Dennis Keeling has been making carbon cyclocross bikes for 2 years now. Based on his experience cycling with Cycling UK and the Chiltern Cycling Group he has designed a rugged lightweight touring bike for the older enthusiast to handle both road and off-road tracks. The tremendous advantage of a lightweight bike compared with the traditional heavyweight bike has been clearly demonstrated by his cycling colleagues. But how do you get a lightweight bike weighing less than 9Kg to suit the needs of traditional touring cyclist and cater for the problems of old age.
The first model (Mk1), with curved handlebars, uses the Shimano Deore Groupset and weighs in at 10 Kg. Straight handlebars are not comfortable for touring, so he fitted continental swept back handlebars. Our necks and back suffer in old age so he increased the height of the handlebar giving a more upright sitting position.
The second lighter model (Mk2), with drop handlebars, uses the more expensive Shimano Ultegra Groupset. After the specialist diagnosed Dennis' handlebar palsy he went for the drop handlebar which enables the rider to change grip and cycling position frequently. The lever horns are set high to give a less recumbent position for those of us with bad backs and stiff necks.
Both models are all carbon construction - frame, forks, wheel rims, handlebars, stem and pedals. They have lightweight disk brakes - manual on Mk1 and hydraulic on Mk2. Carbon is a lot more flexible than steel/aluminium frames and gives a much softer ride. The carbon frame, forks and rim combination smooth out the worst road surfaces and tracks.