilized a thread-on freewheel (thanks, Sheldon Brown once again), and I already knew that I was getting a custom rear wheel that had a freehub, which takes a cassette. There rear triangle is very narrow and I had no real desire to have more or less than 7 gears. For touring, I pulled in a Shimano HG50 Mega Range 13-34 range ($29.69), which is low enough for loaded climbs without getting out of the saddle. I knew ahead of time that I may have needed a spacer as the rear wheel was coming with an 8 speed hub (4mm spacer, $4.11). The chain on the bike was pure rust, replaced with Shimano CN-HG70 ($21.95). $55.75
Wheels In my preliminary researching reading about touring bikes, I learned that hand built wheels are the best (or at least more trustworthy) for reliability. I found a Wisconsin outfit called The Bikesmiths who were offering a wheel deal on eBay and decided to inquire. The rims are Bontrager Corviar matched with Shimano hubs front and rear. I had the builders drill out the valve hole from Presta to Shraeder in order to be able to take any inner tube. I told the wheelbuilder that I weighed 260 pounds and expected to carry 45 pounds worth of gear; he responded that he stands by his work and would beef up the rear wheel with a nicer spoke set. They even threw in the quick release skewers! In all, I paid $155 for the wheelset, including $25 shipping. I also ordered 10 extra of the nice spokes, $10. To save a few grams, I found a nifty product called Velocity Veloplugs rim strip plug replacement, which replaces rim tape with reusable plastic plugs to cover the spoke holes (12.50) Lastly, I found Shraeder to Presta converters ($6.34 for the pair), which are metal sleeves that keep the Presta straight in the Shraeder hole, while being removable for the larger valve if need be. Later on, Presta valve caps were pimped out in green ($7.49). $191.33
Tires and tubes Keeping with the heavy-duty build, I found the strongest rubber I knew to contend with New York’s glass, sewer grates and pot holes: Bontrager H4 Hardcase Plus 2.0 inch, which are laced with Kevlar. These tires were an absolutely B—- to strap on, and I snapped a quality tire lever doing so, but worth it all the same as they are super-fast and still in great shape. Price for the pair: $89.98. For tubes, I found a sweet sale on eBay for two Bontrager heavy duty thorn-resistant tubes: $13.99. $103.97
Miscellaneous unremembered spending $20 $20
           TOTAL: $830.35               
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One thought on “Revelator – Iron Horse AT90 Detailed Build List – 2012

  1. Pingback: A Horse with No Home, or How to Get a Really Awesome Touring Bike Frame by Looking in the Garbage | Wandering by Installments

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