(written by Ryan, BackBikers chief mechanic)
Lets reverse the usual order and begin with the result: may I introduce you to our sturdy companions on the road and apart: "Eselchen" on the left and "Kalle" on the right. I will share my thoughts and plans with you, because not a single screw was chosen by chance, and some of the information might be a useful inspiration, at least its an (hopefully) interesting lecture for the tech-oriented cyclists out there.
"Get up, get out, you lazy lout, Get into your working clothes" and follow me through the technical details of our bikes.
Onwards to a new bike...
In my book, there are two ways to equip your bike: you either choose parts, who are very unlikely to break, but when they fall apart, there is virtually no chance to repair them (e.g. gear hubs, hydraulic brake systems, belt drives), or you decide to use parts who are more prone to be worn out or even destroyed, but are found all around the globe (derailleur gears, rim brakes and so on). When I started to project our new friends on two wheels, the plan to circle the world was pretty fixed. Therefore, I chose the latter way. Partly, because everything can be destroyed (pretty easily, at least when you load the bike onto planes and trucks, a situation nobody can avoid forever) and I don't want to end up walking because my brake hose is leaking oil after being torn off, partly because the first way of equipping a bike is often more expensive (#Rohloff).
A lot of my inspiration, what to use and what to avoid on the new bike, came from my old touring bike. It was a 2010 "Staiger Oregon", a very good trekking bike, but a far from perfect bike for heavy loaded tours. Some examples? Above 35km/h the fork started to wiggle, presumably because the Tubus Swing had a too high balance point. In the meantime I started to ride roadbikes, and ever since road handlebars are one of the best things on a bike for me. So much ways to place the hands during long trips! Sore heels of hands no more!
Long story short: I wanted a hard-lined bulletproof bike, which could also leave tarmac without too much hassle. Weight wasn't important, I rather ride on something stable than break down with a light bike. Everything should be reparable by myself, with the material I expect to find in remote areas: barely anything. So lets have a closer look, how I tried to achieve this goal.
(you have to click on them, just saying...)
Now lets watch together the wonder of a growing bike...
So, how's the riding?
We informed ourselves about bike-fitting and other fancy stuff, in the end, I did it my usual way: blindly ordering all parts, hoping for the best. I know thats quite ballsy, considering we want to spend several years on those bikes. But in the end, there was no choice regarding the parts anyways (thanks to this limited ressource called money).
You can imagine, both of us were really nervous before our first rides. Luckily, without any reason. Miri and I are really pleased by geometry and handling characteristics. After a small adjustment for Miri (we bought a shorter stem), both of us could sit on those bikes for ages.
Downhill it lays heavily on the street, it feels rather like a motorbike than a bicycle. Maybe because the fork is 25mm heigher than the original fork, the bike runs very straight-lined at the usual speeds (above ~15km/h), if you decelerate below, it steers very quickly, ideal if you want avoid potholes. Yes, they are heavy (Eselchen was weighted slightly above 16, Kalle is guessed maybe around 18kg), but the feeling of rigidity is awesome, especially when descending on bad roads.
Thats all, folks!
I hope you liked the explanation, don't hesitate to leave your thoughts below (e.g. what you would do different, how you like the bikes, or the amount of coffee you needed to read the whole page ).