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  • Bike choice for LOOONGG off-road epic.
  • stanley
    Full Member

    I’m planning on riding from Land’s End to JOG next year.
    My plan is to follow Vince Major’s route mainly. I’ll be using my Santa Cruz Tallboy with bikepacking kit attached.
    Hoping to set off in May, although I will have done almost zero “training” owing to health issues (documented elsewhere!). I will be taking my time over the route and will probably take occasional days off.

    If you have plenty of time, and not bothered about setting a PB, then there is little point in specific training… just ease into it over the first week or so. I favour my full suspension for comfort; there’s not really that much more to go wrong than on an equivalent hardtail. Much easier on body and kit too.

    As mentioned above, it’s charging all the modern extras that can be a pain; easy if staying in accommodation though!

    molgrips
    Full Member

    I use a rigid adventure style bike for long ride. Rigid because it’s somehow more positive and nicer to ride than a suspension bike, especially on road where you’d inevitably end up a lot.

    As for it not being about the bike – I disagree to an extent. If you’re on a bike all day it has to be right, but that means it has to have the right fit, the right contact points, the right gears and it has to not annoy you in any way. It doesn’t matter what style of bike it is or what the tech is, as long as it works for you.

    I ride FS MTBs a lot but they annoy me on road and smooth bits because they aren’t as stiff, they move about under you and feel less positive. A bike set up for technical riding I feel would be worse for long distance riding, not least because I’d have different handlebars. And FS bikes are a pain to fit luggage to, even small amounts.

    supernova
    Full Member

    I did a version of the GB Divide route in the summer. I used a Genesis Longitude rigid MTB because it’s the most comfortable bike I own. Put 27.5+ All Round tyres on it, worked a treat fully loaded. I mean, the crank fell off, the bottom bracket failed and a pedal dropped off in the middle of nowhere, but they were all my fault for failing to do pre ride maintenance properly. I’d happily have kept going to the North Pole once I was used to the daily mileage after about a week.

    dove1
    Full Member

    If you have the money for a new bike and want Pinion drive then have a look at the Sonder Broken Road Pinion.
    One of those with a SON front hub for charging and lights would be a good set up I reckon.

    ampthill
    Full Member

    Firstly don’t just dream do it

    I think the bike matters to an extent. I think priorities are the fit for comfort, tyres and a low bottom gear. Weight isn’t a big deal once you’re loaded.

    I have a 50mm tyres gravel bike that I love riding off road. But I can see the logic in bigger tyres and flat bars. Once you’re at that point I see few downsides to a suspension fork

    Route wise doing as much off road as possible might get tiresome in places. Bridleways in the flat lands can some times offer very little rewards for the effort. But it does depend on how long you have. Some mates did the sustrans lejog. I joined them for a weekend and followed the rest online. It looked a fab route. It women’ wouldn’t be off road enough for you but might make a good starting point to link other off road routes

    A friend has a sonder broken road. That’s the sort of bike that would be really versatile for this sort of trip

    nedrapier
    Full Member

    If I was doing this I’d build up my Jones Spaceframe again. Great long distance position, would keep me freshest for longest, comfort round the shoulders from less weight on the hands. Bit of give from the back without any complexity.

    Depends a bit on how you fare over long rides. If I do lots of long rides, or one really big one, I get sore neck and shoulders. Always annoying that my endurance efforts are always limited by what’s in my joints rather than what’s in my legs, but there you go. Others are happy (?) suffering days and days and hundreds and hundreds of miles on a gravel bike, but that wouldn’t be for me. I’d need more painkillers than I’d want!

    If I had a a Signal Ti (which I do!) and I was taking it on a long route (which I still might) I’d get some more backswept bars, like the 16 degree SQ Labs 30OX in high rise flavour and shift the saddle back on the rails, get weight off the hand and shoulders a bit. And tyres to suit, obviously.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    bars with backsweep are good – again thats what I did. Ritchie kyote bars – with 6″ cut off them to narrow them from the absurd width they come in. comfort is the key and riding position is a huge part of that

    somafunk
    Full Member

    As we’re talking about handlebars, the best upgrade for comfort and handling I ever did on my Tripster was to fit carbon jones bars, so comfortable and reduced chatter compared to the previous ti jones bars.

    lardman
    Free Member

    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.

    I would love to do bits on the road, for exactly the reasons you mention. However, we DON’T live in a country that respects cyclists, so i wont ever be doing much riding on the dangerous race-track that car drivers use.

    Whilst i appreciate that any bike will probably do, I want to get some miles in on the bike i’m actually going to take. I can wave the magic ‘cash’ wand at whatever i’d like, but i’mm not obsessed with kit. Something reliable and comfortable is what i’m planning on using, it will most likely be the Sonder Signal, because it’s what i’ve got. However, it has no mounts for a rack, or even a second bottle cage.

    If i bought the Pinion version, with rack mounts and specific selction of extras, it’ll then become my trail hardtail afterwards, just like it is now, only with internal gears.

    I currently use it for winter rides, on mixed terrain, graded off-road, Sustrans type routes and small, back country lanes. I’m used to 30-40 mile rides like this, but plan to do the SDW (in a day) late summer this year, so thinking of the new frame for that trip too. I did it a few years back, in 2 days on my Stumpy with heavy DD tyres and enduro weight components and it was tough.

    First, i need to start planning the route.

    lardman
    Free Member

    If I had a a Signal Ti (which I do!) and I was taking it on a long route (which I still might) I’d get some more backswept bars, like the 16 degree SQ Labs 30OX in high rise flavour and shift the saddle back on the rails, get weight off the hand and shoulders a bit. And tyres to suit, obviously.

    This is how my Signal is currently set-up. I have Stooge Moto bar and saddle is back. I’d be riding with a front handlebar bag and a rear rack with small side loaded packs too. A frame bag might be used, depending on how much i end up taking.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    You might be surprised how many quiet back lanes you can find.

    lardman
    Free Member

    You might be surprised how many quiet back lanes you can find.

    I hope so. I’m not wedded to the off-road part, as Sustrans/segregated bikes lanes and VERY quiet rods would be fine. I’m just up for a long meandering ride, with lots of time and audio-books to get through.

    If you have the money for a new bike and want Pinion drive then have a look at the Sonder Broken Road Pinion.
    One of those with a SON front hub for charging and lights would be a good set up I reckon.

    The Broken Road would be great, but after the LEJOG, the Signal would be more useful.
    I have a SON hub waiting to be built into a wheel right now.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    I’m just up for a long meandering ride

    Why do lejog then? Just make up a route going to nice places with nice routes.

    lardman
    Free Member

    Why do lejog then? Just make up a route going to nice places with nice routes

    There’s something about the point-to-point endeavour and the ‘length of the land’ notion that appeals to me.

    I’ll also be looking to use most of an existing route, rather than build/map my own. Just for expediency.

    highlandman
    Free Member

    In terms of route finding, Great North Trail from the upper end of the Midlands should see you right for a good, mixed surfaces and places route without having to worry about planning or traffic. I’ve no knowledge of the southern half of your route though. This has significant overlaps in the Highlands with Badger and HT550 but avoids the techiest sections of the latter.
    Bike wise, I completely understand the pleasures of planning a new rig specifically for this adventure and I’d probably be thinking the same way..
    But as no bike is ever perfect and what you’ve got will still be great when you get home again, do you really get enough benefit from a new one?
    It’s not like you’ll not be able to find a bike shop to fix any failures in a conventional drivetrain. I think I’d be settling on a fairly normal 1×11 or 12 setup. I’ve used drops on a rigid 29er and flat bars on a hardtail for longer multi day tours and neither are ‘wrong’. TJ is right about being wary about bar width though; my hardtail’s bars are a wee bit narrower than full trail at 760, a small but useful compromise there.
    As others have said, get a good bar bag (& liner dry bag) for your change of clothes, combined with a stable hip pack for wallet/jacket; a small top tube fuel tank for food & batteries; a compact frame bag for pump/spares. Seat pack if you really can’t do without bivvy gear. Ride..

    lardman
    Free Member

    @highlandman

    Thanks for that. I’ll look at the Great North Trail for the northern part then.

    I do actually think I will be doing JOG to LE (so going south) rather than the other way. I’m a southerner, so return to base would be easier that way around.

    fasthaggis
    Full Member

    Head wind aw the way then 😆 😉

    tjagain
    Full Member

    but downhill

    jimdubleyou
    Full Member

    Something reliable and comfortable is what i’m planning on using, it will most likely be the Sonder Signal, because it’s what i’ve got. However, it has no mounts for a rack, or even a second bottle cage.

    A tail fin rack / bag is expensive, but they are cheaper than a new bike and pretty reliable, no need for mounts.

    Loads of folk are doing ways to strap an extra bottle to a frame now, but you can also look at a custom frame bag to go around your bottle.

    To dissent from the flat bar proponents, I actually prefer a wider drop bar (I have had a ratchet venturemax and am currently using a kitchen sink) to flats on long days.

    willard
    Full Member

    I don’t want to de-rail the thread in any way, but I clicked on the link to that Cotic on page 1 and, well, wow1 I quite like that. Not just the colour either. The only problem is that I do not need another bike.

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    Loads of folk are doing ways to strap an extra bottle to a frame now, but you can also look at a custom frame bag to go around your bottle.

    If you’ve got suspension forks the tailfin fork mount is excellent, it’s what I’ve got on my Nordest as there’s only room for one bottle on the frame. It’ll let you mount 2x extra bottles and 2 small bags with extra mounting hardware.

    https://www.tailfin.cc/product/cargo-cage-system/suspension-fork-mounts/sfm/?v=79cba1185463

    molgrips
    Full Member

    To dissent from the flat bar proponents, I actually prefer a wider drop bar

    Oh yeah, on my bike I have a high sweep bar (Salsa Bend 2 17deg) and it’s an immense addition to comfort. Absolutely essential.

    bedmaker
    Full Member

    As above, I wouldn’t stress out too much on bike type, it doesn’t need to be too fancy.

    That said, something really nice, specifically for that type of riding, is a joy.

    For me, it’s –

    Comfy riding position. You’ll want to go further if you feel good, and be happier doing so.

    My bike a custom Ti, long and stable, Jones carbon bars, very high front end (300mm uncut steerer), long chainstays and long reach to keep the front planted and neutral steering. Selle SMP saddle, dropper.
    A droppper is really under utilised on this sort of bike imo. IT’s not all about gnar, but being able to shift saddle height throughout the day to change riding position is a good thing. Doesn’t need much.
    Tailfin rack is a bit of a luxury, but works really well. I used it for a long offroad bikepack around the Georgian Caucasus earlier this year and couldn’t fault it.

    This is an expensive bike. I love it, use it lots, and reckon it’s worth every single penny.

    However, my old £30 Muddyfox with a high rise quill and flat bars with barends ticks most of the boxes at very low cost. I’d happily set out for a long ride on that bike.

    Big, fast rolling tyres. Vittoria Mezcal 2.6 on mine, they’ve proved a really good choice, and I’ll most likely replace with the same when they wear out.
    They give up nothing afaics on tarmac compared to a skinnier gravel tyre, but are much nicer in the rough.

    lardman
    Free Member

    @ta11pau1
    Thanks for that. The tail fin stuff looks good.

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    I do actually think I will be doing JOG to LE (so going south) rather than the other way. I’m a southerner, so return to base would be easier that way around.

    IME, it’s easier getting to Penzance/LE with a bike than it is to get to JOG.

    One of the often overlooked aspects of riding north is that the sun is behind you so it’s nicer to ride without constantly squinting into the sun.

    ampthill
    Full Member

    You can fit a rack to any hardtail with p-clips

    P clip

    nickc
    Full Member

    Looking at that “Bikes of the Highland 500” article. Nearly all of them are trad hard tails/ FS with regular gears and such. One is a SS (nutter)

    d42dom
    Full Member

    all sorts of bolt ons from here at reasonable prices https://backcountry.scot/product-category/bikepacking/drj0n-bagworks/

    willard
    Full Member

    That Drj0n link is awesome! Looks like I can use at least some of these to replace the combination of tape and cable ties I use for attaching mudguards to my forks

    Aidy
    Free Member

    I think it’ll depend on how off-road your off-road is.

    If you’re planning on it in a couple of years time, I’d try a few things and see what works for you.

    If it’s mostly not too technical, I’d be on a gravel bike – to add to the dissent, I find drop bars much more comfortable for long days in the saddle.

    lardman
    Free Member

    If you’re planning on it in a couple of years time, I’d try a few things and see what works for you.

    Yea, thanks Andy: This is indeed the plan. It would indeed be a little foolish to launch into it without a few testers. Although maybe throwing myself in the deepend would ensure I actually do it.

    Del
    Full Member

    Take a look at the trek 1120

    Also hard tail party on the tube has a video up about is bike packing kit.

    dovebiker
    Full Member

    29+

    Been meaning to respond since the beginning of the thread. Took my 29+ out for the first time in a while and it just reconfirmed to me why a big-wheeled rigid bike is so good for covering the miles. Used to take this thing out for 24hr rides and overnighters – did a SDW overnighter and would drop my mates riding full-sus because you could just point it downhill and it steamrollers everything – just what you want when descending unfamiliar tracks at the end of a tiring day.
    A ‘centred’ position like a Jones or Stooge, plus you can carry some weight on the bars and it doesn’t affect the handling – being able to sit-up no-handed and stretch your back during a ride is nice too.

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    I’ve a Stooge but I’d much prefer a bit of Squish at either end for:
    1. Comfort
    2. For safety for when I’m tired, it has saved me a few times when I make a mistake on a descent when tired.

    My Scalpel is even lighter than my Stooge (when set up with gears)

Viewing 34 posts - 41 through 74 (of 74 total)

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