June 27th, 2007 Bradley Campbell | Special Section Stories
 

The Franken-Bike

Ten components. Ten local shops. One monster of a touring bike. Mary Shelley, get ready to ride.

     
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1. Wheels


Remember, this isn't a race: This is the shit that changes your life. Strength is more important than lightweight fluff. The folks from Mavic produce the pothole-guzzling A719 rim. It gives you the option for a 32-, 36- or even a 40-spoke count. Lace them to Shimano XT hubs, as they're reliable and can take a beating. Oh, and use DT Swiss spokes; you can trust them on mile 1,240. ($450. Bike Gallery, 1001 SW 10th Ave., 222-3821, and other locations)

2. Tires


The Schwalbe Marathons are built like a tank to repel the thorns and glass you're sure to encounter on the side of the road in Bumfuck, Idaho. They're constructed with a Kevlar belt that adds a protective, flexible layer. And they boast "SnakeSkin sidewalls" for protection against abrasions, and venom. ($30. North Portland Bike Works, 3951 N Mississippi Ave., 287-1098)

3. Shifters


Channel your inner Grant Petersen and choose bar-end shifters. Shimano Ultegra 8-speed bar-ends are beautifully finished and have this ultra-cool feature: The rear shifter can be switched between index and friction modes. Plus, they're relatively easy to repair on the road. ($65. Coventry Cycle Works, 2025 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 230-7723)

4. Handlebars


When thinking about handlebars, think about gripping a girl with curves. Every moment of it is pure pleasure. The Japanese company Nitto makes a 46-centimeter drop handlebar that cushions your upper body. The wide grip soothes your shoulders and is almost as addictive as a set of plush hips. ($42. Citybikes Annex, 734 SE Ankeny St., 239-6951)

5. Derailleur


Shimano XT. Sure, there are other choices out there, but the XT matches up to them all. They shift—reliably—and that's pretty much all they do. But it's the most important thing you can have in your derailleur: confidence. ($115, front and rear. Seven Corners Cycles, 3218 SE 21st Ave., 230-0317)

6. Crankset


Hills are part of touring. Enjoy them. They make the trip epic. The key to conquering them is a good crankset like the Sugino XD2. With a 26/36/46 chain-ring combo, the XD2 gives you a pretty awesome granny gear to spin yourself up to the top. ($105. River City Bicycles, 706 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 233-5973)

7. Brakes


Get some cantilevers. Embrace the power. Cantilevers can handle the big loads. The Paul Touring Cantilever looks freakin' awesome, but is spendy. The Avid Shorty 6 is a good substitute. On second thought, the Paul has a beauty only Scarlett Johansson could surpass. Splurge. ($80. Veloshop, 211 SW 9th Ave., 335-8356. Also available at CyclePath, 2808 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 281-0485)

8. Frame


The Surly Long Haul Trucker is it. The LHT is a throwback to the 1970s. It rides awesome, is very stable and provides a comfy platform for all-day rides. You just kind of sit back and pedal and let the motherfucker carry you across the country. ($419, frame and fork. Revolver Bikes, 6509 N Interstate Ave., 285-1084)

9. Panniers


Inertia Designs makes the non-flashy Cam Dry Load Panniers. They're smaller than most, but sized purposely to prevent over-packing. The cam suspension system secures them to racks. Side pouches allow for quick access to food, maps and rain gear. ($145. Veloce Bicycles, 3202 SE Hawthorne Blvd. 234-8400)

10. Saddle


The Brooks B17 is a classic. Just make sure to break it in, or feel the wrath of pressure-induced hemorrhoids. Brooks also makes a pre-softened model called the "B-17 Aged." This might be a better choice if you don't have a spare year to prepare for your trip. Or know any secret potions that penetrate leather. ($80. Cascade Cycling, 122 N Killingsworth St., 281-0255)

Special thanks to touring cyclist Alex Park for his help in the construction of this list.

Thanks to River City Bicycles, Coventry, City Bikes Annex, Cycle Path and Veloce for their assistance with product photos.

Get Out!
These Forests Ain't Virgin Anymore
Over the Edge
Doggin' It
Franken-Bike
Cycle Tour 101
Get Out 100:
Stumptown
Willamette Valley
The Coast
Great Cascades/Columbia Gorge
Central Oregon/High Desert
Oregon's Outer Edges
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