bloggy business

load carrying and handling

So think about this one: 

It's fairly obvious to anyone who has ever ridden a touring bike that a bicycle laden with a bunch of touring gear handles differently than that same bike unladen. Even adding minor loads can noticeably change the steering and stability of the bike. 

Also think about this:

If you were to walk into your local camping supply store with the intent of buying a pack to go backpacking with, they will invariably shove a bunch of weight into the bag and have you walk around the store with 20 or 30 pounds on your back. Obviously a loaded backpack is going to feel tremendously different than an unloaded one.

Maybe you get what I'm hinting at here.

Most anyone who buys a bike meant for touring at their local bike shop will never ride that bike in a fully loaded capacity until they are actually going on their first tour. In defense of bike shops everywhere, it's completely not feasible to install racks and panniers on every single bike going out on a test ride. It would just take far too much time and they would lose a ton of money on the additional labor involved. 

The flip side to this though, is that mass production touring bikes are not really designed to handle well while touring. Mass production touring bikes are designed to handle well while on an unladen test ride around the block or the parking lot of the bike shop. All loaded up they don't handle much better than a typical road bike loaded with the same amount of gear. And in my opinion mass production touring bikes (or road bikes) do not handle all that great fully loaded up on tours.

Yeah there are some differences between touring bikes and road bikes, namely longer chain stays (so your heels will clear your panniers) and stouter tube sets, not to mention that ever sought after third water bottle cage. But seriously, this is not what makes for a good touring bike. A good touring bike (or porteur bike, or rando bike, or cargobike, bikepacking bike, or any other bike designed to carry a load) will have it's geometry optimized to carry the load that it's meant to. You can adjust the head tube angle and fork rake, chainstay length and wheelbase, tubing diameters and wall thicknesses to produce a bike that will respond well and predictably to your steering inputs. A bike that doesn't shimmy. A bike that doesn't ride like a tank when it's all loaded up for your next tour. 

Every bike that I make at Bantam Bicycle Works has it's geometry optimized for the needs of it's particular rider. Where they want to ride, what kind of surfaces they want to ride over, what they want to carry with them, and where they want to carry it on the bike. All of these things produce predicable handling characteristics which can be designed around. I hope to provide you with the best possible handling bike for what you want to do with it.