Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

Which bike might be best for SOTA?

I have put a few thoughts into a short video.

4 Likes

My choice would be a “Trek” mountain bike as I had 20 years ago. Lightweight, fast and no suspension front or rear. Over 20 mph on the roads and it’d go anywhere and if it got stuck - pick it up and carry it - unladen it was about 11 kilos if I remember correctly.

Now in my later years, I’m wondering about a Mountain/trekking E-Bike? Giving a bit of help up the steeper parts and also supplying power for the radio gear from its battery (I suppose).

Do you have any advice about Mountain E-bikes? (apart from them being “the work of the devil”) and expensive.

73 Ed.

3 Likes
Which bike might be best for SOTA?

One with a saddle for a start? :blush:

3 Likes

I think that might be pushing the rules of SOTA a tad. They usually use relatively high voltage battery packs anyway.

Bike technology has advanced significantly in 20 years. I suspect that you would find a modern bike would be a lot nicer to ride. The only area in which technology has stalled is the FT817/818.

1 Like

In the late 50’s and early 60’s most British kids like me (or rather our parents) had little money and we made our own ‘track bikes’ (I didn’t hear the term ‘mountain bike’ for another two decades). We would take an old bike, take off the brakes and mud guards, replace the handlebars by the ‘cow horns’ type and the back cog by a ‘fixed wheel’ type (a crude brake), and paint the frame in lurid colours. No real health and safety back then and British parents considered kids replaceable.

I’ve been cycling on- and off-road ever since (when I lived in Germany, New England, Scotland and England) and had road bikes, mountain bikes and hybrids (‘gravel’ bikes) usually more than one of each type.

Which type is the best? It depends on the SOTA activation.

If you intend to chain your bike at the side of the road and leg the off-road section to the summit, take the road bike. I fitted a sturdy rack to my road bike for two large pannier bags.

Richard is right to say the mountain bike copes with all(?) terrains – however, no bike copes with or prepares you for when you fall flat on your face in 10 milliseconds as your mountain bike goes over frozen puddles cunningly covered with virgin snow.

I used to commute 18 miles to work across moorland roads in Scotland. Occasionally, the road bike was out of action and I used the mountain bike. Yes, the wide tyres make it more effort but its lower-ratio gears were a nice treat going up the really steep bits.

Hybrids are 3-seasons bikes. Before retirement I cycled along my local canal (on the grassy towpaths) to work which was lovely most of the time. The mud guards on hybrids (e.g. Trek) are too close to the tyres and brakes to cope with heavy mud. In wet conditions mud thrown up under the mud guards would turn to plasticine (play doh) due to friction and glue the wheel solid requiring me to unglue it with my fingers every 5 minutes – a nightmare when in the middle of nowhere. Having said that, hybrids are a good compromise between the other two types and would suit many activations in many weather conditions.

In summary, if you can afford it, have one of each type and choose the one to suit a particular activation.

4 Likes

Ha! I think that comment may have been prompted by a recent photo on Twitter that I posted showing my 2001 vintage FT817.

I guess like in many areas, the best ^insert item^ is the ^insert item^ that you have!

I have a late 90’s Saracen Tufftrax rigid cross country bike, it’s quite light but it’s not nice to ride on the road. My other bike is a mid 90s M-Trax 6000r, I put thousands of miles on it as a teenager, I really ought to put it back into service, I haven’t ridden it for years.

The TuffTrax carried my stuff around the Isle of Coll a couple of years ago, including my Mountain Topper and antenna. (I’ve lost three stone since then!)

73, Colin

4 Likes

I think any bike you ride is the best bike. Much faster to get down the summit if the terrain allows. I have a very nice, 20+ year old rigid mountain bike - triple butted steel, Shimano XT components. Lighter than my every day bike. Paid $100 USD for it.

3 Likes

Oh boy, one of my favourite ways to activate, but don’t do it enough.
My baby is not for the occasional user or cheap person. It will conquer almost anything that the Canadian Rockies will through at it including 4-6’ drops, climbs better than my legs, absolute blast on the downs. After many aftermarket parts is weighs in less than 12.5 Kg for an extra large sized frame. If I were to change anything on it, it would be more storage for water.

Malen
VE6VID

4 Likes

Another Great way too get to the Top, and a blast on the way down! Kris

3 Likes

Nice Carbon Fiber Malen, clean too, what size is your front sprocket?
Kris K7djl

2 Likes

Kris,
Thanks, 28 tooth. Also did the One Up 47t / 18t upgrade after picture was taken. Its gets washed after every hard ride.

Malen
VE6VID

1 Like

Diamondback Heist 2.0, air shock, 1x11 (32F, 11-42R), 27.5 wheels, hydraulic brakes, dropper seat post and the vehicle used to move it about. I could do with either losing more weight, getting fitter or fitting a smaller front sprocket or all three.

5 Likes

Drop down to 28 front. Robs slightly from top end capability slightly but does wonders for uphill climb.

Malen
VE6VID

2 Likes

Nice video, thank you!
That’s my favourite mountain-bike.


The support from a 250W Yamaha motor is appreciated very much, yet it is no moped, still a lot of exercise when going up. The 400Wh accu does not last forever, it is important to choose the right amount of support.
I did quite a lot of nice bike and hike tours this summer.
No pain in the knees when going down.
Martin DF3MC

4 Likes

Interesting thread, I recently purchased a hardtail electric mountain bike, one of the uses planned is for SOTA activations where there are lengthy 4WD or rough tracks.
Cheers,
Glenn VK3YY.

3 Likes

Martin how many settings on the battery side 2 or 3 TKS Kris

1 Like

Marlin I bet it’s a climbing beast smart move! Doing Sota we pack more gear, more weight, then you would just riding. I have two up front 24/36T. I like having the 36t for the logging roads, behind the gates. Kris

1 Like

I will be doing a video on using e- bikes for SOTA shortly (if the rain ever stops). The gravel bike in my video was actually an e-bike although I didn’t mention that as the comparison was aimed at being about three conventional bikes and I didn’t want to confuse the issue.

2 Likes

I find my mast base makes an OK bike for activating :slight_smile:

4 Likes