Riding The Spine

Outdoor Gear Reviews

Tak-Tikka PLUS

Petzl Tak-Tikka Plus

Dry Bags

Seal Line Dry Bags

 

The Gear List for Interested Bike Tourists

 

BIKE FRAME:

Steel frame mountain bike that fits. (Steel so cracks can be welded)

FORK

Good suspension fork is sweet -- it really does help, Fox Vanilla is ideal because it uses a coil spring and does not rely exclusively on air / seals (newer Vanillas ones only come disc-compatible, 04 is latest with V-brake bosses available), FOX is extremely spendy, look on EBAY, consider rebuilding. Others can work. -- don't get an air fork-Sean would love to tell you why.

Some relatively inexpensive coil forks to consider:

Marzocchi Dirt Jumper 3 (Disc Only)

Rockshock TORA

Manitou Axel Elite

Rigid forks are ideal for pavement, but on the off-road sections we would have been hating life.

WHEELS:

36 spoke double-wall (preferred) or single-wall rim wheels (make sure rim is true and hubs are greased)

COMPONENTS

SEAT:

Really comfortable seat -- ideally a Brooks (ideally, already broken in)

HANDLEBARS

Comfortable -- multiple positions a plus.

Make sure they are high enough, and in the right place

(this depends on the stem and steering tube length)

H-bars are awesome.

Consider L-shaped bar ends for elevated handlegrip position.

STEM:

4 bolt models are more reliable than 2

SEATPOST

2 bolt models are more reliable.

BRAKES-

V-Brakes are ideal (easy to work on tons of stopping power) Avid makes the best in my opinion, Shimano makes good ones too.... Internationally available

DRIVE TRAIN:

GEARS:

You want quality parts that work/can be easily adjusted.

At least 8 gears in the rear. It is ideal to replace the entire drive-train (chain and rings) at the same time to ensure reliability and durability from even wear. If there is much wear, it is advisable to replace before you begin trip.

FRONT DERAILLEUR:

SRAM- Makes an excellent one (X-Gen) that is affordable and has nice strong wide-pivot design.

Others work well.

REAR DERAILLEUR:

SRAM has innovative designs that work well. X-7 is a reliable and affordable model. The design incorporates a roll-a-ma-jig and works especially well with Xtracycle

SHIFTERS:

Don't use Grip-Shifters, they will break.

Friction shifters available on EBAY and are ideal for their simplicity and reliability - Best are Suntour Pro. Suntour Expert is a step down.

Paul Components makes a converter for road friction shifters, but this is a VERY expensive option.

FRONT CHAIN RINGS:

You need a granny gear (super small gear -- 22 or 24 teeth) you don't really need a big gear (but run it if you want -- Sean loves his)

Make sure your chain rings bolt on (are removable/replaceable) and are in good shape

PEDALS:

Clipless (cleat) pedals are the way to go -- the extra power and control is well worth the learning curve.

They even make clipless sandals...

(Apart from the functional advantages of being able to apply more torque to your cranks, you are able to work out your legs in a more complete and healthy manner, pulling up and around versus pushing down works different muscles, balance is important with such daily repetition.)

RAT TRAPS: Sean uses these and doesn't have to worry about expensive bike shoes at all. But these do not offer the same functional advantages of cleated shoes/pedals.

WORTHWHILE ACCESSORIES:

FEDNDER (front and rear to if you are running panniers or BOB)

HANDLEBAR BAG (for snacks maps cameras,and other random items with no better home)(waterproof is ideal)

Some people like having just a basket, but that would not work for off-road use.

ESSENTIALS:

Bike Pump

Allen Wrenches (5,6and 4mm at the very least)

Crescent Wrench

Tire lever (2+spare)

Patch Kit

Spare Tubes (2) Goatheads can turn 2 tubes into swiss cheese in one fail swoop.

Chain Lube (make your own 2 or 3 parts mineral spirits or white gas to 1 part motor oil)

Spare Spokes that fit your wheels (4-8

Spoke Wrench to match

Tape (duct or medical/hockey &/or electrical)

OVERHAUL BIKE:

Before you go, regrease bearings, lube pivot points, lock-tite important nuts. Everything should be working.

OTHER GEAR:

WATER STORAGE-

8 to 10 liters of capacity overall.

Water Bottles do work, but Camel Back type systems are really nice and old ones are easily acquired for cheap.

MSR Dromedary Bags, are nice and versatile and attach to your bike frame well (thats what we have) Drom-Lites are a lightweight alternative, but are not as durable as the regular Drom Bags.

COOKING GEAR

STOVE: (MSR International -- the Dragonfly Model is nice because of adjustable flame). You should get one that burns white gas at the very least (the International burns unleaded gas, diesel, kerosene.)

There are a wide variety of inexpensive homemade Alcohol stoves that will work but the fuel does cost more than white gas and they are generally less durable.

(no propane or special cartridges, they do not sell these abroad)

POTS:

We have a 4 liter and a 3 liter (you eat a lot more than you would imagine!!!)

Spoon(big for cooking)/spatula-->(especially nice for eggs/french toast). There are collapsible models available but we use wood, it seems light enough.

MESS KIT:

Spoon/Fork/Spork/Chopsticks to eat with

Jacob thinks you should have a plate -- get one that doubles as a cutting board. This is particularly advisable if you use non-stick pans and want to sustain the non-stick surface. Greedy sporks can scratch and ruin surface very quickly.

Orikasa makes foldable plates and bowls. The plate doubles nicely as a cutting board but will eventually have trouble folding up (still works well enough) You risk being made fun of if you have this, however.

Cutting board is key. They make very thin rollable plastic models that work perfectly.

Also should have you own cup for tea/coffee..

PERSONAL GEAR:

HEADLAMP: TAK Tikka Plus

KNIFE: (if you are like goat: pocket knife, tool (Leatherman/gerber) and sheath knife) Someone needs one big enough for cooking

HELMET: We didn't use these things before the trip, but are glad we do now.

BIKE GLOVES: (short, and full-finger)

TARP: (to cover your bike -- or bivwack)

SUNGLASSES-not just for sun but bugs and debris

SKI GOGGLES- for rain/snow. Look for thrift store pair.

HEADNET: for bugs

CLOTHES:

RAIN GEAR: Pants/Jacket (Breathable). You want to have a rainproof shell. Layering is important and you don't want a rain jacket that is insulated. A simple rain proof shell will work fine. Breathability is important while cycling.

FROGG-TOGGS are a lightweight and less expensive alternative to Gore-Tex but wear out incredibly quick. If you stand too close to a fire, they fabric will disintegrate.

BIKE SHORTS (One pair seems to work well)

LONG JOHNS (top and bottom) warm when wet (wool/fleece) -- NO cotton (useless when damp) -- two pair - 1 heavy and 1 light.

SHIRT: (for warm weather riding) Ideally wick away fabric so it doesn't absorb sweat.

PANTS -- 1 pair (ideally wool)l (for comfort/warmth/presentability)

-Some people are really into the convertible pants, nice if that is your only off bike clothes. You really don't need much off bike clothes.

JACKET:(Fleece -- Wind-Stopper)

WOOL SOCKS: (At least 2 pair)

SNOW GLOVES: waterproof if possible. Lobster claws are nice.  Mits don't allow safe shifting/braking.

BATHING SUIT: Plenty of public swimming places

MID-LAYER: Sweater (Some like those down puffy jackets) others swear by wool or fleece. NO COTTON

OTHER CLOTHES: Button shirt, skirt, underwear

CHANGE OF SHOES: Camp shoes -- sandals

TOILETRIES....Toothbrush (don't cut it in half), Toothpaste, Soap, Pack Towel

SLEEPING GEAR

TENT:

Black Diamond MegaMID is very cool. Lighter than most 2 person tents and can fit up to three people. Floor is highly recommended for extended use. You can cook inside the tent (clutch in the rain/snow) and the tent can be separated for multiple people to carry.

BlackDiamond Firstlight is also a nice freestanding 2 person tent that is incredibly lightweight, but incredibly expensive.

BIVY SACKS: I've used for months and hated life in it, They above options don't weight that much more (actually less than most Bivy's).

HAMMOCKS: They make very versatile hammocks with tarp covers and mosquito nets. We are considering this option when we go through the warmer lattitudes

SLEEPING BAG-

15/0 degree (light)

Ratings are MIGHTY deceptive - make sure it is warm enough for you.

Down does not offer any warmth when wet.. if you are using a MegaMid tent...you absolutely need synthetic, unless you use a bivy.

If you have an extremely dry tent (unusual), it seems possible to bring a down sleeping bag....but we would still not recommend it. You just never know.

SLEEPING PAD:

THERMAREST:

The inflatable models DO pop, make sure to have at least one patch kit just in case. We have been very cautious with ours and have only gotten a hole in one.

(if you must get a foam pad, make sure it is closedcell foam, and decently thick) Thermarest Z-Rest could work.

-Thermarest Chair attachments are pretty damn nice to have. (Highly Recommended)

In short, make sure you are well equipped, but be as light as possible, (it is alot like back packing)

Pack in GOOD dry bags and be ready for the rain and cold -- have separate bags for your food if possible, you'd be amazed at the damage broken eggs or spilled syrup centered on the bike as possible, and strap it down tight.

GEAR CARRYING APPARATI

PANNIERS:

A full set of panniers (WATERPROOF- front and rear)

or at least get waterproof covers

B.O.B TRAILER:

A B.O.B (Beast of Burden) type trailer. Very expensive and uses a wheel size that is not standard, and potentially difficult to get internationally.

EXTRAWHEEL:

Extrawheel- A new innovative third wheel design from a Polish company that uses a single standard 26" wheel with a frame to support nets/drybags. The whole kit comes for under 200 dollars with two 40 liter dry bags.

Some potential for sponsorship since they are such a new company.

XTRACYCLE:

Our preferred method: it rides smoother, mountain-bikes better and caries large loads easier, but they are damn expensive. See Review

DRY BAG RECOMMENDATIONS:

FOR PANNIERS

Ortlieb (they are German and spendy, but the coop can get a decent deal)

-at the very least get some well fit covers.

FOR XTRACYCLE

Jacob's set up (fits PERFECTLY on an Xtracycle)

(SealLine model name)

2... 10 liter Baja Bags for food

2... 30 liter Baja Bags (1 for clothes, etc., 1 for sleeping gear)

Goat's set-up (lots more room and can be used while attached)

2 --- 80 liter Widemouth Duffel Bags (also SealLine)

they fit better than the 45 liter version of the same bag, and the extra space is easily rolled up (might come in handy some day)

OTHER THOUGHTS:

DON'T get bigger bags, and think about how the shape will fit on the bike how accessable your stuff will be....

Keep the weight Balanced

Should NOT have more than 60 liters worth of stuff.

Should have room for at least 20 liters worth of food.