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Recent Articles

New Project: An Off Road Touring Bike

I’ve been working on a project in the shop recently. It’s an off road touring bike, a “gravel bike,” or, a so-called 29er touring bike. There are many different ways to build this bike. I’ve chosen to build them with 29 inch wheels because of the comfort on bumpy terrain, no suspension needed. Also for tire selection – there’s a wide range of fatter tires that come with or without tread for on and off road use. I want this bike to be a solid touring rig that can take the trails, forest service roads and whatever else you may come across on your travels. I want it to be able to stably and securely carry all the camping gear. And I want it to be comfortable for long days in the saddle, whether you’re on the road, or off of it. This would also make for an excellent year-round commuter, able to take all road conditions and all weather types.

I’ve built several versions of this bike over the years. Each one has had features that I like, and some that I wanted to modify. The bikes that I’m now building are really what I think an off road touring bike should be. Because of the high demands placed on this bike, and because of the mixture of elements of ride qualities, it requires a lot of forethought in designing. 

Some features included are disc brakes; clearance for 29 X 2.3” tires & fenders (which means there is clearance for 2.5” tires without fenders); generator light up front; strong low-rider racks on the fork, each side is individually detachable; and an upper platform front rack that can stay on the bike with or without the low-riders; long chain stays with the disc brake mounted low; non-suspension corrected fork; sloped top tube for stand over clearance; larger diameter top and down tubes for a better stiffness-to-weight ratio; frame mounted pump; five water bottle mounts (actually, four water bottle and one flask holder mount); a kick stand plate. The frame will be fillet brazed throughout.  These bikes will be able to accommodate a full range of gearing, and although the front racks will be customized, the rear rack may not. The bike will have all the mounts for a rear rack, but to save costs I’m leaving the option open to use an after-market rack. There are a few good options out there, and the rack can be stripped and powder coated to match the rest of the bike if that's what you want. 

I’m now in the process of building a few of these bikes. There are a couple that don’t yet have an owner, so if you’re interested in the possibility of getting a bike like this please contact me for details on sizing and costs. There are a couple of bikes that would fit riders between about 5’9” and 6'1”. Benefits for you, if you’re interested, are that you won’t have a long wait for delivery – these bikes should be finished and ready to be powder coated by the early part of 2011. Also, you’ll have your choice of colors for the bike.

These bikes are available as framesets and racks only, or we can help you put together a complete parts package and assemble the bike for you. Please contact me for more information about sizing, pricing, and any other details you would like to know. I’ve got more photos I will post soon.  

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Reader Comments (4)

Please add Rohloff dropouts, EBB, and non-turning front rack mount like that on the Ahearne Cycle Truck. Please make the BB drop at least 90mm to partially compensate for 60mm tires.

January 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Thanks for the suggestions, Brian. It sounds like you might be looking for a fully custom bicycle. I am building these bikes as I would want them for my own purposes.
An internally geared hub is definitely possible, but I chose not to go that route on these.
As for the frame mounted front rack, because of the big wheels, and the size of the upper deck I didn't think there would ever be enough weight up top to require that sort of rack, although it might be worth giving a try.
The bb drop on these bikes is 8 cm.
Because of the type of bike and its potential uses, there is always room to modify the specs. That's part of the reason I enjoy building them. With the ones you see here, I've chosen a group of specifications that I know work for me, and wanted to share them with other people.
Thanks again for the comments!

January 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterJoseph Ahearne

hi, are any of these still available, and are there any pics?

May 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdave

Hello. Yes, as of now there are still two off road touring bikes for sale. I just posted a new blog entry about one I built for myself, with photos and a ride review. Soon (within the next few days) I'm going to post something about the two for sale. Send me an e-mail if you have more specific questions. And thanks for asking.

May 5, 2011 | Registered CommenterJoseph Ahearne

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