Owned and operated by Bob Kamzelski, Bantam Bicycles has been fabricating, repairing, and modifying bicycles out of Portland, Oregon since 2012. Bob honed his skills working with the prestigious Bilenky Cycle Works in Philadelphia for more than six years and has made every type of bike under the sun but specializes in commuting, touring, bikepacking, randonneuring, and all-road bikes.
The new Bantam Bicycles Travelall has been in development for a few years now and is their take on the “best bikepacking/trekking/go anywhere do anything bike possible.” It’s based around a custom-sized TIG welded steel frame, an integrated lighting system, geometry and handling optimized for bikepacking and loaded riding, and a suggested base build or your choice of a completely custom setup. The Travelall fits 27.5 x 2.4″ tires with fenders, has external cable routing, three bottle mounts, rack and fender mounts, and a copper Bantam head badge.
Bantam Bicycles Travelall Specs
- Fork with a lugged crown, curved fork blades, and dropouts for the SON SL connectorless generator hub system
- Clearance for 27.5 x 2.40″ tires, with fenders
- Flatmount disc brake mounts, front and rear
- Set up for a 1x drive train (2x available upon request)
- Fully external cable housing, run under the down tube
- Spaced for a 100x12mm thru-axle front hub and 142x12mm thru-axle rear hub
- Head tube and fork for a 1.125″ threadless headset (straight steerer)
- 73mm threaded bottom bracket shell
- Bosses for three water bottle cages on the frame (two inside the main triangle, one under the down tube)
Each Travelall comes equipped with a custom front rack called the Travelrack. According to Bantam, they’ve found a well-designed front rack to be lighter and more versatile than some handlebar bag setups, so they’ve equipped theirs with Wald basket mounts, triple bosses for cargo cages, and a headlight mount. Bantam has partnered with Portland-based bag maker Lords Luggage on a bolt-on, roll-top frame bag for each Travelall, made from durable waxed cotton canvas in a color complementary to your frameset color.
Base Build Kit
- Handlebar Jones Loop
- Rear Hub Shimano 105
- Front Hub SON Dynamo
- Rims Velocity Blunt 35, 27.5″
- Spokes/Nipples Sapim
- Tires Schwalbe Moto-X 27.5 x 2.4″
- Rotors Shimano RT70 160mm
- Cranks Shimano Deore, 30T
- Bottom Bracket Shimano MT501
- Cassette Shimano XT M8000 11-46T
- Shifter Shimano XT 11-Speed
- Derailleur Shimano XT
- Brakes Shimano 105
- Brake Levers Shimano
- Headset Cane Creek 40
- Grips ESI XL
- Seatpost Dimension
- Saddle Brooks B17
- Headlight SON
- Taillight B&M
- Fenders Honjo
- Basket Wald
- Front Rack Bantam Travelrack
- Bags Lord Luggage
We asked Bob for some insight into the Travelall’s geometry, and here’s what he had to say.
Bob Kamzelski: I have said that the geometry of the Travelall is a bit different than a typical MTB. Over my years of framebuilding, I’ve focused mainly on bikes that will carry some sort of baggage on them. It comes as no surprise that a loaded bike doesn’t handle the same as that bike when it’s unloaded. From my time in the bike industry (24 years and counting…), I have noticed that manufacturers rarely make bikes that handle well while loaded. Even ones that are intended for touring or bikepacking. I feel most mass manufacturers make bikes that function well on a test ride, which almost always happens in the parking lot of a bike shop without any baggage on the bike.
I spent years working at a bike shop that sold a well-known brand of road touring bikes. They handled just fine unloaded. And essentially that’s what we were selling folks. A bike that rode okay without anything on it. But once you put a front and rear rack and four panners on it, it handled like a tank. You could barely steer it and the front end flopped around so much even stopping was a chore. But, by that point, the purchase was made, and it was out of my hands.
Understandably, no bike shop is going to install bags and racks on a new bike just so someone can give it a spin around the block. This lies in contrast with, say, the experience of buying a backpacking backpack. Where you head off to the shop to try on a pack, and the first thing the sales associate does is throw a bunch of weight in the bag. So that you can get a feel of how it’ll be with all your gear in it.
What I done with the Travelall (or any touring/bikepacking bike I make) is predict how the bike is going to ride once it’s loaded up and adjust the geometry to make it handle like an unloaded bike, even though you’ve got your tent, sleeping bag, trail mix, two liters of water, and a six pack strapped to it. I’ve done quite a bit of testing on them and have built a few for folks around here. The feedback I’ve gotten has been entirely positive. And my own experiences have been great. The descending is easy and predictable, climbing is nice and stable, and riding on the flats effortlessly comfortable. It’s nice to be able to ride through some fairly difficult singletrack without any real concerns besides, ‘Can I fit through there with these bags on?’
Anyway, because my bikes are all custom-built, I don’t really have a standard geometry chart. Things change according to customer height, weight, riding style, etc… But in general, the Travelall is this:
- 72° Head Tube Angle
- 72° Seat Tube Angle
- 65mm Rake
- 46mm Trail (for a 27.5 x 2.4 tire)
- 445mm chainstays
- 72mm Bottom Bracket Drop
- Top tube length, seat tube length, standover, stack, and reach all determined by customer fit
Options and How to Buy
The base price for a frameset kit (frame, fork, framebag, and front rack) is $2,950. The suggested built kit would add $3,300 to that. Fully custom build kits are also available for those who want to choose every component. Bantam offers add-ons including a kickstand plate, internal dropper post routing, options for Pinion gear boxes/belt-dive systems, adjustable dropouts, a split seat stay, and more.
Head over to BantamBicycles.com to learn more.
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