Words and photos by Ben Kampschoer
G’day, I’m Ben, and I grew up—and live—on Girai Wurrung Country in south-west Victoria, Australia. I fell in love with bikes while living in the cities of Geelong and Melbourne through my 20s. Like a lot of cyclists, I started out commuting but quickly became obsessed with touring and then mountain biking.
Over the past decade, I’ve spent cumulatively around two years travelling by bike, mostly through regional Australia. The more remote, the better. I mostly worked in architecture while living in the city, but COVID kinda killed the desk life for me, so I’m now back home in the bush building my folks a house.
I’m lucky that out here, I can still commute by bike on quiet country roads. However, as much as I still love touring, working on the build means it’s been harder to find the time for longer trips. I try to make up for that by going mountain biking on weekends.
I purchased my Omnium Mini-Max as a frameset in early 2022. I had just picked up a rescue pup from a shelter and was after a bike that could be used for commuting with him and hopefully a bit of touring too. While I already own a Surly Big Fat Dummy, the tall rear platform had already proven cumbersome for Billy. It was just too difficult for him to make quick ups and downs from it. With 29 x 3.0″ tyres, it also felt a bit heavy to ride on the road every day.
Around the same time, a good mate of mine in the city had just purchased an Omnium Cargo. After a quick spin, I was sold on the platform. I decided I’d try the Mini-Max over the Cargo, though, as it looked like the wheel would be more out of the way. This turned out to be a great decision as Billy likes to sit with his legs hanging over the front of the bike. Having ridden both bikes, I can also appreciate the Mini-Max has slightly more responsive handling, which makes it easier to control, especially in looser conditions.
When ordering, I was gonna get a steel frameset, but some COVID-related delays meant they were out of stock at that time. With at least a three-month wait, I decided to grab myself one of the Ti framesets that just so happened to be in stock. I’ve been riding it for almost a year now, and it’s quickly become my go-to bike. I ride it to site most days. Over summer, we also managed an overnighter on it, a quick out and back on the Otway Rip route I shared here a few years back.
- Frame/Fork Titanium Omnium Mini-Max w/ Steel Fork (Large)
- Rims Velocity Cliffhanger (front) / Velocity Chukker (rear)
- Hubs SON 28 (front) / Onyx Classic IS (rear)
- Tires Soma Cazadero, S&M Mainline
- Handlebars Hunter Smooth Move High Rise
- Headset Cane Creek 40
- Crankset RaceFace Aeffect
- Pedals DMR Vault
- Cassette SRAM 11-42
- Derailleur SRAM GX 11-Speed
- Brakes Shimano Deore/XT
- Shifter(s) SRAM GX 11-Speed
- Saddle Chromag Trailmaster LTD
- Seatpost RaceFace Aeffect R
- Stem Parts Bin 80mm
- Front bags Road Runner Jammer
- Frame bags Custom Hungry Roll Top
- Rear bags Stealth Mountain Panniers
- Other accessories Rat King T-Rack
The 2.1″ tyre up front was perfect for the mix of surfaces on that ride. And with the low platform, I could get Billy to jump off the front for the uphills and then hop back on the flats and downs. Surprisingly, we still managed to cover around 120 kilometres both days, which is about the same as my usual touring pace. I think a lot of that has to do with how easy the Omnium is to ride—and also how much Billy just wanted to keep going. I’ve never seen him more tired than after that trip, though.
There are a few things about this build that I think are worth noting. I wanted to be able to share this bike with friends and had a 125mm dropper in my parts bin that would fit perfectly. The frame just needed a slight modification. Following some advice from Mark at Prova Cycles, I drilled a hole in the back side of the seat tube to allow for internal routing. It definitely felt a bit sketchy drilling a new Ti frame, but so far, so good.
Another thing I really love is the dynamo lighting. Unless it’s for out’ n’ out trail riding, I wouldn’t build a wheelset without a SON hub these days. More than 50,000 kilometres on them and never an issue. The rest of the build is some other stuff I’ve come to run as standard over years. That includes 11-Speed SRAM shifting, 24mm RaceFace cranks, a Cane Creek headset, a Wheels MGF BB, a Chromag Saddle, DMR Vaults that are super grippy with work boots, and an Onyx rear hub (my third). The hubs are spenno as, but I love the instant engagement, and you just can’t beat the silence while cruising along.
The last change I made to the bike that really finished it off was swapping over to the Hunter bars. While I already had the same bars on a few other bikes, I initially thought they’d be too much for the Omnium at 780mm wide and 75mm rise. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The extra width and rise they offer just feels right to me. And they’re swept back just enough that I don’t get sore wrists even during longer days. After almost a year of tweaking, the bike now feels pretty close to dialled in, and with the addition of some bags, it’s been perfect for the riding I do. Just need to find some more time to tour on it!
You can find more from Ben on Instagram.
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