Category Archives: touring bike
Hitting the Road with the Blackburn Rangers
This could but us but you...

Bikepacking. It’s one of my favorite ways to travel and for Blackburn, it’s not only a passion for them, it’s a challenge. How can design be intelligent, intuitive, reliable and most important, resilient to constant wear and tear? You can spend all day designing products in an office, but the real test is out on the open road.

One of the ways Blackburn vets their products is through the Ranger Program. Each year, they send out a call for entries before selecting six or seven Rangers to get kitted out with a bike from Niner and full Blackburn product. Their journey begins, oddly enough, at the San Jose Airport… Well, parking lot B at the San Jose Airport. (more…)

Apr 19, 2016 43 comments
Jonathan’s Rivendell Joe Appaloosa Touring Bike
Jonathan's Rivendell Joe Appaloosa Touring Bike

If the Greek god Zeus rode a touring bike, it’d be a Rivendell and most likely, it’d be a Joe Appaloosa. Rivendell is straight forward with the Joe Appaloosa. First off, it’s named after a rather unique breed of horse, then, they took their two most famous touring bikes, the Sam Hillborne and the Hunqapillar, combined them and made one bad-ass road touring bike. These bikes are confidence-inspiring works of art, chiseled from stone and as timeless, or legendary as mythology. Ok, maybe that was too much… They’re just damn sexy!

Those frames scream fully-loaded confidence with a fist-sized gap between the rear tire and seat tube, ensuring that even if you want to dive into a turn, this frame will take its own, secure and smooth line. Which is great for a touring or city bike. Loaded on descents, this long wheelbase makes for a predictable and comfortable ride.

Or, to be more concise, the Appaloosa is:

“It’s not for stunts, boulder-bouncing, or loaded expeditionary off-road touring, but as a trail bike for sober non-yahoos who weigh less than 215lb, it’s ideal, perfect.. That 215lb isn’t a scientifically-derived number, just a hipshot suggestion based on the Joe having a heavier fork than Sam’s and lighter one than Hunqapillar’s.”

So, when Jonathan was looking for a new bike, meeting the above description, he went with a complete Appaloosa. After a few upgrades, namely Paul skewers, Paul brake levers, a Brooks Cambium saddle, SOMA rack, Swift saddle bag and a Tomii bell, this bike is ready for anything… For $2,600 complete, this is the best looking complete touring bike on the market. Find out more at Rivendell!

Mar 30, 2016 42 comments
Fern Cycles Chacha Touring Bike with Gramm Bags
Fern Cycles Chacha Touring Bike with Gramm Bags

The two-man team behind Fern Cycles really impressed me. Florian Haeussler and Phillip Zwanzig craft frames in Berlin, designed to handle their specific style of riding. In 2012 they toured throughout Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia and Turkey on two Chacha prototype frames. Their time on the road enabled them to dial in their preferences as to how a touring bike should handle and allowed them to design a line of bikepacking bags to compliment their custom racks.

This bike was built with Sugino cranks, Shutterworks generator hub, Supernova lights and Shimano Sora derailleurs but the standout products are the bags!

Gramm Bags are made in Fern’s shop and have some clever detailing, as well as minimal branding. Personally, I thought this was the best touring rig at the Berliner Fahrradschau and had a lot of fun documenting this bike.

Nice meeting you guys!

Mar 22, 2016 62 comments
2016 NAHBS: Sycip Tourer
2016 NAHBS: Sycip Tourer

No matter what you spend your money on, be it a ‘cross bike, a mountain bike or a road bike, chances are you’ll put more miles on your touring bike but not on the open road. Most likely it’ll be running errands around town, or going to meet friends for coffee and yes, even a bar bike. My touring bike has seen more miles than all of my bikes combined, without a doubt, and so I really gravitate towards these utilitarian machines while at NAHBS. Now, whether or not I chose one to photograph, over say a MTB or a cross bike is totally up to fate but this Sycip tourer was just screaming for attention!

Mar 1, 2016 19 comments
The Maximum is Not the Optimum: Kelly and Mal in New Zealand
Kelly and Mal in New Zealand

The Maximum is Not the Optimum: Kelly and Mal in New Zealand
Words by Kelly Nowels, photos by Kelly and Mallory Nowels

“The maximum is not the optimum.” My buddy Chip likes to quote this Fabien Barel interview where the French downhill world champ waxes poetic about racing and life. Of course it’s all over my head, I mean this guy is a world champion, but it got me thinking and wanting to explore how optimum applies to bike touring.

Mal and I have been drooling at the thought of a New Zealand trip for years. With winter approaching and knowing that we weren’t getting any younger (we totally are though), we started saving our vacation days and our pennies to make it happen. (more…)

Feb 11, 2016 31 comments
Hugh’s Rivendell Atlantis Touring Bike
Hugh's Rivendell Atlantis Touring Bike

Like the lost city of Atlantis, Rivendell’s arguably most famous model carries a bit of mystique. They’re beautiful to look at but a dream to ride. So dreamy that it’s hard to figure out what makes the Atlantis so special.

Is it the wheel or tire size? Wheelbase? The tubing? What about the 1″ steerer? With the word “trail” being thrown around a lot in frame design, I’m going to default on it being the magical component in this equation. Even in the five minutes it took me to pedal this bike around the corner to photograph it, all I could think about was how wonderful it’d be to ride one in my size.

Hugh’s got a really special bike here, with a lot of really wonderful details, mostly stemming from the stem. Shellac’d bars and grips, a super upright riding position, one worn in Brooks and even a few love marks in the beautiful olive paint all show use and age. Something Grant Petersen came to call beausage

Feb 9, 2016 83 comments
Firefly for Jan Heine?
Firefly_Compass_02

Ever wonder what a man like Jan Heine would want in a custom titanium bike? Well, this is merely speculation, but Firefly just posted a photoset of a ti bike with those 26″ Rat Trap Pass Compass tires and a titanium Tubus rack, labeled Jan Heine. So, speculate all you want, but I’m guessing this one will be in a forthcoming issue of Bicycle Quarterly. See more of this insane bike at the Firefly Flickr.

Jan 27, 2016 27 comments