Bike Specs

The only reason I’ve put this here is in case I need to refer to it when I’m out on the road – this provides a handy place to keep it. I don’t expect it to be too useful to anyone else, but hey, you never know. Links are mainly to St John St Cycles, where I’ve bought most of my gear, but I’ve also picked up some stuff from Edinburgh Bicycle and I’m now looking at using Wiggle for some more gear.

Frame: Thorn Raven Tour 562L

Fork: Thorn twin plate fork

Pedals: Shimano PD-M520, currently clipping in with Shimano MT60 SPD touring shoes. I have also used Shimano sandals for extended periods – highly recommended, and would be my sole choice in warm countries

Transmission: Black Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 serial number 056006, steel sprocket – 16 teeth, 38T 110mm 5arm reversible single ring front, SRAM PC1 single-speed chain 114 links, Thorn triple solo alloy crankset 170mm, Shimano UN51/52/53 68mm sealed B/B. Chain was replaced multiple times, roughly every 5,000km. The single speed chain I’m using right now seems unbreakable. Sprocket and chain ring were reversed at 20,000km and replaced at 10,000km. The chain ring later got damaged in transit, and has been replaced after only 5,000km, with an FSA chainring.

Brakes: Shimano BL-M950 V-brake levers, M960 V brakes front and rear. Nice stopping power, but can be pretty noisy, and they wear reasonably quickly when riding in wet gritty conditions. I went through a few of the spare Shimano cartridges, but they are reasonably widely available. I picked up some Swiss-made ones in Iran – they lasted 20,000km hardly any wear. Now using Kool-Stop, they are very good.

Rubber: Started out with Panaracer TourGuards, 1.75″, later went to Schwalbe Marathon XR 2.0s – bulletproof but slow. In the search for something faster in China I tried Maxxis Detonator 1.5s – fast but waaaay too many punctures. Panaracer 1.25″ blew out the sidewalls. Went back to Panaracer 1.75″, as it was the best I could get. Finished Australia with Continental TravelContacts, with an interlude of a plain Marathon 1.75″. Would recommend either straight Marathons, or TravelContacts. XRs if you’re going long distances over tough roads. XRs are now deprecated, so I used Marathon Extremes for South America – nice, fast rolling, good on rough roads, but I’m not convinced of their long term durability. I had a tyre fail after just over 3,000km. Not good enough.

Wheels: Mavic EX721 26in 32h silver rims, with 14/15g Competition stainless double butted 2/1.8mm spokes with 12mm brass nipples, 262mm front, 236mm rear, x32 front, x32 rear, Shimano XT black front hub HB-M760 2004. When getting work done on the bike after ~27,000km, the front hub was showing pitting on one of the cones, so that was done at around 30,000km. Not bad, since I never ever touched them. The rear rim was more of an issue – it cracked apart in Iran, and got replaced by a Gippieme, which was pretty solid. I rode about 20,000km with that, until the braking surface was just getting worn out. I got a new Sun Kingpin rim. Due to the spoke lengths the bike shop had in stock, we ended up putting that on the front, and moving the original Mavic to the rear. Before South America, this got replaced with a Sun Rhyno Lite – very strong rim.

Handlebars: Thorn Superlight Carbon straight handlebars, Zoom alloy Ski bar ends, Hermanns Comfort DD Ergo Handlebar Grip, 1 1/8 in A-head headset, with Thorn polished alloy 105mm +/- 6°. Later changed to the fancy control bar-ends, like the Cane Creek ones. Better feel. Also changed the stem to 90mm x 45° – brought the bars up and back. That was all looking too worn out, so we later did a big overhaul, putting Ergon grips on a wider carbon bar, and played with the stem a bit. Still not quite there. One day I’ll get it right.

Mudguards: SKS chromoplastic 26in. Lasted until they got a bit too folded up when being boxed, and now the front one is a bit broken.

Racks: Thorn Expedition steel rear rack, MKV Lowloader steel front rack. No problems, although they are wearing where the panniers rub against them. There is an alloy support bar on the front racks that other cyclists have broken, but mine seem OK so far. I broke several bolts on the rough roads of South America, but the racks themselves still seem fine.

Bottlecages: Profile original design x 3. Lasted to within 150km of home, then I broke one. Not bad, since I had regularly put 1.5L bottles in there, stretching them to their limits. Great cages, so handy to be able to put any old bottle into. I don’t use bike-specific bottles, I prefer to replace them regularly. I’m trying an extra-long cage, designed for a 1.5L bottle. It’s OK, but I prefer the simplicity of the Profiles.

Seatpost: 400mmx27.2mm Mr Control carbon seatpost, alloy head. This froze in, after I put grease on it. Bad move. I ended up damaging it when I removed it. Replaced with an alloy one.

Saddle: Brooks B17 Honey – this just didn’t work out for me, and after maybe 5,000km I swapped it for a Selle Royal one. That was pretty hard though, I used a WTB Speed V, same as I have on my mountain bike. For South America, I went with a Brooks Swift Professional. Finally I’ve found a Brooks that works for me.

Speedo: Cateye Micro Wireless MC100W. No problems, apart from the odd time in some Chinese towns when there was some radio interference, and it would stop reading for odd periods. Never did track down what was causing it. The batteries seemed to last longer than the specified 10,000km.

Pump: Zefal HPX frame fit, size 1 – this was never that great, and was best used as a dog whacker. Later I tried a Cyclaire, but the best ones for me are the ones that fold out to become a mini track pump. Having a hose, rather than holding the end of pump on the valve is much better. Eventually my Chinese Sigma one gave up, replaced it with a Topeak – good, but not the Mountain Morph that I wanted. Finally I have a Mountain Morph, it’s a little big, but has a gauge, and converts to a mini track pump. Worth the extra weight.

Lights: Cateye LD260 front and rear LEDs. Used a headlamp instead of the front LED. The rear one got stolen somewhere along the line, so picked up some other random Cateye one. No good for actually seeing at night, more just so people can see you.

Panniers: Ortlieb Rear Roller Classic, in red of course, and Front Roller Classics. Ortlieb Ultimate 4 Plus barbag, in red. This bag got stolen and I later replaced it with a blue Ultimate 5. The design of the 5 is a bit better – the side zip pockets are more useful. After around 15,000km it seems that my panniers just aren’t as waterproof as they used to be. This is pretty disappointing, but then they have been fairly well bashed around. There are some obvious holes that I’ve patched, but I can’t work out where the other leaks are coming from. Even filling them up with water doesn’t show all the leaks. Very strange. But the clip system is just fantastic. So easy to get on and off, there’s a reason that 9 out of 10 round the world cyclists seem to use Ortlieb. Later, they’ve been even more bashed, and are even less waterproof. Probably going to replace them before my next trip.

Thorn Invoice Number 177554/Customer number 176943