Hi guys & gals!
Just over a month until we leave and things are coming together nicely! Yesterday was spent in Charlie the Bikemonger’s putting the finishing touches to our bikes. They are now ready to be loaded up and ready to go!
After much research and advice from our various contacts, our choice for bikes happened purely by chance.
Matt 2 had heard through social media that there was some German TV filming going on not far away and they needed some cyclists to use as extras. As it was a nice (if a bit chilly) day, he thought it would be a good laugh to go along! In the end, the film crew didn’t have time to include the cyclists. However, Matt got a lot more out of that day than a few £’s and some food!
Another cyclist at the filming just happened to be a Bikemonger by trade. Matt got chatting to him about touring, and it happens that not only had this guy been touring himself many times, but his shop stocked some pretty darn good touring bikes! Matt then looked these bikes up on the internet, and found that these bikes ticked all the right boxes. After chatting to Matt 1 about this discovery, the decision was made. They’d tour Europe on Surly Disc Trucker’s.
For all you budding cycle tourists out there (I know you’re hiding somewhere!), we thought we’d put together a few points on what we looked for in our bikes. We’ll take this opportunity to go through the features of the Surly Disc Trucker and explain why it was the number one choice for us.
Frame & Forks.
Key point- made of steel. Steel was our choice. It’s heavy compared with Carbon and Aluminium, but it is far easier to weld. If we are in a distant corner of Europe and need a frame repaired, all we will have to worry about is the language barrier and finding someone with welding tools!
26/36/48t. Key point- granny gears! The crankset offers us a brilliant range of gears, which will be invaluable when hauling our gear up the numerous mountain ranges on our tour route.
Disc. Key point- Safe and reliable. Having disc brakes will help us on long descents as they can offer superior stopping power without overheating like many standard rim brakes.
Old school bar-end style. Key point- Easy to adjust and fix. As opposed to many of the gears used on road bikes nowadays, there is less indexing on bar-end shifters. Far simpler to fix when they brake. (we love the old school look too!)
Brooks B70. Key point- Old school leather that moulds to your bum! This was an extra that we decided to add to the bike. After looking around and remaining undecided on Brooks’ saddles, we looked around and noticed that many other tourers choose them. Following advice from Andrew P Sykes (Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie, cyclingeurope.org) we decided to go for it. So far they are hard, but are breaking in nicely!
Other features on the Disc Trucker were that they include 2 spare spokes on the frame of the bike, and all frames are drilled for pannier racks as standard. Charlie also stocks wonderful items called wisecrackers. They fill the double purpose of being both a headset spacer and a bottle opener!
Surly really seem to look at small details of touring, which all culminates in a bike that looks, feels and rides as a tourer should. Solid, yet comfortable.
Having ordered our bikes, we endured a few weeks waiting while Matt 1 finished off his commitments with university. Charlie (the Bikemonger) had been kind enough to allow us into his workshop so we could learn (and input) how the bikes were put together. This was brilliant as we could pick up all the information on how to adjust the gears, calibrate the disc brakes and generally gain a deeper insight to how they work. Hopefully this knowledge will come in handy if our bikes decide to break down while touring! We even brought our cameras along so you, our awesome followers could gain a glimpse into this process too. We hope you enjoy!