THE GEAR

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What kind of bike does our rider cycle on every day? What does he have with him and why?

You don’t need the most expensive bicycle out there to do a long trip. Just be sure you know everything works and that if it doesn’t, you know how to fix it and you have some spare parts with you.

99%RIDE has chosen for a cromoly double butted steel frame from the brand VSF Fahrrad Manufaktur, model TX400. Why steel? Because it’s comfortable, strong and durable. Also, in case something snaps there’s always someone in the world that can weld steel. Good luck with carbon and aluminium.

The Brooks B-17 saddle is the ultimate in touring saddles. After breaking it in about 1000 miles (painful but worth it) your behind will happier by the day. It’s really comfortable and gets even more comfortable over time and miles. Don’t forget to wax it now and again to give it a longer life and make it waterproof.DSCF9367-3112805242-O

The Rohloff gear system is simply amazing. Modern, durable, easy to use and no-hassle. All 14 gears are housed in a beautiful hub, which only needs an oil change every 5000km (3000 miles). The back sprocket needs to be switched around when necessary, the front will last you forever. Rohloff will give you enough capacity for any type of terrain, wherever you are in the world.DSCF9368-3112806832-O

The chain is a single speed one from KMC. Be sure to switch between chains to reduce the wear on the sprockets. Tightening the chain is easily done with the eccentric bottom bracket. Our rider prefers dry wax lube to keep his chain running smooth.

The tyres used are the Schwalbe Marathon Mondial, EVO version. The ultimate in long distance touring. Our rider has only experienced 2 flat tyres since he left Alaska. That’s 8400km (5200 miles).

DSCF9364-3112808986-OThe SON 28 front dynamo hub keeps the B&M front and back light lit, while also charging the battery pack. This is used to charge the batteries for cell phone and GoPro Camera, mounted on different places on the bike and helmet.

DSCF9374-3112804109-OBraking on the TX400 is strong and reliable, thanks to the Magura H-11 hydraulic rim brakes. Whatever the conditions are, these breaks will slow down and put our rider to gentle stop when needed. Be sure to have enough brake pads with you when going long distances, in wet weather the pads wear down a lot quicker!

The pedals are from Shimano and have two different sides, one for SDP and one for regular shoes.

The wheels spinning are 26-inch. Why not 28-inch? In South-America there are (almost) no 28-inch wheels and parts. On 26-inch wheels you can carry more weight and ride on rougher terrain. Extra spokes and a spoke key are always good to have with you, better safe than sorry. Spokes replaced so far? Just 1.

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All spare parts, clothing, laptop, food, cooking gear etc. are all hidden away in waterproof panniers from Vaude and Ortlieb. These panniers are put on the steel racks from TUBUS, strong and reliable. 

The handling of the bike, fully loaded with food and water weighing about 50kg (110 lbs), is remarkably well. Going down hills at speeds up to 75 km/hour (45 mph/hour) is a real pleasure, everything does what it’s supposed to and there is no “swaying” of the bike. 

The weight balance of the panniers was first distributed 60/40, back/front. This however has been turned around. 60% of the weight is now on the front of the bike and 40% on the back. A real difference in how the bike handles, but in a good way! Try out different kinds of weight distribution before riding, this can help you ride more comfortable.

Cooking is done in two titanium pots, light and strong. The stove is from MSR, model WhisperLite International, and will burn any kind of fuel; diesel, kerosine, unleaded.

Sleeping is done in the Carl Denig Arcturus 2, a perfect tent for touring and tall people (190cm / 6’2”). The sleeping bag is an old one from an unknown brand, and proved to be a bit too cold in Canada and Alaska. A Coleman fleece bag was added to provide extra warmth.
Another piece of clothing and material to keep you warm and dry is Merino wool. 2 long sleeves and 1 short sleeve were sponsored by Carl Denig to provide the necessary comfort, in colder and warmer temperatures. The good thing about Merino wool is that it doesn’t need to be washed that often, it naturally takes care of itself (yes it’s true, less laundry, jeej!). It’s also SPF50+ after having it washed the first time.

When touring on a bicycle you want to make sure not to bring too much, just the basic necessities. Make a list of spare parts you’ll need and see if you know how to install and repair anything on the bike yourself, this can save you a lot of hassle once on the road!
If you have any questions regarding the gear used, please contact our rider, Dirk through our contact page.

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