We have been touring for over 12 years and have ridden over 80,000 km all over the world. These Shand Bahookies are the most comfortable and best performing bikes we have ever owned. We both love them! We started touring on mountain bikes with pannier racks, derailieur gears and hydraulic disc brakes. Then had a couple of Thorn Expedition bikes made with suspension forks, pannier racks, Rohloff Gears and rim brakes which I later converted to mechanical discs. Then after trying a fatbike in Canada I built 2 Surly Moonlanders with pannier racks Roholf gears and mechanical disc brakes and the 120mm tyres meant no suspension was needed. We rode the Moonlanders in South America over the Andes several times, also in Australia and New Zealand and they were great! We also tried out bikepacking gear on the Moonlanders.
Technology moves on and Plus bikes – 29ers and 27.5″ bikes have become mainstream for offroad use. So I looked for a bike that would give me the reliability and resilliance of the Thorns and the versatility and off road performance of Moonlanders with better on road performance while keeping the absolute reliability and ease of servicing of the Thorn and Surly Moonlander.
Criteria: A bikepacking bike with Steel Frame, Rohloff and belt drive ready, 75 mm tyres, Rigid fork, mechanical disc brakes, capable of taking racks and mudguards and a fork capable of taking Salsa Anything cages.
- Frame – Shand Bahookie Frames, medium for me and small for Sarah. Steel and beautifully made in Scotland, Rholoff and belt drive ready. https://www.shandcycles.com/
- Front fork – Shand steel rigid with 3 screw fittings for Salsa Anything Cage and rack, 15mm Axle.
- Bottom Bracket – Shand excentric
- Gears – I automatically went for Rohloff 500/14 32 spoke 135 mm axle as they are perfect for Touring and very reliable and only an oil change every 5,000 km for maintenance. https://www.rohloff.de/de/produkte/speedhub
- Brakes – Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes with sintered pads, so reliable easy to adjust and maintain. Discs, Front 205 mm 6 bolt, rear 180 mm Rohloff. https://www.sram.com/en/sram/mountain/collections/avid?filters=&sort=Relevancy&page=1
- Drivetrain – I decided to go for Gates Carbondrive belt to reduce maintenance and oil on trousers etc. They are supposed to last at least 10,000 km and we have been changing chains every 3,500 km and sprokets every 6,000 – 7,000 km. Front sproket Carbondrive 42t CDX, rear sproket Carbondrive 19t CDX Rohloff. https://www.gatescarbondrive.com/
- Tyres – Schwalbe Rocket Rons, 75 mm x 584 mm (27.5″). Schwalbe tyres have proved really reliable on all our bikes, Mondials on the Thorns, Jumbo Jims on the Surlys so it was natural to chose from the same stable for the Shand Bahookies and these are tubeless ready. Not sure if these are still available in 75 mm. https://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_tires/off-road_tires/rocket_ron_438https://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_tires/off-road_tires/rocket_ron_438
- Wheel rims – This was the most difficult item to find. I settled on Stans No Tubes – Hugo ZTX 52 mm x 605 mm aluminium low profile rims. Most rims that specified they would take 75 mm tyres were in my opinion too narrow. If you choose narrow rims for wide tyres they move sideways with cornering forces which makes the bike feel unstable and unpredictable especialy on offroad tracks. https://www.notubes.com/hugo-rim-52
- Front Axle – Hope Pro 15 mm x 110 mm
- Spokes – Front: Sapim 276 mm Double Butted Stainless Steel Black, Rear: Rohloff 254 mm Double Butted Stainless Steel Black
- Handlebar – Bernie: Hobo Loop Bar https://www.bricklanebikes.co.uk/hobo-loop-bar-black, Sarah: Thorn Comfort
- All components below from SJS Cycles : https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/
- Crankset – Shimano M670
- Pedals – Shimano M647 DX
- Saddle – Brooks of England B17 Imperial, of course.
- Mudguards – Front & Rear SKS Shockblade MTB 29er
- Bottle cages – Profile Designs
- Stem – Bernie: Thorn 105 mm 15 deg, Sarah: Thorn 120 mm 15 deg
- Seat post – Bernie: Thorn 450, Sarah: Jtek Layback long
Locator pin for the Rholoff gearbox – This is needed to stop the hub spinning in the frame it takes the full force of all the power you put intonthe pedals. There are a number of different ways of securing the Rholoff. My Thorn has a slot added into the rear drop out. When I built the Surlys I had to use the arm secured to the rear fork stay. On the Shand they have a place for a bolt which engages with their standard plate however the thread in the frame is 5 mm and the head needs to be the size of a standard 6 mm bolt. So I turned the thread of a 6 mm bolt down to 5 mm in my lathe and rethreaded it with a 5 mm die.
I then assembled the drive chain to check all the alignment which is perfect. I inserted the Hope headset, forks, handlebars, seatpost and saddle. Note do not be tempted to cut the steerer tube until after the bike is completely finished and you can do your bike fit.
Next I built the wheels. I use Sheldon Browns book as a reference for wheel building. https://www.sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html – I bought the Rohloff spokes and was disappointed to find they now come with a fairly solid lock compound in the nipples. I don’t believe a properly built wheel needs locking compound in the nipples in fact I use oil in mine so they remain free and adjustable. The locking compound is so stiff you cannot adjust the tension on the spokes without causing a lot of twist in the spoke which is unnecessary stress. The twist will unwind as soon as you start to ride and change the spoke tension. So I bought a 2.2 mm thread tap on Amazon and reamed all the locking compound out of every nipple until it ran smoothly on the spoke.
The rims are low profile but have rivets in the spoke holes between the outer and inner parts, for extra strength. The problem with this is they are set at 90 degrees to the wheel centre. The spokes in the assembled wheel will be at an angle of approximately 7.5 degrees. If you do not align the spoke hole with the spoke angle then the nipple will align at 90 degrees directly towards the axle and a bend in the spoke will result at the end of the nipple. Every time you apply power to the wheel this angle will be straightened and flex the spoke. When you take the power off the spoke will bend back and the nipple will realign with the axle. This continuous flexing of the spoke will cause it to fail at the end of the nipple. This problem with spoked wheels was identified and understood back in the 1880s!!!! Why Oh why after 140 years can’t rim makers allow for this. One of the few manufacturers that do is Ryde in thir Andra range. Unfortunately they don’t make a rim wde enough for 75 mm tyres.
This is the first time I have used tubeless tyres. I will need to be certain that I will be able to pump them up and get a seal on an airport concourse just using a bicycle pump. However the promised benefits of puncture resistance and low rolling resistance are really worth having. We pump them up to 0.9 bar.
Sarah diddn’t like the wide Hobo bars so we fitted the Thorn Comfort bars we had on the previous two bikes. We also changed her setpost to the Jtek layback.
Later I added water bottle holders under our downtubes and fitted my bike with a Salsa Anything cage.
We had to wait nearly a year because of the world wide pandemic before we could use these bikes in earnest. After 4,500 km of local short rides we set out on our UK Off Road Tour in 2021. We road 1,800 km off road around England. The bike performed fantastically. The only mechanical failure was that both rails on my saddle broke just behind the seat clamp on the last day but I was able to move the fractures forward into the clamp and finish our ride at Edinburgh. https://wraggemorleycycles.com/2021/06/25/cycle-touring-around-the-uk-on-rough-tracks-and-byways-devon-coast-to-suffolk-coast/