So I’ve had the bike for nearly two weeks now and had time to rack up some miles and more thoughts on it thusly:
Tyres – fucking useless. I’ve just picked up my fourth puncture on the bike. Admittedly the one at weekend was on sharp flinty trails which even a full mtb shod in chunky tyres might have struggled with but four in less than a fortnight? Mostly I’ve been riding roads and gentle trails, nothing downhill or extreme. Yes it’s Britain, in autumn and we have gnarly hedges but even so, the tyres are from Treks mountain biking range and for an “adventure” bike this simply curtails any attempt at adventure.
As tyres for riding they do a good job, quick rolling and grippy but the quickest tyre in the world is sod all use if it’s flat.
I’m swapping to schwalbes and taking advantage of the tubeless ready rims, hopefully that will sort things.
Rack mounts – I’ve found when standing up on the bike these can sometimes rub against my calf. Not a major problem, they don’t get in the way when seated and would probably not be an issue if I removed the rack but an annoyance nonetheless.
Racks – So far so good with the actual racks. I’ve taken the front one off and not actually done any real touring yet but have loaded up the rear rack with a bag which was lovely not having to get a sweaty back!
I’ve purchased some Ortlieb Back Rollers which fit well and look solid. Long weekend coming up so will report back.
Ride/capability – as mentioned I’ve yet to fully test this bikes adventure credentials fully loaded but in general day rides it’s great. I’ve taken it over all sorts of terrain and it’s handled it all well (apart from the punctures!). Yes, there are sections where I need to be careful and ease off a little to ensure I don’t wipe out or bugger the rims and yes there are times when my plusbike would be quicker/safer/more fun but overall I’ve not found myself feeling “underbiked”. For every section of trail I have to slow a little and pick my line, there’s another that I can totally crank it up on and go a lot quicker than I could on a pure mtb.
Throw in the odd road link where the bike clips along at a reasonable pace and it really is a bike that excels at covering varied ground quickly.
Components – other than the useless tyres, no major quibbles with the group set or brakes. The gear ratio despite being mtb oritentated doesn’t have much of a granny gear considering the heft of the bike, I’ve suffered winching myself up some long steep road climbs and that’s with the bike unladen! But, it’s doable and an incentive to get fitter! The flip side is that on undulating road I’ve never spun out.
Short term conclusion
Taking the tyres out of the equation for a minute then this bike gets 10/10, it’s bloody brilliant. I love the drops and variety of hand positions, love the feel and way it rides and love sniping mountain bikes on the trail! The look of shame as they get dropped by a drop bar bike gives me a wry smile every time!
However, the tyres truly are abysmal. Everything about the bike is set up to allow you to roll out the shop and cycle to Mongolia if you were so inclined but make sure you stock up on tubes and patches as you’ll likely have it belly up and be fixing a puncture before you get round the first bend.
The good news though is that tyres can be swapped and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’ll let you know how I get on with the new tubeless set up.