Thinking, planning, scheming. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) is on my horizon and as such a new bike was in the equation. My LBS, Campus Wheel Works, kept me in their sights for almost a year, looking out for a bike that would perform well in a wide variety of settings. The GDMBR is comprised of single track (one lane dirt trail), double track (old roads), dirt roads and pavement. Trying to find a bike to cover all aspects of this trail and carry panniers or tow a trailer is a challenge.
There is now a Thudbuster seat post on it and pedals which will accomodate Power Straps. It seems like the Power Straps will outperform cages and give some of the advantages of clipless pedals without the special shoes. Addtionaly, it has a King water bottle cage and a new fangled Camelback bottle, which doesn't leak when turned on its side.
Now the bike just needs a rear rack and better reflectors and/or lights. Here is a wonderful resource on tail-lights. So sweet when someone does my homework for me and does it well.
Oh, and when I asked about the dreaded "chain slap" which occurs when the derailleur can't absorb the slack caused by going over big bumbs, Ethan suggested a Cycle Stuff Chain Stay Wrap, which will probably be more durable than a cut up tube. I think the handlebars are Multibar Butterfly bars. They should offer up a nice variety of hand positions for all the washboard road along the GDMBR.
I will be aiming for the summer of 2013, unless Adventure Cycling calls me to lead a tour, in which case I will gladly shift gears.
This is the first mountain bike type bike I have ever owned that was sized properly. It rides smoothly, with the Thudbuster taking some of the jarring out of the rear without the weight of a full suspension. The fork (Rockshox) seems to offer a nice balance of absorption and has the ability to lock the suspension.
The rack is an Old Man Mountain and came with several options for mounting, but is designed for a suspension fork. The disk brakes on this bike will help with the brutal braking conditions the bike will be subjected to, carrying a full load of panniers, water and me. Mud and water have affected every touring bike I have used, but this bike will see more mud than on a road tour, though not necessarily the downhill speeds seen on a road tour. I thought the tires would be too much for roads and not enough for of road- wrong: pretty good all around.
Two irritating things- the front derailleur cable comes out diagonally, impeding my ability to grab the bike and carry it by the seat tube up/down stairs and that same derailleur's clamp is placed between the two water bottle mounting points on the seat tube, necessitating the use of spacers (which it didn't come with) to attach a cage.