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BC Bike Show and some thoughts on bike packing builds

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BC Bike Show and some thoughts on bike packing builds

Old 03-02-19, 08:04 PM
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BC Bike Show and some thoughts on bike packing builds

Just got back from the BC Bike and Outdoor Adventure show and thought I'd share some thoughts and perhaps stimulate some discussion around off road touring designs.

The (bad) news (not really) is E bikes are here in a big way. I couldn't believe the number of vendors (at least half the show) that were ebike specific and the diverse style and level of design they are showing. Some of the MTB and off road bikes looked very gnarly indeed but I suspect this will create some sort of new rules/shifts in policy as these things hit the trails. Also a lot of FS MTB's and gravel bikes but not too many pure road and almost no touring - though there were a number of cycle tour providers representing. Kind of disappointing as I go to these things more to stimulate ideas that to buy but my main goal for the day was to scope out what is new in the off road, gravel, bikepacking genre and I came away with with a few ideas directions and thoughts.

In another thread here Expedition Touring; replacing my trusty mountain bike we've been talking about heavy duty mixed road expedition type bikes using the 26" platform, which is fun to play with because bikes and parts are affordable to work with. However, I think the next big investment (for me) will be a more serious off road build in the 29 or 27.5+ zone. I see three main areas for touring that interest me - road, gravel, and off road. As it is I can flex my current 700c endurance bike (built for road) into a decent gravel tourer by doing a 650b wheelset swap, with fatter tires to maintain BB height. That would be cheaper than buying a new bike so I don't want to invest big in those two genres again or build yet another off road bike close to that design. That leaves off road bikepacking open in the sense that while I can get by with the oldschool 26" rigid mtb platform per se, the geometry is not the best for faster riding and I am limited as to tire size/gearing upgrade options at 26".

For suspension off road one has a couple of options and for pure fat tire reliance I've looked quite a bit at Surly's Krampus and ECR models. They have it all that way with 3" tires as well as mechanical disc and 1x drive trains which I am also looking at. The one downside is the geometry and overall weight which is rugged but not really go fast.

Another idea is to add a suspension fork to a more traditional gravel bike (but with somewhat fatter tires) to get some suspension buffer but a faster geometry. One of the first builders I talked to was George from Landyachtz Bikes https://landyachtz.com/ . As we talked about the idea he showed me his own one-off build that followed much the same thinking. 29r, titanium, 1x drivetrain, carbon rims, dropper post, flared dropbars etc... Very cool but a little above my pay grade. He said they were working on a production run in Chromo that would drive the price down. Very friendly guy.

Next I talked to Chris Dekerf of Dekerf Cycles https://www.dekerf.com/ , a local builder with a lot of experience. As well as custom builds he does OEM runs for other manufacturers and repairs/alterations such as bosses, S&S couplers etc for pretty reasonable rates... So, if I don't go the new frame route I can always get braze ons exactly where and how I want. Not in the same genre but a pretty sweet ride:

Then I met Paul Brodie https://www.brodiebicycles.com/ , who is a bit of a legend. He was promoting a frame building course he teaches very close to me https://www.ufv.ca/bicycle-technolog...-building-101/ and we chatted about that a bit. During this two week course you learn the theory of frame design and actually build your own 4130 chromo bike. Expensive, but also gaining the frame building experience and the bike I want as if I went custom. I felt I could describe my ideas and he would show me how to lay it out and build it. He had a display bike on hand that closely resembled my idea with a few tweaks for geometry.

Lastly I talked a bit with the folks from We Are One Composites https://www.weareonecomposites.com/ a local Carbon Rim and wheelset maker in Kamloops, BC. Kinda pricey but again, very friendly and approachable and the rims were insanely light.

As it is, I'll keep playing with the 26" platform to work out exactly what I want and then decide from there which route I want to go. The Trade show was a success in that it did expand my knowledge base a bit and more importantly built some connections by putting some faces to the brand names but was also a reminder that new bikes and products cost so much these days and are so over engineered that for grass roots experimentation and concept testing the used market and generic low cost parts still have a place.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 03-02-19 at 09:04 PM.
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