Last updated on 2022-06-17
Visit the photo set Travelmaster 2.8 Alu on Flickr.
Although I continue to do a lot of cycling these days, I’ve found that my aspirations as a cyclist and my current inventory of bicycles are not necessary aligned. At the beginning of 2012, I had the following bicycles in my collection:
- a 1992 Trek 2100 Road Bike
- a 2001 Norco Rush Mountain Bike
- a 2008 Batavus Blockbuster Dutch City Bike
None of these really fits with the type of riding I am enjoying most these days: long touring rides exemplified by my trips to Marken, Zandvoort, Alphen aan den Rijn and Muiden. So for the last year or so, I’ve been toying with the idea of buying a touring bike to replace my road bike.
I had seen several riders on Santos touring bicycles here in Amsterdam and was intrigued. I visited their website and found that one of their main dealers was De Vakantiefietser here in Amsterdam. Robin and I stopped by the store one Saturday in January 2012 and I tried a whole range of trekking/touring bicycles from Santos, idworx and Koga-Miyata. In the end, I preferred the Santos, especially because it featured the very low maintenance Rohloff/Gates Carbon Belt drive system. In this system, the typical derailleur is replaced by a 14-speed gear system internal to the Rohloff hub and the chain replaced by a carbon-fiber belt. No chain lubing issues and the gears are safely tucked away from rain, dirt and mud.
Setting the Specifications
The staff at De Vakantiefietser took me through a through fitting process to choose the frame size, handlebars and saddle. Finally we spent about 45 minutes at the shop computer selecting the various components. This is what I ended up specifying on my bike:
Travelmaster 2.8 alu Custom-built Gates Carbon Belt Drive-Rohloff
FRAME: Custombuilt Travelmaster 2.8 aluminum, mens 53cm
GROUP: Gates Carbon Belt Drive, Rohloff Speedhub Derailleur 500/14
FRAME COLOUR: Gun Metallic
LETTERING COLOUR: Silver
FRONT FORK: Santos Travelmaster
HEADSET: Santos RVS
***HANDLEBAR & SADDLE***
HANDLE BAR: Trekking
STEM: Aluminum, black, 120mm
GRIPS: Ergon GR2 with bar ends
SADDLE: Brooks B17 Special (replaced the original Terry Liberator in May 2013)
SEATPOST: Santos alu, black
BRAKES & LEVERS: Magura HS33 hydraulic
*** WHEELS ***
FRONT WHEEL: [28V] handmade with Shimano dynamo hub, black (36g)
REAR WHEEL: [28A] handmade with Rohloff hub (32g)
TIRES: Schwable Marathon Supreme 40mm
LIGHTING: Busch & Muller LED headlight (60 lux) + Spanninga Eclispe LED rearlight
REAR CARRIER: Santos TravelRack black
FRONT CARRIER: Tubus Ergo black
FENDERS: SKS black
LOCK: Axa Defender with anti-theft chip
KICKSTANDS: Tubus Lowrider front, Pletscher back
The colour scheme is in honour of my Dad’s favourite car: his Nissan 300ZX in gun metal gray and silver lettering.
My order went in on January 14 and the staff at De Vakantiefietser indicated that the delivery time was about six weeks, which was no big deal giving the cold and snowy weather we’ve had the last few weeks. Imagine my surprise when the shop called on February 1 indicating it was ready to be picked up. The weather was poor on the weekend of the 4th and the big Cycle and Hiking Show was the weekend of the 11th so it was the 18th before I could pick it up.
Update: September 2012
I’ve put about 1000 km on the bike and I’m completely satisfied with it. It is much more comfortable than my road bike for long distance cycling. A good example would be the metric century ride (100 km) I did to Utrecht and back in June 2012.
Update: May 2013
In May 2013, I purchased a number of components in preparation for more long-distance touring:
Update: August 2021
Since moving out into the countryside here in Ontario, the amount of gravel road riding I has probably tripled. I was finding the original Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires too optimized for riding on Dutch cycle paths. So I purchased and installed a set of Marathon Mondials. I don’t feel I’ve given up much performance on pavement for a much improved experience on gravel roads. Recommended.
Update: May 2022
I continue to tweak my setup as I found the handlebar bag a bit awkward to use and my Oregon 450 GPS dated. I switched out to a top-tube bag and an iPhone solution for navigation.