Bike-Motto: Touring, low maintenance, gravel and as light as possible
A year ago in September 2017 I was researching the ideal touring bike. In my final beauty list were two manufacturers. One of them being https://co-motion.com and the other one which I chose at the end is https://www.hilite-bikes.com.
The reason why I first was drawn to the Co-motion bike was that they made use of couplers and you could put your bag in a luggage for easy flight transport. This only works if the airport you will arrive is the same you will depart after your tour. I will arrive in Mexico and hopefully will depart in Argentina. So what am I going to do with the 395 USD luggage? Additionally the couplers need reinforcement in the tube that will make your bike heavier.
There is no one size fits all. You might chose this because you get out and in at the same place when travelling abroad and you don’t carry that much equipment with you so the extra-weight of the coupler is negligable. My plan is to cover a lot of distance with the bike and wherever I can I save some weight.
Next choice was the frame material. The go to metal is steel. There are several advantages over any other material. Should your frame be damaged but still reparable you won’t have any problem in finding someone to repair it. Steel does not fatigue when bent and your ride is smoothed with it. Steel is also the heaviest of any other material. I have chosen titanium. The route that I will be covering goes along beaches and salt lakes and steel will get rusty whereas titanium is more corrosion resistant. I have a preference for buying things once and not replace it if ever possible. A sutainability thing of mine. It has also fatigue strength. But now the major drawback comes if you want to find someone to repair your frame you won’t find this person in every country. If the frame is damaged it could end my tour. It is also lighter than steel.
I have avoided the bicycle chain, chainring and casette entirely. My number one solution is a gearbox from Pinion C1.12 with a Gates carbon drive and belt. The oil of the gearbox has to be exchanged every 10000 km and Hilite-Bikes have been selling the carbon belt for the last 5 years and never had to replace any of them. There is a slight disadvantage but that’s more a question of taste if you are used to break-shifters. Until 2018 the bikes are sold with a rotary shifter with a separate break handle. From March 2019 onward Pinion will be supplying break-shifters similar to road bikes
In terms of tyres there are a lot of resistant tyres out there. Against any better wisdom I’ve chosen a 27.5 inch tyre Schwalbe Marathon Supreme Evo. You can get to any forum and all of them will tell you that you should use a 26 inch tyre as you can buy it in every country. My tyres are resistant and low weight 600 gr and I have a box at home that could be send with FedEx to whatever location I am. I have one spare one with me. Let’s hope for the best. In 2017 a company called Tubolito introduced a compact, ultra-lightweight and twice as resistant tube as a rubber tube. Weight of a Schwalbe tube is 205 gr and Tubolito weighs 82 gr.
Breaks are hydraulic oil TRPs. I’ve bought a gravel bike and have riden it more than 20’000 km and until now never had to do any maintenance on the breaks. I use these with disc breaks and probably here I also run the risk that it will be difficult to repair the discs if anything happens to them compared to V breaks where you find spare parts around the globe. Advantage of the disc break is the control you get on steep downhill rides and they don’t wear out your wheels.
The wheels are DT Swiss XM401 with 274 mm silver spokes mounted with DT Swiss pro lock brass nipples. The wheels and spokes are constructed to resist 160 kg of weight. The bike, luggage and me weigh 126 kg.
The saddle SQlab 610 Ergolux active allows you to change your riding position as it is a step-leveled saddle. The lowered saddle nose relieves pressure to the sensitive areas of both men and women.
The seatpost is the Ergon CF3 Pro Carbon Setback and takes away the energy of any uneven road I might cycle through.
The rear carriers and low riders are from Tubus the model Logo Evo and Tara. I’ve chosen that set-up as if anything should break I can mount a new one in contrast of having the frame damaged or broken if the carriers are welded with the frame.
The bike is still a 16 kg but we optimized the weight as much as we could. The parts should be resistant and also easy to maintain when on the road. Titanium combined with the seatpost and the saddle gives you a comfortable ride and the bike feels like a couch. I never had such a comfortable bike. I’d like to thank Biagio Colletto from Hilite-Bike for taking his time and supporting me in getting the best bike for my plans.