For the last couple of years I’ve been riding a Surly Ogre (details below) but on recent trips, and whilst watching people like Cass, Joe and Mike exploring on fat-bikes over the past couple of years, I’ve found myself yearning to try some fatter tyres. Following the majority of the bike industry like a sheep, I jumped onto the 27.5+ bandwagon and picked up a Jamis Dragonslayer when they were released in the UK earlier this year. It’s steel, relatively cheap and comes with a few features to make it a little more bikepacking friendly. And it has an awesome name. The 3 inches of rubber on the 27.5 inch rims with which the Dragonslayer is equipped might just hit a sweet spot between weight, efficiency, traction and cushioning (if you believe the marketing hype). Or they might just be fun to ride, which seems to be the case from a few unloaded rides in the UK. I’ve upgraded a few things from the stock spec, swopping to a Thompson seatpost, trusted Brooks Cambium saddle, a riser bar with wide, extra chunky ESI grips, Maxxis Chronicle tyres, SLX brakes, and adding a SON 28 15 dynamo hub to the front wheel.
Surly Ogre (posted November 2014)
Tom Allen showed that it was possible to cobble together a perfectly serviceable touring bike whilst only spending £25, and this should be pretty liberating in that it means that anyone can pull together the kit for a trip without much effort or cash, and can just head off on an adventure.
But, knowing that I wanted a bike that was robust, bomb-proof and would enable me to carry gear in a way that let me ride off-road trails as much as possible, I put together something a bit more specific to the task, and therefore a bit more expensive. I took some inspiration from a number of people backpacking long distances on rough roads. In particular, Cass and Mike, who were both riding Surly’s 29in wheeled Ogre (but who have both now moved onto the fat-tyred Pugsley, which I look upon with envy!).
So, this is what has been carrying me along the off-road trails and back roads of France and Spain so far…
Surly Ogre 20 in (large) frame
Surly Ogre rigid forks
Rohloff Speedhub, 14 gear internal hub gear
16t Rohloff cog, reversible
Surly 36t chainring, reversible
Shimano XT Bottom Bracket
KMC chain, strong and cheap, with KMC quick link [Update: replaced by a Shimano 8 speed chain][Update 2: now back with a KMC chain again!] Surly tuggnut, for easy chain tensioning
Shimano XT 175 mm cranks
Time Atac Alium pedals
Stans Flow EX 29″ 32 hole rims, drilled for Schraeder valves,
Sapim D-Light spokes
Rohloff Speedhub (rear), solid axle, external mech
Schmidt SON 28 dynamo hub (front), to provide power on the move
Maxxis Ardent 29″ x 2.4″ tyres, foldable, single compound, EXO sidewalls, run tubeless
Brooks Cambium C17 saddle
Thompson Elite in-line seat post
And there she is. If you’ve any questions or think there’s something missing, just pop a comment in the box down below. There’s some info on the set-up I’m using to carry my gear over on the gear page (surprisingly!).