A lot of people ask us about those bicycles we're using during this journey, and what the reasoning of our choice was. As the cycle computer shows more than 2000 kilometers behind, we think the time has come to tell you about the equipment we use. Bicycle store “Velosite” has provided us with cycles and here is the story about their advantages and disadvantages.
Before the trip we spent a lot of time choosing a type of bikes: fast hybrid or enduring mountain. That was obvious that the landscape wouldn’t be the same everywhere: from highways to mountains, from asphalt to gravel.
The most of travelers who had done the same route before us chosen mountain bikes, but there have been brave men who travelled along the Latin America on road bikes with thin wheels. Suggesting that the speed would be our priority we decided upon the hybrid bikes with 28-inch wheels and told that to our bike sponsor.
“Why not to try German bikes GHOST – new brand on Russian market but of a very high quality?” – was the sponsor’s suggestion. We frowned a little bit (new is always scary) but agreed after a short test drive because those bikes seemed to be immortal.
Then we faced a problem of choosing a model. At first we’ve planned to ride the same bikes, but by the end of the season there had been hardly any bikes left. Moreover we decided that our bikes should be equipped with V-brakes (as it would be nearly impossible to repair the hydraulic and even mechanic disk brakes in case of breakage in Latin America), what considerably reduced possible model range.
The Ghost’s TR5100 and TR1800 have almost completely met all our requirements and we settled on them. The German quality and group set by Shimano inspired confidence.
* You can find detailed technical information on those models by visiting the website, therefore we will briefly note the most important components.
Hybrid bicycle with lightweight aluminum frame, 60mm travel suspension fork, Shimano Deore derailleurs, Schwalbe slick tires — everything that is necessary for a reliable performance of the bicycle due to the main purpose which is to pass 12 thousand kilometers with big bags quickly and comfortably.
The bicycle in a standard specification is equipped with a light aluminum trunk, light plastic mudguards, height-adjustable stem, chainguard, kickstand, pump, bell and set of lights powered by a Shimano dynamo hub.
StasI am quite experienced in riding bikes of famous brands. That is why I expected the same quality and comfort from Ghost and for now I’m satisfied with both characteristics. I would like to mention long plastic mudguards that are not weighing the bike, dynamo hub and bright lights allowing driving safely at night. Also wonderful light trunks that easily support our huge and heavy bags were a nice surprise (previously we thought we would have to replace them with more solid and heavy ones). A kickstand was an upset, as it can keep a bicycle upright only on perfectly plane surface.
The main difference from TR5100 is frame geometry and a rigid fork but the rest is quite the same. However, Velosite’s employees decided to modernize the bicycle replacing derailleurs with «more serious» Shimano Deore XT.
This was not the end of modernization. As long travels add certain requirements for comfort, it was necessary to make some more changes to standard specification.
On both bicycles stock plastic pedals have been replaced with stronger metal ones; cycle computers and two bottle cages have been mounted on each bike. We planned to replace handlebars with tourist «butterflies-bars», but settled on bar ends attached to a standard bar. Stas’ bike got the GPS navigator, and Vova's bicycle — handlebar bag.
Velosite provided us not only with bikes itself but also with a set of tools and spare parts. For a mountain terrain and a lack of the asphalt road we’ve been supplied with sets of light kevlar off-road tires Hutchinson.
VladimirDuring my last trip from St Petersburg to Lisbon I rode bike of a different brand and was sure that there are no better models exist. It turned out that there are if not better but of a same high quality. We do not have any problems with our Ghost bikes. Sometimes we don’t have time to wash them but even with mud on the frame they look gorgeous and attract a lot of attention. And, you know, lights. Lights powered by Shimano dynamo hub are priceless! For example during last trip we had to ride a lot in darkness because of the discharged batteries.
These babies have already been to the Hell and back (more than 2000 km) and yet never failed. All the hardware work perfectly: we never had to tighten up anything though small breakdowns occurred.
In total we had:
— 7 punctures;
— 1 broken spoke of Vova's bicycle;
—fallen-off chainguard of Vova's bicycle (fastening was loosened, bolt fell off, we couldn’t replace it);
— fallen off after a fall bar end on Stas's bicycle;
— several times trued wheels of both bicycles;
— completely replaced rim and spokes of a back wheel of Stas’s bike (the original wheel was irreversible deformed during Stas's unsuccessful attempt to prevent bicycle’s falling with a help of his foot).
Some experienced cyclists ask why we do not use special footwear with contact pedals, don't wear cycle form, gloves and a helmet. Here is our answer.
For long distances we use cycle shorts (cycle pampers), which really simplifies the whole day in a saddle. We do not consider contact pedals and a complete set of a cycle form necessary. It is convenient for us to ride in usual t-shirts and sneakers, or in Berghaus clothes if the weather is cool or wet.
Speaking of helmets, we have them. We carry them just in case. We believe more in our own experience and attentiveness than in illusion of invulnerability with a piece of plastic on the head.
Translated by Irina Kuzminacomments powered by HyperComments