About the author

Tim Moss

Tim Moss has supported over 100 expeditions across all seven continents. He has climbed new mountains, crossed a desert on foot and recently cycled 13,000 miles around the world. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society London and a Guinness World Record Holder. He aims to encourage more people to live adventurously. Read more...


  1. 1

    Dorothee Fleck

    good advice, Tom, I agree with almost all of it, but only almost. After cycling around the world, covered only 26 countries, but countries like Mongolia, Australia and Bolivia included I had quite a lot and long off road experiences as well.

    My bike doesn’t have any suspension, because they are heavy and can brake. With steel frame, normally you don’t need suspension.

    When I designed my bike I have only choosen the best components I could get, I thought it’s like a life insurance. I also included Rohloff hub gear and Magura hydraulic rim brakes (HS33). Even the gears got broken, after
    80 000km!!!, I never would go touring again with a derailleur, which always brakes. With a hub gear a chain last longer as well.
    With my brakes I never had problems. I needed just a few brake pads and I had no problems with the rims.

    I doubt it’s always easier with a trailer than with front panniers. On the single trail switchbacks in the forest of Australia I was happy with my front panniers. In general front panniers worked very well with me.

    In Bangkok I got such a nice little EEEPC netbook. Incredible how robust it is. I didn’t count how often it dropped of my bike, it got wet, sandy, have been it frozen nights and in high heat – no problems at all.


  2. 2

    Tom Allen


    Thanks for the feedback Dorothee. I see your point about rigid forks and front panniers if you’re doing a really long journey – 80,000km is really long!!! But the article was really aimed at people doing their first trip specifically off-road. All suspension forks are not created equal, and mine (Magura Odur) have done 22,000km and I have never had to adjust, maintain, repair or even touch them in that time. In fact I would say that they are one of the most reliable parts of my bike – more reliable even than the frame!

    The same goes for my derailleurs – I’ve never had any problems with them. I also take comfort in knowing that if they did break, I could easily convert the bike to single-speed and keep going – but I’ve heard of Rohlhoff hubs breaking and rendering the bike completely unrideable.

    I think in the end it depends on your trip and your preferences – for long mixed trips, rigid forks and front panniers are probably ideal, but for shorter off-road trips I would still choose suspension and a trailer every time.

  3. 3

    Tom Allen

    By the way I completely agree about the EEE PC netbook – I got a 1000H in Dubai and put a solid-state drive in it – now it’s perfect for travelling, and really cheap too….

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  6. 4

    Kartik Bhatt

    Great tips for newbie biker

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