New bike, cobble together from old for a gravel tour (please, shoot me now…)
I know, I know, it’s been done to death a million times (but not by me).
I’m planning a Camino de Santiago trip next year which from what I can gather is mostly unpaved/gravel (it’s one of the ‘pilgrim’ walking paths). My current bikepacker (a mk1 SolarisMAX) is about to get converted to a LS SolarisMAX (dark metal will be repurchased and the existing one needs a bit of rebuild anyways as the trans is shagged out). Either way it’s a bit OTT for what should be a reasonably fast 700-800k over 8-10 days of not too demanding territory. Planning to do the trip with my mate who will take his Stoater.
So, obviously I need a gravel bike… right? 🤣
With my history, an Escapade would be the obvious choice. However, the one I’d fancy would be the GRX plus model which is £2.5k… there’s other options at that price.
I’ve had a giant tcx in the past (I sold it on as cable disc brakes and me don’t mix, cost to convert was way too much). I liked it but the new ones are sram and I’m sceptical and run shimano on everything else. And on the old one I hated the weld on the seat tube so would obviously need to get the carbon composite one (which isn’t really any cheaper than the escapade…). Also, it might be a bit too CX oriented…
For not that much more I could get a Stoater…
I’m ~20k from my work so it would be pressed into commuting duties (shitty highland roads, a farm/access road short cut and the Kessock means gravel plus makes sense, well to me anyways) and be necessary in building up fitness for aforementioned trip.
What other (new) options that I should consider (HAS to be hydraulic disc).
The other, cheaper and more sensible, option would be to build up either the soon to be redundant mk1 (or the Sherpa lurking in the loft). I’ve a set of Hope hoops on the old Solaris which is currently mouldering in the shed so a 135-142 converter would see the rear and a rigid 100 fork would work for the Sherpa (I’d need a new rear boost wheel for the SolarisMAX…). I’ve a spare set of deore disc brakes, and a multitude of transmission bits kicking about from a boxed 3×10 XT to 2x and pretty much everything else needed to build up a full bike. Not sure how that translate for fast, easy, distance touring though.
As I said, shoot me now… please? 🤣Posted 11 months ago
When you say “touring” does that mean panniers? That might start to suggest certain frames and bikes.
Loads of nice bikes out there for Shand money (but Shands are lovely). Sonder actually do a Camino. And there’s a Ti version….Posted 11 months ago
Panniers, say wha? Sheesh, how dare you, you’ll be calling me roadie scum next… 🤣
As you well know, I’ve plenty soft luggage and as we’d probably not be tenting there should be ample room for clothing in that set up. Which is why I put touring rather than bikepacking…
I did spot the Camino actually… 😁Posted 11 months ago
Camino de Santiago trip next year which from what I can gather is mostly unpaved/gravel
Mostly fairly good surfaces yes but for a large chunk of it I was glad to be on a rigid 29er on 2.2s, makes some sense esp if carrying much kit. Quite a lot of rougher farm tracks and fast downhills. There’s a section that is like a rocky Alpine downhill.
Either way it’s a bit OTT for what should be a reasonably fast 700-800k over 8-10 days of not too demanding territory.
If I went back I’d be most likely to take the 29er again, it’d make the most of some really good riding along the way. If I went with a 650×50 drop bar bike I’d plan to take some of the road sections (cyclist’s camino route) to avoid being fairly beaten up or being frustrated by having to take it really easy on those good off-road bits. Not really a fan of deliberate underbiking for a week or so of bikepacking/touring.Posted 11 months ago
If I went back I’d be most likely to take the 29er again, it’d make the most of some really good riding along the way. If I went with a 650×50 drop bar bike I’d plan to take some of the road sections (cyclist’s camino route) to avoid being fairly beaten up or being frustrated by having to take it really easy on those good off-road bits. Not really a fan of deliberate underbiking for a week or so of bikepacking/touring.
The thing is, his mate will be on a Stoater so they’ll be taking the same routing options, meaning there’s little point in having a “more capable” bike.Posted 11 months ago
@jameso: which route did you do? I was planning on the del Norte one.
Due to the time constraints there’s a high likelihood that we’ll be taking at least some of the cyclist road options (especially the drop down to low, low level and pop back up 100m up the road options…
Do you mind me pming you for some specific advice/info on the route? Some background info would be extremely useful… like where to get the best routing info for example…
@scotroutes: there is always the SodaMAX option for David… 🤣Posted 11 months ago
29er HT with rigid fork, up to you if you run narrower tyres etcPosted 11 months ago
This is the website for Santiago de Compostella forum.
This is the link to the Cycling section.
Lots of information and guides available.
Buen CaminoPosted 11 months ago
SherpaPosted 11 months ago
Decent gravel tyres
Ergon GP3-L grips
Fit with correct length stem
I converted my Mk1 Sherpa (2nd frame, first one cracked) into something similar. Salsa rigid forks with 3 pack bolts, 29er WTB KOM i23 wheels running WTB Riddler 45s and a Spesh Pizza rack. Jones Non Loop bars. Its brilliant for relaxed all day riding at a reasonable pace and would be perfect for a tour. Would need to add a 2nd set of bottle mounts using DMR clamps.
Edit: Found a pic with old tyres – not pretty but comfy!
Posted 11 months ago
Surly Bridge Club ftwPosted 11 months ago
Hmm, might have to think about suitable bars, but Sherpa route looking the most ‘sensible’ option.
Curses… 🤣🤣🤣Posted 11 months ago
Tbf I also have a couple of gravel bikes and a Ti hardtail I use for touring/bike packing. This was built mainly for local riding to friends / pub / post office / supermarket / errands. Means I rarely use my van these days. I had a Scandal set up like this years ago and more recently a Swift before but much prefer the ride of the Stanton. You could use carbon forks and go without the pizza rack to save a chunk of weight.Posted 11 months ago
Maybe not what you’re after, but you did mention Shand and touring…
If you’re sure of the bike genre, a frame that’s personal to you will be great value. This one ^^^ is on 5,000km in 18 months and is my commuter, wet roadie and tourer all together.Posted 11 months ago
The thing is, his mate will be on a Stoater so they’ll be taking the same routing options, meaning there’s little point in having a “more capable” bike
Sure, just saying what I’d do if riding a lighter-duty bike, fwiw. If on the same route and my mate was on a skinny gravel bike I’d still take my 29er. I’d heckle him for being slow down the hills and enjoy the view as he fixes pinch flats 🙂Posted 11 months ago
MH, it was the Camino France, The way of st James from st Jean pied a port to Santiago. Del Norte has some rougher trails I thought?
If it’s more than 50% offroad (even easy gravel tracks) I’d take a 29er. I did James’ TNR on my gravel bike, but that has a fair bit of tarmac. I just did the montanas vacias route (more off road, although largely non-technical fireroad stuff) on my mk 1 solaris with a rigid fork and large but quickish tyres, and it was just much more comfortable to ride all day for me. We were doing a similar distance to you (roughly 700km, 13000m of climbing) in about the same time (7 days) and it wasn’t too tough.Posted 11 months ago
andy that Sherpa reminds me of my attempt at 26er to ‘graveltour’ conversion (with a ‘97 M-Trax) a decade back.
Note semi-backpacking bag (uselessly small)
Posted 11 months ago
@jameso: thanks for clarification. Yes, my understanding is the del Norte is rougher (and lumpier). I was contemplating the more road oriented version but I’m struggling to locate any info. I’ve ordered a couple of (walking) guidebooks for reference and research….
It’s looking like my usual bikepacker bike will meet the requirements more than adequately so I will just have to content myself with a new set of wheels instead…
My mate has a similar setup so will take that and leave the Stoater at home.
Anyone with experience of the del Norte I’d be grateful for route info (esp.if there’s bits worth missing on the walkers route…)
@Ben_H: nice bike 😁Posted 11 months ago
Bookmarking. 👍Posted 11 months ago
I think someone put a Del Norte trip report on bearbones a couple of years ago. It may have been a different Camino though, can’t remember sorry. Maybe worth a search on there if you didn’t already?Posted 11 months ago
@ianpv: sorry, didn’t read your post properly first time round. That’s pretty useful info, thanks.
I don’t really have room for another bike… guess it’s a blessing in disguise… 🤣
I’ll do a search jameso (but I thought it was the Via de la plata (or whatever it’s called…)).Posted 11 months ago
Well, it (Camino del Norte I mean) hasn’t happened. Yet. Deferred for the immediate future, hopefully next year.
However, I have just (pre)ordered a Mint Camino Al GRX1 as riding my big tyred LS hard tail on the road does not float my boat.
Should I ever return to the office based environment, I’ll have zero excuses not to cycle in…
Any suggestions for commuting luggage? Basically clothes, lunch and laptop. I added the Alpkit rack just for good measure…Posted 2 months ago
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