A profile photo of the Oxford Bike Works Expedition touring bike in 2015

Tom’s Expedition Bike: Image Gallery & Specifications

Here you’ll find photos and details of my main touring bike: a custom-built Oxford Bike Works Expedition (or, as it was originally named, “Tom’s Expedition Bike”), which I’ve now had for 10 years.

I collaborated (in real life, not online!) with Richard Delacour from Oxford Bike Works to design and build this bike back in 2014. This was after many years of touring all over the planet, advising an increasing number of of budding cyclists on trip planning and bike selection, and finally deciding to take my own advice!

Now the flagship model in Oxford Bike Works’ range of touring bikes, this prototype for the Expedition was conceived as the last touring bike I would ever need – a true bike for life.

This page is a brief summary for the casual reader. For an in-depth discussion of the complete design and build process, check out this extremely detailed, full-nerd essay on how I built my “ultimate expedition bike”.

Full-Size Image Gallery

Specifications & Components

Below is the original component listing of the bike as it was built in 2014, should you wish to draw inspiration from it when designing/building your own. Please note that it has been tweaked and upgraded many times since, most recently in 2023 as detailed here.

Where appropriate, I’ve tried to include links to reputable online retailers from whom you can order the components. Some of these are affiliate links; read my full affiliate policy here, and be aware that such links tend to go out of date quite quickly (sorry!).

Frame:Oxford Bike Works 26” cromoly touring/expedition frame (Reynolds 525)
Buy: direct from Oxford Bike Works
Forks:Oxford Bike Works cromoly touring forks
Buy: direct from Oxford Bike Works
Colour:Desert Sand (custom colour)
Headset:Chris King NoThreadSet 1 1/8”, black
Buy: Chain Reaction | Wiggle | Evans Cycles
Rear Derailleur:Shimano Deore RD-M591, top normal, long cage, black
Buy: Chain Reaction | Evans Cycles
Front Derailleur:Shimano Deore FD-M590, low clamp, dual pull, black
Buy: Chain Reaction | Wiggle | Evans Cycles
Cassette:Shimano CS-HG41-8ao, 11–34T, 8‑speed
Buy: Chain Reaction | Wiggle | Evans Cycles
Shifter Levers:Shimano Ultegra SL-BS64 bar end, friction front, 8sp indexed/friction rear
Buy: Chain Reaction | Evans Cycles
Shifter Mounts:from SunRace M96 thumbshifters
Buy: Ison Distribution
Alternatives: Paul | SJS Cycles
Chainset:Shimano FC-M361, 170mm, 22–32-44T
Buy: Chain Reaction
Middle Chainring:Middleburn Hardcoat 32T (CR-104–90-32)
Buy: Chain Reaction
Bottom Bracket:Shimano UN55, 68mm, British thread
Buy: Chain Reaction | Wiggle | Evans Cycles
Chain:Wippermann Connex 808s 8‑speed with connector link
Buy: Wiggle
Rims:Rigida Sputnik 26” (559), 36H, silver, Schrader valve
Buy: Spa Cycles | SJS Cycles
Front Hub:Shimano Deore XT HB-T780‑S, 36H, silver
Buy: Chain Reaction | Evans Cycles
Rear Freehub:Shimano Deore XT FH-T780‑S, 36H, silver
Buy: Chain Reaction | Evans Cycles
Spokes:Sapim Race double butted (front, rear non-driveside), Sapim Strong PG (rear driveside)
Buy: Spa Cycles (Race) | Spa Cycles (Strong)
Rim Tape:Velox 19mm cloth
Buy: Chain Reaction
Skewers:Allen/hex key (non-QR)
Buy: Chain Reaction | Wiggle
Tyres:Schwalbe Marathon Plus 26x1.75” with SmartGuard
Buy: Chain Reaction | Wiggle | Evans Cycles
Innertubes:Schwalbe AV13, 26”, Schrader valve
Buy: Chain Reaction | Wiggle | Evans Cycles
Brake Levers:Shimano Alivio BL-T4000, silver, pair (mmm… BLT)
Buy: Chain ReactionEvans Cycles
Brake Calipers:Shimano Deore BR-T610‑L, black
Buy: Chain Reaction | Evans Cycles
Brake Shoes:Shimano S70C with cartridge shoe inserts (re-order code Y‑8A2 98030)
Buy: Chain Reaction
Pedals:Shimano PD-M324, combination SPD/flat
Buy: Chain Reaction | Wiggle | Evans Cycles
Saddle:Brooks B17 Champion Special
Buy: Chain Reaction | Wiggle | Evans Cycles
Grips:Ergon GP1 BioKork lock-on, standard diameter, large size
Buy: Chain Reaction | Wiggle
Bar-Ends:Oxford Bike Works rubberised anatomical bar-ends (unavailable to purchase)
Alternatives: SJS Cycles
Rear Carrier Rack:Tubus Cargo (Classic) 26“
Buy: Wiggle | Evans Cycles | Spa Cycles
Front Lowrider:Tubus Tara
Buy: Wiggle | Evans Cycles | Spa Cycles
Mudguards:Axiom Rainrunner LX Reflex, 26″, to fit 1.5–2.2″ tyres, with rubber mudflaps
Extras:Marine-grade stainless steel bolt replacements, steerer tube spacers, Pletscher centre kickstand, System EX steerer-tube bell.

In the decade since the bike was built, Richard has continuously developed the base specification of his Expedition in response to rider feedback. Check out the product info page on the Oxford Bike Works website for the current specification and build options.

Latest posts about this bike: