In Australia Wishing for Our Gravel Bikes

27 Nov

Team Dirty Freehub is in the town of 1770 / Agnes Water, Australia. We brought our travel road bikes, but we are wishing for so much more! Especially after riding our bikes on gravel roads yesterday and suffering two flats in a mere 100 yards!

This is our 3rd trip to Australia with bikes. On our first trip we rode the Great Ocean road (route map) west of Melbourne, another time we were just north of Sydney where the riding was limited.  This time, we are about 6 hours north of Brisbane by car. A remote town of 2000 resident or so that is 1.5 hours from any towns of considerable size. It is remote and it is beautiful, but the road riding is limited. Several out and backs, no loops. But …  if we had our gravel bikes, we would be in heaven. Ugh!

Thus, I have given considerable thought of how to travel with with gravel bikes. Do we do custom gravel bike with S&S couplers? If so, that is a lot of coin (more than $6000 per bike) and a really difficult packing task given the disc brakes and associated rotors.  And there is the trade off of hydraulic disk brakes to mechanical disc brakes. Or …. a really big trade off to cantilever brakes. The other significant trade off is a tubed tire system versus tubeless. In a S&S bike box, the tires need to be completely deflated.  Thus, with a tubeless system you would need to add sealant once you arrived and then have some type of high pressure pump to seat the tires. Not an easy task.

The second option is to go with our current gravel bikes and get a good bike box. In my research this seems like the go to option. Easier build and break down of the bikes, hydraulic disc brakes, and a tubeless tire set up. Our gravel bikes are of titanium build, thus the likelihood of damage to the frame is minimal.

But …. what about that big upcharge for taking a full size bike carrier on planes. Things have changed. Alaska Airlines today only charges an extra $25 per piece of sports equipment. With Qantas, if you meet the bike box specifications there is no extra charge.

So … in the future, when we travel to Australia, New Zealand, or Tasmania my choice is now going to be our gravel bikes with an Evoc type carrier.

Thoughts??

3 thoughts on “In Australia Wishing for Our Gravel Bikes

  1. A few years back I traveled with my mountain bike to New Zealand. I rode the Old Ghost Road and the Queen Charlotte Track. Both highly recommended. I used the EVOC case you referenced which worked great with my XL full suspension Ibis Ripley. At the time Air New Zealand was not charging extra for bikes but I did get hit by a $125 fee for the United flight from SFO to RDM on the way home.

    https://oldghostroad.org.nz

    https://nzbybike.com/queen-charlotte-track/

  2. I struggle with the same question. I wonder about bike flights. Box, no bike case. All the other advantages you mention. Way cheaper than coupled bikes.

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