Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Dawes Ulta Galaxy 853 Update; making more out of an ace bike- Pt 1 of 3...



I really like the Dawes Ultra Galaxy to ride. It`s a classic bike in it`s own right and there is already plenty of reviews, and stories written of big bike adventures across far flung continents on the Famous Galaxy tourer.  My Galaxy has only been rode around East Lothian and as a commuter it`s a bit over the top but it is a superb ride and a joy to ride on country roads.


Made from 1971 this English tourer has a big following with it`s `magic carpet` ride people talk of. and i get people come up to me when i`m out and stopped and compliment riding a Dawes.

As well as tourers on the road they are capable off road where the tarmac ends and the forgiving steel chassis with tall  bar height makes for a decent `Roughstuff` and gravel bike. Wide WTB rims and stronger 36 spoke wheel build make for a bike that can take on rough roads.

I have been looking at getting more use out of the bike, only owning 4 bikes now that i ride i want to make them as versatile as possible. I want to make it better for cycling off road to work on the John Muir Way, along with the many easy gravel roads and tracks and Old Railway line paths and gravel tracks in the local Lammermuir hills. 
At this years Capital Trail i rode along side Stuart for a bit who was riding a Surly Straggler and he told of also owning a Galaxy that he rides off road and it got me thinking that i don`t need to buy `another` frame set to get a drop bar gravel/adventure bike ideally with disc brakes, i just need to add a disc spec fork, swap the front hub out and i have an ideal bike for the job...

Pt 1; stripping extra parts and adding bigger tyres...

A search on line found what i was looking for, a pair of 41mm wide Surly Knard tyres,  the cheaper 60 tpi versions at £20 each and though heavier than 120tpi option half the price and helped cover the cost of phase 2 - finding a disc fork, 36 spoke disc hub and a brake calliper.
Some frame bags not used at present would be ideal for camera and such and time to get the spanners out.

So with the rear rack, mudguards and saddle bag removed tools were fitted to the bike via a smaller saddle bag and pump on down tube and Brooks saddle cover rolled up under the saddle....




Mounted up and miles of tyre clearance!...



What a difference a strip down and fat tyres makes!, looks good!...


Home from work and a quick ride, a 6 mile loop from home that is mostly off road...


The evening before the summer solstice and it was stunning...


The bike rolls ok on tarmac with the 41mm wide Surly Knard tyres and the comfort off road is good...






Where it fits into my bike collection...
Plenty of off road easy stuff around here ideal for this type of bike.  I have of course owned several drop bar bikes and played around with other bars on 29er and 700c bikes and although i came to to the decision i like a 29+ wheeled bike with Jones loop bars which you can read about Here...

So for most riding my 29+ old Pugsley is favourite esp near the coast with the odd sandy trail, but i inherited this Galaxy and i love the way it eats up country road miles.
This bike is a bike to keep for years and use for loads of riding,  and i really like riding it and i`m looking forward to more rides  where it`s nice to ride a bike where 40 -60 miles off road and on country roads in a day is easier than a MTB...

Pt2;  sourcing the parts;
I have a Dawes disc fork i have sourced and a Shimano disc front hub on the way so will soon get a disc brake up front to take care of stopping...

Here is a wee bit film from this evenings ride,
Song is `Sarah Dreams Of Summer` by Working For A Nuclear Free City...

Dawes 853 Ultra Galaxy; Gravel roads and local trails from coastkid71 on Vimeo.

More soon...

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