China to UK ride

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China to UK ride

Postby Rogo » 8 Nov 2014, 8:02pm

Right, so I've got my route planned and just have a few questions about kit. I thought I'd put it all in one thread.

First of all... a bit of information about the trip as I'm sure some answers will depend on the following

Distance - 10,000 miles
Bike - Ridgeback Voyage
Roads - Mostly tarmac, but with large stretches of poor/off roading style roads along the Pamir Highway

So, the questions! I may add more as I go along...


I'm considering taking two new Shwable Marathon Dureme DD folded into my panniers, and the tyres I'll have fitted will be Schwable Marathon Plus.

Anybody have any other suggestions? How long will the tyres likely last? I've done some touring before, but never more than 1000 miles, so I'm not really clued up on the longevity of trees.

Tyre liners

Worth it? I've never used...


I've settled on Ortlieb for obvious reasons, but I'm having a little trouble finding out the difference between City and Classic. Can anybody shed some light on this please...

Sleeping mat

I'm looking at the Thermarest Pro Lite. Any others I should be considering?


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Re: China to UK ride

Postby sreten » 9 Nov 2014, 12:53am


Tyre liners are a waste of time with puncture protected tyres,
the tyres effectively have the liners built into the tyre.

rgds, sreten.

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Re: China to UK ride

Postby jk49 » 9 Nov 2014, 2:01pm

Hi Rogo,
Re sleeping mats,l've used the Exped basic model for about 3 years.(on various tours and hiking trips, not continuously!). I can't recommend it enough, it is light,packs up pretty small but is very comfortable if not blown up rock hard.

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Re: China to UK ride

Postby Tigerbiten » 9 Nov 2014, 3:45pm

If your lucky, you could do the whole ride on one set of tyres, M+'s will do that sort of distance.

I only carry one spare folding tyre on tour.
I work on the principal that if one does go, I put the folder on until I can pickup another tyre.
When that happens, the folder goes back as a spare.
But also carry a tyre boot or two for running repairs.
I had a 1/2" glass cut in my back tyre, 500 miles into this years tour.
I stuck a tyre boot in it, as opposed to chucking the tyre and using the spare.
I finally changed to a new tyre ~4,000 miles later.

Have fun ......... :D

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Re: China to UK ride

Postby reohn2 » 9 Nov 2014, 4:53pm

I don't think you'll get 10k miles out of one set of tyres,the M+'s will be very durable though the ride is very wooden.Perhaps Marathon Mondials for the gravel/badass bits.
On good 'clean' tarmac I'd use Panaracer Ribmo's and I 'd use the biggest tyre the frame will take 700x35(?) for comfort on those bad sections,which could be a upward of 2k+ miles in fact I'd stay clear of anything narrower if I could.
I cycle therefore I am.

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Re: China to UK ride

Postby brumster » 9 Nov 2014, 5:54pm

Highly recommend you read this book ( Maybe start from the back? LOL )

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Re: China to UK ride

Postby Rogo » 9 Nov 2014, 7:53pm

Just bought the book, thanks! :)

So how do you guys think the M+'s will handle the dirt/gravel track? Should they hold up?

I'll have a look at the Exped mat now, thanks!

Anyone have any ideas on the difference in Panniers?

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Re: China to UK ride

Postby ridesurlys » 10 Nov 2014, 6:30pm

As far as I can tell. They are both the same material with the QL1 fitting system. The city are lighter at 1520g to 1900 of the classics. But the classics have an internal pouch, the shoulder carry strap and the compression strap in the centre which will link up with a rack pack. I havent seen a set of city panniers. This info is just what i got from a website

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Re: China to UK ride

Postby slogfester » 10 Nov 2014, 7:34pm

I rode M+ for 4500 km in Eastern Europe. They handled off-road very well (especially when pressure was lowered to recommended min), BUT, they *feel* very slow on tarmac. I don't know if they are actually slow? Mine were c. 2008 model.
For next big trip I have chosen Mondials.

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Re: China to UK ride

Postby NetworkMan » 10 Nov 2014, 10:09pm

ridesurlys wrote:As far as I can tell. They are both the same material with the QL1 fitting system. The city are lighter at 1520g to 1900 of the classics. But the classics have an internal pouch, the shoulder carry strap and the compression strap in the centre which will link up with a rack pack. I havent seen a set of city panniers. This info is just what i got from a website

I have a pair of Back Roller City which you can see here:-
... just over halfway down the page. Click on the pictures for a bigger view. Basically they are a simplified version of the Back Roller Classic made of the same material and as ridesurlys says lack the internal pouch and shoulder strap. I can only assume that the weight saving comes from the simplification and lack of the strap. Some say they are smaller but I don't think so and the quoted volume is the same. You can buy a sholder strap for mine as an option and also rear pockets to fit yourself if you want which are also available for the Classics.

The big difference is in the fastening. With both you grab the top by the ends and roll it over for about three turns. On mine you then push the two ends into matching fastenings on the bag sides. On the Classic you use the strap that runs over the top. I'm pretty sure I've seen Classics fastened by joining the two ends of the top together though these ends are really intended for the carrying strap.

When I first got mine and I tried them out off the bike with nothing in them I thought the fastening was too fiddly and would drive me nuts but on the bike with something in the bag it's actually pretty easy with a little practice.

If I have any criticisms, and it applies to both bags, is that the QL1 hooks make it just too easy to lift the bags off and therefore too easy to steal. I've sometimes put a cable lock through the carry handles as a deterrent when parked. Also if I hadn't got mine for an amazing £50 new I might have gone for the Bike Packer with a traditional top which I believe is still good enough for downpours of rain but probably not for fording a river!

Good luck on the trip!

Edit - I see that the Citys can be bought in this country for a little over £56 at the moment which seems pretty good. Rosebikes in Germany are charging more. If you go for these make sure you are getting a pair since some places are selling them singly.

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Re: China to UK ride

Postby andrew_s » 11 Nov 2014, 9:29am

Rogo wrote:Sleeping mat
I'm looking at the Thermarest Pro Lite. Any others I should be considering?

You might consider taking a supplementary closed cell foam mat.

All inflatable mats are subject to failure. It's not so much punctures, which you can patch, but failure of the structure of the mat.
Self-inflating mats like the Pro Lite can delaminate, so you get a big bubble where you aren't on the mat, and you go straight down onto the ground, with the squashed flat foam shell providing very little insulation.
With insulate air beds like the Exped, the baffles between chambers fail, and again you drop down to the ground, or get tipped off the mat if you add extra air.
In both cases, it's terminal, and the only thing you can do is get a new mat. Thermarest and Exped are generally quite good about supplying replacements, but that's not much help if you are in the back of beyond at the time.

I'd also comment that the Pro-lite is noticeably less warm that the un-perforated and heavier versions. It's good down to just above zero.

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Re: China to UK ride

Postby Bicycler » 11 Nov 2014, 8:30pm

10,000 miles is at the top end of Schwalbe's mileage estimate for Marathon Plus but some expedition cyclists have reported mileages like that on the Marathon plus and other expedition tyres like the Marathon Mondial and XR. If you wanted a more significant tread, the Marathon Plus Tour has more than the plain Marathon plus. The other option is the Marathon Mondial which is designed for a mixed paved/dirt road tour.

Re: the duremes - If you can fit 700x40c, they currently on offer at £15: ... lding-tyre
Last edited by Bicycler on 13 Nov 2014, 8:37pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: China to UK ride

Postby serbring » 13 Nov 2014, 8:29pm

I'm interested in this topic, since I'm thinking to cycle along the Pamir Highway

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Re: China to UK ride

Postby paullferguson » 12 Apr 2015, 3:31pm

Best of luck with the ride. I think I'm doing the reverse at a similar time :D

Kit wise I've been making some similar choices, gone for the Marathon Supreme on the rear while the roads are good then a Mondial on the front and one spare. I did a few hundred miles with split sidewall before, using a bit of plastic cut from a bottle to stop it bulging more. Downhills at speed were a little bumpy and unnerving so going to bag a few Tyre Boot's on @Tigerbiten's recommendation.

Also went for a Thermarest Pro Lite, but will be taking patches and low expectations for its longevity as @andrew_s says. I punctured an old Thermasest on a one week trip in France, despite a few patches its never quite been the same. I'm now much more careful when clearing my sleeping spot and make sure not to kneel on it.

What are you doing for cooking, if at all. I was thinking of picking up an MSR Whisperlite stove?
Sorry if this is a diversion from the OP