Heron Owners Gallery - Touring Model/Dirt

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I wanted to build a rough-stuff bike, a dual purpose bike that could be used for commuting and general riding on not-so-perfect roads that could also be ridden on dirt or gravel roads and easier dirt trails.

To get the necessary strength and comfort I figured I'd need a loaded touring frame,
a steel fork, bullet-proof wheels, and mountain bike componentry. I also decided that one tire width would not be suitable for both riding styles so I voluntarily assumed the task of maintaining two wheelsets on one bike. I've now ridden over 3000 miles on the bike, mostly on pavement. I think it's holding up quite well. The pictures were taken just after it's most recent rebuild. To my good fortune, I recently found a NOS 110/74 BCD XTR crankset with
172.5 mm cranks. This allows me to have decent road gearing at the top, real mountain bike gearing at the bottom, and my preferred crank length. The specific criteria I wanted my rough-stuff bike to meet were:

- lugged steel frame (Heron, Waterford, Rivendell, etc.)
- clearance for at least 38 mm tires
- light "enough" (< 30 pounds)
- strong enough for off-road riding (I'm a 215 pound rider)
- comfortable (long wheelbase, low bottom bracket, relaxed geometry, handlebars even with Brooks saddle)
- stable handling (long wheelbase, "touring" geometry)
- wide range gearing and a realistic top end with triple chainrings

What I built up
First generation 59 cm Heron Touring frame with Heron fork (Reynolds 531 steel, horizontal dropouts)
XTR derailers, 8 speed cassette (12-32), and 110/74 BCD 172.5 mm crank (26/36/46 chainrings)
107 mm UN-73 bottom bracket
Tiagra brake levers, STX/RC center-pull cantilever brakes, Ultegra 8 speed bar end shifters
105/Bontrager front and Deore/Mavic T520 rear 36 spoke wheels with DT 14/15/14 gauge spokes
Rivendell Ruffy Tuffy (27 mm) tires on the street wheels
IRC Mythos CX (38 mm) cyclocross tires on the off-road wheels
Ultegra headset, Nitto Dirt Drop stem, Nitto Dirt Drop handlebars, Cinelli blue gel bar tape
Salsa shaft seatpost and grey Brooks titanium-railed B-17 saddle
Speedplay Frog pedals
Nitto bottle cages
Zefal HpX frame pump
Rivendell grey Banana bag (Carradice Nelson Longflap saddlebag when necessary)

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