Dawes Horizon Upgrade


New Member
Oct 29, 2012
Hi All

I currently have a 2010 Dawes Horizon (see here for specs: http://www.dawescycles.com/p-25-horizon.aspx). I am planning a trip through South America in 2013 and believe some changes to the bike will be necessary to deal with the steep Andean climbs and the scarcity of bike shops. I used the bike to travel from London to Istanbul and had barely any problems - except for an issue with one of the brake cables in Croatia.

I have considered selling the bike for whatever I can get an investing in a Surly LHT, clearly a superior bike. However, if the following changes can successfully be made, it may be more economical to work with what I already have.

Some changes I would like to make include the following:

1. Although 26" wheels are probably more suited to regions such as South America, the 700c wheels will have to do (I can always have replacements ready to FedEx waiting with friends in Brazil should anything go wrong). However, to reduce the chances of this happening do you think stronger wheels are required?

2. Changing the STI shifters to bar end shifters would also be desirable as they are less complicated etc. and so more suited to South America.

3. Possibly the most important change, and one I desired when cycling the Alps, is lower gearing. I think an 11-34 (or, possibly a 11-36) Cassette + 48-32-22 or 48-34-24 Crankset would provide this.

4. It may also be worthwhile changing the Alivio gears to either Deore LX/XT

5. Finally, I screwed the fork a year ago so I will have to replace the existing one with a new one.

I would appreciate your views on the above suggestions (and whether possible!), and if anyone could ESTIMATE a price for having this done that would be great!



Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
FWIW. I think that by simply changing the rear derailleur, the crankset + the shifters (to Campagnolo!!) that you can shave almost 1 kg. off of your bike & approach the weight of the high-zoot variant which is made with the more expensive Reynolds tubing ...

  • most of the dead weight is in the crankset & BB ...
  • even through being in use for about a decade, I'm still not fully convinced that the Hollowtech II is as reliable as I would like, but it is so universal AND can be swapped out without tools in some cases, but sometimes you do need the wrench OR strong hands ... that is, the cups are light enough that if you are wary of possible failure then you can easily carry a spare set ... the machining on FSA Mega-Exo cups is much more forgiving (i.e., FSA Mega-Exo cups CAN often be installed by hand ... whereas the threading on the Hollowtech II cups seems to be very tight & definitely require a "tool") but others have complained about poor bearing life on the FSA Mega-Exo cups ... a pair of cups weighs less than an Octalink "tool" +/- the wrench

  • SLX is apparently a best value for people who are weight conscious ...

Most of the less expensive Shimano derailleurs are as good as the more expensive Shimano derailleurs AND the difference is mostly in the weight & finish ...

  • the difference in the front derailleurs is mostly in the clamp ... steel band for the less expensive & alloy on the more expensive front derailleurs ... the difference in the cages is minimal & the weight difference is minimal
  • the difference in the rear derailleurs is more significant ... "stamped" steel replaces alloy to varying degrees ... the pivots may-or-may-not wear sooner on the less expensive rear derailleurs ... the Dura Ace & Ultegra AND XTR & XT rear derailleurs have bearings instead of bushings in the pulley wheels ... I'm NOT certain that there is that much of an advantage to bearings over the bushings if you lube the bushings on the less expensive pulleys once-in-a-while

  • a long time ago, I used to prefer XTR amongst the Shimano MTB rear derailleurs, but I now prefer the comparatively porky XT because of the greatly reduced cost when compared to XTR (the differential seems to be greater than it once was) ... the XT is also a cosmetic issue (for me ... ) vs. the SLX, LX, or the other Shimano rear derailleurs

SURLY forks used to be available, separately ... they used to cost about $80(US) ... I don't know what they currently cost or if they are still available separately ...

  • if you check the local bike shops in Rio, they may have steel forks which were removed from new CX or Tandem bikes if the owner wanted to install a Carbon Fibre fork (of course, a CF fork is NOT recommended for touring) ... if that is the case, you may be able to get a replacement fork for only about £15-to-£20 ... a Tandem fork will be MORE robust (heavier) than a CX fork but will have fender eyelets & probably be able to accommodate a fatter front tyre ... so, a new fork is definitely something to look for either back in England or in Rio-and-environs

I think that BAR END SHIFTERS are an acquired taste ... one which I have never been able to fully embrace ...

A set of 10-speed Campagnolo shifters can mate directly to an 8-/9-speed Shimano rear derailleur & yield 8-speed Shimano indexing ... 10-speed Campagnolo shifters will also index to 9-speed Shimano drivetrains ... et cetera ...

  • the matrix (created by Chris Juden) is not as cryptic as it may initially appear to be
  • a set of 11-speed Campagnolo shifters connected 'normally' to an 8-/9-speed Shimano rear derailleur yields 9-speed Shimano indexing ...
  • et cetera

  • avoid the QS shifters if you can (the QS shifters are "okay" ... they have an elegant internal mechanism, but there are limitations when compared with the 'big brother' variant ... the exception is a set of Chorus QS shifters which are QS in-name-only) ...
  • the ErgoPower internal mechanism is apparently derived from the QS mechanism which was derived from the Xenon mechanism ...

Campagnolo shifters can EASILY downshift when the drivetrain is under a load ... the only time I have failed to shift to a larger cog was when there wasn't one!

The superior ramped cogs on all post-2000 (1998?) Shimano Cassettes facilitate the shifting if the indexing is off ...

Very few people who have used Campagnolo shifters subsequently opt to use other brands unless they are a sponsored rider.

BTW. Plan on bringing the appropriate spoke wrench (PARK finally has a 'new' one which makes it less likely that a DT nipple will be rounded ... the non-DT nipples are slightly more robust & more difficult to deform) ... if you don't know how to true your wheels, then it may be a good idea to learn how to do so ... I recall reading about someone who did an unsupported trans-Saharan ride ... he took '4' extra spokes (you can put the spokes in a plastic grocery bag which you stuff into your seat tube ... use a longer 5x20 bolt for one of the water bottle cage bolts to preclude the bag from slipping down further than you want). The article did NOT specify which spokes, but I presume they were potential replacements for the driveside spokes.

  • if you do need to replace a spoke, then you may need to detension all of the spokes (well, put another way, 'I' recommend that you detension all of the spokes) before re-tensioning & truing the wheel ... which is another way of saying that it wouldn't hurt if you took the time to learn how to do so before taking your trip
  • in fact, 'I' think that you need to know how to DIY for all facets of bicycle maintenance ... the Andean "highway" is long & (AFAIK) desolate in some places ... of course, you can probably hitch a ride on a truck if things get really bad
  • BTW, based on MY experience, a full length, backpacker's rain poncho could be your best friend if you ever have to hunker down on-the-side-of-the-road or elsewhere for any reason because it will create an "envelope" of air around you which will help you to retain your body heat and/or you can use it as a vapor barrier inside your sleeping bag

A 40h "Tandem" rear wheel may be worth considering ... it may be overkill, or not!