Paul Brodie started building mountain bikes in the 1980s, initially for Rocky Mountain but soon after he produced bikes under his own name. Pioneering things like the ‘sloping top tube’, this Vancouver-based builder started to get worldwide recognition for his bikes, something we can still see today with the 2016 Brodie Elan Vital.
Although it may not seem it, Brodie is still a small family-run business based out of Canada. For the eighth year Brodie have put together the Elan, a 4130 steel touring bike made for adventures. The bike has evolved over time to now offer disc brakes, 30-speed Shimano Tiagra gearing and nice finishing touches like fenders and a Brooks Cambium saddle.
The 2016 Brodie Elan Vital Touring Bike
The fork trail of the 2016 Brodie Elan Vital is around 65mm with 40c tyres. This results in a relatively slow steering response, keeping your heavy loads stable on those fast descents (understand more about fork trail HERE). The 50mm fork offset increases the wheelbase, again aiding to stabilise of the bike. There’s provision for front and rear racks, eyelets for fenders and three bidon cages – all the touring necessities.
The headtube length is tall across the range, resulting in handlebars around the same height as your seat. This allows you to be positioned high while you’re touring, taking stress off your neck so you can have a good look around.
The Elan comes with Shimano Tiagra STI 10s shifters that make gear changes easy, but are often not favoured over barend shifters on long distance touring bikes due to their complex design. Brodie only recently switched to STI shifters on the Elan to make the bike a bit more multipurpose. The STIs are really convenient and easy to use.
The Elan Vital can handle up to 42mm worth of rubber under the fenders, and a bit more if you were to take them off. That’s going to be ample rubber for most rides. The bike comes with 32mm Panaracer Pasela tyres which look great on the bike and offer great puncture resistance on mixed surfaces.
Cable disc brakes work really well on touring bikes, as they’re easily repairable wherever you are. The brakes on the Elan Vital are Hayes CX5 Experts which are well regarded on other touring bikes.
The smallest gear on the Elan Vital is 27 gear inches, which is not particularly small for a dedicated touring bike. Luckily there are a few mods available to drop it to 22 gear inches (by changing front chainring to a 24t), or drop it to 23 gear inches (by changing the derailleur and cassette). For more details on how to achieve lower gears on the Elan, head to THIS resource.
The 2016 Brodie Elan Vital retails for CAD $2249 and is available in five different sizes.
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