Strengths: Stability, no flexing , purpose built , oversize headset @ 44mm ,135mm rear drop out spacing , good clearance for mudguards and 35mm tyres , great ride !
Weaknesses: Very high head tube , a bit tight with overlap on front mudguard, very long delivery -6months but worth the wait !
My frame came twice as Fat birds bike shop sent a very large frame , not medium long, a special order was needed and a very long time later it arrived @ my local bike shop , Banjos in Newbury , Berkshire . Very pleased as all I wanted, I fitted headset and Surly Long Haul Disc Trucker forks , really good with lots of clearance for guards and 35mm tires , as the rear dropouts were 135mm I fitted a Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub gear with centre lock disc , fitting was easy but to get perfect chain line I reversed the sprocket , a Scram 24 tooth , then I fitted a Middleburn single ring 36 chainset , again no problem, this set up gives gearing 21 to 87 inches , needed as cycle camping in hilly areas , all that was needed was a guide to carry gear cable away from the right hand chainstay, using a full length outer cable to my home made cable stop out a Campag down tube braze on plastic stop and the ever handy zip tie , after a year of use this has never slipped . Handlebars were a problem as ATB Hope disc levers are 22.4 mm as is Alfine rapid fire gear lever , but On One sell low pro bars with 31.6 oversize tapering to 22.4 , perfect . Finished of with Cane Creek bar ends . I used Richey oversize stem and carbon 2 bolt 27.2 seat pin plus titanium Rolls saddle from Selle Italia . Sks 35 mm mudguards and Schallbe Durano 700 @35 mm tyres , front and rear Tubus racks and Shimano 520 touring pedals . Now ridden 10,000 km and is all good , the frame gives no shimmy when loaded with 4 Ortlieb Sport packer bags for long tours and camping gear etc , so pleased and best bike I have ever had . This bike is not a normal set up I know but it works so well, I want to ride to the family run factory in the USA one day and show them the bike and to thank them for such a good job , hope this post may help someone !
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: September 30, 2013
Strengths: Smooth, durable, stable, wide range of gear selection, well thought through functionality.
Weighs about 10lbs less than my friend's Long Haul Trucker.
Weaknesses: Higher price, but you get what you pay for.
Took a little longer for the bike to arrive than I was anticipating, but customer service was always helpful.
Everything I was expecting in my touring bike. Confident Ride.
dabba - I come from a land downunder
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: May 7, 2013
Strengths: I've had MTB's, tandems, tourers, carbon road bikes and an aluminium e-bike, so I've covered a bit of ground. I thought that my other bikes - particularly the chromoly Trek 520 tourer and carbon Trek Pilot 5.2 - were nice to ride, but the Backroads is just something else. Corners on rails and absorbs the road shock really well. A great bike! Steering is light and it just goes where you point it without any frame flex. It feels right! Touring bikes usually feel better with a load, and this one is no exception. It feels rock solid on fully loaded fast descents, and the disk brakes take away the concern of popping a front tyre on a long fast descent.
Weaknesses: I built all of the bike up myself, and I was a bit surprised when I noticed that the rear dropouts weren't parallel to one another. It was not out by much, but it was noticeable. However, it hasn't detracted from the bike in any way, I just know it's there.
I had a friend who bought a Lynskey Ti road bike - probably 10 years ago - and he was wrapped in the bike. I remember him saying that he wasn't capable of getting the bike to perform to its capabilities. I share his sentiments with the Backroad. It's a lovely bike, and I expect it to be my last - probably ............ :-) It's a pity I can't post a picture of my setup, it just suits the name "Backroad".
Strengths: Stout as heck. Excellent ride. Confidence inspiring handling.
Weaknesses: Fork aesthetics. No full cable derailleur housing. Deficient frame finishing.
I built this bike up myself. Got a 2011 frame online from chain reaction cycles for a good price, which allowed me to go a bit crazy on the rest of the build. I built mine up as more of a gravel/dirt road bike rather than a tourer. But I like the option of touring when I want to. I think this frame is well suited to that.
The frame finishing was deficient in my opinion, especially for such an expensive bike. Lots of chips and machining residue inside the tubes. I needed to chase the BB and ream the headtube to fit the chris king parts. To be fair, CK BBs require perfect threads at a much longer depth than what is typically required for OEM cups, and I’ve almost always had to chase BBs to fit them. But the headtube was only reamed 8 mm deep, which is not deep enough for any zerostack headset. Trying finding a LBS set-up to ream zero stack headsets. My frame is an earlier model with aluminum cups (which the headset presses into) bonded in the headtube, so maybe this is no longer an issue. No other issues in the build, other than my frame did not clear an Ultegra triple.
I really love riding this bike. I commute on it every day. It conveys a confidence-inspiring stoutness when riding. Like a tank. The chainstays are very stiff despite their length. The toptube is pretty tall, especially when running an oversized headset. But I think the 2012 models have more standover room.
I installed a carbon cross fork, but I intend to use the steel fork when I go touring. I think they goofed on the fork aesthetics, maybe trying to appeal to the Salsa fans. But with the oversized heat tube, the steel fork just looks lost on the frame. They should have gone with a segmented fork with some beef to it – ideally a ti fork designed and built by Lynskey. Another goof is that the frame should have been built to accommodate full derailleur cable housing. I really don’t get that one.
One should understand that this is a heavy frame due to a T62-like approach to the design (in Soviet Russia, backroad tours you), i.e., it’s overbuilt to the max. The tubes are thick and don’t flex, but the package still provides the well-known magical ti ride. But even with a weenieish build like mine, the weight is just over 21 lbs for a size large frame.
Bike Setup: Size L frame; XO triple 22/33/44 crankset; ultegra 6700 shfiters; ultegra 6700 med cage rear derailleur; CX-75 brake calipers (awesome); XTR M985 pedals; 160 mm avid G2 discs; IRD triple front derailleur; whisky no.7 oversized cross fork; CK inset 7 tapered headset; CK mtn BB; easton ec70 seatpost; easton ec90 stem/handlebar; fizik aliante saddle; enve XC wheelset w CK hubs; 32c Vittoria rando hypers.
Date Reviewed: April 21, 2012
Strengths: overbuilt for great stability and handling
Weaknesses: not enough clearance for larger tires. 700 X 30 Michelling Jets leave barely enough room for fenders. I'd like to be able to run 2.0 Big Apples for touring. It's tight on the toe strike issue also. If I'm unclipped for a take off or in the city I toe strike the front wheel.
Really a great frame but the two issues I mentioned could be improved, particularly the tire clearance issue.