Q: Why are your frames so expensive?
They cost more because they were designed to be the best bike that is possible to be made for the application of expedition touring. They cost at least twice as much to make as other steel production frames, and feature special details that other bikes don’t have, like custom dropouts, Phil Wood eccentic bottom bracket inserts, custom formed stays, hollow cast chainstay yokes, multi butted oversized tubing, rust prevention coating, etc.
Q: What is the Phil Wood eccentric bottom bracket and what does it do?
The Phil Wood EBB is a threaded insert that rotates inside of the bottom bracket shell to allow for chain tensioning with the Rohloff drivetrain, and to adjust bottom bracket height up and down depending on how much ground clearance you want with your pedals. It doesn’t have any moving parts, and you can thread any 73mm BSA bottom bracket cups into it.
Q: Can the Prospector fit a tire wider than 4”?
4” is the widest tire than can fit with the symmetrical 135mm dropouts and 73mm bottom bracket (with a Rohloff). We definitely maximized every millimeter of tire clearance with those constraints, and 4” is as wide as it goes. The bike also fits 27.5+ and 29+, so you have a ton of options depending on where you want to ride.
Q: Can I use a belt drive system with the Prospector?
The Prospector has been tested for frame stiffness by Gates and is fully approved for belt use, but there is no belt splitter on the frame. There is a company called Veer Cycles that makes split belt retrofit kits, and you could put one of those systems on, but we haven’t tested the latest version of their product yet. For big expeditions, we still feel like the chain is king. You can field repair a chain, and buy one in any bike shop in the world for less than $20. The chain drive sprockets and chainrings are generally also 1/10 the price of belt components. Chain drives are also much less finicky about having exactly proper tension, while belts will skip or can come off if they aren’t set up just right. Yes, you do need to occasionally lube a chain, but that’s really not so hard!
Q: Can I run drop bars on the Prospector?
Sure, just keep in mind that the reach of the bike was designed around wide flat bars, so you’re gonna need to run a really short stem to make drop bars feel comfortable on the Prospector.
Q: Will there ever be a Pinion version of the Prospector?
I would say most likely not. The Pinion gearbox requires a completely proprietary frame due to the unique gearbox mount. I feel that for touring the Rohloff offers more benefits since you are still able to swap wheels out for a derailleur drivetrain in the case of parts failure. Also, with the Pinion drivetrain you are still reliant on a freehub mechanism in the rear wheel, which is a common point of failure. All the Pinion bikes that we’ve tried have excessive slop in the pedal engagement, sometimes as much as a quarter turn of the pedals, which makes technical climbing really challenging.
Q: What’s the warranty on the Prospector?
We compiled the relevant frame/fork specs and warranty HERE