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What Works And What Doesn't Work
The Bike
Panniers
Bike Tools and Sapres
Camping Gears
Clothing
Photographic Equipment
Food
Luxury Items
Stuff That Doesn't Work
Stuff That Works
The Rebuild Bike
 

The list is only approximate since I did not write all the details down when I started this trip.

   The Ride

    The bike was custom build by my friend in Vancouver

  1. Titanium frame by Airborne (not sure which model)

  2. Marzocchi 2001 Z2 Atom Race front fork

  3. Sram X.O. shifters and derailers

  4. Thompson stem

  5. Rockshox suspension seat post  (not sure which model)

  6. Race Face crank and bottom bracket (not sure which model)

  7. LP carbon fiber handle bar (not sure which model)

  8. Selle Italia Gel Saddle (not sure which model)

  9. Azonic rims with Shimano XT hubs

  10. Sram cassette and chain (not sure which model)

  11. Chris King NoThreadSet

  12. Shimano PD M324 pedals

  13. Shimano XT V brakes

  14. Avocet Cross 2 semi slicks size 1.9

  15. Axiom Odyssee Tubular Alloy Rear Rack

  16. Delta shock treatment low rider front rack

  17. 2 generic water bottle cages and water bottles

  18. 2 Mr. Tuffy tire liners

   The Luggage

  1. 2 Ortlieb Back Roller Classic for the rear                                                                                

  2. 2 Ortlieb Back Roller Classic for the front

  3. Ortlieb Ultimate 3 Classic handle bar bag

  4. MEC Bag of Fundy Dry Bag

   Tools and Spares

  1. Topeak Alien multi tool
  2. Quick release headlight                                                                
  3. Blackburn mini pump
  4. Phil Wood grease tube
  5. Bicycle tube patch kit
  6. Wheel truing tool
  7. Bottom bracket tool (just the socket)
  8. Cassette tool (just the socket)
  9. Leatherman Squirt mini tool
  10. Assortments of nuts and bolts
  11. Various different sizes of Allen keys                              
  12. Locktight liquid                                                        
  13. Screw driver
  14. Different sizes of cable ties
  15. Duct Tape
  16. Spare brake and shifter cables
  17. Spare brake pads
  18. Spare set of Off-Road tires (Panaracer Mach SS and SK size 1.95 for the rough roads)
  19. 2 spare tube with extra long Schrader valve

   Camping Stuff

  1. Marmot Nutshell tent
  2. Therm-A-Rest Ultralite regular sleeping pad
  3. MSR Whisperlite International stove
  4. Katadyn Mini water filter
  5. Evernew titanium 1 liter pot
  6. Western Mountaineering Apache Super Dry Loft sleeping bag
  7. Integral silk sleeping bag liner
  8. MSR Dromedary bag 6 liter

   Clothing

  1. Patagonia Stretch Element jacket
  2. Patagonia Stretch Element pants
  3. Patagonia R1 Flash pullover
  4. Patagonia Dragonfly jacket
  5. Patagonia Capilene mid weight long johns
  6. Patagonia Capilene mid weight long sleeves
  7. Marmot Windshirt
  8. Sierra Design quick dry wind proof pants
  9. 2 Patagonia quick dry t-shirts
  10. 2 Nike quick dry tank tops
  11. 2 pair of Sugoi athletic shorts
  12. 5 pair of cheap underwear
  13. 4 pairs of DeFeet cycling socks
  14. Rocky Mountain Gore-Tex socks
  15. Ocean Research lobster style light Gore-Tex gloves
  16. MEC lobster style insulated waterproof gloves
  17. Teva sandals
  18. Sidi Dominator 4 Mega cycling shoes
  19. Pair of shoes I bought at MEC that I can't remember

   My Camera

  1. Canon S-400 with 1 Gig memory card

   Food

  1. Breakfast: 1 melon or papaya...etc, 2 banana, 2 apple and a large sandwich

  2. 8-10 am snack: 1-2 bananas, 1-2 apples and a sandwich

  3. Lunch: All-You-Can-Eat buffet if I can find one, normally that is the best meal of the day in Brazil. If not, same as the morning snack.

  4. Supper: Steaks in Argentina if I could withstood my hunger till after 8.00 pm. Lots of ice cream in Argentina.

  5. On average I consumed the following per day

  6. 4-5 bananas per day

  7. 4-5 apples per day

  8. 2 full 1 liter water bottles and what ever juice, pop, etc.... I can find along the way.

  9. 2 large sandwich, steaks, buffet or what ever I could buy

  10. Mix dry fruits and nuts

  11. I usually stop for 1 big meal at a restaurant once a day

   Luxury Item

  1. Garmin Gecko 201 GPS

  2. Suunto Observer Multi Function Wrist Watch

   Stuff That Doesn't Work

  1. Marzocchi 2001 Atom Race Fork → I really had no choice in this matter. I was running out of time in Vancouver. I needed something quick. It was the easiest fork to service of all the forks I was looking at. Vancouver is not the place to look for touring equipment for your bike. The main problem with this fork is that the front end shakes very bad with front panniers and handle bar bag. At the beginning of this trip, I was actually quite scare a few times. The front wheel started to shake when you are cruising down the hill at 65km/hr with a fully loaded bike just doesn't appeal to me that much. I know it has to be the fork because I had the same panniers mounted on a Cannondale with Headshok. And there were very little shake then. The major caused of this problem has to be the 80mm of travel on the Atom Race. Together with front panniers and handle bar bag, it makes a very unstable situation. I know that the Atom Race was not design for this. But Marzocchi has the reputation of making the stiffest fork on the market. So I am quite disappointed. But I have gotten used to it now. I had to re-learn how to pedal when I am out of the saddle. How to hold the handle bar when going down hill on rough and paved road. But I will not be changing this fork anytime soon because it does have some redeeming quality for my needs. I put over 14000 km on this fork already. I had not done any service on it at all. But it still rides as smooth as when I started. I will live with this until it dies, then I would switch over to something around 40mm of travel with either elastomer or oil bath with spring.

  2. Azonic rims with Shimano XT hubs. These were the deep aerodynamic rims which needed extra long Schrader valve tubes. The rims and hubs were given to me free of charge, so it was a good deal. I had many punctures that I never written down as stats that I thought was caused by the rim, but the real caused was the cheap rim liner. So I had to give some points back to the Azonic rims. But the thing that really pissed me off was that because I needed these special extra long valve tubes and I cannot find them anywhere in South America. I had to keep using the same tube which I had from the beginning of this trip. And some of the tubes had over 20 patches on them. I could get new ones if I stayed and wait for it to be special order. But I didn't want to wait. Anyway, my front hub lasted 7791 km. The front axle inside the hub was shear in half. I guess all the shaking from my front fork put a lot more extra pressure on the hubs. But still these Shimano XT hubs should be tougher than that. So I bought a new wheel since the rim was always pissing me off. The rear rim lasted about 8630.5 km. It started to split a the point where the rim are join together.

  3. Axiom Odyssee Tubular Alloy Rear Rack. It was cheap and it looked semi tough. So I bought it. But the rack felt apart around 12000 km. This wasn't my first choice, so I wasn't too surprised that it bit the dust.

  4. Nelles Maps. I had the Andes and Argentina maps from Nelles. If my life were depended on them, I would be dead right now. Most of the distances were wrong. Cities that existed on these maps doesn't exist in real life. Major roads that were in service for more than 4 years doesn't show up. The reference system was a joke. They list primary highway, secondary highway, etc.....But with this map, the little local highway could be this nice smooth paved road and the primary highway could be this gravel super rough road that stretches for the next 4000 km. Not very useful at all for planning how far I want to go. The list goes on and on. I will never buy these maps again.

  5. Shimano XT V-Brakes. They lasted for about 14000 km. I thought that they should last longer as I do not use the brake that much as a tourer.

  6. Patagonia Stretch Element Jacket. Don't get me wrong, I loved the products from this company. But this jacket just didn't live up to expectation. The first real downpour that I was in. I got soaked and wet in about 4 hours. I have the Stretch Element Pants and they kept me dry. I email Patagonia about the problem and they reply with a bunch of bullshit about how I was supposed to layer and crap like that. Or they were not design for what I was doing. And they try to explain to me like a child how the upper body sweats more than the lower. Come on please, I wasn't born yesterday. If the jacket wasn't design for what I was doing then what was it design for!! I am a bike tourer, which means I pace myself for 6-10 hour ride everyday. I do not go all out and sweat like a pig. If this thing couldn't keep me dry in the rain in the Patagonia, then it's crap in my book.

  7. Suunto Observer Watch. These are very good watches except for one thing. These watches stinks up the whole household if you wear them in the sun all day. Which made these watches ineffective because I didn't want to wear them and have them stinking up my hands. 

  8. Topeak Alien Multi Tool. It is a good tool for emergency. But it is useless if you want to do some serious work. I will be getting rid of it and going back to my old way of loose Allen keys, separate chain tool, etc........

  9. Sram X.O. Shifter. This is a great shifter except that they are just crapped in the rain without the proper gloves. I had problem finding quality bike gloves in South America. And I had so much problem shifting when riding in the rain.

  10. Teva Sandals. These sandals were very comfortable. But the big problem was that they stink like there was no tomorrow. Forget about the anti-stinking material that they use. It doesn't work, it starts stinking after about 3 weeks of usage. I bought cheapo sandals from Peru that still doesn't stink after 6 months of use.    

   Stuff That  Works

  1. Chris King NoThreadSet. This thing cost arm and a leg, but they are well worth it. Definitely money well spent. One of those rare buy and forget item. It just works and never needs to be service. Well, not at 14000 km anyway. I will probably send it back to Chris King for an overhaul after Africa. I have all the confidence in the world that it will last that much longer.

  2. Thompson Stem. Not the most expensive stem out there. You put it on and the handle bar doesn't spin. Enough said. Plus it looks so pretty.

  3. Rockshox suspension seat post. I think this was a bargain. I originally wanted the more expensive USE seat post. But this has proven to be more than adequate. Still working perfectly after 14000 km without any service.

  4. Avocet Cross 2 SL semi slicks. I love these tires. I used the 1.9 size because it can handle more weight and better handling in rougher roads. I only had 5 flats through the tire. All the other who knows how many flats were all caused by the rim. These tires were rated at 80 psi, but I always had them running at 90 psi without any problems. They are foldable for easy storage. They corner great going down all the suicide turns on the roads of Chile. They are acceptable in a downpour. The only complaint I have is that they still sucked on gravel/dirt roads. But then again, I don't think they were ever design for that.

  5. Airborne Titanium Frame. I am not sure what model it is. I bought it at Ebay for about $600.00 U.S.(I think??), which is a very reasonable price for a titanium frame. And so far, I had no problem what so ever related to the frame. I guess I had to get run over by a truck to find out how tough this frame really is!

  6. Delta Shock Treatment Low Rider Front Rack. I didn't think much of this rack when I bought it. There weren't that many front racks out there that suits my needs. But after 14000 km, I have new found respect for this rack. I had put extra C-clamps for reinforcement for my own peace of mind. But maybe that was not necessary. It is still going strong at the moment. But I will buy a replacement for me as I can never trust aluminum. 

  7. Marmot Nutshell Tent. This tent was quick to pitch and freestanding. It withstood a fierce rain and wind storm in the Patagonia. What more can I ask for.

  8. Ortlieb Back Roller Classic Panniers And Ultimate 3 Classic Handle Bar Bag. My older Back Roller Classic was not made as well as my new ones. The 2 bolts at either end of the Pannier broke on both panniers. This was caused by the weak construction method of using rivets. I email Ortlieb about the problem, and they wanted to send me a new bolt kit. That was just too much trouble for me, I could replace them myself with screws in about 5 minutes. But the new ones uses screws, so I don't expect anything to go wrong with those. Otherwise, these are the best panniers that I had ever used. My clothes are always dry and these bags are as tough as nail.

  9. Western Mountaineering Apache Super Dry Loft Sleeping Bag. This bag is compact, warm, easy maintenance, and semi-waterproof.

   The Rebuild Bike

Parts That I Kept

  1. Titanium frame by Airborne → I kept the same frame. I log over 14000KM on this frame so far. But it is titanium and I trust that it would last me for at least a couple more years.

  2. Marzocchi 2001 Z2 Atom Race front fork → I was looking into replacing the fork in Switzerland. But I am already way over my budget for my stay here in Switzerland. Anyway, the fork is still working and I had never serviced it. And I like that lots. If I can find a good alternative once I am in South Africa, I will get a new one.

  3. Rockshox suspension seat post → I see no reason to replace it just yet. I still haven't serviced it yet and it is still working just fine.

  4. Thompson Stem → This work of art is still working flawlessly.

  5. Chris King Aheadset → What more can I say. This thing should last me all through Africa. But the outer casing is starting to wear off from the constant rubbing from my shift and brake cable. I hope now I give it more slack with the new parts and will not rub anymore.

  6. LP carbon fiber handle bar → Hasn't cracked yet, will replace once I get back to Canada.

  7. Selle Italia Gel Saddle → Despite a few crashes on the bike, the saddle is still holding up quite good. But my next saddle will definitely be a Brook. I just have to find out what all the talk is all about.

  8. 2 Generic water bottle cage → They are starting to wear out, but I think I can replace them in Africa if need be.

  9. 2 Mr. Tuffy tire liners → I still swear by these. I think they save me from so many needless punctures.

  10. Delta Shock Treatment Low Rider Front Rack → Actually I do need to replace this. But I am already way over budget, so I am keeping it. Because this rack is made from aluminum, it is showing a lot of wear and tear. One of the reason is also that I used to put  all my food in the front rack because I had no other place to put them. And that put extra pressure on the rack and screws up my bike's handling at the same time. Now that I am taking a backpack with me and putting it on top of my rear rack. All the food can go into the backpack instead. I just hope my front rack will last me another year.

New Parts

  1. Shimano-XT ST-M760 Dual Control Lever → Shifter is a personal thing. The smartest thing would have been for me to buy an old XT Top Shifter. But then again, sometimes my mind doesn't work like that. GripShift is definitely out for me. I had so much problem shifting in the rain due to slippage. All because I couldn't buy the proper bike gloves. I also had problem shifting with my lobster winter gloves when I was cycling in the cold mountains of South America. So far I am quite happy with the XT shifter. I can shift comfortably with my lobster gloves.

  2. Shimano-XT RD-M760 Rear Derailleur → My X.O. derailleur is still working perfectly. Just a minor tune up and it would be good as new. The only problem is that it doesn't work with the XT Shifter. The XT is a bit of a down grade from the X.O., but it is still quite good for the money.

  3. Shimano-XT FD-M760 Front Derailleur → I didn't like my LX front derailleur that much, so XT would be the logical choice.

  4. Shimano-XT BR-M760 V Brakes (Front and Rear) → I personally would have prefer the LX or Avid brakes. But to get them would actually increase the cost because there is a discount when you order XT as a complete package. The extra mechanism for XT had prevented me from mounting my front rack properly when I was in Canada. And the same mechanism was falling apart was I was riding my bike in Switzerland. I just hope the new XT is better made. As for the mounting problem, it is still there.

  5. Shimano-XT CN-HG93 9 Speed Chain → Actually I was quite happy with the Sram chain. It never broke once in 14000KM of riding in South America and Europe. I was quite skeptical about the Power Link, but it didn't turn out to be the weak link that I thought it would be. But XT is the theme here so I basically had no choice.

  6. Shimano-XT CS-M760 Cassette 11-34 9-Speed → I had really seriously thought about changing my crankset and cassette to give me a bigger and smaller gear on both end. When I was riding up those torturous hills in Carretera Austral, I really wanted some kind of combo so that I could ride up those hills without the kind of effort that I had to go through. But at the end of the day, I stuck with standard stuff, easier to find and fix. Anyway, other than Carretera Austral, the gearing was just fine.

  7. Shimano-XT FC-M760 Hollowtech II Crankset → Here I am definitely taking a gamble. If something goes wrong, there is a very good chance that I have to replace whole crank, bottom bracket setup. I sure hope that Shimano knows what they are doing and hope that this system is much stronger. Anyway, even with the old bottom bracket and crank system, I still had to replace everything when my bottom bracket exploded on the way to Olinda in Brazil. My crank wouldn't work with the new bottom bracket that I bought, so I ended up buying new crank arm and everything.

  8. Shimano-XT HB/FH-M760 Hubs 36 holes with Mavic XM 719 CD Rim(DT Alpine III Spokes) → I had really wanted either the Phil Wood or the Chris Kings Hubs. But they were just priced way out of my budget. Back to the good old XT again. Perhaps on my next bike, I will buy all sealed stuff, I hate to service my bike.

  9. Schwalbe Marathon XR 26"X1.90 → I am trying to reduced weight and bulk on this leg of my journey. I will no longer carry 2 set of tires(off-road and pavement). No more spares and take my chance. What I like about the the Schwalbe is that the construction of it is as tough as steel. The tread pattern is a good trade off between off-road and pavement. And last but not least, almost every European cyclist that I had ever met uses Schwalbe. Just had to try it out. What I don't like about it is the low air pressure. 70 psi is just a little too low for me. Anyway, I will pump this thing to at least 80 psi. I always over inflate my tires and I have been getting away with it so far.

  10. Sytace Moto Grips → The ODI Ruffian Short Grips that I had been using is quite worn out. Plus the two outer rings that lock the grips in place is just not very comfortable for long distance riding. The Sytace uses a slightly different system and doesn't have any metal edges. The quality is not as good as the ODI, but I think it will be much more comfortable for me on the road.

  11. Tubus Cargo Rear Rack → This rack and Ortlieb panniers seems to be standard  equipment for European cyclist. It is a bit expensive, but I think it will be worth it. 

  12. Shimano-XT PD-M540 → I had been using the PD-M324 for a while now. While that it is quite good and more flexible. It is design for SPD and normal shoes. The whole idea was that I could use my SPD for touring and when I am in town, beaches, taking a break, etc....... I can use my sandals or sneakers to ride my bike. But now I prefer to have a better pedal. I spend so much time on the saddle, every little bit will help me.

  13. 2 Zefel 1 liter water bottle → I was looking into buying these huge water bottle cages that will work with any ordinary plastic 1 liter or bigger soft drink bottles. But decided against it. These wide mouth bottles are just so much easier to clean. And easy to get a drink from while riding. Carrying the big soft drink bottle just doesn't appeal to me.

  14. Cateye Astrale 8 Computer → My old Astrale 8 is still working great, but I did damage parts of the package when I was pushing my bike through the mud somewhere in the Patagonia. Better be safe than sorry, so I am getting a new one. I was thinking of getting one with Altimeter, but they were just a bit too expensive.

 

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