Handbuilt Bicycle News


BearCraft Bikes

Paul Skilbeck

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Vancouver Bike Show: BearCraft's Pilsner

Roman, from the new British Columbia company BearCraft, tells us about the Pilsner model

Vancouver Bike Show: BearCraft's Pilsner
Photo: BearCraft Bikes

Purpose and inspiration
This is the first bike that carries BearCraft logo on the headtube. It summarizes my understanding of the ultimate adventure machine. The bike that I would take throttling the Globe after retirement and will never want to replace. The bike that will be fun to ride and comfortable on long backcountry journeys. The bike that is designed to last a lifetime with minimal regular maintenance.

Favorite features
29+ wheels are clearly the best that happened with touring bikes after invention of gears! Try fatties, they roll! For even more cushion I have suspension seatpost and new fork from Manitou. This fork has 2 positive air chambers with separate valves. By playing with pressure you can make air spring as linear or as progressive as you wish. I prefer the super plush comfort mode that is hard to describe without a magic carpet cliché. Answer 20/20 alt bar and Brooks ergonomic cockpit is the most comfortable adventure setup that I have ever had. And my favorite feature - one thing that makes this bike stand proudly when other bikes are lying around like kid's bikes - the kickstand. Those who say they don't need one have probably never been on a bike tour :)

Material and component choices
When it comes to adventure bikes the choice is steel or titanium. I prefer Ti, it looks great without paint and better fits the concept of a lifetime bike. Frame tubing on this bike is a bit overbuilt to be stable under a heavy rider + gear + possible electric assist system. I am really impressed with Pinion gearbox and belt drive. It is not only well sealed, but shift indexing happens inside the gearbox which means it is perfect even in mud. Wash if with a hose after ride and you are done.

Design challenges or features
Installing Pinion gearbox on the Ti frame is challenging by itself as Pinion doesn’t make Ti brackets. In the end of the day the whole part was CNCd from a piece of titanium, works well. To adjust belt tension, I have used 142mm thru axle sliders that can be easily swapped for 135mm dropouts to install electric assist.

Other notes
This bike can be equipped with electric motor and massive 1848Wh battery for the total range of over 200 kilometers per charge. This enables the whole new category - electric bikepacking. Think about doing 100 km of gravel roads in 3 hours or making a whole GDMBR together with your dad. By the way, electric part works independently from the pedal drivetrain. So if something goes terribly wrong in the middle of nowhere you will have a return ticket.