Category Archives: G BIKES

Great bikes to ride. Specs, purposes and everything to know about the weapons of choice


This post is to update my tools of the trade for trouble free riding.  Depending on the task at hand (ie the ride), your emergency toolkit needed vary.   This is essentially an update and refresh from various posts such as my personal toolkit and the barplug tool.


As evidenced by latest trends (when Specialized got on the bandwagon with its SWAT system, you know its gone mainstream), there are advantages to an intelligent mix between carrying your gear on the bike or on the body (as opposed to a Camel back).  I progressed from carrying body tools in a small neoprene bag to the Pocpac.  Pocpac is a great product for storing tools and other paraphernalia.  I was skeptical at first, preferring the old neoprene bag, thinking that the plastic pouch would easily slip out and get lost.  But, after three, it still keeps working.

Lezyne mini pump:  This replaced the old Scott minipump and with its aluminium body is simply superior.  Goes with me everywhere in the pocket and I hardly ever use bombs.

Bomb & Attachment:  Can’t fit this in the Pocpac, so I just leave it at home when not racing.  When racing, it replaces the mini pump.

The following tools are kept in the Pocpac:
-Spare Plugs

-Derailler cable
-Zip ties
-Stans 2 oz bottle
-Lezyne Multi Tool
-Money (R100 note can be used as a gator)
-Continental Tyre Lever with Duct tape around it
-Park Tyre Boot
-Toughie tyre boot:  6cm strip of Mr Tuffee tyre liner
-Park Glueless patches
-No Tubes valve remover
-Stans Valve core
-Stans Valve stem
-Scott Derailler Hanger bracket
-Leatherman mini knife

On shorter rides I drop the Stans, leatherman and hanger bracket to save a bit of weight. However, most rides I simply go with what’s in the Pocpac and that normally means all of the above.

-Barplug: Tire tool & plug loaded in handlebar (see my post on this great tool)

The barplag is the most effective tool and I constantly use it.  Its simply the best trick around!  More recently, the concept has gone into production in the form of the Sahmurai Sword but I have my doubts whether the commercial concept is better than my hack.

I still ride the Coega Daily Commute and Wells Estate Beach must rate as the best testing ground for tire related products.  Wells Estate has the highest amount of broken glass per square meter of bike path in the world and I puncture at least once a week.  My original tool is still in use and would definitely outlast any commercial replica in terms of durability.  Generally, I repair without even having to pump up the wheel!


The Gräfenberg: Coega Daily Commute Weapon 


The Gräfenberg has landed on my new GTrails site.  Over the past few years I have commuted on trusty 26″ bikes, but, with the purchase of the Scott Pro 29er, the advantages of 29″ based commutes are compelling.  However, maintenance costs are high.

I purchased the Scott Pro in January 2012, and within the first month the Rock Shox fork was returned due to a defective damping chamber.  The fork had to be attended to twice after that with the remote lock out sticking.  Then in March 2013, in the run up to the Cape Epic 2013, wear to the stanchions was identified.  Cape Cycle Systems, the South African based SRAM distributor, refused to honor the warranty and I did not have service records to prove it had been serviced in the past year.

My reaction – well Rock Shox obviously cannot withstand the rigours of the Coega Daily Commute and that led me to develop a low cost project bike for commuting to work.

The first step was to purchase the Gaea blank frame from Carbonality, one of the on line suppliers selling “cheap Chinese carbon frames”.

The Gaea 1180 gram carbon frame from Carbonality.  Looks suspiciously similar to many of the branded bikes being sold at three times the price.

The Gaea 1180 gram carbon frame from Carbonality. Looks suspiciously similar to many of the branded bikes being sold at three times the price.

One of the biggest costs was postage, which made it more cost effective to include a carbon Handlebars, Headset, Stem and Seatpost.  Given my experience with the wear on the Rock Shox stanchions, it does not make sense using a suspension fork on a daily commute of 22km (one way) where only 10% of the ride requires suspension.  

Great Fork, Great value

Great Fork, Great value

I therefore opted for the Carbonality Fork, which looks suspiciously similar to the Niner solid fork.    

The customer service from Carbonality was brilliant.  They answered all my questions and made sure that I not only got a good price, but, great postage rates.  Within three weeks of placing the order, the new frame had arrived.  I had ordered the plain UD Matt Finish with the idea of spraying up custom colours.  However, my Cape Epic partner, Craig Lindeque from Digital Dynamix, suggested that I use his Vinyl Cutter to create decals.  This was an inspired move, and for a fraction of the cost, the Grafenberg was born.


The Grafenbergs Gtrails Steerer Tube Decal

The Grafenbergs Gtrails Steerer Tube Decal

The vinyl stickers were easily applied and the effect was stunning.  The ride, well simply sublime!  

After two weeks of riding I can scarcely put the bike down.  Its just plain awesome and I really need to get it onto a scale to get a handle on its weight.  The front fork shaves off about eight hundred grams off the Rock Shox and time will tell whether the carbon will hold.  My experience with the purchase left me with alot of confidence in the level of service coming out of Hong Kong.  Great people, and hopefully, if the time comes, they will provide better support than SRAM!