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New Paul Hewitt Tourers PDF Printable Version E-mail

 

Our Two New Hewitt-Cheviot SE Touring Bicycles

Barry and Margaret Williamson

June 2007

Introduction

Paul Hewitt of Leyland, Lancashire has built and equipped 2 new Hewitt-Cheviot SE touring bicycles for our next round-the-world journey and (hopefully) many years beyond. We have also replaced the major components of our ageing equipment (tent, stove, waterproofs, sleeping-mats, etc). Here we describe the new bicycles in some detail.

Click here for images of the new bicycles

Click here for images of Paul Hewitt's cycle shop in Leyland, Lancashire

Click here for our full packing list of equipment for a long cycle tour

Have a look at: CTC Website's 'Bikes and Bits'.

Paul Hewitt's contact details are as follows:

Paul Hewitt Cycles, 17-19 Preston Road, Leyland, Lancashire PR25 4NT

Tel: +44 (0)1772 424773

Email:    or:

Website: http://www.hewittcycles.co.uk/

The Building of our Two New Paul Hewitt Touring Bicycles

Introduction

We wrote the following testimonial on the Cycling Plus Forum

"In 2000 Paul Hewitt built new wheels for our 15-year-old touring bikes, before we made our first round-the-world cycle journey. Since then we have been round the world twice more, climbed many Alpine cols and explored the back roads of Europe, from southern Greece to northern Finland. All four wheels have remained absolutely true and we have not had a single spoke breakage, despite the challenges of the roads and the loads.

Today we returned to Leyland after a winter in Greece, to Paul's new shop, workshops and showrooms, to be measured and thoroughly questioned for two Hewitt Cheviot SE touring cycles. We agree with all the comments (in this forum) about the excellence and thoroughness of Paul's fitting techniques. We were also greatly impressed by the level of his concentration on the task in hand. He didn't miss a single thing, right down to the last spare chain link. He forgot nothing that we discussed and included everything we wanted in the final full specification.

Although his premises and business have increased and will continue to succeed, Paul still gives personal attention and enormous value for money. His first commitment is that the bicycle should fit well, maximising energy efficiency and minimising discomfort. We look forward to collecting the new bicycles and taking them to Australia, confident that they will take us from Perth to Darwin."Since then, we have collected our new bicycles and been very very happy with them. They represent a combination of Paul's skill and dedication and our lifetime of cycling.

This is what Paul wrote about his approach to cycle building, taken from his website: http://www.hewittcheviot.co.uk/

Hewitt Cheviot & Cheviot SE Touring Cycles

"In addition to our successful Hewitt Cheviot (British Bicycle Awards Best Touring Bike 2003 and the Cycling Plus Best Distance/Touring Cycle 2002), we have now introduced the brand new Hewitt Cheviot SE, essentially based on the Cheviot specification: exactly the same frame geometry but with a number of upgrades.

One of our objectives with the Cheviot touring cycle was to give our customers as much choice as possible, whilst maintaining a realistic price. It seems by the reviews in Cycling Plus and the subsequent award of the Touring Bike of 2002 that we are not far off achieving our objective.

The Cheviot SE is a logical progression from the Cheviot, giving the more discerning tourist a top quality reliable machine for a relatively modest price. The specification can be determined in a variety of ways; possibly the easiest way is to start off with the specification as per the test bike as a base and alter it from there."

Measuring Service

"Our objective is to supply each of our customers with exactly what they require, nothing more, nothing less. In order to achieve this, we first of all offer a measuring service on all cycles supplied by us and as much help as you require to determine your ideal specification. We also, as far as is possible, cater for any specific requirements you may have.

Although we have supplied products and services to cyclists at the highest level, we get just as much satisfaction from supplying cycles to cyclists right across the knowledge and ability range. Do not feel intimidated or afraid to ask questions, it is better to know as much information before we start building your bike so we can avoid any problems in the future.

All the characteristics of the original Cheviot are retained but the Frame, Headset, Hubs, Front Changer, Chain, Tyres and Rear Carrier have all been upgraded on the Cheviot SE.

Our opinion is that the Hewitt Cheviot SE should stand alongside the Hewitt Cheviot as being possibly the best two value-for-money touring cycles on the market today, at relatively modest basic prices of 849.00 for the Cheviot and 1,099.00 for the new Cheviot SE."

Reynolds 725 (throughout) Frame & Forks

"The frame and forks on the Hewitt Cheviot SE are manufactured using the top of the range Reynolds 725 tubing (possibly the best tubing available for touring cycles on the market today), throughout. The standard specification on both the Cheviot and the Cheviot SE now includes low-rider bosses and a third set of bottle bosses under the down tube; the rear drop-outs have also been widened to 135 mm. Just to finish the frame off and add a touch of individuality, the front and rear ends are in polished stainless steel."

Other Upgrades

"The hubs and front changer have been upgraded to Shimano Deore XT to match up with the rear gear and cassette which, with a Shimano Dura Ace chain, gives ultimate durability where you need it. The brakes have been upgraded to the popular Tektro Oryx cantilevers. The tyres have been upgraded to the Panaracer Pasela Tour Guard - a finer quality casing than the Pasela Club and with the added benefit of Kevlar puncture-resistant strip. The final upgrade is to the rear carrier, which is the Blackburn EX2, one of the most popular and durable carriers available."

Specification

"This can be determined either by working to 1) a fixed or slightly flexible budget, or 2) by working to a specification you may have ( if we think your specification could be improved we will tell you ), or 3) by building a bike to suit your intended use. More often than not, the specification is usually determined by a combination of two or three of the methods above.

It seems most purchasers so far have been ordering the Cheviot as tested in Cycling Plus, but tailoring it to suit their individual preferences. Whichever way it is determined, we pride ourselves on ensuring that you get a cycle exactly tailored to your requirements, no matter how much or little you know about the cycling products available.

Measuring can be done preferably by visiting our shop to be fitted on our frame-fitting jig. If this is not possible, the next best method is by taking four measurements off your existing cycle (assuming you are happy with that position). Failing that we can take body measurements to determine frame size; there is scope to alter saddle height, set back and handlebar height. If we do supply a bike based on your measurements and you find you need a different length stem we can send one to you and you can return the one you don't need. If you do have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us in order to discuss your requirements - Telephone 01772-424773 ask for Paul or Gethin. We are open 9.30 - 6.00 Mon-Sat."

Colour

"We offer a full range of enamel finishes and will try to match your requirements. As with the specification, there are not really any restrictions here either, most tastes can be catered for. Obviously this could affect the cost.

The finishes that seem most popular so far are:

A) Flamboyant Green

B) Flamboyant Red

C) Dark Flamboyant Blue (as on the C+ test bike)

D) Metallic Black"

That is the end of our extracts from Paul Hewitt's website (link). Here we continue with an account of our two new bicycles, based on the Hewitt-Cheviot SE tourer.

Summary of the Items We Purchased

The following items were purchased from Paul Hewitt as replacements for existing, much used equipment:

2 Hewitt-Cheviot SE touring bicycles, each equipped with a pump, a bell, a rear-view mirror, 3 water bottles and a second-bike fitting for our Sigma computers. Accessories: 2 Ortlieb handlebar bags, one set Ortlieb front panniers, one set Ortlieb rear panniers with locks, map case, GPS case, 2 cable locks, 2 full sets of LED battery lights, extra padding and handlebar tape, 2 pairs cycling shoes, spare folding tyre, inner-tubes, spare brake blocks, spare spokes, spare chain links, spare cables.

A table giving the specification of our Hewitt-Cheviot SE touring bicycles

Model

Hewitt-Cheviot SE Tourers

Frame & Forks

Reynolds 725

Headset

Cane Creek S2

Front Changer

Shimano Deore XT

Rear Derailleur

Shimano Deore XT SGS

Chainset

Shimano Deore 22/32/44

Bottom Bracket

Shimano UN 72

Brake Levers

Shimano R 400 ( Front-RHS) Embedded cables

Gear Levers

Downtube Deora Ace 9speed

Brake Calipers

Shimano R-550 Cantilevers

Hubs

Shimano Deore XT 36h

Cassette

Shimano Deore XT 9sp 12-34

Chain

Shimano Dura Ace/ XTR

Rims

Alex Endeavour Black

Spokes

SB B/Sx3 DB NBSx3 PG Frx3

Tyres

Schwalbe Marathon XR 35C

Inner Tubes

Michelin A3 Presta

Rim Tapes

Velox Cloth

Handlebars

TTT Morphe 46" (drop bars)

Stem

Ritchey 4-bolt

Saddle

Brooks B17 Standard, black leather

Seat Pin

Kalloy R Type Spl

Pedals

MKS GR9, black plastic clips & leather toe-straps

Mudguards

SKS P-45 Chromoplastic (Front with safety fitting + mudflap)

Rear Carrier

Blackburn EX2 + braze-on fittings

Front Carrier

Blackburn FL1 + braze-on fittings

Bottle Cage

3 x Elite Ciussi

2nd Bike Fitting Kit

2, for Sigma 1606L Computer

Spares

2 Brake cables, 2 Gear cables, 4 pairs Brake blocks

2 Chain links, 9 Spokes

Extra Braze-Ons for:

Low-rider bosses on forks, Pump pegs on LH seat stay

3rd bottle cage bosses

Handlebar padding

Marsas padding under bar tape

Extra Bottle Cage

Accessories

Handlebar bags

2 Ortlieb Ultimate5 Plus Large (Black)

Front panniers

1 set Ortlieb Front Roller Plus (Black)

Rear Panniers

1 set Ortlieb Back Roller Plus (Black)

Shoes

2 pairs Exustar cycle shoes (Black leather)

Bottles

6 SIS: 4 large, 2 small

Pumps to fit

2 Zefal HPX No 1

Mirrors

2 Zefal bar-end

Rear battery lights

2 Cateye TL-LD1100 to fit rear pannier frame

Front battery lights

2 Cateye OptiCube

Front light brackets

To fit on bracket under bar bag

Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC) Notes on the Touring Bicycle

"Touring bikes transcend the usual parameters by combining trekking bike practicality with racing bike performance. At first glance, a touring bike looks just like a racer due to the dropped handlebars. Then you notice the mudguards, the rear carrier, a third chainring, bigger rear sprockets, cantilever brakes, slightly wider tyres remove or change some of these and what you have is not very different to a racer only the frame must be a bit stiffer and the back wheel stronger, since they need to support the weight of luggage in addition to the rider. Contrary to what some may allege, those features do not make the tourer that much slower. Between racing bikes and the sportier touring bike variants, known as audax bikes or fast tourers, such differences virtually disappear.

Compared with the trekking bike or hybrid, the obvious difference is a dropped handlebar. You'll also get a slightly slimmer tyre (commonly 28 or 32 mm) that's more efficient on tarmac but still usable on gravel, an equally stable but often lighter (since more expensive) frame, but with the same wide-range gears and powerful brakes although the latter are not quite so easy to operate from dropped handlebars. These put the handgrips further from the saddle, bringing a bit more bodyweight over the pedals and slightly reducing wind resistance without even using the dropped part. The riding position is like that of a dropped bar fitness bike, making it easier for you to work a bit harder (useful on climbs), whilst the choice of hand positions relieves fatigue over long distances.

Unfortunately, the combination of dropped handlebars with sensible tyres, mudguards and a rear carrier is something the marketing folk can't quite get their heads around, so touring bikes are rarely flavour of the month. You've got to be well into bikes to appreciate these features, so there isn't a lot of choice and none at all in the lower price brackets. In many shops you'll not find a single tourer on show and may be persuaded to buy something else. That's a shame, because this is a tremendously useful and versatile kind of bike. If you've room for only one, this bike will haul shopping as well as touring loads, handle mild off-road surfaces as well as tarmac and go almost as fast as a racing bike when stripped for such action!

So much for the racy, audax bike end of the touring bike spectrum. At the other extreme, an expedition tourer may be more akin to a mountain-bike. Indeed, early mountain-bikes were often fitted with luggage carriers (some also with dropped handlebars) for long trips into remote places on unpaved roads. Since any kind of bike could be used to explore, just as any kind could be pressed into service for the journey to work, it's hard to say that such and such isn't a touring bike. A trekking bike is essentially a flat-bar, shorter-distance, more relaxed touring bike variant."

Carrying a Bicycle with British Airways (BA)

The following recent email and reply was an attempt by us to clarify the airline's requirements when flying by BA with a bicycle:

We plan to fly BA from the UK to Australia, each with a bicycle. Our checked-in luggage will be the bicycle bags and contents weighing about 12 kg each person. Do you charge extra for the bicycles? If so, on what basis? Do they need to be in boxes or bags? Do you supply the boxes or bags?

Your answer will be very helpful for our planning

Response from BA:

You may check in your free checked baggage allowance plus one additional item of sports equipment providing the item weighs up to 23 kg, and does not exceed the following dimensions: 2.5m x 1.00m x 0.80m (98in x 39in x 31in). For further details on carrying bicycles, click on the link: Bikes on British Airways.

Rohloff Gears

For some time we considered fitting Rohloff gears to our new touring bicycles. We started by asking the advice of John and Sally Watson.

John and Sally Watson were cycling from the UK to Delhi to raise money for 2 charities, one of which (a hospital) they visited on their way through Romania. When they sent us the following 2 emails (February 2007), they were in Islamabad organising visas for entry into India and their final stage to Delhi. Now, they are back at work in the City of London!

They had ridden across Turkey and Iran, followed by Baluchistan (which runs south of Afghanistan) and Pakistan, cycling all the way despite pressure from the Pakistan police to join convoys of vehicles for security. Visit their excellent website for many photographs and a very full and well-written account of their journey: www.cyclingtoindia.com

Having met them in Hungary in the summer of 2006, we kept in touch. In writing to them, we also asked about the performance of the Rohloff gears which were fitted to both their bicycles (14-speed wide-ratio German-made gears in a sealed hub). Here are our questions, followed by John's replies.

We also write to ask your opinion of the Rohloff gears, when you have time to comment. We are planning 2 new bicycles with Paul Hewitt of Paul Hewitt Cycles in Leyland, Lancs.

"Currently in Islamabad getting our Indian visas. After a month of sleeping in police cells and grotty hotels, we've just spent three glorious days in the 5-star Marriott. We got an enormous discount, perhaps due more to the suicide bomb attack there a fortnight ago, rather than to our bargaining skills. Still, the place was like Fort Knox, as opposed to Buck Palace, which anyone seems to be able to infiltrate. I have answered your questions next to them below - hopefully this ensures I haven't missed any out. Bottom line is that I doubt either of us will ever go back to a derailleur but a Rohloff is a bit 'black box' because it is totally reliant on the sealed hub, which the makers claim has never totally broken down."

We are quite impressed with the write-ups on the gears but there are some snags - particularly the need to make sure they stay lubricated, the need to change the lubricant regularly and the need to replace the control wire now and again.

"I did change the wires once but this was due to a design fault on the Raven bikes, whereby the wires rubbed against a sharp metal bit on the underside of our dynamo lamps which I've since resolved. The wires are not held under tension and so wear is very low. The wires connecting the gear changers do not require lubrication - the manual specifically advises against this. Due to my own stupidity, I did cock up changing the wires, resulting in me having to have an extra set sent by DHL Courier at considerable expense, but if you read the instruction manual properly and follow it (unlike me) this shouldn't happen. Also, you need to cut the wires very cleanly because they feed into very small holes at the hub end - as soon as an end frays it becomes nigh on impossible to get them into the screw clamps. The hub itself needs an oil change every 5,000 km. The oil change pack includes a syringe and looks a bit intimidating but it is very simple. Inject the vial of liquid that washes the hub out, cycle around for a mile or two, then flush it out by drawing on the syringe. Then inject the lubricant. Voila!"

Have you had any problems with your Rohloffs?

"Totally headache-free, minus one minor glitch. Sally's Rohloff jammed up a bit in the desert, which was due, I think, to a build-up of sand. I cleaned it and had no subsequent problems."

Are the ratios wide enough for you, with all your kit?

"Yes - the ratios, so they claim, are equivalent to a 27-speed. I can't remember our ratios but we went for the standard ones for a heavily laden touring bike, stressing we'd rather have extra gears for going up hills than cruising on the flats."

Can you tell us the size of the chain ring and rear sprocket that you are using? Any chain problems such as stretching, coming off, breaking, etc.

"The Rohloffs have a big advantage over traditional gears, in that there is far less chain wear because the chain is always linear. We forked out and went for Rohloff's own 'Rolls Royce' chain, which costs about 35 quid, and don't regret it. We're on the original ones and they are working as good as new. The Rohloff chains are much narrower but I think you could probably just use a normal chain. The chain has never come off. Occasionally they need to be tightened, which is very simple."

Do you have to adjust the chain often?

"See above, but specifically because there is no derailleur to tension the chain it is tightened by having an elliptical bottom bracket, which can be adjusted by loosening two big bolts on the bottom of the bracket. It is very easy to do and I can make the adjustment in a couple of minutes.

As I say, we've no regrets on going Rohloff. It would be good to find a Rohloff maintenance class, just because it is a different system to Shimano and it is a little intimidating. If there is a weakness, it is that if you are in a really remote place and something does go wrong, then you are unlikely to be able to walk into a nearby Rohloff dealer to get it fixed. I had visions of being holed up on the Iran/Pakistan border waiting for replacement parts when the Rohloff jammed on that one occasion. As a Dutchman told me, the Germans have a habit of engineering things to the point where they can only be fixed by specialists, as they found out to their cost when their super advanced tanks broke down in the battlefield in WW2.

Thorn also do a drop-bar Raven but with 26 inch wheels. They have released new models recently and I've heard that Chas Roberts are very good too - especially for bespoke and for women. Probably cost an arm and a leg though. The other possibility, especially if you are based in Europe, is to buy one there. There are dozens of manufacturers using them in Germany and Holland and, who knows, they might be cheaper. At the very least they have been using Rohloffs for much longer than the UK makers, so you could probably glean some useful information from them that you could factor into your Hewitt bikes."

(Later)

"Currently plugging away on the first bit of the Pakistan diary but my mind has drifted back to the Rohloff. A couple of other points.

It is probably slightly noisier than Shimano, especially gears 7 and 8 if I remember correctly. It doesn't bother Sal or me and we're quite noise-sensitive: telling people to turn their televisions down in the next door hotel bedroom every other night is testament to that. If you haven't done so already, you should definitely go for a ride on one before committing. It's not an unpleasant noise and it quietens down a bit after a few thousand miles. Still, it's a consideration.

Overall 'going Rohloff' depends on just how comfortable you are with most of it being non-user-serviceable. The flying analogy works quite well: the statistics say that flying is incredibly reliable but in the event of something going wrong, there's not much you can do about it. Whilst the consequences of the Rohloff going wrong are unlikely to be as catastrophic as a 747 going into a nosedive, if you are the kind of person who likes to be able to fiddle 'beneath the bonnet' they're probably not so well suited.

Personally, the less tweaking I have to do the better, but horses for courses and all that."

Notes on the Rohloff from the CTC Website

Have a look at: CTC Website's 'Bikes and Bits'.

Chris Juden on Fitting a Rohloff

K J Robinson writes: I am considering giving my touring bike (1980's - 700C) a 'make over', to include fitting it with a Rohloff 14 speed hub gear. Could you please tell me if any problems might be encountered in the fitting of the Rohloff? I would like to continue to use 'drop' handlebars. (The frame is to be re-enamelled and therefore any necessary brazing could be carried out to facilitate the fitting of the hub gear.)

The Rohloff twist-grip control (the only one they offer) fits only a 22.2 mm (7/8 inch) straight piece of bar. Except for some cheap steel varieties (and hard-to-find except on old racers at the tip!), dropped bars are always bigger than that, usually 23.8 mm (15/16 inch) diameter. So you'll have to use flat bars, or cheap (and nasty) steel drops, or somehow splice a piece of appropriate diameter tubing into one end of a pair of nicer drops.

Then you'll need a means of tensioning the chain. Rohloff supply a sprung pulley, but to my mind that gets you back almost to where you were with a derailleur. Neater is to move the wheel back and forth, for which you need horizontal-ish axle slots: like on hub-gear, fixed and older derailleur gear frames. If the frame needs some brazing anyway you could have the reinforced adjustable dropouts made specifically for the Rohloff hub. These allow you to dispense with the torque arm that otherwise makes wheel removal more of a chore.

Other useful braze-ons would be for the unusual two-way operating cable better than a load of unsightly clips.

Really you need to provide the frame builder with the hub and its fittings, plus all the technical information you can possibly get out of Rohloff. Don't rely on the builder already having that information, unless he can show you close-up pictures of frames he has already built for these hubs, since some will 'wing it' rather than admit they don't really know and few are up to consulting German websites!

It is not unknown for a firm to wrongly fit the cable and even repeat this error when the malfunctioning bike was returned to them, despite being self-proclaimed Rohloff experts. No names, no litigation, but Caveat Emptor.

Members have written to tell us about several adaptations for putting hub-gear twist-grip controls (designed for 22.2 mm straight bars) onto dropped handlebars (invariably 23.8 mm nowadays).

On his website, Sheldon Brown illustrates a Rohloff control mounted on a sawn-off mountain-bike bar-end, clamped sideways to the quill of a handlebar stem. That's okay provided you have enough quill showing above an old-style threaded headset and check the bar-end is correct diameter before taking a saw to it.

The solution for any dropped handlebar comes from Brian Jenks of Hubbub Cycles (he of Shimergo fame) in the shape of a purpose-made handlebar end mount. It accepts any hub-gear control and fits just like a bar-end derailleur shifter only longer so you'll probably want to cut a couple of centimetres off the handlebar first. Available direct for $45 plus shipping and duty. (Possibly by the time you read this there may also be a UK source.)

Philippe Meyer of France writes: There was a review of AVC's Caribou Skidoo in the April/May 2001 CTC magazine which mentioned noise when using the lower gears of the Rohloff Speedhub. I have such a hub which I fitted to my Moulton ATB in June last year. Agreed, it was a bit noisy at first. However, after nearly a year and over 11,000 km of riding, the noise in the lower gears has considerably decreased and is practically inaudible. I guess they need a period of running in.

I can only say how pleased I am with my hub, the instantaneous change into any gear, the even spacing right through the range and the wideness of the range. I am loath to take any of my other bikes as they have derailleur gears.

I've also heard from Steve Bush, whose hub after servicing by Rohloff is now 'as quiet as a church mouse in all gears'.

End of CTC discussion of the Rohloff hub gear.

In the event, we didn't fit Rohloff gears for the following reasons:

1. Simplicity: We are accustomed to derailleur gears and, in the event, we upgraded from 21 (3x7) to 27 (3x9) ratios. Derailleur gears are easily cleaned, adjusted or replaced and all bike shops will be familiar with them. The only spares needed are 2 cables and a chain link.

2. Servicing: The Rohloff hub gears need servicing every 5,000 km with a cleansing oil and then new lubricant. No problem if you have a garage or a workshop for an overhaul between mountain bike outings, but difficult to carry the syringe and oils on a long tour.

3. Cables: The gear change cable needs replacing on occasion, for maintenance and for wear. This requires a spare cable and sharp cable cutters to be carried.

4. Familiarity: It's unlikely that bike shops in less developed towns and countries will be familiar with the gears: not least, because they are very expensive. This means that help, advice or spares will not be available.

5. Bicycle Design: This is the major difficulty. The bicycle frame will have to be specially made or modified to take the Rohloff. This is in order to be able to adjust the length of the chain and/or to take a torque arm. Braze-ons for correct routing of the cable will also be required.

6. Handlebars: The Rohloff gear changer is designed for straight handlebars ('mountain bikes') and not for drop handlebars which are of a larger diameter. There are ways round this, but none of them very elegant (see notes above). We also prefer our drop handlebars to be free of cables, both in use and when packed for air travel. Our brake cables are buried and the derailleur gear changers are attached to the down tube.

7. Initial Cost: This is astronomical!