WANTED: TOURING/ADVENTURE BIKE

I've long held a love affair with classic touring bikes. For me, they represent the ultimate in two-wheeled freedom, adventure, and self-sufficiency. I say this like I'm speaking from experience, but in reality I have none. But that doesn't stop me from dreaming. I've been dreaming for quite some time and it wasn't until earlier this year that I started thinking I should do something about this dream. It started with a casual conversation with the wife about this desire to experience mini two-wheeled adventures and that spurred a broader conversation around taking the girl camping (that's a topic in itself for another post!). Soon thereafter, I learned one of my friends had bought a touring/adventure bike. These data points were all I needed to swing into action.

Since that moment, I've shifted my pursuit to find the end of the internet to researching touring/adventure bikes. I've learned a lot, but man has it been overwhelming. In a nutshell, there are so many options, and it's not just limited to the bike. With a touring/adventure bike, you need to consider not only the type of bike you want (what is its purpose? Where will you take it? How long will you be gone? etc.) but also how you will travel (fully loaded v. minimalist/ultralight? Racks and panniers v. rackless system using frame bags, seat bags, handlebar bags? and so on...). 

It was easy to fall in a trap of analysis-paralysis but I'm happy to report I came through only marginally scathed. The result of all my research and some introspective digging into the experience I sought yielded the following "brief" I will use to evaluate potential bikes. The next step is to formalize a short list of both stock bikes and custom bikes that could fulfill my needs then use this brief to choose my touring/adventure bike.

 

IN BRIEF

My new "adventure" bike will integrate classic styling, high quality parts, and modern technologies so that it may evolve with me over the years and bring miles of smiles no matter where we are and what we’re doing.
It is designed primarily for 1-3 day trips out to the Cascades, San Juan Islands, or out to the Washington coast/peninsula, for commuting, and winter training. Ideally, it will be versatile enough to handle unsupported weeklong road trips with ease without having to be picky about what I pack (i.e. I don’t want to always have to travel ultralight).

3-5 KEY DESCRIPTORS

  • Versatile
  • Future-proof
  • Classic
  • Distinctly "me"
  • Fun

MORE ABOUT THE BIKE

Versatile – Whether fully loaded with racks/panniers or using a rackless system to travel light with the bare essentials, or just heading to/from work, this bike handles it without skipping a beat. This bike can also handle logging/fire roads with the same ease as it covers pavement.

Balanced – Neither twitchy nor sluggish, this bike’s feel/ride is best described as smooth and predictable. Further, it should ride similarly whether loaded or not.

Timeless with an eye toward the future – Classic styling and design are a must, but modern technologies have their place and this bike should balance both. This bike should be classic without being dead on arrival and progressive without being gimmicky. A critical filter for this bike is, “will these technologies still be broadly found on bikes in 5 or 10 years’ time?” 

Stylish – I believe design and utility are not mutually exclusive. You can be highly functional and stylish in the same package and this bike must tick both boxes. Style/fashion are important to me (both on and off the bike) and this bike should be an extension of my personality and personal style.

MUST HAVES NICE TO HAVES
COMPONENTS: disc brakes WHEELS: thru axles, dynamo hub
PAINT: hot pink/hi-viz pink PAINT: matching stem, bars, seatpost
FORK: eyelets to accomodate low rider rack FRAME MATERIAL: titanium

MORE ABOUT ME

  • I frequently stand at the intersection of modernism and romanticism. On one side, I absolutely love and embrace technology but on the other side, I appreciate how we got to where we are today. That said, I’m always looking forward. For me, reflection and an appreciation for the past functions as a means so I can leapfrog ahead.
  • I appreciate the journey as much as the destination and for this reason, being the fastest to the destination is not my core motivation (I already have a bike for that). Rather, arriving at my destination with a notebook full of memories and stories is more my M.O for this bike.
  • I’m on a budget. I wish this could be a dream build, but the reality is that day is not today. That said, I don’t want to get to the finish line and say, “I wish I would have done/not done <X>. There’s a fine line between utility and frivolity and this bike should be everything it needs to be and nothing more.
 

So there you have it! I'm hoping that going through this process will make choosing the right bike for me and my needs a straightforward affair. 

NEXT STEP: Short listing some stock and custom bike options. Stay tuned!!!! I'll update this post when I've got my list together.