Under the name Tempesta (storm) I build custom bikes that specialize in offroad touring and bikepacking.
In this post you can see the builds Tempesta n.01 and the Tempesta n. 02. I built two slightly different bikes, one for myself and the other for a client, who was enthusiastic about the principles behind this build.
The simple and essential look of this bike hides a highly versatile vocation. This is actually the bike that can better fulfill my needs. If I’d own only one single bike, it would be this one. The frame is a black Krampus 2018, medium size. The fork is borrowed from an older Krampus frame set. Why choose the older fork? because it has a standard 100 mm spacing and is QR compatible, which means you can bang any readily available 28/29″ wheel, in case you need to. Indeed, the bike has been assembled in its entirety with retro compatibility in mind, without loosing almost none of its modern features. This is kind of obsession for any bike wanderer: to easily find spare parts anywhere you plan to go.
The geometry is of a trail bike with a long reach and a curved seat tube to help reduce the chain stays length. Which translates in a nimble ride and in good climbing skills. If you are thinking about heel clearance, you still have it but only for small-medium panniers. You’d hardly travel with old school big panniers on this bike, after all. This is also the reason why I’ve chosen a Krampus against an ECR. I don’t need the added rigidity for massive hauling. Last but not least, I’m all for a high bottom bracket, and on the Krampus it is slightly higher (just!).
The frame and the fork have plenty of braze-on bosses scattered everywhere, so when it comes to haul camping gear, water and food, your limit will be your fantasy. The H style handlebar helps a lot re-configuring this geometry for bikepacking and for riding days on the saddle with comfort. Cables have been installed with a bit more slack than usual in order to easily accommodate bags under the handlebar.
On this build there’s nothing left to chance. Every detail is studied to find the better compromise between performance, reliability, fun, and aesthetics.
- Rims: after a thorough research, I find Sun Ringlè Duroc 40 the most durable, dent-proof, easy to fit a tire and yet lightweight option around. With 40mm (exterior) width they can take both 29+ and conventional 29 tires, in case you need to. Bottom bracket height will be OK anyway.
- Tires: I put the Knards 29+ for their versatility, but they did not go easily tubeless on Duroc rims. They need really a long time to seal properly. The first week you need to often inflate new air. But they eventually seal. I will change tires, after testing some few other similar options that are tubeless ready.
- Drivetrain: The dropout are very flexible and ingenious: they can take anything from standard MTB hub 135 to boost 148 hubs just by flexing the stays some millimeters out or using a spacer. I chose the Rohloff Speedhub 14, version 135. It is very easily fitted thanks to the sliding dropouts (no tensioner required) and the Monkeybone brake mount. The wheel is laced strictly according Rohloff directives: 2X crossing and xxx double butted spokes. Sapim Polyax brass nipples are very good for their ability to rotate more freely at steeper bracing angles and ease the tension around the rim hole.
It is worth noting that the updated Rohloff Speedhub has two couples of metal rings around the flanges of the hub shell to improve the strength of the flanges (In the past some users cracked the hub flange at the spoke holes). Symmetry and a good bracing angle make the rear wheel very sturdy!
Chainring is a single RaceFace 36T, that combined with 16T cog is optimal for offroad touring, on any climb. The Speedhub has 14 gears and a range that is more than 500%, so any need is covered.
- Front hub – As mentioned before, the front spacing has been kept at standard MTB/road 100mm. I chose a dynamo hub Schmidt Son28 disc version. It is a reliable hub that doesn’t normally need servicing. It has a good efficiency, you won’t note any drag whether it is on or off.
For both wheels I chose 32 holes. I prefer 32 over 36 for the simple reason it is easier to find replacement hubs, rims or spare parts.
- Brakes – Avid (sram) BB7 MTN because they are good mechanical disc brakes, the are indeed best that I tested. 180 mm rotor in the front and 160 in the back. The back rotor is a 4 bolt rotor as needed by the Roholoff Speedhub.
- Lights. The headlight is a Busch and Muller IQ-X. It is a gorgeous and solid piece of design. It is so bright that, even during the day, you have to orient it down or you will see people shielding their eyes in pain and requesting you to lower the beam. It has ambient light sensor. The position is on the handlebar, so yo will never manage to cover it even when you pack something like a tent under the handlebar. For the taillight I opted for a movable non-rechargeable small battery light, so I’m free to attach any saddlebag or rear rack without obstructing a fixed light.
- Electric wiring has been organized so that the main cable runs inside the fork blade and has an additional connector near the fork dropout so it can unplugged more easily when removing the front wheel. I also made a hub with three plugs for the USB charger, the front light and the tail light (if I decide to install one later). This micro hub is hidden behind the headtube, inside the sleeve in the leather top tube protection.
- The saddle is a beautiful Brooks Swift with copper big rivets. This saddle is OK for me, I ride it without any padding. It flexes very good, from day one, so no need for Proofide. The majority of the people will choose a B17, instead. Which is wider and uses a softer leather, being touring specific.
I will publish soon in a separate article the photos of the Tempesta with bags!