You will spend a lot of time on the bike during the tour. For that reason I feel the quality of that bike and its modification to your requirements is one of the pivotal factors when it comes to your enjoyment of the tour. I think its fair to say the quality of bike provided on a tour is going to be representative of the standard of other key elements that go to make a tour special rather than just average.
You know the old saying “you get what you pay for” , well when it comes to bike quality there was never a truer saying. What is the first thing you do when your friend shows you their new bike ? ,,, you walk over and ,, and pick it up. In that moment you make a fundamental judgment about the bike. Invariably you will find lighter bikes sport better quality components. This quality complements the frame and fork material.
We use Specialized Sirrus Comp bikes. Combining their E5 Alloy frames, carbon fiber forks, Machined Swiss rims and top end SRAM shifters gives you a bike that weighs in at 8.5 Kg. They cost €1000 each and you wont find any other tour company offering such bikes . They come in five different frame sizes so you are assured of a prefect stand over height and optimum leg extension.
The quality of these bikes lies in the attention to detail that prevails in their design and construction. Little details like Zertz shock absorbing inserts built into the carbon fiber forks smooth out the road by eliminating high frequency vibration from the coarse chip and tar surface. This allows us to run the tires at 90 psi greatly reducing rolling resistance.
Here is an example of the detail that won me over to the most expensive bikes I have supplied on the tours over the past 14 years. The hubs are ground with cutting paste by hand after their manufacture to make them super smooth before the ball bearings are fitted. This helps the bikes to just roll forever.
The Zert inserts in the carbon forks help to reduce high frequency vibration which facilitates a more comfortable and controlled ride.I refit the bikes with stainless steel pre tensioned brake and gear cables as they don’t react with the salty coastal air these bikes encounter during the tours.This exemplifies the attention to detail you can expect on this tour
The Zert inserts in the carbon forks help to reduce high frequency vibration which facilitates a more comfortable and controlled ride.
I refit the bikes with stainless steel pre tensioned brake and gear cables as they don’t react with the salty coastal air these bikes encounter during the tours. This exemplifies the attention to detail you can expect on this tour
A wide range of gearing ratios are delivered by a drive train developed to be precise and lightweight.
While the bikes came with excellent tires I was not satisfied with their puncture protection. This is why I upgraded the tires to puncture proof Schwalbe marathon plus700 X 28c tires
They offer bullet proof reliability and facilitate 90psi thus reducing rolling resistance. The performance of the bike is further enhanced by their lightweight construction from advanced (expensive) materials. Remember “an ounce off the wheel is a pound off the frame”
We supply several types of saddle. Two are comfort gel saddles with sprung rails for extra comfort. Last season I came upon a new type of saddle. I discovered it while trawling for new an innovative accessories in a bike shop. Selle Royal Slow Fit Foam saddles. So I purchased a few just to try them out. By lunchtime of the first day I realized there would be a mutiny within the group if I didn’t get more of these slow fir foam saddles. I arranged delivery of a full set of these saddles via a delivery service who basically cleared out Halfords in Limerick and Galway. Everyone in the group was sitting on slow fit foam by the end of the first day. That evening the group raved about them so much at dinner that other people in the restaurant wanted to buy these saddles. Folks in the restaurant who didn’t even ride bikes wanted these saddles by the end of the evening.
The racing saddle option has all the forgiveness of a thinly upholstered brick, for the experienced only. You can opt to fit any of the saddles with gel seat covers for added comfort.
It may seem like a small detail but the small chain catcher installed on the down tube saves you from the potential of a dropped chain following a hurried change of gears.
On the right an example of one of the gel seat covers which we supply.
Now its all very well having the best bikes but that’s only half the battle. Proper fitting and adjustment is the other half of the equation. The wide variety of frame sizes helps but one of the main issues when fitting out people with a bike for the tour is handel bar height. Over the years I have found a preference for an upright riding position favored by many tour participants. I have modified these bikes to accommodate a wide range of handel bar height settings.
All the brake and gear cables have been replaced with longer cabling to facilitate the insertion of a device called a steering tube extension and an adjustable stem.
Its amazing how many people get their bike shop to replicate this modification to their own bike when they return home from the tour. Shoulder pain / discomfort is eliminated when you adopt a more relaxed upright sitting position.
Some people prefer to get the handel bars in a low position to replicate the dropped bars one finds on a racing bike
The photos display the range of handlebar adjustment available on the bikes. The example on the left depicts the highest setting while the photo on the right gives you an idea of how low they can be set. If necessary the bars can be set even lower by moving the spacers above the adjustable stem. You can rest assured the modifications are in accordance with best practices as I have completed City and Guilds certification courses in Cycle Mechanics
The bikes come equipped with a detachable handlebar box which also houses your daily map. The the box is sufficient in size to carry some lightweight rain gear and a camera. You can easily fit a SLR camera in there. Better to store the cell phone we provide you with for the tour in one of the outside pouches so you can easily hear the phone ring if we call you during the ride. We spend as much time as it takes to set the handlebar grips, bar ends and the gear levers to your preferred position.