Price: Silkroad from $2,800 from Peter White Cycles. (Also, check out the full-suspension Panamerican model)
Specs: Steel frame, built in Germany. Integrated rear rack. Disc brakes. Deore LX gearing system. Brooks B17 saddle. Designed to carry 160kg of bike, rider and luggage.
Who has used it: Billy Fehr
Upsides: Wonderful build quality and the integrated rear rack means a few less moving parts to come loose.
Downsides: Disc brakes only, which can be prone to damage if your bike takes a tumble. An integrated rear rack also means you can’t take it off if you need to pack the bike for shipping.
For more information: Tout Terrain Website
9th December 2012 at 1:32 am #
I have completed 2 short trips on my Tout Terrain Silkroad and it performed almost faultlessly. The only problem I had was a broken gear cable inside the Rohloff gear pulley housing, but I suspect it was due to me installing non-standard cables. The bike is comfortable and stable at speed, whether fully laden or unladen.
I bought the frame (size XL) and components separately and assembled it myself, so it is not exactly a standard Silkroad but is essentially the same as the higher spec model.
Of course the frame is the core of any bike and I am very confident about this bike’s capacity for comfortable, reliable, long distance touring. I cannot make comparisons with other touring bikes as it is the only one I have ridden.
I chose the Silkroad after carefully considering the attributes of all the touring bikes I could find on the internet, including those of Thorn.
The brakes and rear carrier have been mentioned by some as potential weaknesses in the Silkroad design. Personally, I prefer hydraulic disc brakes for their superior performance in any weather and on any kind of road. I’m willing to carry basic spares and a small bottle of brake fluid in case of minor problems.
So far, my Shimano M665 brakes have been totally reliable and trouble free. Their performance is effortless and confidence inspiring. I don’t think the risk of a damaged rotor is any greater than that of a bent wheel rim, and arguably less so. Shimano’s newer rotors with rigid chassis are much stronger than basic pressed steel ones.
The integrated rear carrier is very strong and not being removable has never been a problem for me. With pedals and front wheel removed and tied to the frame, the whole bike fits inside a box measuring 140x78x18cm (55x31x7″), compact enough to load as checked baggage on plane or bus.
On both trips I used a Brooks B17 Titanium saddle and it was very good. Always looking for improvements in performance and comfort, I’ll probably use a Flyer Special on my next trip. It is significantly heavier but the extra comfort afforded by springs should be worthwhile.
The Silkroad is definitely worthy of consideration by anyone looking for a strong, comfortable, reliable touring bike, especially when equipped with a Rohloff Speedhub. It isn’t cheap but it is well designed and built for long haul touring.
2nd June 2014 at 11:38 pm #
Extremely heavy bike any thing goes wrong with roholf gearing in say,Pakistan,Iran,Vietmam,Russia,Mongolia,Turkey,even in Europe,America and I could keep going; your in trouble because there’s not a lot of places do rohlhoff, or ripholf I heard them called,Mark Beaumont had his ROLHOLFS FAIL twice or three times and had to try find a dealer to service them,could have messed up his attempt at the record.I wouldn’t touch them for a round the world trip
18th July 2014 at 2:05 pm #
Rohloff very, very rarely fail.
Far less prone to failure than derailleurs and much more rugged in rough terrain or in the event of a crash. Much less likely to be damaged by rocks, stones and sticks or as is often the case during transport on trains , planes and the like.
Move with the times, Rohloff are becoming the gear mechanism of choice for many a died in the wool traditional tourer for good reason. Virtually maintenance free, extremely reliable, tough, well engineered and so much more robust than a vulnerable derailleur there is just no comparison in terms of durability.
29th July 2014 at 6:57 am #
In the interests of being fair to a Rohloff, Mark Beaumont has said this about Rohloffs. Note that his failures were not due to the hubs but an improper wheel build:
“The Rohloff was superb throughout and took less than 1,000 miles to run in smoothly, so I only used three chains throughout and had one oil change. It was incredibly low maintenance – I wouldn’t go back to a derailleur setup for long tours. The only big challenge I had was with broken wheels and that was caused by a mistake with the initial set up where the spokes were over-tensioned.”