ahearne pinion gearbox

This Ahearne Pinion Gearbox Touring Bike Will Blow Your Mind

You’ll find a few touring bike creations from Joseph Ahearne’s workshop already on CyclingAbout, but I always have time to feature another. That’s because Joseph goes to great lengths to incorporate fine detail into each of his builds.

This particular off-road touring bike, sometimes known as an ‘Outback’, is a fine blend of modern technologies with classical styling. Everything from the drivetrain to the tyres, rims, lights and handlebars is positively 21st-century; but the bike could somehow go unnoticed between a handful of touring bikes from decades ago.

Let’s take a closer inspection.

The Ahearne Pinion Gearbox Touring Bike

ahearne pinion gearbox

Starting at the front end, the most striking feature to me is the triple plate fork crown. This takes me straight to a particular artefact at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. You know the Wright Brothers who are credited with creating the first successful aeroplane? Well, they started in the bike business, and their most famous bicycle build also employs a triple-plate crown!

While Joseph usually constructs his own racks, this Outback is using stock Tubus racks. That’s no bad thing, the Tubus steel racks are often half the weight of everything else available and offer a 30-year guarantee to boot. You will, however, find a custom fender strut that mounts the ultra bright B&M IQ-X light in a high but forward position above the front wheel.

The wheels are another talking point. This touring bike is using Derby 35i carbon fibre rims. Not only are these rims ultralight (485 grams), but they’re also super stiff and wide, matching appropriately to the Schwalbe G-One 27.5 x 2.8″ tyres. The tyres are pretty special too as they’re one of the only gravel-specific tyres in this wide dimension. A series of micro knobs create a much lower rolling resistance when compared to standard plus tyres that are designed for trail use. That will make this bike perfect for rough roads like the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan or Carretera Austral in Chile!

ahearne pinion gearbox

ahearne pinion gearbox

The frame breaks into two halves to reduce the pack-size for flying. S&S couplers fitted to the top and down tubes permit the bike to fit into a box with regular check-in baggage dimensions (26 x 26 x 10″). This means no oversized baggage fee and makes travel to and from the airport logistically easier.

The Honjo H-95 fenders are wide enough to clear the plus-sized tyres… with space. Over my years of bike travel, I’ve found fenders to be absolutely invaluable – it’s cool to see fenders on fat-tyred bikes too!

ahearne pinion gearbox

That motor-looking component is a Pinion gearbox. This is a replacement for derailleur gears on a regular bicycle. A series of cogs sit inside a weather-sealed container with 18 different gear options. It actually offers a gear range wider than any derailleur system too. You can read more about Pinion gearboxes HERE.

You’ll also notice that the bike employs a belt drivetrain. I’ve been using belts since 2010 and have found that they significantly exceed the lifespan of a regular chain drivetrain. I tend to get over 30,000km on a single belt which can sometimes last the duration of a multi-year tour across continents!

ahearne pinion gearbox

The bike is using Paul Klamper cable disc brakes that fit nicely to the sliding Paragon dropouts. I particularly like the super neat fender strut mount at the top of the dropout. The thru-axles front and rear are another modern feature on this classically-styled ride.

ahearne pinion gearbox

The bike is finished using a Jones Loop handlebar that is quite high in proportion to the seat which should provide a comfortable position for all-day riding. Word from Joseph Ahearne is that the seat and seatpost are only temporary. I look forward to seeing this bike covered in dust and mud!

Head HERE For More Custom Touring Bike Builds

  1. You are right, that is quite a bike. Those are actually the Paragon Rocker dropouts, not their sliding ones. But both give nice flexibility to a frame. So if you decided you wanted a quick release rear axle, just swap the inserts, etc.

  2. S&S Couplers are really only a significant benefit for air travel to or from the Americas. For the rest of the world it is weight not length that matters and the S&S couple make a bike heavier, not lighter. Yes there is sometimes an advantage to being able to pack smaller but all things considered I would prefer a non S&S version.

  3. Yes that’s about right. I guess my point is that unless you use the capability to break the bike down you pay for the S&S in increased price, increased weight and reduced stiffness.

  4. Am I getting old ? To me, this is one of the ugliest bicycles I have seen. That triple plate fork is esthetically in conflict with rest of bicycle. Perhaps its technically excellent bike but its design-style…brrr.
    Also, if I can see well-pedals are too close to front tyre. For its monster tyres, fenders are too close (too small clearance). Carbon rims on that type of bicycle ?-weird.
    Just my opinion, perhaps I am simply getting old 😉

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