Where am I?:^mistymornings-->Cycletouring-->Equipment.-->Bikes and bags.-->Touring bikes 2006

Back to the bikes page.

Our bikes as used on the 2006 tour.


Click on the links below to see how we set them up when touring in 2006.
The Troll (Damae's bike).
The Moose (Stan's Bike)

The biggest changes were to do with bags and racks. The rear racks that came with the bikes had started dying before the 2005 trip. I had welded mine back together a couple of times. They were not up to the job at all. I started with my bike and added a Tubus Cargo rear rack. The improvements were obvious as soon as it was fitted. The bike felt stiffer and more stable and the rack was lighter than the old one. We got a similar rack for Damae's bike shortly afterwards.

We also turned our attention to the panniers we had used. The Halfords panniers had served us surprisingly well but had started to show signs of distress. The mounting hooks on my set were starting to come away from the back. Although the sleeping mat rolls on the handlebars worked fine, it was a bit of a fag to get the mats and bags in every morning. Also as Damae had now got a much bigger sleeping bag to keep her properly warm so we needed more storage space. We decided we wanted fully waterproof bags to ensure dry gear and also to extend our touring season into spring and autumn. I started by buying a set of tasteful yellow Ortlieb* Rear Roller Classics, to which was added a matching Rack Pack. Damae was taken by the Tour Boxes on display at SNEL which she was persuaded to accept as a very early birthday present. The Tour-Box is a hard shell style case, and thus relatively heavy at 2.7kg a pair, but actually quite handy to use.

At some point we decided to add front lowrider racks to both bikes. We chose the Tubus Ergo lowrider. Again there was an improvement in the stiffness of the bike although there was a slight increase in trilling at the handlebars. On the plus side they are very strong and have a number of spots to place the lower pannier support. The only downside is that we cannot get the front wheels off without completely removing the quick release mechanism. If we had to choose again we'd probably go for the Tubus Tara.

I splashed out on a matching pair of Front Roller Classics and Damae tried to use her old rear bags on the lowriders. However after a weekend where we discovered that there was no way to make the old bags stay safely on the racks, we went looking for a set of smallish front panniers for Damae's bike. She ended up with a set of Ortlieb Sport Packer Plus panniers which had nice net pockets on the outside, a feature we missed from the old Halfords panniers.

The new Tubus front and rear racks together weigh around 100g more than the old rear racks on their own. So we have suffered no significant weight penalty from those changes. There is a bigger weight penalty with the new panniers, but with the new bags we now have more than enough space for our clobber. All the panniers and the Rack Pack were tested in astonishingly torrential rain, with gale force winds in Denmark, and all our gear stayed completely dry. Excellent!

The only other addition was an Agu Quorum 510 KF handlebar bag for my bike. I actually like it a lot as it has lots of small compartments and just took my teapot and Trangia Mini. Unfortunately it proved to be entirely not waterproof, even with the rain cover on it. The same was true for Damae's Agu bag, and we had to put passports, wallets etc into freezer bags for most of the Denmark/Norway trip. Not ideal and a bit of a shame that there is no way to make them waterproof. These were subsequently replaced with waterproof Ortlieb handlebar bags bought in the autumn sales.

On the maintenance side the bikes suffered somewhat more this trip than the first long trip. Although we didn't have to replace the brake blocks during the trip we had some recurring problems associated with grit. Due to some bad luck, and looking back, bad planning, we had to have a rear new wheel fitted to Damae's bike in Denmark (see the Travelogue for the sordid details). In Geilo I had to clean out my bearings for a second time, and replace a faulty bearing cone on Damae's new rear wheel (it had developed a pit due to a fault in the metal). I also cleaned both sets of rear cassettes and chains. It took a day to set the rear dérallieur properly which caused me to curse a few times that day.

The unpleasant cracking sound that my rear wheel continued to make intermittently, turned out to be the cassette bearings and not the wheel bearings as I had feared. I think taking the chain guard off my bike before the trip was part of the reason why my bike suffered more. However, we now have one of those natty chain cleaners for the next trip and better bearings in my rear wheel. I also had to replace one of the small wheels on the dérallieur in Hirtshals after returning from Norway. Although it was a bit smaller than the original, it functions perfectly.

As a result of these troubles we are fairly certain that our next bikes will have Rohloffs and chainguards. The weight and initial financial penalties are less significant than the promise of trouble free running.

External link warnings, these problems have nothing to do with my site;

*If you don't have a Flash plug in the Ortlieb site is unusable, you also need javascript enabled. It is ironic that they make great panniers that you can use on almost any bike, but a website that requires the most recent computers and software.

Page created 29/09/2007

All images are copyright © 2007 Stanislav Williams.