It’s been a long, hot summer in Australia so far. As far as good riding weather goes, we’ve gotten our money’s worth. A few weeks ago, when temperatures were hitting their peak, I took Bombtrack’s new Beyond off-road tourer for a weekend away with some mates.
Our destination was the Central West of New South Wales, a land of dry, rolling hills whose troughs collected the heat, while their peaks only seemed to push us closer to the sun. The trip tested our mettle, but it was a perfect testing ground for the Beyond.
Ironically, our route took us within thirty kilometres of the mountains of my hometown, where we rode our mountain bikes for days on end. This recent jaunt reminded me how long it had been since I’d done any serious off-road riding, and how much I missed it.
Bombtrack, a German company, caters for virtually every genre in modern cycling: from fixed crit racers, cyclocrossers and road bikes to townies, fixed freestylers and tourers. Their Audax model prefers the pavement while the Beyond is happy, well, anywhere.
OK, so maybe not snow and sand. You have to draw the line somewhere. But if you, like me, have been inspired to dig out some maps, sling a sleeping bag to the handlebars and explore more of our sunburnt country, the Beyond is an ideal bike to set out upon.
As stock, the frame and components are as rudimentary as you need for an off-road tour. This is a highly-evolved entry-level adventure tourer, but it still leaves room for upgrades of personal preference, before you actually ride up the grades.
The Bombtrack Team saddle would’ve been swapped out for a Brooks Cambium saddle, for instance, and the bar tape replaced with something more absorbent — of both moisture and shocks.
The Bombtrack Beyond handlebars, though, were awesome; comfortable regardless of hand position. They’re in the same realm as Salsa’s Woodchipper bars, with well-considered angles.
Whether I was climbing or descending on the drops, or resting on the flats, I was able to grab a handful of brake from anywhere. I tested the Medium-sized Beyond, with a top tube length of 575mm, that made the bike feel very compact and dangerously flickable.
At six feet tall, however, I would’ve definitely opted for a Large-sized frame, if I was taking it on a multi-day tour, such as the Munda Biddi Trail in Western Australia or a circumnavigation of Tasmania.
Both of which is what the Beyond is designed for, and is capable of. The Columbus Cromor frame is strong and supple, albeit gangly without a full set of frame bags. Handling is superb — it’s obvious plenty of thought and testing went into its geometry.
There’s three bottle mounts on the frame, with another two on the fork, as well as front and rear rack mounts. My movements never felt cramped on board, even with a handlebar roll, two feedbags, a frame bag, a rear rack and two panniers.
Bombtrack has spec’d SRAM components for the Beyond: an X7 derailleur at the rear and an X5 front derailleur, with their Apex brake levers and shifters — activating TRP Spyre disc brakes with 160mm rotors. Solid enough.
DT Swiss supplied the X1900 wheelset, which felt super-reliable. The cranks are SRAM’s X5 models, with a 28/42T chainring which, coupled with an 11-36T 10-speed cassette, gave me plenty of range to get that load up some very steep hills.
I’m disappointed I had to give the Beyond back. The heat and hills sure whupped my ass, but that damn bike never failed me. I’d greatly look forward to taking it on more adventures — no matter what season it is.
For more inspiration, have a look at Bombtrack’s ‘A Journey Beyond’, featuring Team Rider Marc Maurier and his Beyond riding across Europe.