Old mtb frames are a killer starting point for functional builds because they have clearance for big comfy tires, they are easily compatible with strong cheap parts, and have that old mtb geometry which isn’t all that bad for commuting/touring.
My GT karokoram serves as an all weather commuter, and my old Titanium cyclocross bike (post coming soon) has been used as my touring setup. I’ve been dreaming of a mix of the two for a while, so when a frame that ticked all the boxes popped up on Canadian Pinkbike Buy and Sell, I jumped on it!
It’s a 26″ titanium mountainbike frame built by Sandvik in 1997, very similar to the early Cove Hummer. The fact that it has a disc tab welded on from a third party frame builder was a major selling point, as it gives me the option of running any wheel size.
Other than being a seriously fun bike for just about any type of riding, a multi surface tour like our recent trip to Sweden is where it truly shines.
I matched it with a Surly Cactus fork (Troll non suspension corrected 420mm a-c), which gives the bike really nice and stable handling, with out any awkward wheel flop or funny business while turning. It’s got #allthemounts so there is an outrageous number of possibilities when it comes to bolting stuff onto your bike.
The small cheap front rack has a wald 137 basket zip tied on there, which is home to the tent and some extra layers. The bungee net overtop was mind blowing, perfect for holding the current half eaten snack, phone, and whatever layer I pulled off half way through the day. For extra capacity, I weaved my waterproof fanny pack through the edge of the basket which was home to snacks, trinkets and toiletries.
The Passport lug-cages paired with a 5L drybag worked wonders. The cage is slightly larger than the other offerings like salsa, king cage and blackburn, as well as a bit cheaper. The fact that the tripple cage mounts are angled to the front and back means that you can not only bring more stuff, but also decide how you distribute the weight on the front end. The angled cage mounts also worked well with my dry bags as they are oval shaped, making them nicely tucked in along the bike and therefore more AREO, where as a round dry bag mounted directly on the outside of the fork leg protrudes much more.
The extra water bottles on the fork ended up being unnecessary because 1, you drink a lot less water when its -6 outside, and 2, we had the opportunity to refill quite often. But it’s definitely nice to know that the full setup will work for a different trip.
In the rear I’m hauling my sleeping bag, bowl, and lock on the Portland Design Works – Bindle Rack. This is the perfect way to keep a bunch of stuff completely secure and tucked out of the wind, without the sway of a bikepacking boner bag, or the bulk and weight of a traditional rack setup. The three adjustable (and lockable) straps use a buckle system, so it’s great for packing and unpacking the same gear day in and day out, without having to readjust the tension.
My drivetrain consists of Sram’s NX 1×11 setup, which is incredible value for money. All the mechanics are the same throughout the group sets, so the only negatives are a small weight gain and maybe a bit sloppier production tolerances. 36t narrow wide, 11-42 cassette, Rotor crankset, and my favourite pedals (plastic with metal pins).
The mudguards are off an abandoned old lady’s bike, originally designed for 28″ wheels. Couldn’t be more satisfied with their shape, width, weight, stays, and overall design, as they are a perfect fit for this bike and 650b wheels. Now I just need to figure out how to get that broken tap out of the frame so I can fasten the stays with with bolts instead of zip ties..
In the middle, im running a Revelate Designs Tangle frame bag size Large, filled with tools, tubes, knife, pump, extra lens, electronics, and more snacks. Although I can’t yet speak on durability and water resistance, I’ve heard good things, as well as stories of 3 hours in down pour without any problems. Functionality wise it’s outstanding, only draw back is the the way the furthest forward top velcro loop is mounted to the daisy chain lets the front section of the bag droop a bit. The big velcro strap in the middle and the small one in the back are attached along the outer edges of the bag, keeping the rear half nice and snug around the top tube.
In terms of water storage, the original bottle mounts were set too high to use with a frame bag. Three King Cage USB’s (universal support bolts) solved that problem by holding a normal bottle cage further down inside the triangle, while also allowing for a Velo Orange Mojave Cage to hold my 1.5L Nalgene along the bottom. Very nice to keep all that weight nice and low.
In the cockpit I’ve got my Canon 500d with a 24mm pancake lens very snugly stashed away in the Revelate Designs Gas Tank. The double zip top is probably the most unique feature here, allowing for easy access on big bulky stuff. The fact that its quite rigid with lots of padding in the bottom and sides is great for protecting fragile things, as well as keeping it from flopping around when empty.
These true #whatbars are about to officially be revealed, ready? On-One OG bar with some random 90’s bull horns filed to sit nicely in the bend, along with some Control Tech Bar Extensions for those extra millimeters. Im even hanging my lock on grips off the edges a little bit, because width is better than safety!