German expedition bike manufacturer Tout Terrain were showing a couple of interesting models at Eurobike for those of you who like to venture off the beaten track. The Silkroad is a Cromo-framed flat bar tourer with an integral rear rack - it claims to be able to carry 160kg, though you'd need more than the Rohloff hub's 14 gears to get that amount of kit over anything more testing than a motorway bridge. The other components - DT swiss hubs, Middleburn cranks, a Brooks saddle and the lovely new Supernova E3 dynamo lights among them - are all high quality and durable kit. Tout Terrain claim the integrated rack does away with the usual weak points - the braze-ons and screws - of a rack system, and because it's Cromo you can get it welded if it does break. The bike also features an asymmetric fork which they say balances the loads of the disc brake more evenly when the bike is loaded.
The second bike Tout Terrain were showing was a mad-looking concept FS tourer based on an integrated rack frame and a Maverick SC32 fork. The Upside-down Maverick is a good choice for a tourer in that the panniers can be mounted to the stanchions more easily, keeping the lower sprung section unweighted. The bike is designed in the same way at the rear; the rack is connected to the main unsprung frame and the wheel is suspended via a linkage system. It looked a bit overcomplicated but you could see the logic in it. Whether you'd take such a complex bike out into the wilderness is the big question. There'd be no pulling into the nearest garage to get the locals to service your forks...
Tout Terrain is distributed in the UK by Bikefix - www.bikefix.co.uk
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.