Possibly the ultimate cycle touring gadget is an Orbit bike, and one of my favourites of their bikes is the one shown in the picture above, the Harrier Expedition 26.
15 Years ago I was lucky enough to discover Orbit Cycles, I say lucky enough as you rarely see Obit Cycles in shops or even on the road. Orbit specialise in making fully customised bikes with a huge range of different options from tyres to seats to handle bar tape, the bike can be tailored to exactly what you want.
Steel or Aluminium
Their touring bikes are made from Reynolds 631 tubing which is based on the famous Reynolds 531 tubing but comes with 10% higher strength. So what I hear you say, isn’t Reynolds a type of steel, why have steel when you can have aluminium surely that’s better. In lots of cases aluminium can be better, but if you are going to spend a long time on a bike you’ll find that the steel has a greater flex in it and this makes for, in my opinion at least, a much more comfortable ride. The 631 tubing seems to absorb some of the bumps without the need for suspension, although I did also go for the extra option of a suspension seat post.
The tyres that come with the Orbit are Schwalbe marathon plus tyres which are almost legendary in the level of puncture protection they give. Don’t get me wrong these tyres aren’t the lightest, but if your bike is fully laden and you are going over some tough terrain, the last thing you want is a puncture.
Although I originally bought my Orbit for a tour around Europe, 15 years later the bike is still in excellent condition and the frame still feels as comfortable as ever. The bike feels just as at home popping to the local shops as it did fully laden on the D roads of France.
If you are interested in finding out more about Orbit Cycles, please click the link below.