My Geekhouse Woodville Touring Bike

In a lot of ways, my first Geekhouse Woodville touring bike served as a catalyst for me taking cycling more seriously. It was my first custom bike and provided me with ample motivation to just get out there and ride. The first major tour being Portland to SF and from there, I took it on numerous other trips here in Austin. When it was stolen last year, I began planning out a replacement with Geekhouse. There were some things I wanted to change, but mostly I just missed having a touring bike to ride around on.

As it sat en queue, I couldn’t decide on how I wanted it to function. Initially, I wanted a dirt-drop 29’r pack-bike tourer for riding the MTB trails here in town, but then my Independent Fabrication took over that role, so I revisited what I loved the most about my first touring bike. The riding position is what I would consider traditional but having acquired the Bruce Gordon Rock n Road tires, I wanted to make sure it would roll at least a 50c. I also opted for external cable routing and passed on the S&S couplers.

I’ve had great luck with the SRAM XO rear derailleur and its 11-36 range matched with a compact crank. This time I went with White Industries VBC system and a Force front derailleur, converted to a top-pull. With a 50 outer ring and 32, inner, I’ll have a wider range than I would with a triple. Chris King classic hub on the rear and a SON hub with matching Edelux lamp on the front for light.

Paul components throughout: Tall and Handsome post, Touring Cantis. Other components include a Thomson seat post collar, Brooks Swift saddle, Salsa Cowbell 2 with SRAM barcons, TRP levers and MKS Lambda pedals. With all the Made in the USA bling, I got Marty and Brad at Geekhouse to fabricate a one-off custom stem as well as front and rear racks. The beauty of the front racks lie in their low-rider detachable hangers on the front…

I always load front and low on trips. The bike rides a lot better since the handling isn’t compromised as it would with a rear load and these low-riders are low. My large panniers sit about 6″ off the ground, which is perfect on a 43c tire. On top of just looking amazing, these racks weighed a lot less than the Tubus system I had been using previously. The fork is another highlight: internal cable routing for the Edelux lamp and the segmented shoulders have rack attachments.

Even with all those details and that component list, a build can still go south with a bad powder job. Brad really knocked this one out of the park. Olive Drab green with a matte clear adds to the utilitarian / military aesthetic I wanted. I’ve been scooting around town a lot on this beaut and took it on a few trail rides last week and am in love. Even the ride out to shoot these photos was super dreamy…

I still need to dial it in though. The derailleur cables are now routed under the tape, mostly to make it easier to mount a Swift Industries Ozette randonneur bag. I’ll also need to splice some more chain so I can use the 50t with more of the cassette but for now, it’s riding really well.

That said, it’s not a touring bike until you’ve at least camped on it and summertime in Texas will provide ample opportunities. Right now, I’m just pumped that it came together so well. Many thanks to PAUL, Bens Cycle, Chris at Mellow Johnny’s and the Geekhouse crew for making yet another dream come true.

… also, buy renter’s insurance! Most plans will cover your bikes when they’re stolen!

  • ry

    wow… dream bike
    that thing is perfect
    congrats

  • Steven Keyes

    This bike is so rad, that downtube braze-on geekhouse badge is gorgeous.
    Very, very nice build.

  • Ham Sandwich

    fucking perfect. fuck you.

  • @Brienhall

    Beautiful machine

  • Michael

    no purple on it … ts .. ts.. ;)

  • Marty Walsh

    So pumped to see it all built up! Love the pics! Now go shred the gnar!!!

    • hans

      shred the gnar, yes!

  • Spencer Olinek

    That bike is sexy.

    And this post is going to break the internet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/edITmusic edIT

    Amazing build. Looks insanely badass. I have question….. I am also going to be running an 11-36 cassette on my cross bike with an X9 derailleur and a 50-34 setup. How does the 50-32 setup shift? I read somewhere that a 16 tooth difference between the big chainring and small chainring was optimal for dual ring setups. Would it be possible to run an even greater difference than 18 teeth?

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      I have no idea but White Industries says a Shimano derailleur will handle the throw the best. This thing shifts like money now!

  • hans

    so so good dude. very happy for you. looking forward to future posts with it all built up and shots from on the saddle. ride safe man

  • http://www.culturecycles.com/ Brian Kleiber

    So perfect! I love the front rack. Keeping your weight low is the way to go!

  • Donatas Pabrėža

    M O T H E R F U C K E R !

    • Noel Smith

      #roidrage

  • Sore Calves

    Just great!

    What’s that green bag under the saddle?

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      Yanco x Tracko Ramblin Roll

      • Sore Calves

        That was quick, thanks!

        Aaaanddd…. sold out…

        Any suggestions for something similar? I really like the concept.

        Cheers!

        • Vidal Valdez

          Check out Road Runner bags, also handmade in Los Angeles and extremely similar to the Yanco x Tracko Ramblim rolls.

          • Sean Curran

            awesome, thanks. I am always too slow to get the ramblin roll.

          • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

            The Roadrunner is nothing like the Ramblin Roll. If you want a pouch-style bag, go with Archive’s offering or ILE’s saddle bag.

          • JLN

            Except the ILE and Archive saddle bags / pouches aren’t tool rolls like the Ramblin’ Roll and Roadrunner tool tool.

            FWIW, I have the Roadrunner tool roll and can’t fault it.

  • Kerry Nordstrom

    Killer shots, J. Now to bring it camping in the mountains! It was hovering around 60 degrees during our first trip of the season.

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      mmmmmmmmmmmm sounds awesome.

  • Wade Schultz

    44cm Cowbell??

    The cockpit is eerily similar to one I did for my buddy’s disc trucker; TRP, SRAM, and a mountain rear mech for the win! ;)

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      yep

      • Wade Schultz

        Also (to pry), any objective reason that you prefer a steeper seat tube angle + setback post on your touring rigs as opposed to a one degree slacker seat tube and zero setback post?

        • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

          Brooks saddles are meant to be ridden on setback posts. The Tall N Handsome has more setback than other posts.

          • Wade Schultz

            Pretty much what I thought from the get-go!

            My rando friends often complain about the short rails on Brooks saddles, but they still ride them for thousands of miles, so maybe I just know whiny people.

          • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

            Yeah, you need a post with a lot of setback. Tell your Rando friends they need to ditch whatever they have and go PAUL.

          • Wade Schultz

            Yeah I suppose the 16mm Thomson Setback posts don’t do as much for them as 26mm of PAUL might. A friend is running the Velo Orange Grand Cru seatpost, 30.2mm setback! :O

  • Miles Away

    nice build. nice bike but… no fenders on a touring bike??

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      It doesn’t rain in Austin enough for me to merit using them. There are provisions for fenders though.

  • Aren L

    Do we just ask Geekhouse for the “Prolly Tourer?”

  • brennan

    First of all, this bike is gorgeous. There is no doubt about a custom frame with custom racks and your taste in parts would be otherwise.

    BUT, I have one question (which I think I might know the answer to). Why did you have a custom stem made with such stack height and a negative/neutral rise? My assumption is to save steerer tube, but I m just curious if you have another reason like front brake cable/housing.

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      I prefer a neutral rise on my bikes. This stem is level and it puts my riding position where it should be…

  • Noel Smith

    Another work of perfection in every conceivable way, never gets old. I might have to steal that colour for my next ride. Although the 31.8 bar’s not doing it for me, 25.4 Nitto all the way. It must take you an hour of debate on which steed to ride…

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      31.8 is great when you’ve got a 50lb front load…

  • apfrancis

    This thing is so metal.

  • btdubs

    This thing is beyond amazing… I can only imagine how it rides. The custom racks and All-American parts… Damn. Ridiculous.

    I feel the only thing out of place on this bike is the bar tape… Purely an aesthetic quibble but perforated leather Brooks tape would have been the icing on the cake. I am sure the Lizard Skins is much comfier however.

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      It’s too hot in TX for leather bar tape

  • http://twitter.com/SRAMUEL SAM

    This might be the sickest touring rig I’ve ever seen. How do you like those levers? They’ve always caught my eye.

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      I dig them a lot but the hood has already ripped from a spill I took taking a corner too fast in loose gravel.

      • Wade Schultz

        Oh No! Somehow my TRP hoods have been the most resilient of any brake lever I’ve ridden with, even surviving tumbles on mountain bike trails. Bummer.

      • SAM

        Word, and sorry about your spill. Not a criticism, but why SRAM? XTR has always struck me as a much more reliable group in the long run, and Shimano has been in the bar-end game for a while now. Just wondering.

  • Sam

    Damn Thats easily the nicest bike i’ve ever seen, well thought out design and one hell of a components line up. Gotta get me some of those
    tires to. Love it

  • Phil

    Always wondered how tall you are. Your argonaut is a 62cm frame height, right? Also, is there a summer tour planed?

    • Hollis Duncan

      6’2″ back off I (6’1 1/2″) got dibs on his frames

      • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

        6’2″ with a 36″ inseam.

      • Phil

        That was just a question, because I never saw John in person due to the fact that I live somewhere far away

  • edscoble

    That look awesome, a nice evolution of your previous tourer, I didn’t know the dynamo hubs can be run the other way round (usually it’s on the left side).

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      this is on the left side.

      • Edward Scoble

        Whoop! I meant right side!

        • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

          “Again, if you have a non-disc SON20R, SONdelux, New SON28 or if you have a SON20M for trike, or a SONXS, or SON XS 100, you can align the hub any way you like. Of course all disc hubs must be oriented for the disc, and that puts the connectors on the right side on a normal bike.” From Peter White

          http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/schmidt.asp

  • Sean Curran

    Why get an RV when you could get one of these, damn this looks great. Someday I will build something along this route.

  • D0rk

    What did you use to convert the Force FD? An Umlenker?

    Beautiful bike. Makes me want a dedicated touring bike.

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      Yep!

  • jeffrey kane

    Curious: Why did you run a top pull FD?

    • jeffrey kane

      nevermind … I see the whole thing is lined up along he top tube … RD and rear brake.

  • hans

    need a ride report on those tires man!

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      They’re loud on the road and fast in the dirt. Puncture protection seems pretty good too.

      • hans

        thanks man. kyle said that when pumped up at a high volume they are pretty quick on the road. ordered a pair for the ‘lobster and am excited to try them when the build is complete

        • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

          I roll them at 60psi regardless of terrain and they’re perfect.

  • Ed Leaf

    just out of curiosity, what is holding the bike upright for the picture?

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      I have these little creatures that work for me. They came from a giant hole in the ground when I had a bourbon blood séance many red moons ago. If you’ve ever seen the movie The Gate, you’re familiar.

      They hold the bike up and turn on their camouflage skin. This skin is invisible to DSLR sensors and the human eye. It makes life easier.

      If you don’t have access to the Old Ones or their hordes, a stick also works and you clone stamp it out.

      • http://issuu.com/pntmagazine PNT

        I don’t believe in that stick /clone stamp way! ”What’s holding your bike” is the most frequently asked question on this blog and after years this is the best answer!:)

  • too cool charlie

    very nice john.

  • Nick bailey

    whats the geo?

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      From the geo sheet: 71.5 HTA, 49mm rake is about 68mm trail with a 43c tire if my math is right. 72.5 STA. 445mm Chainstay and a 75mm BB drop. Saddle to bar drop is 83mm….

      • Marty Walsh

        One correction is that the Trail is looking more like 66mm..

        • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

          even with a 43c tire?

          • Marty Walsh

            That’s what I spec’d on the drawing..

          • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

            :-)

  • Nick bailey

    Also any reasoning on not going disk?

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      I don’t like disc brakes on drop bar bikes.

      • SAM

        BOOM

  • Seagull Bags

    Holy shit! The is gorgeous…

  • Tyler Scott Lone

    I want. Great job.

  • OrtliebUSA

    As usual the geekhouse crew is dazzling us. very cool concept bike. we were able to play a part in the v 1.0 of this project-sad to see Tubus left off this one. These custom racks are a work of art -truly beautiful-but their versatility in the real world…? Sure weight matters, but the support shape and strength of the carrier must take precedence over form and weight- as you said, balancing the load and optimizing the center of gravity points are paramount on an all terrain adventure beast like this. That being said, we love this bike. We also have some killer Ortlieb panniers in a perfect complimentary color scheme when the time comes to dress it out…we’re not just waterproof, although you’ll likely take this baby out of Texas some day and it’s always raining somewhere. Congrats.

  • kozo

    Beauty! Once again, great things coming out of Beantown!

  • SAM

    Those Lambda’s are the jawn

  • Cole

    Not experienced with the touring game, why run barends instead of regular road shifters?

    • Wade Schultz

      They revert back to a time when shifting and braking tech wasn’t integrated into one body; the result is an overall simplification of the system. Unless you snap a brake cable, there’s next to nothing to go wrong with levers like the TRP RRLs, and likewise for the SRAM TT barend shifters. Either can be fixed easily with minimal work, if anything goes wrong in the first place.

      If you’ve ever dismantled a brifter, it’s easy to see why someone would want this setup when long-term reliability matters.

      • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

        Didn’t see the original comment. Thanks for addressing that!

  • Julius

    An awesome bike, no doubt about it. But how do you deal with rain? I suppose one could get by with a MTB style clamp-on rear guard, although it seems a huge drag to be carrying it around and would surely ruin the aesthetics of the bike.
    Also, what’s your verdict on the tires now that you have been riding them for a.while?

    Cheers and greetings from Berlin,

    Julius

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      It has provisions for fenders and they’ll fit over those tires. But it never rains in Texas… Right now I have Jack Brown 33.3 tires on it.
      I reviewed the BG tires, just do a search.

  • Nykolas Crovetto

    Howdy John, which rims are you running on this gorgeous bike?

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      Velocity Dyad

  • Jake

    Is the Sram rear derailleur medium or long cage and does it work well through 11-36 range with both chainrings?

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      Long cage and yes, but you shouldn’t ride cross-chain on your bikes.

      • Jake

        Thanks! You’re right. I’m just curious.
        Btw are there any problems with force front derailleur and big size difference of chainrings?

        • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

          No problems what so ever. It’s friction though, not indexed. Still, even with brifters I’d imagine it’d be fine.

  • Scott Cramer

    I love this bike. Such a beautiful build.

  • Tyler Scott Lone

    This is my dream bike.

  • Simon Schnyder

    Hi guys! I’m building up a Surly Straggler light touring/cross bike and this Woodville is my inspiration. I’m looking now for a front rack to put a Swift Ozette bag on. The fork has midblade eyelets (165mm from the dropout eyelet) and I prefer a rack that don’t uses the dropout eyelet, just like your upper front rack. Any recommendations? I know, this one is custom, but there surely are some good racks on the market. Thanks.

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      Check out the Pass and Stow rack or the Nitto Campee but I would contact Swift and ask their recomendations as well!

      • Simon Schnyder

        Thanks for the hint. I’ll contact swift.

  • Guest

    Hi guys! I’m building up a Surly Straggler light touring/cross bike and this Woodville is my inspiration. I’m looking now for a front rack to put a Swift Ozette bag on. The fork has midblade eyelets (165mm from the dropout eyelet) and I prefer a rack that don’t uses the dropout eyelet, just like your upper front rack. Any recommendations? I know, this one is custom, but there surely are some good racks on the market. Thanks.

  • tbrenneman

    Beautiful. What bb are you using? And drawbacks with the square taper bb instead of an external?

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      Phil Wood and no drawbacks!

      • tsmak31

        hello can you tell me what is the length of the axis of the bottom bracket

  • elknotty

    Reviving old post, SRAM TT shifters for touring, long time review? Thinking of this setup because i want a Sram Clutch shifter

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      They’re good to go still.