October 3, 2009
Now a week removed from North America's premier bike industry gathering, Interbike, I've had some time to catch my breath and collect my thoughts.
Throughout the weeklong Interbike show, I noticed a few emerging trends among all the bikes and bicycle pieces and parts. One such trend is the concept of building a bike that could take you across the country on the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail one year, and down the spine of the Rockies on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route the next. You can call them dual-terrain, all-purpose, or all-arounders—but whatever you choose to call them, the following three are examples of this new style of bicycle.
The Co-Motion Pangea will mark its third year of production in 2010. It accompanies the ever-popular Nor'Wester and Americano in Co-Motion's touring bike lineup. Featuring mountain-bike geometry, the bike is set up with road (drop) handlebars, and includes all the eyelets you need to run front and rear racks and fenders, as well as three water-bottle cages. The 135mm dropouts take on 26-inch wheels, which increase durability and allow you to run slick tires for road riding or wide knobbies for the dirt. Like all of Co-Motion's steel bikes, the Pangea is handmade in Eugene, Oregon, using the company's custom-drawn steel tubing. The one improvement that will be made on the Pangea for 2010 is the addition of disc-brake mounts. The bike can be purchased as a frame and fork only for $1,835, or complete for around $3,600. The components on the complete build are top notch, highlighted by a Shimano XT/XTR drivetrain, Race Face triple crankset, Shimano Dura Ace bar end shifters, and your choice of BB7 disc brakes or Avid single digit 7 V-brakes. Add on an additional $800 for the Pangea Co-Pilot that features S&S couplings, which permit the bike to be broken down to fit in a hardsided suitcase and checked as baggage on airline flights.
The Salsa Fargo puts an expedition spin on this dual-purpose style of bike. With six water bottle mounts, it allows riders to concentrate more on the ride and less on the next watering hole. The CroMoly frame and fork combined with 29-inch wheels provide a fast, smooth ride on the pavement, and a forgiving ride on the dirt. While the 29er wheels make the bike sit a bit higher, the top tube slopes downward to accommodate easy mounting and dismounting. An exceptional deal at around $1,800, this bike features a full Shimano XT drivetrain that gives you plenty of gears with a triple crankset (26/36/48T) and 11-34 tooth cassette. And bringing the loaded bike to a stop is no problem with the Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes, which are easily serviced in the field.
Rawland is a relatively new company focusing on affordable, practical, and well-built steel frames. The Ravn is their go-anywhere/do-anything model. Set it up with drop bars and mount up your racks, and you can head out on whatever ride you're in the mood for. Your braking option is limited to disc brakes, and with a 135mm dropout spacing, the frame is best suited to run 26-inch tires. One unique feature of the bike is the horizontal dropouts with a derailleur hanger. This gives you the option to run a single speed setup with an internal hub, or mount up a standard derailleur and cassette. Available only as a frame and fork, at $630, there's a lot of spending room to add on a nice group of components.
Photos by Josh Tack.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's Member Services Department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.