7 Days Till Tokyo

So I’ve just got one week left to get everything together for my big trip to Japan. My travel bike is fully decked out for touring now….except for the gearing.


Jeremy Sycip came through with the new fork with lowrider mounts, as well as powdercoating the Tubus Duo rack and the fork to match the frame. Touring wasn’t on my mind when I designed this bike. The bike is basically a track bike with 130mm rear spacing and a derailleur hanger to make it a road race bike. The fork allows me to load up the front with panniers since the rear drop outs don’t have eyelets.

I have to say that I like the weight distribution with the bags on the front rather than the rear like my Davidson road bike. Part of it has to be the lower center of gravity for the front racks.

As pictured, the bike has Ortlieb Sport-packer Classic panniers on the fork mount, an Ortlieb Ultimate 5 handlebar bag and an Ortlieb Bike Box 3 on the custom Davidson titanium seat post rack. I don’t think Bill is eager to make more of these racks, but it works awesome.

I rode the bike on Bainbridge Island as a shake-down run, and I don’t think that the compact double crank with a 12-27 cassette is going to be low enough. Much as I hate triples, I’ll be re-kitting the bike with Tiagra triple cranks and derailleurs hooked to the current right DA sti and Suntour downtube shifter.



What kind of rubber clearance does that thing have. Ow.. my back hurts just lookin’ at it.

(though it sure is pretty—I’m pretty sure you can carry it off, so consider this my jealousy talking ;-)

And the custom ti rack obviously needs a matching powdercoat finish! What’s the coolest, is all that Mark is learning here is going right into the [Bike Hugger Modal](/tag/modal)

When I road down the Pacific Coast after college, my rear “post-mount” rack broke.  I spent the next 20 miles holding it out of my spokes with one hand.  Be careful with that load!

Great Bilingual Japan Map. I never go to japan without it. 

Japan Bilingual Atlas Guide

I took a language pictogram with me to Beijing and it saved me in a restaurant. One you get outside of the hotel fantasy land in Beijing, no one speaks English at all. So I pointed at rice and chicken and that’s what I got.  My stomach doesn’t permit “adventure eating”

ha ha…i do like adventure eating…and i also speak a little japanese. besides, once you get past nato and uni, japan really isn’t that exotic with its food.

tire clearance is at least 28mm on the front and rear, though with the bike as a fixed gear with the axle pulled back in the track ends, i’ve run a 32mm cross tire. in the picture i’ve got a 28mm panaracer in the rear and a 25mm michelin in front (for japan i’ll use 28’s front and rear).  you know, since most of the weight is on the front, it rides pretty smooth over rough stuff when you sit way back on the saddle.  with the bags on the rear, the front wheel would be light and too quick while the rear would get pounded by both your body weight and the weight of the bags.

the rear rack will have my video camcorder, since i plan to document as much of the trip as possible.  the rack is made out of titanium chainstay material; it’ll hold up.

the bike is handles lively, though never is it unstable.  descends really well. and those Dura Ace 7403 brakes are super strong and easy to modulate.

the one aspect that i find less than satisfying is the nokon shifter housing.  i’m using it because it is the only housing flexible enough to get out of the way of the handlbar bag and front wheel.  but it shifts like garbage.  i can tolerate it for touring, but i would never use it for racing. nokon housing is great for brake systems though.

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