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How to equip a P-38

Thanks for the replies regarding a P-38 as my only bicycle. Now I need to know how I should equip a P-38 as I get dangerously close to buying one. I have spoken to someone from Lightning and I intend to visit the factory come July. I may put in an order before then so I can have the bicycle before I leave the states.

Now my questions:
- Is the XT option necessary? Shimano 105 is a very good component group. The only two things I wonder about are the upgrade to the XT hubs. Are they really that much better than the LX hubs. And the Avid Ultimate front brake, since I heard that a switchable front brake is better on the P-38. Am missing anything else? I have an LX derailleur and 105 bottom bracket on my Bikefriday and think they are very reliable. Though I also have XT hubs and I am wondering if they are an overkill.

- Is a suspension fork necessary for a 250 pound rider? Or should I just go with wider tires?

- Any recommendations for a lower geared bicycle? Possibly an LX crankset? I would be climbing a lot of long hills and mountains here with not very strong legs.

- Is the tilt steering something worth having as well?

- Any advantage in 26" wheels over 700C wheels? I hope to do some touring later.

Thanks in advance and I appreciate any other advice you can offer me. I really think a P-38 Voyager would be a great bicycle to have as my sole ride, considering I live overseas. But I am trying to keep the costs down and I am a bit nervous since this will probably be the most I have ever spent on a bicycle or any consumer good for that matter.

Regards,
Joseph

THE HUBS ARE VERY SIMILAR. XT FRONT HUB HAS 1 MM LARGER AXLE WHILE THE SKEWER RODS ARE FORGED INSTEAD OF CRO-MOLY. DON'T SPEND ANY EXTRA MONEY FOR A DISMAL DIFFERENCE. YOU CAN PURCHASE ODYSSEY A BRAKES IN RED, YELLOW, BLUE OR BLACK ON EBAY. THEY HAVE REVERSIBLE NOODLE TOO WHILE HAVING A ADJUSTABLE ARM SPRING. I WOULD STAY AWAY FROM THE TILT STEERING UNLESS YOU HAVE A BELLY AS THE COCKPIT IS A CLOSED IN POSITION. THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LX & XT DERAILLEURS ARE THE JOCKEY WHEELS. THE XT ARE BOTH SEALED WHILE THE LX ARE NOT. $20 SPENT ON A SET OF SEALED BEARING JOCKEY WHEELS WOULD UPGRADE THE LX REAR DERAILLEUR JUST FINE. I WOULD STAY AWAY FROM THE FRONT SUSPENSION AND USE A WIDER TIRE TO SOAK UP THE BUMPS.

1) I think all the Shimano midlevel components work well and are reliable: 105, LX, etc. The XT hubs may be a good idea if the upcharge is not too high over the LX or 105. But if you put in lots of miles, and ride in the rain, you need to clean and lubricate the various parts to keep them functioning properly. Even really nice components will fail if poorly maintained.

2) A mountain bike crankset will allow you to get a lower granny gear. I think a compact mountain crankset will let you go down to a 22t granny. Couple this with an 11-34t cassette and you should have pretty low gearing for steep and long hills.

3) If you need even lower gearing, going to a 26" mountain bike rear wheel will help. It will also lay the seat angle back a little, and give you more wiggle room between the back of the seat & the rear wheel and fender. The handling of the bike will change a bit. You might like it.

4) I am fond of Magura hydraulic rim brakes, not discs. But many people really like the Avid mechanical disc brakes. Getting a rear disc mount might be a good idea, just in case you want to try one in the future. Likewise, I would get the bottom bracket boom with the F40 fairing mount in front, just in case. It is nice to keep your options open.

5) No experience with the Lightning tilt steering.

Safe riding,
Joel

I added the tilt steering just to make getting off and on a bit easier. No regrets.

Silver P-38

My $.02 would be...

The cockpit on a P-38 is not as closed as some other SWB bikes that have tilt steering. I really don't think tilt steering is necessary on a P-38.

Lower gears are always better.

If you are considering touring, wouldn't a 26" wheel be a stronger wheel?

These are my opinions. And you know what they say about opinions...

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