Brodie Mega Tour Review: Mega Affordable
The Brodie Mega Tour is positioned as an “alternative adventure touring bike” and is based around 29” wheels, a rigid aluminum frame and fork, and a good selection of mounting options and rack compatibility. Retailing for just $1,300 USD, we were curious to see how its value held up in the real world. Find Miles’ review here after some coastal rambling and route scouting…
Brodie Bikes was launched by Paul Brodie in 1986, who made quite the name for himself during his early career as the frame builder for Rocky Mountain bicycles here in British Columbia. One of his most talked-about accomplishments was the sloping top tube design that quickly became the standard for mountain bikes and earned him a spot in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Although Paul Brodie is no longer at the helm, Brodie Bikes still has somewhat of a cult following that can likely be attributed to those early days of sloping top tubes and slack head tube angles.
While a lot has changed over the years and it might not be as common to spot a Brodie out on the trail, the company is still cranking them out. In fact, they have more than 20 different bikes in their 2021 lineup. Their drop-bar Romax has proven to be quite popular and is available in aluminum, steel, and titanium, and several different builds. Their mountain bike lineup has been pared back for 2021, focusing on the Khan—an affordable aluminum hardtail—and the newly announced Mega Tour.
The Brodie Mega Tour is what they describe as an “alternative adventure touring bike.” It’s designed to be comfortable, capable, and ready to go pretty much anywhere. While its silhouette is a spitting image of the Khan’s, the Mega Tour manages to exist in a category of its own. From the Jones-style handlebar to the tanwall 29” tires and boss-covered frame, it’s obvious that the designers at Brodie have been paying close attention to the latest trends. But did they get it right? I’ve spent the last couple months riding the Mega Tour to figure that out.
Introducing the Mega Tour
Quietly released in May, the Brodie Mega Tour was initially described to me as an “aluminum, fully rigid 29er with Jones-style handlebar,” and that’s exactly what it is. Its 6061 aluminum frame has the same recognizable curved top tube as the Khan, paired with a beefy alloy fork complete with triple pack, rack, and fender mounts. The frame is also well equipped with top tube bosses, triple pack and standard bottle mounts in the main triangle, plus rear rack mounts and an included seatpost collar with threaded mounts, which is useful because of the lowered position of the Mega Tour’s seat stays. All cables and hoses are routed externally, there’s a port at the bottom of the seat tube for an internally routed dropper post, and it’s based around non-boost hub spacing with a 15x100mm thru-axle in the front and quick-release 10x135mm skewer in the rear. That last spec stirred up some discussion when Brodie first announced the Mega Tour, and it seems the decision to stick with a quick-release rear hub is in the name of affordability.
The Mega Tour is offered in one well-rounded build kit with a relatively low price tag. Their Jones-style handlebar is what they call the “D Style Double Bar,” and is a sure sign that it’s meant to offer an upright riding position. It’s built up around a Shimano Deore 2×11 drivetrain, 29 x 2.4” WTB Ranger tires, hydraulic disc brakes, and a mix of affordable rims, hubs, and other small componentry. The best part? The complete build costs just $1,625 CAD (~$1,300 USD) and is offered in four different sizes.
- Highlights (Large)
- Angles: 69° Headtube, 74.5° Seattube
- Chainstay: 450mm
- Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
- Hub specs: 135x10mm (rear); 100x15mm (front)
- Seatpost Diameter: 31.6mm
- Max Tire Size: 29 x 2.4″
- Price: $1,625 CAD (~$1,300 USD)
Although the Mega Tour isn’t necessarily a game-changing new design, it’s completely new for Brodie and is packed with value and bikepacking-friendly features. At first glance, it shares a number of similarities with Trek 1120 (albeit not 29+) that I spent a lot of time riding last summer. I’ll dive into that comparison in more detail further down, but the Mega Tour is slightly less of a monster truck compared to the 1120. As far as tire clearance goes, the fork has plenty of vertical clearance, but the horizontal clearance on the frame and fork don’t leave much room for anything bigger than a 2.4” tire. As is, there’s just enough room for mud and debris, so I can’t see it being worth trying to cram in anything larger.
Geometry and Fit
Brodie’s main selling points for the Mega Tour are its upright riding position and backcountry touring capabilities. For the most part, I have to agree with these claims. It has an approachable price and feature list with a lot to offer, at least on paper. I originally thought the Mega Tour was just a Khan frame with different components, but it is a completely different bike with a unique set of angles and specs.
As mentioned above, the Mega Tour shares some similarities with the Trek 1120. It has a 69° head tube angle and 74.5° seat tube angle across all four sizes, long 450mm chainstays, and a 64mm bottom bracket drop. The 1120’s chainstays are 10mm shorter and its bottom bracket is 11mm lower, but otherwise the two are quite comparable. Where they differ is their stack and front centre measurements, as the Mega Tour is lower and longer in the front than the 1120—likely pulling inspiration from mountain bike trends over the last few years.
Not everything about the Mega Tour worked for me, though, which actually resulted in a review-long struggle to get comfortable on long rides. The aggressively swept D-Style Double Bar and short stack height on the size large I tested made for an awkward position for my hands and wrists. With my hands on the widest portion of the bar, which should be a comfortable cruising position, I felt cramped and had far too much pressure on my hands. This made it difficult to shift, brake, or really handle any type of rough terrain.
While I’d like to blame my discomfort on some sort of design choice, it’s more a matter of Brodie’s slightly deceptive sizing charts. At 6’1” (185cm) with pretty standard proportions, I should have been on an XL frame. This would have raised the front end up even higher than the Trek 1120, which fit me great and added some length to compensate for the swept-back bars. In the end, it’s a good reminder to take the time to dig into geometry and not to trust all size chart recommendations. Thankfully, I had the updated Velo Orange Crazy Bar on hand to rectify these fit issues. Their 40mm rise, more conservative 35° backsweep, and 780mm width felt much more natural. The change took some of the weight out of my hands, allowed me to sit comfortably upright, and practically changed my entire opinion of the bike.
On the Move
Out on the trail, the Mega Tour handled pretty much as expected. Its conservative angles felt natural on a wide range of surfaces, including semi-technical singletrack, and rarely felt out of place transitioning between road, gravel, and dirt. For the first few weeks, the Mega Tour quickly found its place as my daily driver and errand-runner. Outfitted with a Surly 8-Pack Rack and massive Wald basket, I made more bakery runs than I care to admit, and the bike handled the extra weight naturally.
Although the Mega Tour doesn’t have as long of a wheelbase compared to some other bikes I’ve ridden—mainly more modern mountain bikes—it felt sturdy and tracked well through rough gravel. While the widest position on the stock bar didn’t work for me, using the front loop as an alternative hand position actually felt quite natural and stable. Even without wrapping it with bar tape, I would often find myself in this slightly more aero position while zipping along smooth gravel roads. This also made me feel a little less perched atop the bike and capable of some serious speed.
It never felt natural navigating low-speed technical trails, but its overall stability made up for the lack of root and rock-eating 29+ tires. I’ve never been a huge fan of riding Jones-style bars on technical trails, and while some may disagree, I believe it takes a specific type of bike to make all of those angles work. I felt more confident riding off-road with the Velo Orange Crazy Bars, which made me feel more like a driver than a passenger bouncing down bumpy trails. Its 64mm bottom bracket drop felt versatile enough to allow for some playful, controlled turns while riding singletrack without unnecessary pedal strikes or any awkward out of the bike feeling. The Mega Tour’s geometry, while not necessarily playful, does a good job at never truly feeling out of place. While I think a longer wheelbase and taller front end would accentuate its comfort-focused, touring-friendly demeanor, I can understand why Brodie went the direction they did.
Brodie really went for it when naming the Mega Tour, and for the most part it lived up to its name. While the fit didn’t quite do it for me, its overall versatility and cargo-hauling abilities made up for that. Because it’s not the most playful ride to begin with, it felt more natural loaded up with gear. At 29.3 pounds, it’s not particularly lightweight, especially considering the Trek 1120 is about the same with 29+ tires and two aluminum racks. It ends up being the type of bike that you’ll likely leave bags, cages, and racks attached to all year round.
Since I had a compatible dropper post hanging around, I opted to carry most of the weight up front, usually strapped to a Surly 8-Pack Rack, and this seemed like an ideal setup. Although it felt more like a boat than a monster truck at times, the Mega Tour is a great option for anyone looking to carry a lot of gear. With that said, the aluminum frame and beefy fork aren’t the most forgiving combination, which was only exaggerated when hauling gear, and made for a pretty rough ride on super chunky terrain. I think 29+ tires, while not quite as common these days, would have helped tremendously with the ride quality and at the same time put the “mega” back in Mega Tour.
Whether loaded or unloaded, it cornered slowly and methodically, which I think is a good thing, considering where most people will ride the Mega Tour. The extra weight of bikepacking gear had almost no effect on how it handled, besides being slightly less smooth in the front, and I wouldn’t be afraid to load a bike like this up with a full rack setup and panniers if I needed the extra storage. Its mule-like characteristics are great to see and fairly uncommon for a $1,300 USD bike.
While Brodie insists the low standover height is confidence-inspiring and great for off-road riding, it also makes for a tiny, awkwardly shaped main triangle. I would have preferred to see less standover height and a more traditional top tube shape with more frame bag space. On the other hand, it might be the perfect rig for shorter riders or folks with smaller inseams, especially considering it seems their sizing chart is on the reserved side.
Brodie Mega Tour Build Kit
The Brodie Mega Tour’s build kit is pretty much what you’d expect for a bike at this price point. While the frame and fork scream versatility, the build kit is very much centered around affordability. It’s based around a touring-friendly, wide-range 2×11 Shimano Deore drivetrain, two-piston Shimano Deore hydraulic brakes, and a mix of affordable Alex, Novatec, and Shimano components to round out the wheels. WTB Ranger 29 x 2.4” tires are a great all-rounder option, and the tanwall finish is certainly on-trend. While the component selection helps keep the price down, I’m sure it’s also partially responsible for the weight of the bike, and I’m not entirely sure how confident I would be heading out on a week-long bikepacking trip with some of it.
There were surely a few aspects of the build kit that I wasn’t a fan of. First, the Shimano MT410 brake levers took up too much space on the bars, leaving only enough room for a standard-sized grip. One aspect of a Jones-style bar that’s so appealing is the amount of room left in the grip area for longer grips and multiple hand positions, and that wasn’t an option. Second, I wasn’t a big fan of the side-pull Shimano M8020 XT front derailleur and shifter, which required such a long push to shift that I’ve actually had some issues with my hand after riding it regularly over the last few months. It seems the change to a bar with less sweep has helped with this. I haven’t used Deore-level components in a while, but it’s clear that a lever with lighter action and shorter pull length would be beneficial for long days on the bike.
- Frame 6061 Butted Aluminum Aloy
- Fork Rigid Alloy Fork
- Headset FSA No.9, Sealed Cartridge Bearing
- Bottom Bracket Shimano Deore Threaded
- Crankset Shimano Deore M5100 36/26T
- Cassette Shimano Deore M5100 11-42T
- Front Derailleur Shimano M8020 XT
- Rear Derailleur Shimano M5120 Deore SGS
- Shifters Shimano M65100 Deore
- Chain KMC X11-1 11-Speed
- Brakes Shimano MT410 Hydraulic Disc
- Rotors Shimano 160mm, 6-bolt
- Front Hub Novatec D42SB, 15x100mm
- Rear Hub Shimano Deore M525, 10x135mm
- Rims Alex EXR, 25mm internal width
- Tires WTB Ranger, 29×2.4″ TCS Light, Tan Sidewall
- Handlebar Brodie Multi-Position D-Style Alloy
- Stem Brodie 3D Forged
- Grips Triple Density Craton/Gel Lock-on
- Seatpost Brodie Alloy 31.6mm
- Saddle WTB Koda, CroMo Rails
Overall, the Mega Tour’s build kit aligns well with its intended use. They made good use of a 2×11 drivetrain. The 36/26T crankset and 11-42T cassette make for a massive 528% gear range and an 18 gear inch granny gear, which is larger than most modern 1×11 and 12-speed setups and offers more natural steps between gears when riding gravel or pavement. While a lot of people will be excited to see the Jones-style handlebar come stock, and I think it fits the bill for an upright gravel touring bike, I felt the Mega Tour’s geometry, or at least their sizing charts, could use some tweaking to properly accommodate it.
Who’s It For?
Mega-tourers, of course! Fit issues aside, the Brodie Mega Tour has all the fixings for a multi-day, mixed surface touring rig. Brodie did a stand-up job at packing in loads of features and specs that bikepackers appreciate, all while keeping the price refreshingly low. The component selection, while more on the budget end of the spectrum, works well as a ride-mostly-everything option for anyone who’s on the hunt for a more affordable bikepacking bike.
While I think I would have preferred the comfort and floatation of 29+ rubber, the 29 x 2.4” WTB Rangers hold their own on nearly all types of terrain and don’t feel sluggish on pavement. The chunky fork and numerous mounting options beg for racks, cages, and gear, whether you’re bikepacking or simply commuting to work. The Mega Tour handles the extra weight of gear well, has the potential to be comfortable on multi-day rides, and offers a tidy package at a wallet-friendly price.
If your ideal day of riding includes gravel, doubletrack, and non-technical singletrack—from multi-day tours to daily commutes—the Mega Tour might just be for you. Be warned: taller riders will likely need to swap out the stubby stem and handlebar to increase the length and height of the bike, and anyone interested should take a good look at Brodie’s geometry chart and consider how the stock handlebar will affect those numbers. Overall, I think the Mega Tour has a lot of potential for a rigid bikepacking bike that won’t break the bank, and I’m eager to see where Brodie takes it in the next few years.
- Great value for a $1,300 USD rigid touring bike
- Wide range 2×11 drivetrain has great range for riding loaded
- All of the mounts for racks, bags, and cages
- Handles the extra weight of gear well
- Sizing chart seems skewed, especially on larger sizes paired with swept-back bar
- Beefy aluminum fork is harsh at times
- Limited frame bag space due to low standover height
- Front shifter is uncomfortable to use
- Size Tested: Large
- Actual Weight: 29.3 pounds (13.3kg)
- Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
- Price: $1,625 CAD (~$1,300 USD)
- Manufacturer’s Details: BrodieBicycles.com
Brodie got a lot right with the Mega Tour. Overall, it’s a well-executed dedicated gravel touring bike. While Brodie’s claims for a true backcountry adventure rig might feel a touch lofty, I think they did a great job considering the price point at which they were able to deliver it. Although I’d feel more comfortable heading out on an extended trip with some more ergonomic components and a lighter overall package, I’d confidently recommend the Mega Tour to anyone looking for a versatile option for mixed-terrain bikepacking and touring. It rolls fast on gravel and doubletrack, has the extra volume of 29 x 2.4” tires for short sections of chunky singletrack, and feels stable and surefooted. Despite the fit issues I had, which were quickly remedied with a bar swap, the Mega Tour has a lot of potential, though not without room for improvement.
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