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From the beginning
Model ? (between 2000 and 2004 I think)
I bought my bike (Gazelle, Playa) in 2005 used. I did get lucky with this bike, it was just brought into the local bike shop the day before as a trade-in and as soon as I saw it I knew it was perfect for me. This bike is not a dedicated touring bike, it’s officially called a fitness bike or hybrid but it did have the mounting holes for the front racks and mountain bike gearing. It is also one size larger than what would have been perfect for me, but it’s still within the range that is for my height. And it cost me €300, I thought and still do (in 2016) it was well worth it.
Trek 7.2 WSD
We bought Monique’s bike, the Trek 7.2 WSD brand new in 2006 for €300.
It is not a dedicated touring bike. It’s also called a fitness bike or hybrid. It did come with the mounting holes for the front racks but not the right gearing.
Handlebars, grips and bar-ends
Both of us now use flat bars, wide grips and bar-ends.
The flat bars are cut to the width of our shoulders.
These are the BBB ‘flatbar’ MTB bar alloy.
The grips are wider than normal for more comfort.
These are just an example, the picture is just to show the type of grips we use for maximum comfort.
The bar ends are slightly curved inwards for a better grip in wet conditions.
These are the bar ends we use. BBB bar-ends, classic black.
Shifters and drive-train
Both bikes have Shimano Alivio intergrated brake-shifters which have held up all these years with just a couple cable changes. The biggest problem is the cables get dirty after a while and it’s just quicker to replace the cables and tube’s than clean them.
The gear setup is also the same on both bikes. They have a mountain bike set up with 22/32/42 up front, and the cassettes are Shimano 11-32.
In the future we might go up to 11-34. We do have to shorten the chains on our bikes by one and a half links to compensate for the wide range of gears.
Bikes with a longer chainstay should not have a problem.
We both went for the Brooks leather bicycle saddles.
We have not tried any other saddles for touring, but we both feel there is no need to, these are just perfect. We can ride on them for 8 plus hours in +42°c temperatures without any problems whatsoever. They do need some maintenance but the benefits are well worth the trouble.
We apply beeswax once or twice a year and at night we keep them covered with shower caps (which we also use over our helmets on rainy days).
I use the Brooks Flyer.
The mans model has a 275mm length.
Monique uses the Brooks Flyer S.
This is the woman’s version which is shorter at 242mm length.
For the past 10 years we were using the stock mudguards that came with the bikes. But after all this use they began to break apart and we were forced to look for replacements. And after some research we decided to go the the longest mudguards we could find.
We don’t think they are for every touring situation, like expeditions in remote areas of the world, but for our needs they are perfect. The front guards are long enough to keep the chains clean and the rear ones are long enough to keep the cyclist behind dry in wet conditions.
These are the longest mudguards we could find. The SKS Bluemels matt 45.
We got size 45 as we use 35C tires.
Touring rims and tires
The wheels were replaced on both bikes in 2013 with Weinmann ZAC 19 which have 36 spokes. So far I had to replace my rear rim from a broken hub, which conveniently broke less than a kilometer from home after our spring 2013 tour. I do believe it was a factory defect, and the local bike shop replaced it without any charge. I don’t think I would be happy if it happened in the middle of a tour.
For the tires we have always used the Schwalbe marathon plus 700x35c.
We are very happy with these tires.
We have been using Tubus racks sinds 2006 and are extremely satisfied with them.
The rear racks are the Tubus Cargo classics.
The front racks are the Tubus Tara.
And in the fall of 2014 we used these small Sunlite Gold Tec Front Rack, 26″/700c.
They fit over the front wheel connecting to the brake mounts and the brake/mudguard mount above.
The have worked great freeing up space in the rear panniers for more winter gear. From now on we will use them to carry our Helinux chair one.
We both use normal pedals that have bearings (not just brass bushings). But we think that paddles are a personal choice.
On Monique’s bike we have used the Fueltank XL aluminum bottle cage, which can hold up to 1.5 liter bottle.
She has only one mount on her bike and this bottle cage fitted perfect.
On my bike I have three bottle cages which I use the lower one and the seat post one for tool storage.
And I have adapted the third one to hold a 1.5 liter bottle. I use plastic tie wraps to hold down the bottle neck.
We have always used the Cateye Enduro 8.
They work great and only need a battery change once a year.
Our bikes as they stand now. Only differences are the paddles have been changed and our sleeping bags are back in the rear panniers.
We now use the Sunlite Gold Tec Front Rack to hold our Helinox chair One.
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