I had mentioned in my earlier post that I would talk about the bikes, so here I go. I picked up a pair of Redline D440’s. These are chromoly frames—fully rigid—with 29er wheels (700c). Out of the box they are designed to be mountain bikes, but the wheel size will also support road tires (or cyclocross tires for road/light off-road use), and because the fork and frame have disc mounts, the brakes can easily be upgraded, which I did to Avids. Gearing is simple—1x8, so no front derailleur, and the frame also has mounts for racks/panniers, making the bike suitable for touring. What this all means is that with this one bike, I can ride road, off-road, a mix of the two, with or without touring bags. That’s pretty versatile in my book.
I’m a total convert to the 29er wheel platform, and I’ve committed myself to this totally by making my “bike of choice” for trail riding my 29er singlespeed hardtail.
Anyway, as if the inherent characteristics of the bikes weren’t cool enough, I had the frames custom modified by a frame builder in Pennsylvania (Bilenky) so that the frames can easily be split into two pieces for packing/traveling. The amazing thing is that you can fit a complete bike into a suitcase that the airlines will take WITHOUT charging you the $100-$150 (each way) extra surcharge. My bike isn’t assembled yet, but every review I’ve read about the S&S couplers states that you absolutely can NOT tell that the frame is two pieces screwed together. Jean rode her bike and had no complaints. I’ll keep you posted.