Mongolia… coming soon!

To those who may be interested, this blog will be jumpstarted back to life when I return from Mongolia. That’s just 10 days from now.

In the meantime, I’ve been sharing snippets of the journey via my Instagram feed. You can check up on progress here (whether or not you have an Instagram account). Each photo has an extended caption; effectively, mini-insights into what it’s like to travel and cycle across this remarkable country.

I’ve also been regularly updating my Tumblr page with collections of images. Being picture heavy, it takes some time to load – or at least, it does in Mongolia. I’ll be amalgamating Tumblr and Instagram content into a few more comprehensive blog posts when I get home, supplementing them with practical information I’ve gleaned along the way.

Lastly, I have a couple of writing and photography projects related to the ride, which will hopefully make it into print sometime in 2016. I’ll keep you posted!









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19 thoughts on “Mongolia… coming soon!

      1. Pit

        I love your photos and Mongolia is a dream destination! I think you have TRP Skyke brakes on that Tumbleweed? Any thoughts on whether they are worth the extra money over BB7s for an Ogre built?

        1. Cass Gilbert Post author

          I like them a lot, way easier to set up, and very solidly built. My only concern is that depending on the conditions, the pads need to be adjusted more regularly than BB7s, for reasons I can’t quite figure out. Luckily, it’s very easy to do.

          1. Pit

            Thanks for the info. I have a pair of TRP Spyres on a Surly Straggler which are the drop bar version of the Skykes. I have the same feeling about the pad wear and the frequent adjustment. They also don’t seem to have the same stopping power as the BB7 and sometimes feel a bit mushy. I will try compression-less housing and a different pair of pads to see if that helps.

          2. Cass Gilbert Post author

            Interesting… From my experience, it’s not to do with the pads wearing quickly – mine have lasted me months, as long as my BB7s I should think. It’s more that they need regular adjustment on long downhills. When they’re adjusted, stopping power seems really – but that could be down to the compression-less cables I run, which are meant to help considerably.

            Can I ask – does the caliper body run close to the spokes? It doesn’t on mine, but I’ve heard this can be an issue with Spyres – not sure if they’re any different than Spykes in design. Thanks.

          3. Pit

            That is great information, I will definitely try the compression-less housing. I also had problems initially with a ‘knocking’ feeling when braking. I applied some grease to the back of the pads as some people suggested and that helped. I have been running the stock discs and brake pads so far and the wear causes me to readjust cable tension frequently. Currently it is a commuter bike so it’s not that I am riding steep descents with a huge load on it.

            I don’t feel like they are too close to the spokes, there is enough room and I do like the design as dual piston mechanical brakes. In terms of price/performance however, they are almost twice the price of BB7s and one can find Shimano XT hydraulic disc brakes in that range. So, I would be hesitant to recommend them to a friend.

          4. Cass Gilbert Post author


            In the UK, there’s only a £10 difference between Spykes and BB7s (the V-brake versions), at Recommended Retail Price – though you can pick up discounted BB7s, I guess because they’ve been around a lot longer.

            Agreed though, a set of good hydraulics isn’t much more… though for my touring needs, mechanicals would still trump hydraulics, even at the same price.

            I’ve always liked BB7s – but do find them tricky to set up right, and prone to uneven pad wear. More when they get old and cruddy than when they’re new. The updated versions, with a Torx compatible adjustment wheel, were a big improvement on the originals, as they old ones plastic knobs tended to get stuck.

            Not sure the exact differences between the Spyres and the Spykes, but I read Spyres had a recall early in their life – not sure if this was relating to the knocking you describe. It’s not been an issue with mine. They have a bit more of a warbly, hydraulic sound to my ears.

            Also, I noticed the Spyres don’t have the crud guard that the Spykes feature, which is a shame, if you’re using them for commuting or CX. That seems to make a bit difference to keeping them clean, and probably extends the life of the pads. You can see the difference here:

            Do you run sintered pads? That makes a massive difference to wear life as well.

          5. Pit

            I agree that for touring the Spykes are great, they are quite specific in that sense. A lot of people never go for such extended tours, but there is just something about the simplicity of a mechanical design. : )

            You are right about the price: when I bought them they were $90, now you can find them for $60, only $10 more than BB7. Good to know, that makes them good value!

            The setup with the Spyres was super easy as well, no issues centering the caliper at all, mine were luckily not subject to the recall. I think, since the Skykes are newer, they do probably have several little improvements like the crud guard you are talking about. I am sure the next version of the Spyres will have that too.

            The original pads that TRP sells are what they call semi-metallic, but the good thing is that standard Shimano pads fit and I have a pair of sintered ones to try.

  1. Ellen

    Great pics as usual Cass! I love the way you process them too.
    Mongolia has been on our bucketlist for years, will definitely go there someday!

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  3. Zdana

    absolutely beautiful Cass. I was in Mongolia two years ago, but at the 29er with full baggage. It was horrible …. wide tires are a must. I want to ask you what you had for shelters?

    1. Cass Gilbert Post author

      Thanks Zdana!

      We used a mixture of shelters. I had a Black Diamond Mega Light. Two of my friends had Hilleberg tents. And one had a Go Lite Shangri La.




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