#TCR2014 @Chargebikes Steel Plug 5 Prepped and Ready

I am using a steel Plug 5 from Charge Bikes for Transcon.

I love the disc brake features on it and the solid feeling of steel and the extra clearance it offers for larger tyres.

Quite simply a bike, a very good bike. Hard to say what it is for, apart from riding. There is always a reason to take this out and one that gets used by far the most. Great fun and hugely reliable and it will put a smile on your face what ever the weather is doing!

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For me, black is the only colour to have a bike in…maybe that or the raw colour of steel, titanium or aluminium. I don’t like flashy bikes in loads of colours…let the quality, component choice and riding do the talking.

SRAM provide all the gears and brakes for this one.

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I am running an Exposure Revo Dynamo hub set up with redeye rear light. It is fantastic and I cannot recommend it enough to anyone doing large amounts of night riding. Totally dependable power.

The back wheel is an Easton EA90 Cyclocross wheel. Strong, light and with discs.

 

Along with that, I have wired a supernova PLUG III into the headtube, allowing me to charge iPhones and Garmins while rolling along.

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Alpkit Bags all over. Dry Bag at the front with all the sleeping kit in, Larger seatbag at the rear with clothes in and frame bags with spares, tools, snacks and essentials in that will need to be accessed more regularly.

We are both very excited to start this adventure and would really like to thank everyone that has helped us so much over the last 8 months prepare for this.

All our riding and training partners, people giving route, prep and nutrition.

We would especially like to thank everyone who has helped us with the kit we will be using

Charge Bikes for having so much faith in us and making such awesome bikes

Giro for the most badass shoes, helmets and clothes

Oakley for the sunnies

Alpkit for stashing our kit

Exposure for lighting the way

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New Versatile Adventure Racing Kit

We were lucky enough to be invited down last week to sunny Somerset to meet up with the guys at Charge Bikes. They have been kind enough to supply us with our long distance bikes we will be using for the Transcontinental Race.

The bikes they had lined up for us were the fantastic Plug 5 that are their top of the pile ‘on road adventure’ bike. Lightweight but strong steel frames, compact gearing, super strong wheels and very importantly disc brakes!

We thought that these would be important due to the extra carrying weight of our kit and the issues that can arise with the rims wearing down and failing and also their performance gains in the wet.

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The only additions that we made, were to switch the stock sram hydro brakes with some cable ones as if there were issues we could easily fix them ourselves, whereas those that use hydraulic brakes know, problems can seldom be ‘bodged’ at the side of the road or trail and require specialist kit that we simply won’t be carrying. The only other alteration that will be made, will be to put a 30t or 32t rear cassette on instead of the stock 28t. Dragging our sorry bodies up the stelvio pass to check point 2 will be hard enough on its own, without a weeks solid riding under our belts and touring kit. Every little helps to keep the cadence and speed up!

We were also offered a selection of their brand new line of saddles. Three in the range, all with a polycarbonate base offering support yet a small amount of flex and different fits to suit different shapes and riding styles. The hardest choice was which colour?

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We can’t wait to get riding some big days on them and will keep updated with a 100km and 1000km review as soon as they’re done!

As well as Charge helping out enormously with the bikes, Oakley and Giro have supplied all our cycling kit. We couldn’t be happier working with these brands.

The Giro shoes and clothing that arrived for us looked fantastic. They have really stepped up recently and made some fantastic garments. We received a massive mix of items from undershirts to shorts and jerseys.

Gaby’s favorite item so far is her Primaloft Gilet. Super light weight, it packs up to be the size of an apple (great for stowing in a back pocket) and is warm abs windprood. She’s barely taken it off.

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The long sleeved windproof hoody has also been a favorite, providing warmth whilst pedaling but still looking great when off it.

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I’ve been using oakleys to ride with all my life so being supplied with all our eye wear from them was a dream. The colour orange has popped up a fair bit so we thought it might be an appropriate theme for some of our clothing since the bikes are totally stealth, a little tangerine burst might look great, as well as adding a safety aspect for riding at dawn and dusk.

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Without doubt my two favorite items. Giro Empire lace up shoes with Oakley Radar Locks with Polarized Fire Iridium Lens. I never used to be too fused about colour…all that has changed. The photos do not do justice to these two! The orange is a mix between fluro and the sun. Intense.

The shoes are simply stunning, incredibly light and with the lace ups (a feature very rarely seen on road shoes, let alone performance ones) means that they fit like a glove. The sole also offers a massive amount of support as it’s made from Easton’s EC90 carbon, their top stuff.

Plenty more photos and write ups of the kit will be coming up, but for now keep up to date with our adventures, photos and locations via

Twitter: @benalpinetweet
Instagram: @mansell85

These will both be updated as regularly as possible.

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