Ahearne Cycles

rear rack

Off Road Touring Bike

For Sale, News, Touring, TravelJulie1 Comment

Ride Review

The BeastIn Portland, Oregon, we're pretty lucky to have Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks and nature reserves in the country. The main through-way in the park is Leif Erikson Rd., which is a mostly unpaved fire road that runs nearly 12 miles from one end of the park to the other. Forest park is a great place to walk or ride, and it's only about 10 minutes (by bike) from downtown. 

Yesterday I rode through the park. The sun was shining and by mid afternoon it was nearly up to 70 degrees. I rode the new 29er touring bike totally unloaded to see how it handled, changing the tires from 47c semi-slick road tires to WTB Exiwolf 29” x 2.55 – big fat knobby off road tires. This is the same bike I picked up in Eugene and rode back to Portland a couple of weeks ago. It's a stable bike, but I wanted to see how it handles at speed over bumpy terrain. 

This bike was built primarily as a touring bike, and has the clearance for fat tires and fenders. I haven’t reviewed this bike yet because I wanted to spend some time in the saddle in various conditions and see how I liked it. For the trip back up from Eugene it was great. Very stable with weight, sure handling, comfortable, a wide gear range. Even with about 15 pounds of gear on the front I was able to ride no-hands without a problem. 

Park Entrance from Germantown Rd.

Going through the park yesterday I was again impressed with the stability and handling. The bike has detachable low rider mounts and a fairly sizeable upper deck on the front rack, which means it can hold a lot of gear. Even unloaded the bike steered easily, and flying down a rocky, gravelly section of Lief Erikson I sat back and took my hands off the bars and the bike held its line easily. Stability, no hands, with or without weight on the front – I like it. 

I didn’t remove any of the racks, and carried along my u-lock in the integrated lock holder on the rear. The bike also has large stainless fenders, mud flaps and a kickstand – all these things add up, and make the bike heavier than one I would usually ride through the park. I would like to strip the bike down to the bare essentials at some point and try it out. But, even with all the extras on the bike I was very impressed at how quiet it was – no rattles, squeaks or knocking. Even the lock shackle is wedged in so it can't rattle. The only thing I noticed was that in especially bumpy places the lower part of the front fender would shake back and forth enough to hit the knobs on the tires -- not a big deal, and to be expected riding off road with fenders.  

Knobby Tire TouringAnother trip I want to take is with the bike fully loaded on the same trail, just for a comparison – fully loaded front and rear panniers and a dry-sack on the upper deck of the front rack. I want to pack it as if I were going for a long trip off road. It will be slower going, obviously, but I’m very curious to know how it feels. I’m fairly certain that it’s going to do just fine.

You know what would be even better, would be to pack it as if I were going on a long bike trip, and then go on a long bike trip. We’ll see what this summer brings…

Flickr Photo Set

Off Road Touring Bike

Bikes in Thailand, part I

News, TravelJulie2 Comments

Bicycle Throne People CarrierEmbossed GripsWhile in Thailand I took a lot of photos of bikes that I came across. Well, not only bikes, but also interesting motorized two and three wheeled vehicles, especially cargo vehicles. I'm sure that other southeast Asian countries are more dependent upon cargo bikes than Thailand -- the economy is such that many people can afford cars and trucks.

But still, there are a lot of people who choose both motorized and non-motorized cargo bikes to transport their stuff, or to transport people. Food vendors and tuk-tuk drivers, ice delivery to the vendors, mobile fruit sales, hauling the kids, and so on.

The traffic, especially in Bangkok, is bad enough to warrant smaller vehicles to get around, something that could more easily maneuver through. As you head into southern Thailand, to the coastal towns and islands, you find retro-fitted sidecars attached to scooters and small motorcycles. Many of these have some sort of covered top to keep the driver and passangers out of the intense sun. I'm sure the covered top also comes in handy during the rainy season. Typically the roads on the islands and in coastal towns are small, narrow and often bumpy. Most people need only to travel short distances, and it's always warm, so there's no need -- nor want -- for an enclosed vehicle. 

Here are a few photos of a couple of different bicycles I came across while in Bangkok. This is the first of what I hope to be several posts about bikes in Thailand. Some are more interesting than others, but there is usually at least one element that is worth noting from each. You can see descriptions for the photos on the Ahearne Cycles flickr site. I hope you enjoy them. 

Interesting Carriers


Antique Folder


Rear Rack Build Process

I've taken a series of photos detailing the process of putting together a rear touring rack. As you can see, there are a number of steps involved. There are a total of thirty joints mitered (fitted) and brazed, including the u-lock holder. I receive a lot of requests for racks, and I don't know if people in general understand what all is involved in the construction. If you notice, a lot of custom builders out there are not willing to build racks. That's because they are tricky, time consuming, and it's really hard to make a rack that looks right, fits right, and does the job it's supposed to do. I have to admit, I have a sort of love/hate relationship with building racks. On the one hand, they are light (relatively), incredibly strong, and when built with the bike and painted to complement or match the