Greg's Matching His and Hers Piolets

by Igor Shteynbuk

My wife and I re-discovered our appreciation for all things “bicycle”, as we entered our 50’s. The kids were gone, we could indulge ourselves and we could travel. In 2010 we did our first bike tour through Cuba on a couple of comfort bikes, we then graduated to hybrids, but in 2021 we found Velo-Orange. We have managed a bike tour of some sort every year since that first trip. After every trip we gained more insight into what would be our “perfect” bike.

matching piolet touring bikes

My goal was to build up steel bikes, using as many mountain bike parts as possible and making them as mechanical as possible. After suffering hydraulic brake failures in the mountains of Spain, I was avoiding stuff that needed fluid or batteries and wasn’t easily fixed at any local bike shop. I wanted these bikes to be simple and bullet-proof. Weight wasn’t a big issue as we try to keep our days to under 80 kms, stopping quite often to check out the sites, have a bite and maybe a cold beer. We also “credit card camp” so don’t have to worry about packing camping gear.

Isabel’s was our first Piolet. I lucked out, we were talking about our next touring bikes while scanning Craigslist and I found it. Size medium, steel frame, XT components, mechanical brakes, sturdy racks, just the bike. We drove to North Vancouver, took it for a spin and bought it. That started my quest for a Piolet.

I had to wait quite a while for the next order of XL frames, but it finally arrived and we started to build the matching bike. We’ve since ridden our Piolets through Eastern Canada, Portugal and Spain, and Fiji, plus countless “coffee rides” (this year we’ll be riding through Normandy to Amsterdam).  We have mountain bikes and road bikes, but our favorite ride is our Piolets. The steel frame and geometry is comfortable, while the Redshift stem and seat post absorbs many of the bumps along the way.

Here’s the build list:

Frame: Piolet Medium and X-Large
Drive train: Shimano XT, 3 x 9
Cranks: Raceface Atlas
Bottom bracket: Shimano
Wheels: Raceface ARC30 and ARC 25 (Isabel did have Stan’s Arch, but the new ARC wheels are being built)
Hubs: Shimano XT (I run a Son 48 Dynohub on my front)
Brakes: BB7
Stem:  Redshift
Seatpost: Redshift
Saddle: Isabel = Trek Fluid / Me = Brooks B17
Bars: Isabel = Raceface carbon flats / Me = Surly Truckstop drops
Tires: Schwabe Marathon

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