The bicycles are both mid-ninetys mountain bikes that have been converted into touring bikes. Basically, that means removing the suspension, changing the tyres and fitting pannier racks. Although you could buy something specifically designed for the job, finance dictated a cheaper route. Fitting higher stems, and riser bars to these retro bikes gets the riding position suitable for a full day in the saddle but at a fraction of the cost. And it’s more fun building your own, recycling discarded bits from friends and bidding too much on the wrong thing on t’bay. In the spirit of not blowing the entire budget before we’ve set off, a lot of our other gear is not top of the range expedition gear and some is secondhand. I’m sure we’ll find out if this is a good idea later in the trip!!!

Rebecca’s Bike:

  • 1995 Orange Clockwork, 9 speed mostly Shimano XTR.IMG_0472
    (Used to be Tim’s bike when he was doing the rigid-retro-mtb thing with Jim)
  • Modified from the following donor bits:
  • Hi-rise stem and bar ends  from the spares box.

Tim’s Bike:

  • 1998 Kona Cinder Cone, frame and forks –  £80 on Retrobike.co.uk
    Built from the following donor bits:
  • Wheels, seatpost, bottom bracket, cranks, 3x V brakes:  Julia Ferraro via Gareth Roe
  • 1x V brake: Paul Spray
  • Rear mech:  Jim Payne, years ago, been sitting on a shelf ever since,
  • Brake levers/Shifters from the spares box.
  • Bar ends also from Gareth.IMG_0471

Both bikes have the following:

  • Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon HS368 26×1.75”
  • Saddles: Brookes Leather
  • Front rack: was Blackburn lowriders (already had these from a previous trip)
    replaced with Tubus Tara (blackburns not stiff enough and got caught in spokes)
  • Rear rack: Madison Summit (DIY modified brackets to fit each bike)
  • Handlebars: retro risers bars.
  • Mirrors: Busch and Muller Cycle Star 901/2 (mounted on the bar ends)
  • Bell (99p from Wilko!)

Istanbul Service: after 2000km:

  • Replaced Tim’s front hub (Shimano deore – unused – £5 ebay).. the original was wrecked.
  • Replace Tims rear hub bearings. (pennies)…. hopefully it will last.
  • Fitted XTR V-bakes to Tim’s (borrowed)… to reduce daily maintenance.

Azerbaijan Service: 4500km

  • In Baku Tims chain started skipping (resulting in a rather painful knee/handlebar contact) We found an excellent bike shop and so the chain was replaced and then the cassette but it was still skipping, so the and cranks (and chainrings) we replaced too!
  • As a precaution Rebecca’s chain was also replaced as we are unlikely to find another shop until Kashgar in China…. that’s about 2000km away!