The Gear

The Gear

This is not a website devoted to equipment. You can find those websites all over the web. Just use what suits you best or what you already have.

Just maybe, however, you are interested in the gear I use when cycling on a multi day trip in Japan. If you are then read on. It will not include any reviews and I’ll keep it as concise as possible.

Clothing

Jerseys – I have a mixture of RaphaRoad Holland jerseys. I like them all and they all perform well.

Rain jacket – Rapha lightweight rain jacket. Despite the hefty price tag it’s useless. It’s not waterproof and its breathable properties are negligible. That might be because June, July, and September are the wettest months in Japan and apart from August, also the hottest. That means you’ll sweat whenever you wear it. Nowadays I have a cheap Uniqlo Pocketable Parker that isn’t waterproof either but it was a lot cheaper and is much cooler and lighter.

Bibs – a mixture of Sportful bibs, Howies bibs, cheap DHB non-bib cycling shorts and a couple of pairs of Rapha touring shorts. I usually take only one pair of bibs, one pair of non-bib cycling shorts, and my Rapha touring shorts. 

Bicycles for Bike Packing/Touring

Fairdale Weekender Drop and my old (semi-retired) Nishiki Kodiak mountain bike.  

I use the Fairdale as much as possible because it is absolutely solid, has space to fit almost everything I need, and can be easily adapted for different types of road or terrain.
 

Wheels – Weirdly my front hub died on me outside Kusatsu recently so I have a HUNT 4 Season Gravel Disc | Road/Bike-Pack/CX Wheelset on order.

Update 2017/04/27 – I’ve been using the Hunt wheels with Schwable G-One tubeless tyres and they are superb.

Gearing is SRAM Rival 1x 10 speed with a 42 chain rind on the front and an 11 x 42 cassette on the back. The 42 on the back is a One Up Component sprocket.

I had this Brooks saddle on the Fairdale for a while, and then this one, but they drove me crazy so I switched back to the Fairdale saddle that came with the bike. When that wears out I’ll consider changing it. I would dearly love for the Swallow to work properly but I’m no longer counting on it.

Update (2016/10/02) – Picked up a Brooks Cambuim C17. So far so good.

Pedals and Shoes. Standard Shimano PD-A530 pedals which are great for off road and commuting and a pair of cheap Shimano MTB shoes that you can also hike in that seem to have been discontinued.

Camping Gear

I use a Eureka Midori Solo tent.* It’s light, cheap, waterproof, and just enough for bike packing. Not sure about the colour and the huge exclamation mark logo on the side but that’s something I can live with. I have my eyes on some Locus Gear but that’ll have to wait until the Eureka has come to the end of its days.

Update (2016/09/23) – I’m done with a tent. They are too heavy, too hot in summer, and are too much hassle to put up late at night. Bus stops, picnic areas, or cheap hotels are the way to go for me. 

Update (2016/10/23 – I’ve replaced the tent with a Pneuma Bivy Tyvek from Locus Gear. 

I have a Puromonte inflatable mattress, a Mont Bell inflattable pillow, and an Isuka Ultra Light sleeping bag.

Bicycle Bags for Trains

For my bike packing/touring/commuting do-it-all Fairdale I use a Mont Bell bike bag that I bought for about ¥4000 secondhand online. 

Frame & Saddle Bags

I use Blackburn Outpost gear. Simple, reliable, reasonably priced, and looks good in black and grey. I also have two Ortlieb pannier bags and a large saddle bag but I hardly ever use them nowadays.

Update 2014/04/27 – Stopped using the Blackburn Outpost Handlebar & Roll Dry bag as it’s too heavy for my liking and moves about too much despite having a dedicated quick release mount. Instead I now use a Fairmean Speed Rando bag that’s only 70g or so and waterproof. It attaches easily to the bike, is versatile, and just big enough for my needs.
 

Bike Commputer & Electronics

I currently use a Garmin Edge 510 but I can’t wait for this to die on me so I can pick up a Wahoo Elemnt.

Update 2017/04/27 – The Garmin did die on me and now I have a Wahoo Elemnt. I’m not disappointed.

Power – An Allimity 10,000mAh capacity battery pack. It was reasonably priced and had decent reviews on Amazon.jp.

My go to camera nowadays is a Panasonic Lumix TZ60. It’s light, versatile, and has a huge zoom. I also use a Leica M6 with Fuji Provia slide film on occasions. 

Update 2017/04/27 – I now use a Panasonic Lumix 100

Basic gear. Keeping it simple is good.
Basic gear. Keeping it simple is good.
Bicycle / washing line.
Bicycle / washing line.