Bikes Product Launches

Just Announced – Kona’s Updated 2016 Sutra Touring Bike + New Sutra LTD

I’ve been a fan of Kona’s bikes and their corporate ethos for donkey’s years. Today they’re announcing their new season bike line-up, which includes not just an updated 2016 Kona Sutra (their mid-range disc-equipped 700C tourer) but also a brand new variant, the 2016 Kona Sutra LTD, aimed even more squarely at short-haul adventures on mixed terrain.

Both the 2016 Kona Sutra and the Sutra LTD share an updated frameset, similar to last season’s frame (which was shared with the gravel-racing Rove), but this year with heavier-gauge tubing, acknowledging the benefits of a burlier build for luggage-carrying applications.


Other improvements to the 2016 Sutra’s frameset include better tyre clearance, a replaceable gear hanger, and more options for lowrider mounting, including the ability to mount bottle cages on the forks, which will undoubtedly please bikepackers no end.

The basic Kona Sutra 2016 specifications remain broadly the same as 2015’s model; just a couple of minor differences of little consequence. The switch from an 11–32t cassette to an 11–34t, however, will be a welcome one – as we all know, tourers can never have a low enough bottom gear.

Here’s Kona chief designer Ian Schmitt’s personal take on the updates:

“From the outset we sought to develop a new touring bike that checked all the boxes we felt necessary for touring in a variety of conditions: wider tire clearance, better handling when loaded, improved ride feel and improved carrier compatibility. The frame’s geometry uses a lower bottom bracket (72mm drop all sizes), consistent head tube angle (71° all sizes) and 50mm offset fork to improve carrying with a front load as well as improving tire clearance on smaller frame sizes.

“We based the sizing of the Sutra off of our new cyclocross geometry. The Sutra features higher stack and longer reach and is designed to pair with a slightly wider bar and slightly shorter stem compared to our cyclocross offering, which helps with stability and ride feel. The new Sutra frame also uses a specific tube set (thicker than Rove) to maintain stiffness when loaded.”


The new Sutra LTD, on the other hand, looks to have diverged considerably from your standard tourer, with hydraulic disc brakes and no racks supplied, though given that the frameset is shared with the Sutra, it wouldn’t take much to kit it out for light touring.

The drivetrain choice is the most interesting feature, doing away with a front derailleur entirely in favour of a ludicrously wide-ranged 10–42t cassette, with a single 36t chainring up front. Doing the maths reveals that you’ll get a surprisingly wide range of useful gears out of this setup.



While it won’t be much good for winning road races or lugging tons of luggage around the planet, that clearly isn’t the point of the Sutra LTD. I can certainly imagine fitting it out with some minimal frame luggage and taking it off for a long weekend of fun and fast-paced trail riding with a wild-camp or two thrown in.

Here’s Ian again on the new Kona Sutra LTD:

“The Sutra LTD represents the nexus of mountain bike and road bike drivetrains. I had personally been playing around with 1x drivetrains on my touring bike for several months before SRAM had told us they were developing a derailleur to work with their XD driver and 10–42t cassette. I had spent an appreciable amount of time toying with various gear ranges and had found that for my personal use a bike with an 11–40t cassette and a 38t chainring afforded me pretty much all of the gearing options I required. The addition of 10t and 42t cogs plus an additional gear in the middle was enough to push the concept into production.

“The LTD is aimed at a variety of riders. It is a bike that can be used for week long tours, month long tours, gravel rides, single track, commuting etc. We wanted to highlight the fun of big tires, simple gearing and hydraulic brakes and feel that this bike has done it on all fronts. I’m not joking when I say that this is the most fun drop bar bike I’ve had the pleasure of riding.”

Expect the 2016 Kona Sutra and Sutra LTD to hit stores in a few weeks’ time.

Books & Reading Planning & Logistics Product Launches

How To Cycle Around The World: A New eBook by Tim Moss

Amid all the buzz of the recent Kickstarter campaign (which ended in success – woohoo!), there’s every chance you might have missed the release of Tim Moss’s new ebook How To Cycle Around The World.

Link: check it out and download it here.


Tim’s website is one of the UK adventure blogging scene’s long-runners. The sheer volume of practical resources for expedition planning he’s made available online is staggering and frankly puts my own efforts to shame.

He’s also just returned from actually cycling around the world himself with his wife Laura, co-founded the Cycle Touring Festivaland set up the largest database of long-distance cycle journey statistics in existence. So let there be no doubt about his credentials both as a writer and as an authority on the topic at hand.

The book itself is a short-ish primer, rather than an encyclopaedic manual on the topic, and because of this it’s as much about providing inspiration and motivation that this thing is possible as telling you how to do it.

And while the title of the book implies a circumnavigation, the advice inside is relevant to the planning of any long-distance ride, regardless of whether it involves actually circling the globe.

Tim has thoughtfully included Q&As with and tips from a wide spread of other world cyclists, including Mark Beaumont, Alastair Humphreys, Julian Sayarer, and many others, which results in a diverse spread of advice, rather than a dogmatic approach based on one person’s experience.

If you’re keen to get to grips quickly with exactly what it takes to pull off such a trip, and don’t want to get bogged down in the details, I’d highly recommend giving How To Cycle Around The World a read.

Nice one, Tim! Find out more about his book and download your copy over at

Product Launches

Tom’s Expedition Bike: The Full Specification & Parts List (Geek Alert!)

‘Tom’s Expedition Bike’ was designed to meet my needs after years of touring all over the planet and advising hundreds of budding cyclists on trip planning and bike selection.

It was conceived as the last expedition-grade touring bike I’d ever need – a true touring bike for life, and the summation of everything I’d learned during more than 20,000km of riding on five continents. (Full story here.)

To get it built, I collaborated with Richard Delacour from Oxford Bike Works. I never expected it’d be something he’d offer commercially – but that’s how things have turned out!

What follows is a complete list of the parts from which the bike is built, strictly for the bike geeks among you:

Tom’s Expedition Bike: Full Specification

Frame: Oxford Bike Works 26” cromoly touring/expedition frame (Reynolds 525)
Forks: Oxford Bike Works cromoly touring forks
Colour: Desert Sand (custom colour)
Headset: Chris King NoThreadSet 1 1/8”, black
Rear Mech: Shimano Deore RD-M591, top normal, long cage, black
Front Mech: Shimano Deore FD-M590, low clamp, dual pull, black
Cassette: Shimano CS-HG41-8ao, 11–34T, 8‑speed
Shifter Levers: Shimano Ultegra SL-BS64 bar end, friction front, 8sp indexed/friction rear
Shifter Mounts: from SunRace M96 thumbshifters
Chainset: Shimano FC-M361, 170mm, 22–32–44T
Middle Chainring: Middleburn Hardcoat 32T (CR-104–90–32)
Bottom Bracket: Shimano UN55, 68mm, British thread
Chain: Wippermann Connex 808 8‑speed
Rims: Rigida Sputnik 26” (559), 36H, silver, Schrader valve
Front Hub: Shimano Deore XT HB-T780‑S, 36H, silver
Rear Freehub: Shimano Deore XT FH-T780‑S, 36H, silver
Spokes: Sapim Race double butted (front, rear non-driveside), Sapim Strong PG (rear driveside)
Rim Tape: Velox 19mm cloth
Skewers: Allen/hex key (non-QR)
Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon Plus 26x1.75” with SmartGuard
Innertubes: Schwalbe AV13, 26”, Schrader valve
Brake Levers: Shimano Alivio BL-T4000, silver, pair (mmm… BLT)
Brake Calipers: Shimano Deore BR-T610‑L, black
Brake Shoes: Shimano S70C with cartridge shoe inserts
Pedals: Shimano PD-M324, combination SPD/flat
Saddle: Brooks B17 Champion Special, black
Seatpost: Humpert
Handlebars: Deda
Stem: Deda
Grips: Ergon GP1 BioKork lock-on, standard, large
Bar-Ends: Oxford Bike Works rubberised anatomical bar-ends
Rear Carrier Rack: Tubus Cargo (Classic) 26″
Front Lowrider: Tubus Tara
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 bell

(By the way, if you’re building your own bike, I’ve compiled a handy list of online retailers selling the parts above in this big list.)

Now, before the world of online bike geekery erupts in a dervish of scandal and controversy because this list is all wrong, there’s one big thing I need to mention about the expedition bikes now on offer based on the above specification:

Almost any item in the above list is subject (and likely) to change for any given bike we build.

My design is based on the most solid principles I have available: 8 years of long-distance touring experience, correspondence with hundreds of other world tourers, a sound knowledge of the touring scene and bike industry, and plenty of workshop experience.

But the idea of a custom build is to allow each individual to express his or her personal preferences, and not just in terms of saddle and handlebars.

So if you do like the look of the bike above, but you happen disagree vehemently on one academic point or other regarding component choice – feel free to change it when you book your appointment. (That’s the beauty of custom built bikes!)

Questions about anything in the list above? Fire away in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer to your satisfaction.

Other People's Adventures Photography Product Launches

Free Photo eBook: Bicycling Around The World by Paul Jeurissen

There are lots of bicycle travellers out there.

There are also lots of excellent photographers.

When they happen to be the same person, and the results are shared with the world, we’re all in for a real treat.

Photographer Paul Jeurissen and his partner Grace Johnson have been pedalling the world for years, and have amassed a huge collection of images. And they’ve just made the very best of them available in a PDF eBook.

I’m not going to harp on about its contents, other than to say that the images and stories are stunning and inspiring, and that all of us (especially those who’ve grown old and jaded through time and miles) should put aside some time to sit down, undisturbed, and leaf carefully through it.

Click here to download the free eBook →

It’s entirely free. Free as in liberty. There’s no annoying newsletter signup to wade through or anything like that. This is purely for the love of bicycle travel.

Huge thanks to Grace and Paul for sharing this with us all! Check out their other free publications at
Product Launches

Adventure DVD Gift-Pack Sale Launches Today

Just a quick heads-up to let you know that I’m participating in a ‘flash sale’ this week, in which you can get an exclusive bundle containing 3 well-known indie adventure films for a ridiculously discounted price.

You can check out the films included and watch all 3 trailers at, a special website we’ve set up to host the offer.

I’m sure that every regular reader who’s ever going to watch Janapar has already done so (and Al, Leon and Austin are probably all writing the same thing on their blogs), but that’s not really the point. This offer is mainly designed as an affordable gift idea for people in your life who could do with a kick up the adventuring backside.

It’s running this week only — first come, first served.

(Did I mention it’s a really good deal?)

Check it out at