Well at least what it cost us.

At first, the idea to build our own touring bikes was both exciting and daunting. We researched for days (ok, weeks) to find out what would work for us. We found lists compiled on other tourers’ sites to be a valuable resource along with their reviews of various parts. We gathered all the information we could to pick and choose the components that have worked well for others while building a bike that suited our demands of our touring transportation.

So now we have our own list to add, detailing all the parts we used, specific specs. and the price we paid (including tax and shipping where applicable). We hope that the information and cost breakdown provided below can provide some insight for other aspiring tourists.

There are also a few points to keep in mind to help explain why we chose what we chose:

  • The goal of our bikes is to have the ability to now only function as a fully loaded touring bike, but also as one that was still fly down a wicked single track when the opportunity presents itself and as low maintenance as possible;
  • We chose to build our own bikes because we are both bike geeks, wanted the challenge, and wanted to learn how to piece a bike together;
  • No we are not rich, but felt it was worth spending a little more upfront on really good parts that in theory should last us longer;
  • We are fortunate to have a good friend of ours who is a skilled bike mechanic to help us;
  • We were able to get many of our parts at cost rather than at retail to make this process more affordable; and
  • Yes, you can build your own, high quality touring bike for a lot less (see GoingSlowly’s Gear Page), just have to keep in mind what you personally want out of your bike.

Keeping the above points in mind, some key investments we have chosen include the following:

  • Rohloff Speedhub: this internal hub allows one to shift on the fly (yes, even when stopped, ideal for when you forget to downshift at a light in traffic), also very low maintenance and eliminates the need front and rear derailleur and cassette.
  • Fox Vanilla Front Suspension Fork: to absorb the bumps of the road and trails rather than being relayed to our bodies and wrists. This model is a higher end coil fork versus an air shock which requires less maintenance and has lock-out capabilities.
  • Chris King Headset: are hands down one of the best headsets available on the market and the company believes this as well by offering a 10-Year Warranty.
  • Brooks Saddles: I honestly can not find a bad review of these saddles from anyone who has given them an honest chance, since we are on these bikes all day, a good saddle is essential. Interested in a giggle, check out this review.

If we were to pick a touring bike on the market right now that is similar to the ones we built it would have to be the Thorn Sterling (actually if we lived in the UK, we’d likely have purchased this bike). The Sterling retails for £2,999 which converts to $4,635 CAD  (and doesn’t include shipping across the pond). We built our bikes for roughly $4,575 each which includes a few extra parts, and hand built wheels. Our total is around $10,830 which includes tools, racks, panniers and a few spare parts.

CategoryItemBrandPart Description#ReviewTotal (CAD)
FrameKonaExplosif 18”2$1,050
SteeringForkFox32 Vanilla RLC2$1,330
HeadsetChris King1 1/8” Threadless2$386
StemRace FaceEvolve XC2$42
HandlebarEvoDouble butted riser barM$19
TruvativStylo World Cup Riser BarK$36
GripsErgonGC3 *2$158
Bike LabourInstallation of headset2$108
Drive TrainPedalsEvoAlloy MTB (SPD Clipless)K$10
TimeAllroad Gripper (Clipless)M$68
Chain RingRace Face40 tooth DH Chainring2$50
SpeedhubRohloff500/14 SpeedHub Threaded Spindle2$3,202
CranksShimanoSLX 104/64 mm2$315
ChainSRAMPC 890 Speed Chain with Power Link2$46
Bike LabourInstallation of Rohloff2$0 (donated)
Seat/SaddleSeat PostRace FaceEvolveM$23
Deus XCK$80
SaddleBrooksB17 S ImperialK$152
B17 StandardM$143
Proof Ride Wax2$39
BrakesBrakesAvidDisk Brake BB72$220
Brake LeversSpeed Dial SL Brake Levers2$84
Brake PadsAvid BB7 Brake Pads8$105
Brake RotorsRohloff160mm 4 Bolt (Avid/Hayeys Compatible)3$294
WheelsWheel PartDT SwissCentre Lock Adapter2$49
Front HubShimanoDeore XT 32H Centre LockM$35
TiresMaxxisMountain Bike Tire: Ignitor Tire, Foldable4$131
SchwableMarathon Kevlarguard Tire2$50
Marathon Plus Smartguard Tire4$147
Bike LabourWheel Build (incl. spokes, rim tape…)4$584
TubeKendaPresta 26×1.5/1.704$9
ToolsToolsRohloffTool – Cog Removal1$58
Tool to Indicate Sprocket Wear1$40
Multi-ToolTopeakALiEN II (26 tools)1$0 (gift)
PumpLezyneMicro Floor Drive HGV1$29
PanniersRearOrtliebBack Roller PlusK$273
Bike Packer PlusM$274
FrontFront Roller Plus2$333
Handlebar BagUltimate5 Plus (M)K$133
Map CaseMap Case (M)K$24
Camera InsertCamera Insert (M)K$33
RacksOld Man MountainRear – Red Rock2$219
Front – Sherpa2$269
M = Item for Mike’s Bike | K = Item for Karen’s Bike

* Note regarding Ergon: We found out that only the large size of these grips are distributed in North America (no thanks to the horrible customer service we received from their North American Marketing and Sales rep.) so we ordered them from an on-line bike store based out of Europe (Chain Reaction Cycle) to get the smaller size.

More photos can be viewed here.

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