I have decided to go all-in on my adventure bicycle, and think I have found the perfect combination of attributes (for me), including singletrack performance and long-distance dirt touring. Think White Rim, etc.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert on bicycles, at all. I consider myself pretty well informed, but know that many of you are experts. I look forward to any feedback on this project from the members here.
The first decision was a frame. There are a lot of arguments for steel, but I want titanium. I have been riding a Willits for the past few months (thanks Mike), and love the feel of the Ti. I also like the simple clean-up, no paint and elegant result Ti provides, especially when combined with a few black components.
I liked the Willits frame, but wanted something local and a little more bespoke. I wanted a designer that understood what I was trying to accomplish, could fit me for the bike and make subtle adjustments for my riding style and specs. About a month ago, I took a trip to FORM Cycles in Sedona and talked with Daryl, the owner and chief designer. It just so happened that Daryl also owns a sweet Unlimited Rubicon and loves backcountry exploration by 4wd too. His wife Melanie is also super cool, and operates some serious NFP work in Africa and various other interesting spots around the world. Extremely well traveled and has some fantastic stories about Africa, India, etc. Very cool people.
For the frame, we are doing a custom "expedition" build with larger head tube and larger dia. tubing overall, rack mounts, etc. More details on this soon.
It will be a 29'er and most likely a 2x9 or 1x9 drivetrain. Visually, this gives a good reference:
For the wheels, our very own 1speed (Jim) from Here be Dragons wheel builders will be stringing up a set of tubeless 29" wheels, which he says will be "bomber". I am honored to have wheels built by one of our own members. Jim is going to be giving a play-by-play of the wheel build in this thread.
For components, that is still a bit in the air. More research is required. Looking mostly at the SRAM 9-speed stuff for durability (no carbon cages) and playing with the idea of the TruVativ HammerShmidt. Thoughts?
Flounder (Christophe) is going to help with adv luggage/packing, which will come a little later in the process.
Then, White Rim ExPo trip in the fall. Anyone want to come along?