After the new Gravel / Bike Packing ride arrived and the old packhorse has been handed to my daughter it’s time for a new one. Basically an every day, all duty bike. My requirements:

  • can pull the trailer for large shopping duties or hauling the glass to the containers
  • low gears for pulling the trailer up hills
  • can hold panniers for small and mid sized duties. For example transporting some small package from and to the post office
  • a bike stand. when it has the trailer attached it’s hard to lean it against a wall or sth.

I also wanted to integrate the commuting aspects

  • comfy but quick ride on tarmac
  • also capable of hard packed gravel for more commuting variance.
  • all weather proof since I commute 30km one direction to the office even in winter
  • fine steps between gears (for headwind situations)

So I transferred my Steven back to it’s commuting setup. Something I usually do when autumn starts turning nasty. Then I added a few bits and pieces to make it packhorse worthy. So what are the things I looked out for or added recently:


I mentioned the gear range of 538% in my last post which is more than sufficient for all use cases. With a 34 in the back and 30 in the front it has a proper granny gear to pull the trailer. Usually the Shimano triples can’t cope with such a large range on the cassette. The original 105 derailleur was only able to cope with a 11 – 28 (or 30). I had already used a wolf tooth derailleur hanger to allow for the bigger cassette. Yet that still meant the derailleur does not have the required capacity: (52 – 30) + (34 – 11) = 45. This kind of capacity is only found in MTB gear.

So I spent an evening on google. Shimano does not allow cross usage of components nowadays. I found out that the pull ratios (the amount of cable pulled by the lever to shift one gear) of 7,8 or 9 speed MTB derailleurs was exactly the same. And this pull ratio is the same the drop bar shifters (Shimano 5700 or 6700) for 10 speed generate. Eureka! I purchased a Deore Shadow RD-M592 9-speed long which has exactly the capacity required and could even accept a 36 tooth on the cassette. Added benefit is the higher tension on the chain. Works like a charm!


Since I still want to use the bike for commuting I didn’t want to add too much weight. I chose the Racktime Light-It and purchased it for 28” wheels. Definitely not a fit for my bike. Somehow much too high above the wheel aesthetically. I then ordered the one for 26”. I think it fits much nicer. A battery light at the end will make it even easier not having to switch my lights around between the 3 bikes. The Axa Juno works with standard triple-A batteries and is said to hold for 50 hours. Worth a try if it lives up to the marketing.

Tires and rims

The tires were given to me by Matthias and I will definitely stay with the setup. The 35-622 is more than capable to handle some dirt roads with enough comfort and grip. At the same time they run nice and quick on tarmac. I think a very good compromise. I am quite happy with them so far. The Schwalbe Kojaks are on some Rose R-Thirty rims. I got them in new condition for a bargain on eBay-kleinanzeigen. They don’t produce them anymore. At around 1.600g and alloy I think a good solid choice.

Some tweaks

For better visibility I added 3M Sekuclip spoke reflectors. You can also see my beloved light weight Upstand on the picture. Not very stable but all you need really for a short stop. I had to put it on the right side since the other side is holding the Weber E coupling for the trailer. Funnily enough the fork on the Stevens has a non standard distance from the tires to the top. Therefore the mudguards didn’t fit directly (see the pictures below πŸ‘‡). I wasn’t happy with the hack I did last time so I searched my tool box and built myself an extension. I’ll cut the upper screw if the setup stays stable for some months.

Regarding mudguards I installed the SKS Longboards. I like them because they are quite stable but more important: They offer a really good protection. Especially the very low reaching flaps on the front tire prevent (most) water from spraying on to your shoes. And the range on the rear also prevents any drops from finding their way onto your back. Anything shorter really is not worth it if you are putting a bike to serious bad weather usage.

So I will finish the blog post with some pictures of the transformation. Some thoughts for the future are to actually add a hub dynamo. But that would either mean replacing the rims or buying new spokes and rebuilding the front wheel. But we always need future projects – so not yet. πŸ™‚

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