…continued from page 1
My next task was to look amongst my bike collection to see if I had anything suitable for the task. The answer was no, so I set out to research a new hardtail at a decent price which would be tough enough to tackle some trails with a full load, but not too heavy to strap to a raft.
After much deliberation and hundreds of reviews I decided on a Whyte 905 2019 model – again a good compromise of balancing all the features on my tick list;
- Less than £2000
- Less than 15kg
- Looks great
- Tubeless rims
- 1x drive
- Suitable for loaded and unloaded riding so I could take it on some trails and downhills when not touring.
When I went to my local bike shop just for a test ride and a nosey it turned out they had a 2018 model in my size at a significant discount, so I picked it up for £1000 and chucked it in the boot of the car.
A slightly spontaneous purchase but as soon as I sat on it the geometry just felt right. Riding it feels like I’m 10 years old again and can throw it around without fear. Precisely what a hardtail should feel like in my book.
Having only done pannier based cycle touring before I then needed to do some further research and shopping…once again my bank manager was sweating as I opened up a browser.
There are a whole range of bikepacking bags, packs, pouches, seat post racks, fork bags and many other terms used to make you feel cool and a bit special about the process of basically strapping luggage to your steed.
I will detail some of the gear I purchased and used in other posts. My initial setup was an Ortleib Handlebar Pack combined with Apidura Expedition Full Framebag and Backcounty Saddle Pack. A quick email exchange with the guys at Apidura confirmed that I could fit the 7.5Litre Framebag on my new bike and true to their word it fits with no problems – other than my desire to stuff 8.5 litres of gear into it.
My experience of cycle touring has taught me not to mess around with saving a few pennies here and there when it comes to luggage – especially when it comes to waterproofing. It’s a false economy. Buy well and buy once.
continue reading on page 3