Roberts Roughstuff


My new bicycle
The machine and its maker Chas Roberts.
In the workshopLink
In July 2009 I bought a Roberts Roughstuff. It is a steel 26" wheel tourer equipped with a Rohloff hub, Tubus racks, Brooks saddle, Avid v-brakes and Mavic rims. I'm very happy that I use a bike hand-built in the UK.

UPDATE November 2010

some cool dude
After a year of constant use my bike has proven to be strong and reliable. The Mavic rims cracked in La Paz (Bolivia) and I replaced them with "Big Mamoth Fat" rims by Sunrims. Gravity Bolivia has a fantastic workshop in La Paz and undertook the work for a very fair price. Otherwise very little has happened except an oil change, a few new brake blocks and a new chain.

kid playing with my pedal
I got lots of punctures with the origional Continental tyres and they were shredded to pieces after the Careterra Austral in Chile. Local tyres proved to be fairly useless too, only lasting between a week to a month. When my mate Russ came to visit I asked him to buy me some Shwalbe "Marathon XR" tyres. These are really hard wearing and almost never puncture (only staples or very small nails seem to manage it). They are good for more than 15,000kms.

lovely bike
bike and hostal
bike and a knackered out Salchicha
The Brooks saddle is excellent. It is comfy to the extent that I don't wear cycling shorts, just normal ones. That said, it does need to be kept dry and polished which is a bummer for me as I don't have the proofide stuff I should have.

Rohloff hub has not had any problems and I love it. So easy to change gears whenever you like: stationary or moving. Changing the oil is an easy enough job and only needs to be done every 5000kms or so (other cyclists only do it every 10,000km). The way the rear dropouts are arranged on the Roughstuff is clever. It is really easy to slide the back wheel back as the chain stretchs. Also, if you get a puncture it is very simple to remove the back wheel.

Colombia 017
In short, she rides like a dream and I am very happy with her. I intend to have many happy years to come exploring the world on a top quality bike. Made in London, UK!

I wrote this post during my bike trip in South America in 2010.
I now offer guided walks and walking holidays in the UK in Northumberland, the Pennines, the Lake District, Scotland and further afield.

I'm always keen for outdoor adventures to help people learn the skills to explore! My particular focus is mountain skills such as navigating with a map and compass and wild camping for expeditions.

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  1. Very nice.

    When I've finally got my house sorted if there's any money left I've promised myself an 'off-road' hub geared tourer. (Nothing anywhere near as posh as that!)

    I'd love to hear how you get on with that bike. Is the Rohloff really worth the cost?

  2. I think the cost of a Rohloff is worth the outlay
    especially when you cost in peace of mind,and there is nothing to get bent or broken dirt does effect it working chaines last longer and only maintenance it need is an oil change when needed.

  3. I agree. The chain stretches quite a bit but I'm still on the first one. I love it for its simplicity. That said, the downsides are if something does go wrong it will be a FedEx job, and a week or two waiting around. Also, it is very slightly heavier and very slightly less efficient. None of which ought to worry the tourist much...

  4. Well, I say simplicity!!! Its probably the most complex thing I own!!!


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