My touring rig

A great road touring bike blends the best attributes of mountain, randonneuring, and city bikes into the perfect travel companion.

Today’s mountain bikes have reliable hydraulic disc brakes for excellent braking performance in any weather and terrain. They have low gears for climbing steep hills. They use tubeless tires for added resilience to punctures. I used Shimano SLX and XT for the brakes and drivetrain because I trust them to perform for the long haul. The Rene Herse 650b x 48 Switchback Hill tires are set up tubeless on WTB KOM rims. This combination provides added comfort and low rolling resistance with the peace of mind that the small debris that causes most punctures won’t force me to reach for the spare inner tube.

This bike also received the randonneuring treatment. A Son dynamo hub powers a Son Edelux II headlight and Velo Lumino taillight. The wiring runs inside the frame and fork to keep the bike looking tidy and to prevent any damage. Fenders keep the drivetrain clean and my shoes dry. I designed the front end of the bike to carry my stuff on a folding porteur rack and in panniers on a lowrider rack. The bolt-on Rogue Panda Designs frame bag provides a convenient place to stash small stuff that usually gets lost in panniers. The bag has a port in the front through which I can connect my phone or battery bank to the Sinewave Cycles Reactor USB charger.

Of course, no touring bike would worth riding if it were uncomfortable. Selle Anatomica saddles have been on my touring bikes for around 10 years. My butt swears by them. I’m using the Jones riser loop bars to steer the ship. These bars get me upright for general cruising but allow me to stretch forward if I have to battle a headwind or want to get aero for a descent. The 660 mm width gives me great leverage over the loaded front end.

This bike is perfect for the type of touring Carrie and I enjoy. We typically ride 40-60 miles per day, mainly on roads. We aren’t setting speed or distance records. We’re mainly out to see new parts of the world at a pace that keeps us engaged in the passing landscapes.