Building a bike to take on the world.

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  • Hello, I hope you're having a good day.

    I'm gonna tell you a bit about me.
    My name is Jake, I'm 24 and a pretty experienced rider across mtb/trials/road/track etc... I'm from Lewes, Sussex. But frequent to London with my fixie of course. I'm also deaf & wear a a hearing aid & a cochlear implant.

    This is going to be a thread with my build in progress, testing it, feedback etc. A place for me to keep pics & ideas all in one place.

    I'm currently building up a mountain bike designed for touring, with the idea of being able to go unsupported for up to a week at a time (no water, food etc). We'll I've actually built it but just modifying/perfecting it now.

    I've done touring before, you know, panniers on a rear rack and a handlebar bag. It was fun. But looking back on it I've decided I really want to go off road or at least have the capability to at least be like "That's a sick spot to put up my hammock, cook my dinner and watch a sunset". But I didn't do this for ages because my group of mates who I went touring with (who were all bloody awesome, and I can't fault them one bit), didn't have the same kind of riding experience but because I hadn't been riding before I did it the most accessible way possible and kept it easy by staying on road and on road bikes plus I didn't think it was possible to ride fast on road with a mtb. Until I saw someone else do it last year!

    He had a brother cycles, big bro. A rigid 29"mtb kitted with a frame bag, saddle bag, front pizza rack, so that's where my idea began. I basically started copying his build... Which is how this began!

    Around about 2 months ago my dad got a new mtb, a full sus xc bike on a lucky warranty replacement. He also had a on one inbred, 29" which he built up from spare bits in the garage (originally he bought the frame to try and fit a Chris King bmx hub to a bike because I gave it to him for his birthday but that's a whole different story). I told my Dad about my idea, and I was thinking of going out and buying a full build surly and he basically said, "Save your money, I've got a 29"mtb, with rigid forks. It's a bit knackered but feel free to use it and try that before committing lots of money".

    So I took it for a trial ride. It had wide flat bars, a rotten bottom bracket, two front brakes (one was flipped to use on the left side, it works lol). The whole bike felt like garbage, huge, but it rolled well and it felt fast.

    Since the first ride, I've spent about £240.

    I replaced the saddle, bars, bottom bracket, (it was loooong gone, all brown and missing ball bearings!) I also got some ergo grips ordered, ones that were designed for swept back bars.

    I've also put a Brooks c17 saddle on which is mega comfy, Surly moloko bars and some road/gravel mtb tyres which have all made a huge difference. It's beginning to feel like a bike ready to tackle long days and all sorts of terrain.

    But now I'm at the stage where I need bags. And this is where I'm hoping I can get some help from you guys. I need a frame bag, saddle bag, handlebar bag, bottle mounts for the lower fork legs, under the downtube and a front rack. Have you got any experience with certain brands? Is there any you'd recommend?

    I'm also looking into dynos, solar panels, power banks, and a method of charging my hearing aids without using one use cell batteries...

    Pics of build to come after work this evening.

    Sorry for the delay... I haven't been on a forum and posting pics for a while so wasn't bringing myself to getting my head around flickr and organising pics again... You see, I enjoy taking the pictures and having them on my phone but not organising them!!

    So this is how I was first given the bike by my Dad, had a brooks leather saddle which he'd also destroyed from lack of care and riding the muddy South Downs. Rather a sorry state and you can see how I easily overlooked it in the garage!


    After a clean... New tyres (my Dad happened to have a pair of brand new tyres perfect for road/gravel??) an old beat up charge spoon saddle fitted...


    I left it for a few days, not exactly an appealing time of year to ride. On my way home from work there was a lovely sky so I decided it was a good time to take it for it's first spin. My initial thoughts were that it was fast, it was the first mtb I've ridden in a long time with 60-70psi tyres and it was super responsive and rolled well. I imagine this will change with 50kg of kit on the bike lol, but good first impressions and felt comfortable enough offroad if anything a bit "skiddy" and bouncy but that's due to high pressure tyres and no suspension.


    I even took it on the offroad downhill track by Ditchling beacon because I was feeling brave, bearing in mind my lights were on hopeless rubber strap mounts which bounced, the bike bounced like crazy, the brakes were mediocre, there was no suspension and to top it off it was a bit damp/slidy.... I only fell off twice, jumping clear over the front of the bike both times and landing on my feet....! Trials bike handling skills definitely helped.

    So I've been at my LBS in Lewes occasionaly throughout the week popping by after work, I know the guys pretty well and they're all pretty knowledgeable, shout-out to Harvey especially. Got some Surly Moloko bars ordered through them, picked them up and fitted them at home.


    Excuse the mud...


    So the bike was in a pretty horrific condition at this stage, the brakes make metallic clanging noises, the bottom bracket wobbles. The bars were nice but incomplete. Harvey helped to change the bb and we found out just how bad it was, I can't say I wasn't surprised- my Dad threw it together from anything he could find in the shed and any new parts to be as cheap as possible so fair play to him.


    Some rust that.. It didn't wanna come out easy!


    I also got chatting about a Brooks C17 saddle, I have the C15 but read about the 17 online plus recommended it through Gabriel who gave me the intial idea- and fancied it for my tourer since I liked my C15 on my road bike although it was a touch too narrow for this build. Harvey said something along the lines of "Open that box on the desk and there ya go" I was a bit surprised but it was a "Take my money" kinda moment and bought it lol.


    New saddle, bars, tyres, and bb- it finally began to ride like a new(ish) bike. Just the wheels, gears and brakes to sort... And to be honest, they're fine for now.

    Quick clean later.

    I ordered some ergo grips designed for swept back bars, through Harveys recommendation for the bike- they came about a week later. They're rad.

    Took bottle cage out, put a small framebag I had already on the bike & fitted grips.
    Clean bike & some daylight pics later...

    I headed down to the LBS to get some tape for the bars, after a bit of deciding I went for the bontrager gel tape they had on the shelves, it was cheap enough & the camo looked pretty cool.


    I rode it back from the shop, and despite it pissing it down and not getting a proper try- it seemed good.. My next step is getting some bags for it & taking it on a weekend camping trip. Progress may slow down a little but that's everything for now!

  • Good thread, followed with interest.
    If you post up the model of your hearing aids I might find time to look into the charging.

  • The bike packing thread has plenty of info on bags...

  • Yeah that's true! I've been reading it plenty. It's a slow work in progress and my problem is I'm planning to get new wheels and groupset, dyno etc all build up through my LBS as a cycle to work scheme so have to use a smaller-temporary frame bag for now until I can get a custom one specificly cutout to the frame I end up riding. Looking likely to be Surly ECR or a Big Bro from Brother cycles...

  • This thread needs pics!

  • Been trying to sort out pictures... It's been a long time (over 5 years) since I've been active on a forum, or on a laptop was holding it off! I've just signed up to Flickr tonight, so a stream of photos and explanations inbound.

  • Hey, sorry for the slow reply. I have Resound Danalogic I-fit Cs91w hearing aid on the left ear which uses cell batteries- I don't think there is any way of recharging these...

    But my Cochlear implant is a Cochlear nucleus 6, which has the option of a rechargable battery or disposable one like my hearing aid. The disposable one uses the same batteries as my hearing aids except it uses 2 at once, and the batteries last about 25 hours as opposed to 2 weeks on the hearing aid (thats the difference in power it uses).

    These are the disposable batteries...­585/MBN675CP60/PowerOne-IMPLANT-plus-coc­hlear-implant-batteries---box-of-60

    And for example, if I had those. 10 packets of 6 and used them for my waking hours (about 16hrs a day), one pack of 6 would last about 5 days give or take. Just for the cochlear. If it was for my hearing aid it would be 3 months with 1 packet... Now you can probably understand why the rechargable route makes sense to me.­496/DCZ341685/Cochlear-Nucleus-6-battery­-charger

    This is the "dock" I can use the charge the rechargable batteries. Doing up to 4 at a time. These batteries fully charged last about 16hrs so a bit less, but way more eco friendly!!­497/DCZ342011/Cochlear-Nucleus-6-chargin­g-kit

    ^ No usb charging option, just different types of mains plugs.. Which is fine if you're not planning to travel by bike for months at a time lol.

  • All up to date!! Any type of feedback, good or bad will be taken constructively. :)

  • Great stuff, excellent photo-documentation! Looks like a great garage/shed/cave you've got there...

  • All so awesome - nice build! Not sure if this is useful in any way, but I loosely know of two hearing impaired guys who rode across America last summer and might be worth getting in touch with. Instagram is best for them:

  • Feedback: nice thread ;)

    the idea of being able to go unsupported for up to a week at a time (no water, food etc)

    Where are you thinking of?
    Sticking with flat pedals or will you change those in time?

  • Glad you enjoyed it!

    Haha its the combination of myself and my dad over 20 years, it's like a time vault of different parts n bikes in that shed 😂

  • That's definitely helpful passhunting. Thank you

  • I'm actually thinking of getting some mtb clip pedals that have a platform on one side, so I have have a choice.

    Something like these

    What do you think?

  • Makes sense!

  • I ride with a pair of these everyday. The one-sided clipping in thing doesn't bother me. The versatility is useful to my mind, although I'd say they are only a good shout if you're going to be clipped in 90% time. A platform pedal is far better than the flat side of those ^

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Building a bike to take on the world.

Posted by Avatar for JekDaSnek @JekDaSnek