Search the forum using the power of Google

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 74 total)
  • Bike choice for LOOONGG off-road epic.
  • lardman
    Free Member

    I’m considering working towards doing the LEJOG off-road sometime in the next couple of years.

    I fancy a proper challenge for my (only just) average fitness and generally very short (2-4hr) bike rides. Something to inspire me to change things up a little. I find myself unemployed (i call it consultancy) which has given me much more time to train and get into multi-day epics.

    Question is: Which bike?

    I’m large and could do with some help with fitness for long days in the saddle, so a light bike would be great.

    I’m large and could do with comfort for long days off-road, so my full sus sounds ideal.

    I currently have a carbon Stumpjumper and a Sonder Signal Ti. Ones quite light, but maybe a little punishing on longer days, the other is average to heavy, as it’s coiled up with tougher components to resist my gravitational attempts to break it.

    I can also afford to buy a whole new bike and have always fancied a Pinion geared bike, so a new Sonder in Pinion would be great. This would be reliable and near zero maintenance and faff.

    I wont be bike packing, although i MIGHT have the odd overnight bivvy. So small amounts of luggage might be taken. I’ll mostly be staying in huts/B&B’s/hotels/friends and mailing forward clothes and gear for the next drop.

    I wont be in a hurry, although i want to keep going and take occasional days break.

    Anyone done the LEJOG off-road, or sections of it have opinions on what type of bike?
    Might help me get started on a plan, and bring forward the start date.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    Gearbox hardtail for reliability. Thats what I chose ( rohloff) for that sort of riding. Possibly with a belt drive. If you need more comfort a suspension seatpost

    Saccades
    Free Member

    Short travel orange.

    fasthaggis
    Full Member

    Get fit,use the Sonder,choose a good set of tyres,get on with it. 😆 😉

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    What sort of terrain is the LEJOG?

    Ahh, it’s lands end to John o’groats – yep a pinion, belt drive equipped hardtail will be perfect, you’ll have basically no drivetrain maintenance to do the whole trip, they get squeaky if they get really dry and dusty but some water on the belt solves that. Take a spare belt and you’re covered. The gearbox is good for 10,000km between oil changes so I think you’ll be fine! 😁

    It’s longer travel than you’d want but this is my pinion hardtail in ‘gravel’ mode:

    P5260799
    PXL_20220713_115032620

    Get something a bit less slack with room for a frame bag and a bar bag.

    If you’re down anywhere near the south east you’re more than welcome to have a look/ride on mine, Sonder did have a pinion demo bike but I’m not sure if that’s still around.

    lardman
    Free Member

    Thanks for the replies all.

    I figured the hardtail may be the simplest option, with more frame space and mounting options for gear too.

    Having had an Alfine equipt hardtail a few years back, I’m sold on the gearbox route. So maybe a new pinion frame should be first on the list.

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    I’d check the route very carefully. All of the “off-road” LEJOG routes I’ve seen feature a high percentage of public road. That being the case, and moreso if you’re hoping to B&B, I’d aim for something that enables good progress at a reasonable pace. That probably means some sort of hybrid/gravel bike.

    If you are only in the habit of doing shorter rides then some sort of “suspension” might ease the discomfort/fatigue on longer and multiple days, but you’ve plenty of  time to up your distance and build up your resistance and stamina. That will also give you an opportunity to sort out contact points, riding position and so on. All of that is more important than bike choice.

    somafunk
    Full Member

    Don’t get hung up on the idea of a perfect bike for the route, I had 20 odd cycle tourists staying over the years from all over Europe/New Zealand/china organised through the warm showers cycle touring website and perhaps 4 of them were riding “nice” touring/adventure style bikes, all the rest were a mixture of anything from a £50 charity shop special through to what could be deemed a nice pub bike to a ladies folding shopper with baskets front and rear.

    vazaha
    Full Member

    If you are between an M and a L, go Laaarge.

    reeksy
    Full Member

    One of the people i know that does this kind of thing rides a Trek ProCaliber. The one with a ‘decoupler’ so it’s not quite a HT and not quite a FS.

    The other does things like LeJog … but the length of Australia, uses a Salsa Fargo.

    qwerty
    Free Member

    Most of the GBDuro ridérs we’re on gravel bikes with 2″ tyres I believe.

    qwerty
    Free Member

    You can download the GBDuro gpx from The Racing Collectives website

    Or

    Routes

    kuman
    Free Member

    If it was me I would do it on my Camino Ti with 50mm tyres but also hardtail should be good for the job.

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    Have a look at the bikes that are used for long distance off road races like the tour divide, Highland Trail etc.

    Rigs of the 2022 Highland Trail 550 (HT550)

    I think a short(ish) travel lightweight full sus is best and is what I have for longer rides.

    Salsa Spearfish often comes high up the list.

    Of course some folk are just masochists and ride rigid bikes and some even have just the one gear. I’d prefer to have a comfy bike that you can enjoy the descents on.

    Have a look what’s in the sales at the mo or you might find a bargain second hand.

    martymac
    Full Member

    Comfort more important than weight, I agree with tj that gearbox/igh is the way to go. Do a fair few miles on it first so it’s proven.
    Make certain that you can manage your planned daily distance with ease, it gets harder doing multiple days/loaded/headwinds etc.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    One issue I had with my recent big tour was phone charging. Consider a dynamo hub for this

    I did between 30 and 60 miles a day. Your tolerance for long days is less when its day after day

    Its always a compromise. You have to pick and chose the compromises you make. For me I ended up with an Hardtail MTB with gravel tyres with a solid centre tread. Not too draggy on the road, more comfy that a curly bar bike, a bit of offroad ability. Nothing is more soul destroying than draggy tyres on a long ride where you don’t need full on mtb tyres IMO. Some of the rougher sections I had to take more slowly because of the tyres but it was more than made up for by the lack of drag on road sections

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    Anyone done the LEJOG off-road, or sections of it have opinions on what type of bike?

    There’s more than one LEJOG Off-road route!
    I’ve ridden a fair bit of the Pennine Bridleway, Trough of Bowland etc on a gravel bike which has mostly been fine, perhaps a couple of bits where I’ve wished for bigger tyres.

    However I’ve seen a whole array of bikes on GBDuro, Second City Divide etc from gravel to MTB with all manner of luggage options so there’s not really a right or wrong answer. Pinion or IGH would be good for minimal maintenance, just check the gear ratios work with whatever you plan on carrying and the terrain. Some of the GBDuro route is deliberately very tough including some hike a bike sections.

    Bit more leftfield in bike choice, Cotic do a nice “gravel bike for MTBers”:
    https://www.cotic.co.uk/product/cascade which will also take suspension forks.

    That said, I reckon your current Sonder would do the job very well.

    jameso
    Full Member

    I’m not convinced by the average gravel bike (ie more road-influenced design, carbon forks and sub 50mm tyres) if your motivation is the off-road riding. They may give a small advantage to a trained rider carrying very little kit but once loaded up and into average UK off-road terrain they’re not going to enable you to ride faster than a rigid 29er with bigger tyres, bars and a more suitable riding position. tbh I don’t believe they’re the faster option off-road overall, some riders may be fast on them but there’s nothing about the bike that makes them efficient load-carriers off-road. I don’t believe the road speed advantage makes up for that either unless you’re very fit and well conditioned.
    The average rider carrying luggage on a tour is going at a pace dictated by fatigue/comfort limitations and the weight of the luggage. A slightly smaller tyre and lower riding position on the drops means very little a few days into the ride, more likely to be a hindrance than anything else.

    Personally I’d be looking for a rigid 29er on some XC style 2.3 tyres with a dynamo hub. Low 1×12 gearing or a simple cheap 2×9. Bar choice is important – high-up drop bars, alt/swept bars, flats with inboard bar-ends, something like that. A hardtail would be good option too, 100-120mm fairly stiff spring with a lockout. Pinion etc is a nice to have but a quality 1×12 with a good chain lube choice will be ok.

    spooky_b329
    Full Member

    My preference would be a hardtail set up for gravel or a gravel bike with big tyres. For long distance I think the percentage of smooth rail trails and lanes etc would be significant so I’d rather be underbiked for the odd rocky descent or muddy moor than be dragging too much bike and squish for 50 miles into a headwind!

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    I think jameso speaks a lot of sense.

    I too think a lot of “gravel” is fashion, based on USA riding and racers.

    +1 on 29er, alt bar, 2.something tyres with slick centre tread, built for comfort. I may even go a redshift stem.

    Like:

    bri-72
    Full Member

    Pinion fan here. Though mine also more burly than for long adventures. I think the toils building mine put Curtis off of Pinion so mine may take the claim of being their last one!

    https://flic.kr/p/2nYou

    Google Tout Terrain for a gravel (flat or drop) pinion bike. No idea what like but got my interest as not many pinion options.

    bri-72
    Full Member

    cakefacesmallblock
    Full Member

    This is likely to be largely hypothetical for me, but considering what I would take from my current ‘stable’: I’ve a 650b Anthem,reasonably light, shortish travel f/s and quite comfy for longer rides ( I do quite a lot of 30/40 milers , mix steeper,rough trails, lanes and bridleway ) An aluminium framed Specialized Diverge ‘gravel’ bike and a Kona Unit s/s rigid steel 650b+.
    I have had some very happy big days out on the Kona and I would almost certainly pop some gears ( probably 10speed deore or xt) on that and carry a spare mech. By far best balance between comfort, speed, weight and simplicity.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    Mudguards as well. the biggest most covering ugliest ones you can get. Again day after day riding comfort is key IMO and not having to wash mud and grit out of your kit every night is good and not spending chunks of time with a muddy gritty arse is good

    montgomery
    Full Member

    I’ve done it, on what I had at the time – rigid 26″ Inbred, bikepacking. Proper off-road route through Wales, over Cross Fell, utilising stuff incorporated into the HT550, rather than the mundane route that’s become common internet currency. Just do it, don’t overthink it. It’ll hurt at first if you’re unfit, but you’ll get fit.

    lardman
    Free Member

    Good suggestions from everyone. Thanks.
    I have a long while to build up to this and might even have to do in sections instead of all-in-one.

    I’ve not researched the route yet at all, but DO NOT want to ride on any roads I can avoid. Although I’m sure there will be some, I’d try to minimise this, at the expense of extra time and distance.

    I’ve looked at a ‘Son’ dynamo hub before and they look good. Although, an extra battery pack might be more flexible.

    Route will dictate final choice of bike, but either way, it’s going to be a bike I’d use normally too, not just for this.

    Good link above to the GBDuro stuff, I’ll look over that and more forums for big tour type stuff. I’ve been harbouring a desire to do the ‘Tour Divide’ for a while now, so thought I’d start ‘smaller’ and see if it’s for me.

    montgomery
    Full Member

    The Tour Divide is just that – a tour. People (many, many people) do it on fully laden touring bikes. An off-road E2E of the kind you’re after will be/is a different ride.

    jameso
    Full Member

    Mudguards as well.

    100%

    I’ve not researched the route yet at all, but DO NOT want to ride on any roads I can avoid. Although I’m sure there will be some, I’d try to minimise this, at the expense of extra time and distance.

    It can be quite nice to get some miles in on the lanes along the way on trips like this. Everyone’s different I know, I do find that after a longer section of off-road it’s a nice contrast and a bit of a break to have an hour or 2 on country lanes.
    It’s probably why I prefer something MTB-biased for mixed terrain tours – for me the roads are where I sit up and relax for a while, the off-road is where I spend more time, have more fun and what I enjoy most. If a rider saw it the other way round a gravel bike would be good for them.

    jameso
    Full Member

    The Tour Divide is just that – a tour. People (many, many people) do it on fully laden touring bikes. An off-road E2E of the kind you’re after will be/is a different ride.

    To be a pedant.. the Tour Divide is a race held on the Great Divide MTB Route which is an ACA touring route. I expect googling ACA GDMTBR might bring up more useful info for touring the route.

    But yeah, if have a couple of months free, go for it.

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    I’ve been harbouring a desire to do the ‘Tour Divide’ for a while now, so thought I’d start ‘smaller’ and see if it’s for me.

    Get hold of “22,000 Miles”

    The author is @richpips who posts very occasionally on here. Good book, it tells the story of him riding with his son but also their pathway from local stuff to bigger rides, bikepacking, 24hr races etc right up to Tour Divide which they did a few years ago. There’s info in the book about their bikes and kit list too, they were both on Sonder bikes.

    monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    If it were me (and Id love to do lejog off road) I’d take my rigid fatbike….. Big tyres for comfort but Probably with a change in tyre to something less draggy.

    Personally I wouldn’t buy an entire new bike, something you’ve not ridden before just for one epic ride. Especially a pinion frame, heard of too many warranty claims when you first get the box.

    Fitness wise again I wouldn’t be hung up on it, unless your racing the clock. Epic multi day rides are something you can build fitness on across the first few days. But I would do as many bikepacking trips as I could be fore hand to get my equipment dialled in.

    TheBrick
    Free Member

    Don’t get hung up on the idea of a perfect bike

    Got to add a plus one to this. If there is one form of cycling where it’s not about the bike touring is it. It’s all about the experience and much like riding single speed mean you will always be the wrong gear, touring will always be the wrong bike. Learn to love it and not obsess about the bike

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    Got to add a plus one to this. If there is one form of cycling where it’s not about the bike touring is it. It’s all about the experience and much like riding single speed mean you will always be the wrong gear, touring will always be the wrong bike. Learn to love it and not obsess about the bike

    +1
    There was a guy on a bike touring forum asking this sort of thing too and he got really obsessive, asking stuff about what rack was best, what tube diameter should he be looking at, convinced he needed a Chris King headset etc all based on reading reviews about “the best xxxx for yyyy”. Eventually everyone was just like “get a **** bike, go riding!”

    intheborders
    Free Member

    I did the Badger Divide earlier this year, took my HT (Scandal).

    I do have a modern gravel bike with 50c tyres, but the Scandal is far comfier and once loaded (I camped) far easier on rough terrain, especially when on descents. I did put on a pair of fast tyres, Vittoria Saguaro.

    I previously did the Cairngorm Loop on a gravel bike, in hindsight my HT would’ve been easier.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    I met a woman while I was on my tour who had decided to go on a bike tour having not ridden for a while. She bought a basic dutch bike, a decathlon panniers and rack set. A cheap tent and sleeping bag and off she went. she was having a great time. I had weighed every bit of kit and obsessed about what to take for weeks

    Very much a lesson. Keep it simple

    freeagent
    Free Member

    I met a woman while I was on my tour who had decided to go on a bike tour having not ridden for a while. She bought a basic dutch bike, a decathlon panniers and rack set. A cheap tent and sleeping bag and off she went. she was having a great time. I had weighed every bit of kit and obsessed about what to take for weeks

    Very much a lesson. Keep it simple

    I did a couple of short multi-day rides a few years back – London to Amsterdam, London to Paris, etc.
    We obsessed about what to take as a group – sharing tools and spares to save weight etc.

    We met lots of others doing tours on all sorts of bikes including plenty cheap commuter/shopping/Dutch type bikes with Halfords panniers over-flowing with junk they didn’t need.

    As others have said – its not about the bike, as whatever you take, for a large % of your ride you’ll be on the wrong bike.

    nickc
    Full Member

    Ride whichever of your bikes is going to be comfiest over the number of days you intend to do the thing.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    I met a woman while I was on my tour who had decided to go on a bike tour having not ridden for a while. She bought a basic dutch bike, a decathlon panniers and rack set. A cheap tent and sleeping bag and off she went. she was having a great time. I had weighed every bit of kit and obsessed about what to take for weeks

    Very much a lesson. Keep it simple

    I’ve spoken before of a colleague who came into work one day and announced she and her husband were to cycle to Hungary to return to family and a new life. We spent lunchtime next day in Recykabike – £100 per bike, plus ziptied a couple of shopping baskets onto the bikes. They had a basic tent and camp gear.
    They called on day 3 of the ride to say ‘these padded cycle shorts, do they work? We are sore, should we buy some?’…
    They used google maps, camped for 2 nights then a hostel. No helmets. No gloves apart from cold weather. On really bad weather days they just hopped on a train for 50miles or so.
    They arrived at Hungarian border 3.5 weeks later – and started their new jobs a day later.

    I, we all, focus on the kit too much.

    docrobster
    Full Member

    A mate of mine did the great divide Canada to Mexico on a 26” bfe with 160 forks. 2×10 I think. Main mechanical problem he had was riding some proper trails for fun one day crashed and bent or snapped his bars so had to buy new ones. I’m not even convinced he changed the tyres from his regular mtb ones. Anything is possible.

    nickc
    Full Member

     announced she and her husband were to cycle to Hungary

    I read Tim Moore’s “The Cyclist Who Came In from the Cold” a while back, He cycled the length of EuroVelo 13  The Iron Curtain Trail which is 10,300km across Europe following what used to be the iron curtain divide; On an East German shopping bike.

    Anything is possible

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 74 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Search the forum using the power of Google

Thanks for popping by - why not stay a while?IT'S FREE

Sign up as a Singletrack Member and you can leave comments on stories, use the classified ads, and post in our forums, do quizzes and more.

Join us, join in, it’s free, and fun.