The New 2016 Traitor Wander Touring Bike

Over the last few years I’ve been keeping my eyes on North American bike brand Traitor, and more specifically their ‘Slot’; a steel mountain bike designed for off-road touring. It’s a no-fuss rigid adventure rig with a wide gear range, cable disc brakes, 2.1″ tyres and provision for front/rear racks and fenders. It’s pretty rad. It’s now come to my attention that Traitor are producing a dedicated touring bike called the 2016 Traitor Wander and it’s made with seamless double butted steel tubing.

The 2016 Traitor Wander Touring Bike

2016 Traitor Wander
The 2016 Traitor Wander Touring Bike.

The geometry of the Wander is great for touring with a front and rear load.

The bike has a moderate fork trail of 68mm (learn what that means HERE) resulting in a slowish steering response, keeping heavy loads stable on fast descents. The bottom bracket is low and the chainstays are relatively long too – although the bike could be improved if they were a touch longer. The bike comes with rather narrow 32c Kenda Kwick tyres and will squeeze in 40c tyres without fenders (35c with fenders).

A strange specification on the Wander is the gearing.

The smallest gear on the Shimano drivetrain is 30x30t (27 gear inches). It is widely regarded that a gear this small is simply not enough for bicycle touring. If the bike was spec’d with a Shimano Deore 48-36-26 crankset and 11-34t cassette it could achieve a low gear of 21 gear inches. If you’re thinking this could be the bike for you, perhaps take into account the cost of these potential upgrades: up to $200 in parts.

2016 Traitor Wander
The 2016 Traitor Wander Touring Bike.

The Wander is available in fluro yellow, and comes spec’d with decent parts including a Brooks B17 saddle, Promax Render cable disc brakes, Microtech 9-speed barend shifters, their own branded 32 hole disc wheelset (Joytech hubs), a FSA Tempo crankset and Shimano gearing. Another improvement to this bike could be the provision for a third bidon cage under the downtube like on many equivalent touring bikes.

The bike comes in five different sizes and the range is great. It covers the equivalent of everything from 42-62cm on the Surly Truckers. The Traitor Wander retails for US $1299. You can get the frame/fork for US $499 too.

Want To Compare This Touring Bike With Dozens of Others?

Check out the Touring Bicycle Buyer’s Guide which compares touring bike steering, sizing, gear ratios, specification, pricing and more. The Bikepacking Bike Buyer’s Guide does the same thing, however, with a focus on lighter bikes and models with more off-road capability. Both of these guides are updated annually with the latest models at no extra cost!

Helpful Resources

All About Touring Bike Brakes
Frame Materials for Bicycle Touring
How to Select Touring Bike Gearing
Understand Bicycle Frame Geometry
What’s the Difference between Cyclocross and Touring Bikes?

Touring & Bikepacking Bike Overview

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  1. It doesn’t cost $200 in parts to fix the low-gear. This crank uses a standard 74BCD “granny-grear”. It is $30 for a 24T chain ring. If Shimano would get their head out of their !#^@ when they designed the new 4-arm road cranks; they would have allowed them to take a 24T like all the 5-arm 110BCD and 130BCD cranks have accepted for the past 30 years!

    I don’t know why Traitor didn’t spec a 24T small chainring from FSA… it would have added less to the bike than for one to do it after purchase. For enlightened companies that produce a touring bike; too many simply follow the hurd mentality that Shimano et. al. wants. 🙁

    Of course if this is a 130BCD crank, I’m sure it will be the “industry standard” crappy 50/39/30 arrangement — even though the middle ring could be 38T and a 48T or 46T large chain ring would be a better choice.

  2. Good point, David. That would give a more appropriate 22-123″ drivetrain. The only things I’d add are that a ‘chain catcher’ is a good idea with this setup due to the drop from 39t to 24t, and should you go larger than 30t on the rear cassette, you’ll exceed the Alivio rear derailleur cage capacity to use all gears.

    I’ve covered low gear conversions here, if you hadn’t seen already. 🙂

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