Our workhorses.

Santos Travelmaster 2.9

Our first workhorse. Covered 19,000 km in the first 16 months.

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Beltdrive&rohloff hub, magura breaks, son dynamo.


Santos Travelmaster 3+

Beltdrive&rohloff hub, magura breaks, son dynamo.

For the second part of our trip, going South from Ecuador, we wanted to change a few items to our Travelmaster 2.9. As Frank has arthritis in his shoulders, which reduces the time he can bike on gravel with a rigid bike, things needed to be adjusted. For me the 2.9 was robust and sometimes a challenge on rough roads or sand as I could not start sitting in the saddle.

Since we purchased our Santos on our own account and could bring in 20,000 km of objective user experience, Robert, owner of Santos Bikes NL offered us the possibility to exchange our TM 2.9 to a pair of Travelmaster 3+ . He liked our independent blog and he would like to keep our bikes in his showroom to demonstrate what bikes with a (his)story look like. Robert, thanks again for this possibility to feel the difference!

Impression TM 3+

Looking at our build, the terrain we are covering and the load we are carrying, here are our impressions after 2,000 km of usage on very rough, but also smooth terrain.

  • 27.5 inch wheels instead of 29 inch make it easier for Jacinta to start sitting in the saddle, but also easier to get rolling in the first place.
  • Smaller gear ratio, by changing from 50/22 to 46/22 ensures we need to stop less and push less going up-hill.
  • Frank can bike longer on gravel thanks to the Cane Creek Thudbuster saddle post, in combination with 65 mm Schwalbe Smart Sam tires.
  • Smart Sam tires: 65 mm fits the TM3+ not the TM2.9. We are very happy how they perform on gravel, loose rocks, mud (they release the mud better so you have better grib and you still can use mudguards) and if you pump them up they are also great on asphalt. On our TM2.9 we used at the start 50mm Schwalbe Marathon than changed to 55mm Schwalbe Marathon MTB which are both great tires which performed extremely well. For the gravel roads we do prefer the Smart Sam 65mm.
  • More direct and agile steering due to the straighter fork. I now can say that I am in control of my bike instead of the bike is controlling me.
  • Gloss finish on the 2.9 needs less cleaning than the matt finish on the 3.0.
Matt finish.
  • Same robust workhorse as 2.9 that can easily carry 30 kg and ourselves and still, without swaying, rush down a mountain.



  • At the time we purchased our TM 2.9 there was not yet a reliable, integrated USB connector to charge devices. Frank first installed on his bike a Bush and Muller converter linked to the SON dynamo. After a few months we had to replace it because it was no longer working. We did also install one on my bike but the replacement and this one did not lasted longer than 3 months. Not recommended.
  • On our TM 3+ we have two different systems.
    • on Franks bike the Cycle2Charge. Only recommended when you are 90% of the time faster than 8km per hour. In our case we are 80% of the time below this limit resulting in on and off charging or not charging at all and bieping when you bike too slow.
    • on my bike I am super happy with the forumslader. Charges already from 6km/hour and has a back-up battery thus no irritating bieping if you bike too slow. Still performing well even after all the cold/heat/dust.

How to keep our gear together.


Keeping our gear dry.

For the second part of our trip we looked at the possibility of a bike packing set-up instead of the traditional pannier set-up. As the pannier set-up never prevented us to follow bike packing routes and we knew we would still sleep in hostals many times, (hence you have to carry all your gear up several flights of stairs), we decided on keeping the pannier set-up. Maybe also because we still have to cater for all seasons and carry more than for a few weeks or months.

To organize all our stuff in the Ortlieb bags I have been using the EagleCreek package system from the start and when Frank was jealous of the ease of finding and storing stuff, he also started using them.

Sleeping stuff.

Nigor Dodo3

During the first part of our trip a Nigor Dodo 3 tent sheltered us during the night. In Canada en USA we camped 75% of the time. Great tent, but no stand alone possibility.

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2017-08-22 Teton Reservoir Frank Abbing

MSR Hubba Hubba.

For the second part of our trip we changed to a MSR Hubba Huba NX2, stand alone. Saving 1.5 kg but also reducing sleeping space as we changed from a 3 person to a 2 person tent. We have used it a few times now and are very happy with the stand-alone possibility. We do miss the extra sleeping and storage space, but we have been able to camp at spots we would not have been able to camp with the other tent.

Inside the tent we use Exped Comford Sleeping bags, sleeping mattresses and for Frank an Exped pillow (I use my fleece from Action of 12.50 Euro also as a pillow).


Preparing our food.

  • Light My Fire plates and Spork (titanium).
  • Robens titanium 3 part cooking set has proven its investment. Super happy with it!



The only pair of shoes we carry to keep us hiking and biking.

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