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Custom Expedition Bike: Specification

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Custom Expedition Bike: Specification

Old 06-19-20, 04:00 PM
  #26  
ulstoft
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Originally Posted by hermanchauw View Post
Climbing torque. No need power. The most important is that you can turn the cranks with low force. Then you can climb any hill without regards to the turning speed. Use a gear calculator and try to get 18 inch low gear or less.
Yes that is what I meant sorry and why I kept increasing the cassette on my old Cyclocross from 11/32 all the way up to 11/36. But even with 50/34 and 11/36 I felt I was expending more energy than necessary on steep weighted climbs.

With this new bike I was offered two 10 speed configurations:
44-32-22t with a 12- 30t or 11-34t

I initially said that I would like to error on the side of easier climbing so the builder selected the 11-34 cassette for me. But I am not sure now. I hope this isn't a dumb question, but the 44/32/22 12/30 provides more 'free spin' on climbs than the 50/34 11/36, right?

I am thinking that I would like the extra top end speed for my city commute and maybe the 11/34 is OTT?
Originally Posted by hermanchauw View Post
Is this a custom frame or custom spec? Either way you could make v and disc mount together. Then you can decide either one.
I was trying to avoid the custom frame to save money, but after discussing the bike here on this forum I tend to ask about getting a frame that can take either brakes.


Originally Posted by hermanchauw View Post
Why not set it up so that you can have wider bar and shorter stem to have more turning torque.
What would the bike feel like if you turned it and it did not have enough torque? I am curious because I have already test rode this bike.

50lb with 35mm is plenty big. 👍

Scratches is the small issue. A bigger issue is you will spend more time loading and unloading because you'll have to balance the bike every time.[/QUOTE]
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Old 06-19-20, 04:06 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by MarcusT View Post
Just throwing this in there.
I prefer presta valves over schraeder
Yes me too, but for touring schrader is more widely available both in terms of tubes and pumps. But I always carried around adaptors so that I could use a schrader pump with my presta valves.
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Old 06-19-20, 04:53 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by ulstoft View Post
...
I really did not explain this well. He definitely did not suggest that I use a thin tyre. His default spec is something like 50. I cannot find it now, but I'm the one that told him that I had been mostly touring on 32s. I also, asked if the wheels he was providing would take a 32 because I might switch the bike into a city commuter between tours. I didn't mean to suggest 32s are good for touring in the mud, but I found for example when I hit a small muddy patch on a canal path with 28s the bike would immediately go over, but with 32s they provided the minimum stability needed to keep the bike upright. But I would only take a 32 on a tour that is mostly paved with little off-road.
Perhaps the roads you commute on are quite smooth if you find 28 or 32 mm tire width to be preferable.

Touring, if mostly pavement (tarmac) I use 37 mm or 40 mm tire width. If mostly gravel, I use 50 mm or 57 mm width.

Near the bottom of this page there is a good chart that correlates inner rim width and tire width. You can put wider tires on the rim than the chart says, but you have to run higher pressure when you do to keep the tire from flexing too much.
https://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

***

If you go with a derailleur system, with a 44/32/22 triple and 11-36 cassette, you will have a very nice wide range of gears for steep uphills and you will rarely run out of gears on the top end.
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Old 06-19-20, 09:20 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by ulstoft View Post
Yes that is what I meant sorry and why I kept increasing the cassette on my old Cyclocross from 11/32 all the way up to 11/36. But even with 50/34 and 11/36 I felt I was expending more energy than necessary on steep weighted climbs.

With this new bike I was offered two 10 speed configurations:
44-32-22t with a 12- 30t or 11-34t

I initially said that I would like to error on the side of easier climbing so the builder selected the 11-34 cassette for me. But I am not sure now. I hope this isn't a dumb question, but the 44/32/22 12/30 provides more 'free spin' on climbs than the 50/34 11/36, right?

I am thinking that I would like the extra top end speed for my city commute and maybe the 11/34 is OTT?

I was trying to avoid the custom frame to save money, but after discussing the bike here on this forum I tend to ask about getting a frame that can take either brakes.




What would the bike feel like if you turned it and it did not have enough torque? I am curious because I have already test rode this bike.

50lb with 35mm is plenty big. 👍

Scratches is the small issue. A bigger issue is you will spend more time loading and unloading because you'll have to balance the bike every time.
[/QUOTE]
The lower the ratio, the more spin you have. Just key in all the sprocket sizes in a calculator and you'll have the numbers.

Don't worry about top end. 44x11 gives 108 gear inches. Plenty. In my unloaded road bike with 32mm tires, i only went up to 44x13 (91.4 gear inch). Now it has 38x11 top gear (93.3 gear inch). Good enough for me. In my cargo bike with 26x2.0 tires, loaded or unloaded, i rarely go beyond 65 gear inch.

Turning would take more effort, steering overcorrections. Just like gearing, better have more torque than less.
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Old 06-19-20, 09:54 PM
  #30  
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I know SMP 36 mm tires can't do everything, but they aren't total off pave wimps either.
One day east of Guiyang, I was forced to ride 12 miles of construction wet clay on a cold cloudy day. It took 5 hours I think. And it just happened that a young Chinese guy on a MTB, with half my bike weight, was going the same way. We passed each other a couple times and were together sometimes. It was so bad that cars wouldn't go more than 4 mph either. The first mile was total soup, all I could do was ride in a car track and hope to hell I didn't have to put my feet down. Mile 2 to 4 was a little better but pretty steep. Then my SKS plastic front fender clogged a few times, I broke it and so tied it together. This slowed me more than anything riding. It probably helped that it was near freezing. The rear caliper brake was 99% useless thru this, while the Rohloff and front drum laughed along.

This is when the MTB first passed me. Later I caught up on another uphill, where he pushed up and I rode up. I said it isn't that hard to ride. LOL He was going better downhill with his knobby tires, I had to take it easy. In the middle of the route was a mile pavement and a few houses. A nice guy was helping people with a water hose, so we got our bikes washed. I offered to pay. Soon after that, we got to a 100 yard quagmire that cars were going belly up in the muck. We managed to ride the tire tracks again.
We both rode up the last mile climb, me leading. Then finally got to the city and differed about what way to proceed. It rained riding the last mile to the hotel, so the bike washed some. I still spent half an hour cleaning. The next day I thought F that, and got on the car highway/ not freeway for 25 miles. These have 10% of the up/ down BS, a lot of the time in China.
There was another 20 miles of clay before this day.

After I got home, I found a perfect set of old stainless fenders. Next tour, on Long beach N of Astoria, I couldn't even push to bike thru soft dry sand. LOL
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Old 06-20-20, 01:23 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by ulstoft View Post
Yes that is true. It is a pre-made frame from Taiwan and it keeps the cost down. But I could also have a custom frame made if I want to spend the extra. I do not begrudge anyone using frames from Taiwan because it makes the rest of the customisations more affordable to me. But it would be interesting to ask about the cost difference of having a frame made that will suit either disc or V.


I really did not explain this well. He definitely did not suggest that I use a thin tyre. His default spec is something like 50. I cannot find it now, but I'm the one that told him that I had been mostly touring on 32s. I also, asked if the wheels he was providing would take a 32 because I might switch the bike into a city commuter between tours. I didn't mean to suggest 32s are good for touring in the mud, but I found for example when I hit a small muddy patch on a canal path with 28s the bike would immediately go over, but with 32s they provided the minimum stability needed to keep the bike upright. But I would only take a 32 on a tour that is mostly paved with little off-road.


now it's just getting confusing! many of your responses are based on this:

Originally Posted by ulstoft View Post
.....plus some light off-road, mostly in remote areas of Scotland. But I would like something that I could eventually use to do long distance touring in remote places...

I have found a gentleman that builds custom expedition touring bikes.....
nothing wrong with taiwan frames, they make most of the bike frames you find around the world....rebadged as whatevercycles. thing is you're talking about long-distance remote touring (think mongolia or the stans), and you reference a custom builder that merely slaps together off the rack components onto off the rack frames. on a cycle forum, "custom" i think usually means a master builder cuts the tubes to your measurements and welds the frame together with all your required doodads.

i built up one of these here LKLM's, made in taiwan, for moderate-duty touring a couple years ago. there's no reason you can't do it yourself if you have the touring/biking experience you claim. you don't need a builder who doesn't seem to be aware of what is available. buy yourself a frame, get a local shop to race the bb and headtube (i don't usually bother, they're good enough from the factory for me), and you can bolt together a bike while you're waiting for the virus to subside.

use sheldon brown's online instructions to build your own wheels. wait til you go on your heavy-duty expedition to get a bomb-proof set built by a master wheelbuilder.

here's a link to a suitable taiwan factory-produced steel LKLM frame, v-brake studs AND disk mounts, all the braze-ons you should need including lowrider mounts and 3 bottle cages, and internal-routed cables if that sounds cool. 700c will take 45's easily with fenders, may be able to fit 50's depending on the profile of the tires. cost here in china is about $90 on taobao, and can often find some close-out specials. maybe another $75 or so in shipping to your location.

https://img.alicdn.com/imgextra/i2/2...0-item_pic.jpg

https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm...cket=11#detail
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Old 06-23-20, 04:33 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Perhaps the roads you commute on are quite smooth if you find 28 or 32 mm tire width to be preferable.
Touring, if mostly pavement (tarmac) I use 37 mm or 40 mm tire width. If mostly gravel, I use 50 mm or 57 mm width.
I think you are right. I got away with loaded touring on 32s, but it does not mean they had a good safety margin.

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Perhaps the roads you commute on are quite smooth if you find 28 or 32 mm tire width to be preferable.
If you go with a derailleur system, with a 44/32/22 triple and 11-36 cassette, you will have a very nice wide range of gears for steep uphills and you will rarely run out of gears on the top end.
Okay good to know thanks. I was a little worried about the top end. I certainly don't need it for touring. But if I do use the bike for commuting afterwards I would like to have plenty of boogey to avoid being passed on the narrow streets around here.
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Old 06-23-20, 04:44 PM
  #33  
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Re gearing. A ten speed 12-30 is a really nice cassette for faster riding because the 12,13,14,15, cogs close together are fun to ride with. My faster bike has a 12-27 9 speed, the ten speed has the 30 tacked on.
Even with this cassette and shorter chain on, you'll still have fairly low gearing (you do the gear calculator work) probably 20 gear inches, but you could change to the 11-34 or 36 when doing actual loaded tours in mountainy areas if you see the need.

You are not familiar with gear inches and gearing that much, but do some work with gearing calculators to see what your present biked is, and variations of a new bike. And you can compare numbers.
I did a training ride today up hills a lot, with 35lbs in panniers, and it's great having low gearing when it's needed.
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Old 06-23-20, 05:00 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by hermanchauw View Post
The lower the ratio, the more spin you have. Just key in all the sprocket sizes in a calculator and you'll have the numbers.
It will be a real luxury having this kind of gearing

Originally Posted by hermanchauw View Post
Don't worry about top end. 44x11 gives 108 gear inches. Plenty. In my unloaded road bike with 32mm tires, i only went up to 44x13 (91.4 gear inch). Now it has 38x11 top gear (93.3 gear inch). Good enough for me. In my cargo bike with 26x2.0 tires, loaded or unloaded, i rarely go beyond 65 gear inch.
Okay thanks. Based on all the comments, I have decided to go with the 11-34. It is not a too difficult a decision because the cassette can always be changed.


Originally Posted by hermanchauw View Post
Turning would take more effort, steering overcorrections. Just like gearing, better have more torque than less.
I am going to go ride it again and will pay attention to that. The actual ride of the bike was absolute brilliant. It absorbed potholes really well. But turning wise it felt a little "light" at the front, as if I could pick the bike up into the air while turning. To be clear, the bike did not rise into the air while turning, it was just a sensation that it wouldn't take a great of effort for me to make it come off the ground. I don't want to make too big a deal out of that because I might feel that way on any flat bar bike with a relaxed geometry. But needless to say I wasn't immediately convinced by the turning.
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Old 06-23-20, 05:17 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
The bike in the photo tips the scale at a bit over 20 kg, which is quite heavy. If i am doing a less adventurous trip where I am not carrying that heavy of a load, I use a lighter weight bike. You might want to really think about how heavy duty (and heavy) a bike you need and buy accordingly. In my case, I have three touring bikes but it sounds like you want one for all purposes. My other two are lighter weight and use derailleur drive trains, there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of drive trains.
I have been thinking about this quite a bit. The base model bike I am being offered it essentially an expedition bike. I am reluctant to start converting it into a road touring bike. To make a long story short, I have decided that I want to test ride the model with the 26 inch wheels.

For the immediate tour I am doing, I could stick to roads and paths, but having an expedition bike or a mountain bike would allow me to do a lot more because there will be plenty of off-road opportunities in Scotland.

But what I really wanted to do before the COVID was go to Iceland this summer. Which of those bikes would you take there? If you wanted to ride some off-road and also be self sufficient for a few days at a time. (Not need to stop at shops).
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Old 06-23-20, 05:29 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
there's no reason you can't do it yourself if you have the touring/biking experience you claim
I can say with all humility that I do not want to build my own bike from scratch right now. I have never done it, but could imagine doing so perhaps with a little help on a few bits.

It did cross my mind to do so, but I just do not have the time because there is much to complete before I go on the summer tour. Thanks for sharing all the resources though!
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Old 06-23-20, 05:53 PM
  #37  
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Re steering feeling light.
tricky as many factors come into play.
-tires and width on bike
narrower tires will quicken up steering generally compared to wider ones

-overall steering characteristics of bike
I have a bunch of bikes, and the quickest steering one has 700x35 on it, hardly any toe strike on the fenders, but steers almost too quickly, and "light" as you describe

-individual rider ability with various different steering bikes
I actually like a fast steering bike. A couple of my bikes steer nice and fast but feel stable and planted at all speeds and one has 700x 28mm tires, the other 26x 50mm . That one bike with 700x35 is almost squirrelly.
yet I have friends who find my 28mm shod dropbar bike to be waaay too squirrelly for them, where I'll ride it to 75,80kph all day long.

so bottom line is that you can't get an answer here, but certainly go with what you are most comfortable with. Just remember that tire width etc can and does change how a bikes steering can feel.
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Old 06-23-20, 07:35 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by ulstoft View Post
...
But what I really wanted to do before the COVID was go to Iceland this summer. Which of those bikes would you take there? If you wanted to ride some off-road and also be self sufficient for a few days at a time. (Not need to stop at shops).
The two photos of my Thorn Nomad Mk II in post number two above were taken in Iceland. The first photo on highway F35 in the middle of the interior. Second photo was somewhere on the north side of the island where the roads were paved. I think I had about two weeks of food on the bike in the first photo, maybe only one week of food in the second photo.

Regarding 26 and 700c, both of my Thorns are 26 inch. My Lynskey is 700c. I like the 26 inch for off road, but now that the bike manufacturers are pushing 650b more, it is not clear if there will be a wide variety of good 26 inch tires available a decade from now. Also, my yellow bike in the photos in post number 2 above has S&S couplers and it is a lot easier to pack 26 inch wheels in an S&S case than 700c wheels, thus for that reason I wanted that bike to have 26 inch wheels. And all of my 700c bikes with fenders have toe overlap, but none of my 26 inch bikes have toe overlap.

And another photo from Iceland, this was about the worst quality road that I rode on during that whole trip. Tires are 57mm wide Marathon Extremes, that tire is no longer made but I am still using them for touring. When you see something on the road that is smaller than a tennis ball so you do not bother trying to miss it, that tells you how crappy that road is. This photo was taken on highway 578. Not sure if highway is the right word, F35 and 578 are for 4X4 vehicles only.



I wrote up a short summary of my Iceland trip on a different forum, that link is at:
Iceland - Nomad Mk II - June/July 2016

Road conditions, you can click on it to zoom in more.
Road conditions in Iceland | Road conditions in Iceland | The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration

My Thorn Nomad Mk II is quite different than their newer Mk III model that replaced it. I am not going to say one is better than the other, but they are different.

I really like this photo, also from Iceland. The warning signs say that if you do not have 4X4, this is where you turn around. Glaciers in the distance.



I was there for a month. All my bike tours and other outdoor trips before retirement were a week long. But now that I am retired and have more time on my hands, I can go on longer trips. If you want to get very far from Reykjavik, you will want to be in Iceland for at least two weeks.
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Old 06-28-20, 05:42 AM
  #39  
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Ulstoft, did you ever put more thought into disc vs rim brakes?
This didn't get talked about much, but especially as someone in the UK, ie rain, and talking about going to remote Scotland, discs really do have an advantage for not wearing rims in rainy gritty conditions, which is the worst thing for rims and braking in hilly areas.
I've only had discs since I gut that surly troll pictured, and while rim brakes work fine, I'm now sold on discs for the conditions I've mentioned, especially with the added weight of baggage and steep hills"---On which I've ridden my troll a lot.

added bonus with a heavily loaded bike in steep stuff is simply less hand effort for more powerful braking, which I appreciate a lot, from a safety and more confidence angle.

in my reasonable experience with both braking systems in mountains, disc is clearly worth it

are you in Ireland? (Ulst, as in Ulster?)
cheers
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Old 07-11-20, 10:25 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by ulstoft View Post
Dear Touring Community,

I am investing in an expedition quality touring bike. Initially, I will use the bike on a UK tour, roads and canals plus some light off-road, mostly in remote areas of Scotland. But I would like something that I could eventually use to do long distance touring in remote places...

I have found a gentleman that builds custom expedition touring bikes. He has proposed the specification below. I do not really know mountain bike parts too well since all my recent bikes have been road or gravel. I would be grateful if anyone can point out any part replacements I should take into account.

I had considered 26 inch wheels. But I am quite tall and it makes me look like a man on a child's bike. I know that 26 inch tyres/wheels/spokes are easier to source in remote places.

I think I am probably going to get V-brakes rather than disc, for the simplicity and the cost savings. But I do feel pressured towards getting disc brakes if for no other reason, it will give the bike better resale potential down the road. I realise that most new bikes are coming with disc now, even road bikes.

Also, I'm on the fence with the dynamo hub, I'm wondering whether it is a real asset or an expensive toy. I am probably going to give it a miss for now.

Frame: Reynolds 525 frame (700c Wheels) size 57
Rear Mech: Shimano Deore XT RD-T8000 SGS
Front Mech: Shimano Deore XT FD-T8000
Cassette: Custom Shimano 11-34 10 speed
Shift Levers: Shimano Deore XT SL-T8000
Chainset: Shimano FC-MT300 175mm cranks 44-32-22t
Bottom Bracket: Shimano Deore XT BB-MT800
Chain: KMC X10
Wheels: Handbuilt Bitex 101 hubs Ryde Sputnik Rims 36 spokes
Bk Levers: Shimano Deore BL-R780
Brakes: Shimano Deore BR-T610 (Juin Tech M1s)
Pedals: Flat Black
Clips Straps: NA
Saddle: Brooks B17 Brown Seat post: Ergotec 5
Rear rack: Axiom Journey Low loader: Tubus Tara
Handlebars: Ergotec 5 630mm
Handlebar Grips: Ergon GP5L
Bar ends Ergon GP5L
Bar Tape NA
Stem: Ergotec 4 110mm Black
Spacers: 55+20
Headset: Cane Creek 40 Series
Mudguards: Flinger F50
Tyres: Continental Contact Plus 700 x 32
Inner tubes: Schwalbe
Valves: Schraeder
Kickstand: Pletscher Single
Stickers: Trad Black
Headbadge: transfer

Extras:
. SON28 dynamo hub with Velocharger USB plug and B&M 60 Lux front light
. Tubus Tara front pannier carrier (Or Aluminium alternative)
. Upgrade to Brooks B17 Brown leather saddle
. Supply and fit Pletscher single leg kickstand
, Ergon GP5 Grips
. Shimano PD-EH500 dual purpose pedals
. Upgrade to Continental Touring Plus tyres 700 x 35
. Mirrycle Mountain bike mirror

Thanks in advance for any feedback.
Doesn't sound like expedition spec to me, but it could possibly do the job with a careful pilot and a light load. It sounds more like a traditional road touring rig.

There are four ingredients necessary for a capable expedition bike: strong frame/fork/wheels--wide tires--low gears--and PROPER GEOMETRY.

The spec above shows low enough gears, but shows insufficient tire volume. Other than that, consequential information is missing.

Strong frames and forks CAN be made from Reynolds 525. There are stronger choices in the Reynolds lineup. The geometry must be suitable for heavy loads or the rider will suffer. This is super important; bike handling has safety aspects, and poor choices here will wear you out quickly. No geometry info, no opinion.

700c wheels, with 32mm or 35mm tires, can be strong and reliable for fully loaded touring, but that's different from expedition touring. 26" or 650B tires in 2" or 50mm will withstand expedition use. The fact that 26" tires and parts are more available worldwide does not matter much any more, since the world is served overnight by FedEx. The fact that your appearance on the bike affects your wheel choices is unfortunate, and I am not qualified to dispense advice on that.

A dynohub, with nice lights, is both a real asset and an expensive toy, like the bike itself. There are other ways to light the road and charge your phone. But an "expedition" bike connotes "expedition" use, where battery stores and AC outlets are sometimes few and far between. My dynohub kept my phone charged for six weeks in the Gobi Desert. Not that there was a cell phone signal, but the GPS "blue dot" and the rest of the functions were welcome.

Disc brakes have their advantages and disadvantages. Consider THEM, not resale value. You do not ride resale value.

My personal preference is for drop bars (and long days in the saddle). I also prefer fenders, metal, not plastic. I mount the lights on the fenders so that I can remove the racks between tours. I run the wires in the frame tubes and taped to the underside of the fenders--out of danger when bushwhacking.

My expedition bike is a Thorn Nomad. Those guys know their gemometry, and they use tandem-gauge tubing.

Your proposed bike resembles my Mercian light touring rig--700x32 tires. It will handle a heavy load but that's what the Thorn is for.
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