The Fats Bikes That Toured 1,200 Miles
An English couple simply toured the Andes, 1,200 miles by means of Colombia and Ecuador, on two purpose-built Surly Moonlanders.
You wouldn’t take a dump truck on a cross-country expedition, so why pedal over a thousand miles on the bicycle equal?
In keeping with Bernard Wragge-Morley, a 62-year-old enterprise proprietor from the U.Okay., as a result of it’s secure, straightforward to deal with, and he and his journey companion/spouse aren’t in any hurry.
“We by no means race anyplace, sometimes biking 60 to 90 km a day, stopping typically and having fun with locations and the folks we meet.”
Wragge-Morley and his spouse, Sarah, simply accomplished a motorcycle tour by means of Colombia and Ecuador on fats bikes. In all, they went 1,200 miles by means of the Andes, cloud forests, and “The Misplaced Metropolis.” It was their most up-to-date long-distance, self-supported tour, and the pair’s first on 5-inch treads.
We caught up with Bernard on his means again dwelling, through Australia, to study just a little extra concerning the uncommon setup and what did or didn’t work.
Surly Moonlanders For Touring
The Wragge-Morleys didn’t bounce into fat-bike touring. The pair logged over 35,000 km (virtually 28,000 miles) on mountain-bikes beforehand. However they developed a style for fatties throughout a Nice Divide tour by means of the States.
Wragge-Morley discovered Surly was the simplest fat-bike body to acquire within the U.Okay., so he nabbed a pair Moonlanders and set to work on making them long-haul truckers (figuratively talking).
He built up everything: headset, wheels, and drivetrain. The entire construct was made for touring.
“I went the entire hog with 120 mm tires, entrance and rear racks, Rohloff gearbox and Schmitt Son 28 Dynohub, and Busch & Müller Lumotec U sense gentle,” he wrote on his weblog.
He made a few particular modifications, one to the torsion bar to allow rear-wheel adjustment, and one other to the entrance rack. Past that, Wragge-Morley assembled the bike along with his chosen parts (see under) and set off.
Fats Bike Touring
Wragge-Morley gave us a rundown and assessment of his full setup. Beneath are his ideas on driving virtually 2,000 miles on a 44-lb. Moonlander loaded with greater than 57 kilos of substances.
We needed to get used to the completely different dealing with of the Fats Bikes. With entrance panniers, they needed to be proactively steered at low pace, however having some weight on the entrance makes them a lot simpler to deal with on steep climbs because the entrance wheel stays firmly on the bottom.
In each means, they’re a really secure experience. Once we take all the bags off for a fast native discover they all of a sudden appear very responsive. I’m actually happy that I constructed these and introduced them with us. It was very a lot a step into the unknown.
A lot of the distance we rode was on tarmac and we didn’t discover the fats bikes a major drawback. There may be extra rolling resistance with the Schwalbe Jumbo Jim tires than the Marathon, that are designed for touring, however that’s principally right down to tread sample, not measurement. I couldn’t discover a touring-specific tire 120 mm huge.
Touring Fats Bike Construct: Evaluation
Surly Moonlander Fats Bikes
Thus far they’ve carried out very properly. They had been of their aspect on part from Charala to Duitama. The primary 17 km was all uphill. The highway floor was free stone of irregular form, principally 75 mm or bigger, with base rock, ridges, and steps typically 100 mm or extra.
The fats tires rolled over all of it. It was a tough experience even on the fats bikes however we had been in a position to experience all of it. Additionally they dealt properly with the smooth muddy sections which shocked me. The sandy mud cleared out of the tires rather well and as we had been shifting slowly we didn’t get any aquaplaning.
Tyres Schwalbe Jumbo Jim And Schwalbe Tubes
We had 5 punctures on the primary a part of our journey on the highway from Cartagena through Santa Marta to Bucaramanga. One from a thorn and the remainder from damaged wire of truck tires. As quickly as we left the principle highway for the tracks the punctures have stopped. One of many model new tubes I fitted in Cartagena had a producing fault subsequent to the valve and blew the primary day.
Rohloff 14-Speed Hubs And Schmitt Son 28 Dynamos
These carried out with out fault.
Brooks England Saddle
This, in fact, performs the identical as they’ve since 1886: brilliantly.
That is the primary time we used these on a touring bike. They carried out rather well beneath all climate circumstances. We solely carried out minor changes to compensate for put on about as soon as each two weeks. Regardless of the heavy hundreds and steep, very lengthy descents, typically in moist climate, the primary set of pads had been solely half worn after 1,500 km. Stopping energy stays fixed beneath all circumstances.
VDO M3 Cycle Pc
I swapped over to the VDO M3 odometer as I discovered the Cateye M8s I used solely lasted about one 12 months earlier than corrosion stopped them from working. Additionally, the cage on the Cateye holds water and may cease working in heavy rain. The VDO is significantly better designed and works properly.
Busch & Müller Lumotec Lamps
These sadly are a catastrophe! They can’t deal with a small quantity of moisture. I selected them as a result of they’ve good targeted gentle output and a built-in USB charger. I fitted these earlier than our journey to experience the Nice Divide. One of many lights failed in heavy rain.
I fitted them to the fats bikes and one gentle was defective on supply, once more changed. Then each the brand new ones failed within the rain on our Scottish Isles journey. Once more each had been changed freed from cost. On the third day of this journey we had a tiny bathe and the sunshine on my bike failed once more! They should change the design of the distant change.
That is the primary time we used entrance baggage. To start with, even on the highway, we had horrible hassle with the entrance bag backside clips popping out from the rack and the baggage bouncing. After our experiences in Romania, we all the time add a velcro strap across the prime bar and a second backside clip to the rear baggage to maintain the baggage from bouncing off over pace bumps and degree crossings.
To repair the entrance bag downside, I purchased extra velcro and sewed some straps to tie the underside of the entrance baggage in. This solved the issue. I don’t perceive why, however the baggage with the least weight in them had been the primary to bounce out. We solely have 2.5 to three.5 kg within the entrance baggage. It’s fairly noticeable in 40-degree Celsius warmth, the plastic on the baggage turns into fairly pliable. With all of the velcro and locks, it’s a ache getting the baggage on and off the bikes. however no less than they keep on whereas we experience.
Additionally, I used the additional small baggage added to my rear panniers to hold instruments and locks so they’re simply accessible. On this journey, they arrive off commonly so I needed to take them off and put them in my meals bag on the rear rack. I’ve not had any issues with the small baggage on the earlier 30,000 km.
This can be a fabulous piece of equipment and I wouldn’t go away dwelling with out it. I hold it in my prime bag the place it’s out of sight and works completely. Garmin simply purchased Delorme. I hope the expertise solely flows from inReach to Garmin and never the opposite means spherical.
We don’t need the Inreach to output some arbitrary place as an alternative of the final precisely identified one.
Garmin Oregon 600t and 450t
I believe (hope) that I’ve a Friday-built 600t and the efficiency of mine doesn’t mirror the standard efficiency. I changed my 450t final 12 months because the display was failing after a few years of excellent service. So I believed I used to be upgrading going to the 600t. It has a significantly better display and comparable battery life.
Nevertheless, the 2 most import components — the GPS receiver and the monitoring software program — are very poor. On the typical 60-km journey it loses all satellites no less than 3 times. That is both because of poor antenna or receiver. It’s potential they compromised the design to include the twin satellite tv for pc programs.
The 600t additionally commonly takes a couple of try to boot, the opposite day it took 10! I gave up just a few days in the past and now use the 450t.
When the GPS receiver on the 600t loses lock, the monitoring software program continues to log all of the factors. This provides plenty of ineffective km to the observe.
The GPS in my Samsung cellphone works higher, however sadly, they aren’t sufficiently waterproof. The 450t performs significantly better as a GPS and by no means allow us to down. The software program is healthier written as properly. The one purpose to maintain utilizing the 600t is the higher display. Garmin mentioned they’ll trade or change the 600t.
This is a superb piece of equipment. 5 USB outputs, three excessive energy. It Works off any voltage: 100 V to 240 V 50 or 60 Hz. I purchased this on Amazon however I can solely discover a 4 and 6 port model now.
This costs as much as 4 AA or AAA batteries from a USB port. This newest model is superb. Every battery is individually charged and monitored. I’ve modified these to cowl the discharge button in order that I can retailer the spare batteries inside whereas transporting them with out having to fret about an unintentional discharge. The black one is healthier than the sooner crimson one.
Life Adventure Mini Lock 600 mm
We now have used these to lock our panniers to the bikes. Whereas they won’t stand up to a severe assault it prevents a snatch and exhibits we’ve some safety. In any case, any knife will open a pannier in seconds. One of many eight locks broke after 9 weeks and two of them not retract.