Bikes - Touring
The Trek 8.6 DS ia an interesting blend of ideals both on the road and off - It's competent and comfortable in most scenarios but with some compromises.
The Roux Etape 250 is a thoughtfully specced steel framed tourer that snubs adverse thoughts about its heft with its modest price tag and comfortable confident ride.
Sabbath bikes are a British company that's been going for the best part of seven years and have a small range of just six titanium bikes comprising of top end race, full touring and sportive style machines.
In a similar vein to the Genesis Croix de Fer recently tested, Charge's Filter Hi is a do it all commuter, light tourer and part time crosser. Drop bars, discs, huge tyre clearances, mounts for mudguards and rack all tip a nod to the mile muncher who's happy to keep the pedals spinning whatever the weather.
Generations have passed, empires have crumbled and George Hincapie's varicose veins have finally retired, but the Dawes Galaxy is still trundling around the globe bringing colourful panniers and expedition beards to grateful villagers in far-flung parts - and if someone hasn't started a travel memoir with the words 'a long time ago and on a Galaxy far, far away' then they jolly well should. The latest iteration continues that noble tradition.
I've long been an admirer of Surly's Long Haul Trucker, so I was well pleased to have a chance to play with the disc equipped version. The downside is that I've got to give it back.
The Trucker is one of those understated 'do-anything' bikes. It's happy hauling rider and luggage on anything from a commute to a round the world tour. The version we tested was the slightly more unusual 26" wheel version, which does make the frame look a little gappy, even in a medium 54cm size. I'll come to that later.
A budget kid brother to Genesis' popular steel road all-rounder, the Genesis CdF is a solid urban and light-touring ride, as long as you're not in a hurry to get from A to B.
The Genesis Croix de Fer has a good reputation; it was even used to set a world record when Vin Cox rode a Croix de Fer around the world. Genesis say the Croix de Fer is one of their most popular bikes, so they decided to introduce a little brother: the CdF. The frame has the same dimensions, but is made from Reynolds 520, as opposed to the Croix de Fer's 725.
Raleigh may have a proud British heritage, despite being sold to the Dutch, but the Sojourn has American ancestry. It's been available across the pond for some years now but it's taken a while to find its way here. Style-wise it takes a few cues from recent North American disc based touring machines with a touch of MTB in their DNA. Think Kona Sutra or Salsa Vaya but with a slightly less compact frame.
Now, I'm a roadie through and through – I like speed, I've never ridden anything with tyres wider than 25mm and certainly never used a rack so when I arrived at road.cc to collect the Kinesis Decade Tripster I wasn't quite sure what I'd let myself in for. It turns out though that the last couple of months of riding have been some of the most fun and carefree I've ever known.
It's a cracking bike, the Jamis Quest. Comfortable and versatile and quick. The bike it reminds me of most is the Genesis Equilibrium, which I liked enough to buy one. It's a close call, but for me I think the Jamis might be even better. Test bikes come and go, but I'll certainly miss the Quest when it's gone.
Frame and Fork