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This is my current set up. I am thinking of upgrading and changing some parts. Particularly I am interested in making the overall bike lighter, and the ride more comfortable.

  • Steel frame (kona explosif)
  • 26 inch wheels (Sun Rhynolyte).
  • disc brakes (Magura Louise).
  • Chris King Headset.
  • XT disc hubs.
  • FSA X-Drive cross country cranks.
  • XTR rear mech.
  • SRAM 8 speed chain.
  • Shimano 8 speed XT shifters.
  • Extrawheel trailer.
  • Carradice panniers.
  • Tubus logo pannier rack.
  • Schwalbe Marathon XR tyres

Schwalbe Marathon tyres

Components I am thinking of adding

  • Butterfly handlebars.
  • Bottom bracket: alternative to SKF (like Phil Wood).
  • Thinner wheels (and tyres).
  • Try out different brands of clip-in pedals like egg beaters, or 'Time' pedals instead of the Shimano SPDs.
  • Focusing on lighter gear and reducing what you pack will usually make far more significant weight reductions than swapping out bike parts. – jimchristie Apr 14 '14 at 22:51
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Focus on your points of contact and your positioning on the bike. The butterfly handlebars are a potentially good option due to the extra hand positions. Are you totally happy with your saddle? If you're considering days-on-end touring you'd better be. Pedals aren't as big of a deal if you're already riding clipless- brand is just a matter of preference there, but are your shoes in good shape? any discomfort or hotspots after long days on the bike? Finally, if you have any discomfort or pain when riding the bike, it might be worth moving some things around, especially stem length/rise. I'm assuming you have your saddle height + fore/aft where you want it. If not, play with it a bit or better yet go see a fitter with a good reputation.

Most importantly, don't change any of these things immediately before you go on a tour! You need a few long days in the saddle to test them out first. Also, if you're happy with all of the things I mentioned, don't second guess them just because I pointed them out. Be happy with what you've got and how you've got it and have an awesome ride.

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    +1 for saddle, fit and run-in of new kit. I'd add a warning that thinner tyres will be less comfortable due to the higer pressure. They won't roll any quicker. The only advantage is weight, so only a benefit when climbing or accelerating. On a tour comfort means speed. – James Bradbury Jan 28 '13 at 12:34
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My experience is that SRAM is one of the fastest wearing chains out there. Campagnolo C9 has been in my experience much better and works perfectly with 8-speed Shimano cassette.

Also, unless you know you'll be riding on sharp gravel and broken glass, the Marathon XRs could be changed to something that rolls better. Basic Schwalbe Marathons and Panaracer Paselas are known to be pretty durable. As said above, narrower is not necessarily better.

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