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An expedition ready traveller, we test if the Ridgeback Expedition lives up to its name

ridgeback explorer
Best for...
Disappearing out the country for extended adventures on 2 wheels
Reynolds 520 Cro Mo
Cro Moly / mudguard eyelets
Shimano Deore
Shimano BR-M315 / SM-RT26 160mm rotor
Alex DP-17 / 36h rims, Shimano M475 36h front / rear hubs
Finishing kit
Ridgeback own brand
Overall Score
Out of the box adventure ready
Hydraulic brakes perhaps not favoured by expedition purists

With a roadside-repairable Reynolds cro-moly frame, 26" wheels and a plethora of rack mounting options, the Ridgeback Expedition does exactly as it says on the tin - it is specced for any expedition. As standard it comes with proven Shimano Deore drivetrain, Shimano hydraulic brakes and chunky 1.75" Schwalbe tyres with Greenguard anti-puncture guard.

We still love the 26" wheel option for remote touring as there is still a great variety and availability of chunky tyres out there, and you are likely to be able to replace it wherever you go. The smaller wheel size has also proven itself to be more robust than its larger brethren, and when you are in the middle of nowhere this can really pay dividends.

The frame is designed expedition ready, with three bottle cage mounts, together with front low-rider and rear rack bosses. Flat bars are now standard spec too, as opposed to the drop bars of previous versions, another nod to comfort and control.

Purists may not approve of the decision in 2017 to spec the Expedition with hydraulic brakes. Although the Shimano BR-M315s are top stoppers with very little maintenance required in general, they could cause problems if you have a fault in the middle of your trip. Mechanical discs or plain old cantilevers may not have the performance, but they are always happy to be bodged by any bike shop or handy spanner wielder. The hydraulic brakes will need specific parts that most bike shops would struggle to have in as stock, never mind accessing them in the backcountry of Mongolia.

Most riders will never be affected by this however, and of course they can be replaced cheaply and easily. Overall this is a superb base bike to invest in for any expedition - long or short, remote or civilised - which will soldier on loaded down through thick and thin.

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