My SRAM drivetrain was getting a little long in the tooth and some parts, notably cassettes, had distant expected stocking dates. Moreover, I’d never been entirely sold on drop bars for off-road bikepacking once I’d actually done it, post-puchase. Even the extra-wide model on the old incarnation of Alice had a habit of impeding a loaded pack, wasn’t great for manoeuvring in rough stuff, and, on the rare occasions I used the drops, had me in a strange-feeling spread-eagle with hands wide apart. I’d also be limited for hand positions and real estate once accessories were fitted.
So, upon this year’s annual overhaul, I treated her to a shiny new MTB groupset and Jones H-Bars, splurging (slightly) on the butted 2.5 model. We’re now a his and hers Jones household. Bless. The more upright posture should take pressure off my arms and neck, transferring more weight through the saddle. Luckily, the Fizik perch is much more comfortable than it may superficially appear.
The original Funn wheelset pretty much died in Spain last year, as the effects of long-term immersion of alloy nipples in watery sealant and heavy braking on extreme descents conspired to rip several spokes from the rims. In came my spare set, built up around DT Swiss components and a Shutter Precision front dyno hub.
Although she’s currently mainly used as an all-rounder utility bike for commuting, local leisure and hauling shopping, the objective was really to create a machine with more long-distance comfort, carrying capacity, climbing prowess and stopping power for some serious overseas adventuring later this year.