Our Steel Touring Bicycles: Technical Specs

Friedel's touring bike by Robin MatherAndrew's touring bike by Robin MatherWe bought our our Robin Mather steel-framed touring bicycles in 2006 and took them on a 3-year world tour.

The top photos show the bikes as they originally looked, near the start of our epic tour.

After such an adventure (50,000km of pedalling), the bikes needed some work. In 2011, we rebuilt them to the specs listed below. You can also read more about the rebuilding process.

First, we’d like to share some thoughts on the rebuild:

1. These are meant to be sensible, basic touring bikes. Some people might say the components are a bit boring but we focused on simplicity and reliability. After all, these are not our only touring bikes.

2. If we were planning an extended tour (3+ months) in the near future, we would have plumped for more parts from Shimano’s Deore LX or XT range.

3. Many parts were cleaned and reused from the original bikes.

4. We’ve mixed and matched some parts from our Santos Travelmaster touring bicycles. For example, Andrew built a front wheel with dynamo hub (just like on Friedel’s steel bike) but that now sits on his Santos Travelmaster and the steel bike has the front wheel that came with the Travelmaster.

5. Total rebuild cost was about €500 for Andrew’s bike and €750 for Friedel’s bike. The most expensive things were the new paint job (€250) and – on Friedel’s bike – the dynamo wheel (€275). Originally, the bikes cost £1,500.

6. The current photos don’t show the totally complete bikes. One day we’ll take a picture with all the racks and accessories on the bikes. Nonetheless, we’ve listed everything that we plan to put on the bikes at this point.

We’re still not real ‘tech-heads’ so it’s possible that we’ve made a mistake or forgotten something on the list. If you have questions, get in touch and we’ll do our best to answer.

Bike #1 – Andrew’s Bicycle

Rebuilding our touring bikes

Frame & Fork

Handmade from steel by British bike builder Robin Mather. This is a classic touring bike from top to bottom. Robin does beautiful work. It’s just a shame that he hasn’t been building bikes for several years now. The cost at the time (2006) for the custom frame and fork was £755.

Transmission

  • Bottom Bracket – Shimano BB-UN55 (68mm) new
  • Crankset – Shimano Alivio 42-32-22 with 175mm cracks (M431) new (similar to this crankset on Wiggle)
  • Rear Derailleur – Shimano Deore M531 (bought in New Zealand in 2009; the original Deore derailleur was nearly dead after about 40,000km)
  • Front Derailleur – Shimano Deore M530 original
  • Cassette – 9-speed Shimano Deore XT CS-HG50 new
  • Shifters – Shimano Deore M510 original

Wheels

Chris King Cane Creek 40 EC34Steering

Brakes

  • Front & Rear Brakes – Shimano Deore LX M580 V-Brakes original
  • Teflon casing new

Seat

  • Seatpost – Selcof Team original
  • Saddle – Brooks B17 original

Racks

DMR V8 Pedals

Pedals

Accessories

(more on GPS systems for bike touring)

Bike #2 – Friedel’s Bicycle

Rebuilding our touring bikes

Frame & Fork

Handmade from steel by British bike builder Robin Mather. This is a classic touring bike from top to bottom. Robin does beautiful work. It’s just a shame that he hasn’t been building bikes for several years now. The cost at the time (2006) for the custom frame and fork was £755.

Transmission

Shimano Acera Crankset 44-32-22

  • Bottom Bracket – Shimano BB-UN55 (68mm) new
  • Crankset – Shimano Acera 44-32-22 with 170mm cranks new (arguably a bit low brow but half the price of the Alivio equivalent on Andrew’s bike; we can now do a good comparison!)
  • Rear Derailleur – Shimano Deore M531 (bought in New Zealand in 2009; the original Deore derailleur was nearly dead after about 40,000km)
  • Front Derailleur – Shimano Deore M530 original
  • Cassette – 9-speed Shimano Deore XT CS-HG50 new
  • Shifters – Shimano Deore M530 (Bought in Turkey. The original M510 shifters failed after 17,000km of use )

Wheels

  • Front Hub – SON Dynamo new
  • Front Rim & Spokes – Sputnik Rigidia & Sapim 14-15 double-butted spokes new (self-built)
  • Rear Rim & Spokes – Sputnik Rigidia & Sapim 14-15 double-butted spokes new (self-built)
  • Front and Rear Tire – Marathon XRs new (more on tires for touring; the XR is no longer manufactured but we had 2 leftover)
  • Rear Hub – Shimano Deore LX T660 new
  • Front and Rear Fenders – SKS 53mm trekking mudguards new

Steering
Ergon GC3 Grips

Brakes

Seat

  • Seatpost – Selcof Team original
  • Saddle – Brooks B17S original

Racks

Pedals

AccessoriesThe Ding Dong Bell

Comments

  1. Chris
    5th December 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Lovely bikes. The only aspect of your build that I’d be nervous of on my own touring bike is the shifters. Like you said, simplicity is the key with these things, so I’ve opted for old school 7 speed Deore thumbshifters which will give up to 8 clicks or run on friction. They’re pretty much indestructible. Having said all that, I noticed you’d got 17,000km out of the first pair of shifters you used which is pretty impressive.

    • friedel
      5th December 2011 at 10:03 am #

      Even more impressive, the shifters on Andrew’s bike are the originals – so that’s 50,000km and counting! If they wear out, we’ll get them replaced. There’s no shortage of bike shops in Europe to choose from, so it’s not a big worry for us.

  2. austen
    21st December 2011 at 11:53 am #

    dear sir,
    how much does your stead weigh? fenders and all the racks and hardware. unloaded of coarse.
    thanks. i desire, as many i am sure do, to cycle travel uber lightweight with absolutely everything.

  3. Friedel
    21st December 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Hi Austen, ultralight touring isn’t our focus… I’d guess the bikes weigh 15-17kg on their own, plus the associated gear but that’s only a guess. They’re strong, durable and comfortable.

  4. Mario Preston,Canada
    21st December 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    “Strong,durable and confortable”.I will agree with that!

  5. Santiago Zuleta Arango
    10th January 2015 at 5:35 am #

    Hi, nice bikes and great blog!
    I would like to know if the material of the frame and fork is chromoly steel or hi ten regular steel?

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