Bike and Gear Confidential
You’ve got a lot of choices in this department, and over the years we’ve seen it all—from full suspension mountain bikes with fat, knobby tires, to carbon fiber racing bikes with smooth 23mm tires. What YOU will need depends on a lot of factors, like your riding ability, your level of fitness, your budget, and how fast you want to do this trip. That being said, here’s my judgment-laden summary of your options.
A big factor in price is the quality of components. For a ride this long, don’t skimp. Yes, that bike with the “sora” shifters is several hundred dollars cheaper than the one with the “ultegra” components, but the time you spend adjusting and being frustrated with the improper shifting will likely make you regret the cheaper option.
Higher-end component groups are also lighter than typical Sora priced bikes. At a minimum, go with Shimano Deore/105 or SRAM Rival as your component groupset.
If you buy a bike in places like the Netherlands or Japan, it’ll usually come with a kickstand, a bell, a headlight, and a rack or basket. When you buy a bike in America it doesn’t come with squat. That’s a shame, because a few accessories make your bike lots safer and lots more fun to ride. Get a few of these and you won’t regret it.
Clothing choices are dependent on weather and personal style. Some folks wear baggy short while some folks wear the shorts by themselves. Don’t skimp on bib shorts/shorts. It is recommended that you use bib shorts as the bib part keeps the chamois in place. The recommendation is to have at least 2 pairs of shorts. Don’t wait until the ride to try your shorts. Make sure you have a pro-level chamois in your shorts. Thinner doesn’t equal cheaper and thickest doesn’t mean it’s the most comfortable.