Dirt Touring Bikes

I built these bikes up for our dirt tour through Central America. Everything else that we carried with us was shepherded by these machines (it was a lot of gear!). These steeds saved us from many bumpy chicken bus rides and allowed us more flexibility in our route and daily schedule.

I spent a lot of time researching before building the my man cave back in London. Yes, we could have purchased off the shelf dirt touring / expedition bikes, but I really enjoy building bikes from start to finish. Building your own bike provides results in fairly comprehensive practical knowledge of bicycle maintenance. See my recent guide on how to build an off-road touring bike.  I made a lot of mistakes in the process in order to learn how to do things better next time.

The Larsbred 29er

The On One “Inbred” 29er is a rugged, chromoly hardtail mountain bike frame designed for use with 700c wheels (or 29″ in trendy speak). I am calling my build the “Larsbred 29er”.



Lars’ Bike Kit

FrameOn-One Inbred 29er Vertical Dropout
Excellent value for a double butted 4130 cro-mo frame
ForkSalsa Cromoto Grande100mm suspension corrected 29er fork, with a few mounting bosses at the ends; shame they missed out the middle mounting bosses.
ChainsetShimano M590 DeoreShimano Deore groupset + hydro disc brakes. Good value and reliable.
BrakesShimano Deore Disc BrakesWe've carried a bleed kit, but we've never had to use it.
USB chargerThe Plug USB ChargerFor charging USB devices with the hub dynamo. It fits inside in the top of the steer tube with all wires and circuits tucked away neatly. It works okay, but has some annoying issues. I've since switch to the Sinewave Revolution.
Dynamo LightsB&M D-Toplight Plus
B&M Lumotec IQ Cyo N plus
The front light was destroyed in some trail mischief and replaced with a Dosun U1.
Front wheelDT Swiss TK540
SP PD-8 Dynamo Hub
32 hole
6 bolt disc (180mm rotor - I would recommend 203mm)
Sapim Race spokes
At first glance it looks like a Schmidt SON hub dynamo, but with a reasonably lower price tag. 15,000km on this hub and still going strong.
Rear wheelRYDE (formerly Rigida) Sputnik 36h 700c rim
Sapim Strong spokes
Deore XT 9 Spd Hub
Doublewalled and double eyeleted for extra strength. Quite heavy, but bombproof! Laced with Sapim spokes.

On the other hand, the Deore XT rear hub is not suitable for touring. I've had two of these fail prematurely due to water ingress and the additional touring weight.
Bottom bracketDeore BB51Cheap and cheerful; needs replacing every 5,000 or so. Probably worth investing in a higher quality BB next time.
CranksetDeore 175mm arms with 48-36-22 chainrings Not much to go wrong on these cranks. Simple and maintenance free!
CassetteDeore 12-34
TiresSchwalbe Marathon MondialMarathon XR 700cx50c... these are becoming more difficult to find.
SaddleBrooks B17 SaddleNeed to keep this dry and oil regularly to maintain it.
HandlebarOn One FleegleI got this bar in a sale from On One. I like the wrap around and the price. It's lasted quite well.
HeadsetChris King headsetFit and forget! Nuff said!
GripsErgon GP1 GripsI cannot recommend these enough! They are really comfortable and they don't move around like standard rubber grips.

Jenny’s Inbred 26er

Jenny is riding the 26″ version of the Inbred frame. It’s otherwise a very similar build to  mine, though the frame size is 14″ (XS) rather than my 19″5 (L)! The size and geometry are intended to accommodate Jenny’s smaller body frame and shorter arms and provide a more upright riding position.

Jenny hearts her bike
Jenny hearts her bike

Jenny’s Bike Kit

PartDescriptionOur Thoughts
FrameOn-One Inbred 26er Vertical DropoutExcellent value for a double butted 4130 cro-mo frame
ForkOn One rigid chromo forkOn One rigid chromo forkSuspension corrected for 80-100mm, this 26er fork is simple and affordable. I only wish it had some mounting bosses.
ChainsetShimano M590 DeoreShimano Deore groupset including the disc brakes. Good value and reliable.
BrakesShimano Deore Disc BrakesSame on both bikes. Solid and reliable.
WheelsSun Rhyno Lite rims w/ Deore hubs
36 hole front and rear
Deore hubs front and rear
Wide and bombproof, but quite heavy!
Bottom bracketSRAM GXPJenny's done over 12,000km on this BB and it's starting to creak a bit now
CranksetTruvatic Firex Crank, 170mm arms, 48-36-22 ringsFit and forget, only replaced the middle chainring after 10,000km
CassetteDeore 11-34Replaced every 5,000km along with the chain
TiresSchwalbe Marathon Mondial 26" x 2.00"26" x 2.0" Mondials are almost as good as the Marathon XR. One pair lasted over 10,000km.
SaddleBrooks Flyer S SaddleWomen's specific saddle shape + bouncy springs for extra comfort. Very heavy!
HandlebarEaston Riserbar (unknown)An XC riser bar that we had lying around. Nothing special.
HeadsetCane Creek 40Not a bad headset for the price, but the seals are not great. Eventually had to replace due to rust after 12,000km. I recommend Chris King instead!
Handlebar gripsErgon GP1 GripsSame on both bikes. These are gold.

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