Talkin' 'bout a revolution. Flagstaff, AZ.

If truth be told, I’ve become a lax mechanic since owning a Rohloff. Internal gear hubs will do that to you. My Rohloff has run faultlessly for the years I’ve owned it, bar a change of bearings after many thousands of miles of rugged use.

Now that I’m back with derailleurs, the price I pay for my slothfulness is a worn chain, cassette and middle chainring… to the tune of a hundred greenbacks. I used to sing the praises of maintaining clean cogs and rotating chains regularly on a long tour, both of which will eek countless adventures out of your drivetrain, and help keep your bills down. Now that I’m riding derailleurs again, I better take my own advice and pull my socks up.

Still, if I have to spend cash on my bike, I like to do so in a shop like Flagstaff Bicycle Revolution, Arizona.

In my mind, this is how a bicycle shop should be. It offers a wide, idisoyncratic range of bikes and parts to suit all budgets – high end full sussers and utility bikes alike. A choice of $70 WTBs, or $20 CSTs. A sofa for lounging about on, wifi on hand and good music. Friendly, helpful staff. For those in need of their pre-ride caffeine fix, I’m told the coffee is the tastiest in town.

Best of all a bicycle tourist like me (with only a multitool to my name), the Bicycle Revolution offers a full equipped workstation to install your own parts. Yep, you read that right. Work stand, wheel truing stand, headset press, cone spanners, allen keys, crescent wrenches are available for free… Add to this an impressive selection of bikepacking kit, and even a couple of fat bikes for rent, and you have yourself a bike shop that stands out from the ordinary.


Not to self. Pull up (New Mexican) socks and maintain bike better…


Revolution this way.


Any shop with a Big Dummy longtail parked up outside and bikepacking kit in stock gets an appreciative grin from me.


2 Salsa Mukluks amongst the rental fleet. Fat Fun for just $25 a day.


Fitting my new cassette.


This parts bin reminded me of the bike co op Mayapedal, in Guatemala.


Lucky dip.


Tools to hand include a headset press and a wheel jig. Impressive.


$30 well spent: a stainless steel Surly chainring, heavier but longer lasting than its aluminium counterpart. I’m using thumbshifters and it works fine without ramps, which would normally help ease the chain move between chainrings. Update: I’d only recommend doing this if you’re running an 8 speed drivetrain, as the teeth on the Surly ring are wider than normal, causing a 9 speed chain to occasionally snag. 


New chainring, cassette, chain… Cables next…


Flagstaff is uber bike friendly. Someone left this on the Ogre while I was tucking into one of Biff’s Bagels.


There’s good camping just a couple of miles from downtown, where we enjoyed the rising Super Moon over the forest.

What to do if you forget your fork/spoon/spork.

Or, head 30 miles out of Flag, and you can get yourself a red rock view like this…

10 thoughts on “Talkin' 'bout a revolution. Flagstaff, AZ.

  1. NickG

    Kicking off my trip on my new Troll end of June from Prudhoe Bay; I’ve got to admit, your site has been extremely useful for planning. Thanks Cass, highly appreciated.

    How come you’ve changed back to derailleurs out of interest? Missing them in some way?

    I’m using a cassette too so would be interested to hear what cassette removing tools will you be taking with you? Was thinking of taking a standard shimano cassette removing tool and using the chain as a chain whip by securing it to a fixed object & round the cogs & then using a normal wrench (suggestion made by Tom Allen on the travellingtwo site; as I understand it anyhow). Was concerned it may damage the chain. Other option: JA Stein mini cassette remover?

    Actually, would be really interested to see you what tools you do take in general; have you listed these anywhere?

    Thanks again.

  2. While Out Riding Post author

    Hi Nick, I haven’t got round to doing a tool list (though I find Gary’s one very helpful ( ignoring the likes of tubeless and sealant for touring. I also added in some advice about repairing tyres further down the same page.

    I have one of the compact Stein cassette removal tools; I’ve not had to use it yet so not sure how it performs. I’ve used similar devices in the past and been happy with them.

    The only real reason I’m sticking with derailleurs is that Surly have offered to let me hang onto the Ogre for a while longer. It’s easiest to leave it as it is, rather than going to the time and expense of building up a new wheel with my Rohloff hub, which is laced to a 26in rim. It’s a decision I may live to regret – though at the end of the day, derailleurs have done their job since time immortal, so I’m sure I’ll be just fine.

    1. While Out Riding Post author

      On a really long trip, I think it’s worth carrying a spare chain and rotating it with the one on your bike every so often, depending on terrain/conditions. Maybe every 1000kms – 1500kms. easy to do if you have the SRAM quick links. That way your drivetrain should last longer.


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