Seeking new user tips and accessory recommendations for 2020 Explore and Amiti

LeftyS7

Active Member
It's so old that I don't even know what brand it is. After reading some reviews, I have a feeling the modern styles are indeed more effective, especially at dealing with things like washboarding. The old one mainly served to deal with sudden jolts.
Yeah, that's all I need.
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Well @Grison, you're a lot more patient that I am. You got new bikes and the first thing they say is you should'a bought something else??? 😋
These are really great bikes - we have two of them and beyond happy with them. There's nothing to apologize for. You can squeeze over 50 miles out of them, so the range-weenies are full of it. LOL

The Satori seat post works well enough for the price. I have a Harmony, and it's not going to win any awards, but does soak up some jolts at the rear wheel. Mine only moves about a half to three-quarters of an inch.

The stock 'cross-cut gravel' tires are really thin. You can probly get some miles out of them, but there isn't much flat-protection there, and they ride kind of hard. They're really cheap tires designed to deliver the bike and provide crisp riding performance. But a 50mm wide tire just works better on them, Schwalbe has a few options, Continental, something with some flat-protection built in is worthwhile. I have no problems with tires and tubes, can change one out in minutes, so I just run tubes, carry a patch kit and extra tube. I loathe dealing with the slime sealant stuff. Have not had a flat out on the trail in a bazillion years.

Schwalbe has a e-bike road tire that would work really well, and has a very thick protection liner in the carcass. The Marathon E-+ is really nice and will provide a better ride and years of life, along with good flat protection:


I've run Schwalbe Big Apples on mine but they're kind of bulky at 2.35 wide. Just ordered Continental Contact Travel in 50-622, kevlar lining. And just put Schwalbe Energizer Plus ebike tires on the wife's and they're really nice. Greenguard, 50mm, nice heavy duty tires that ride just outstanding. I buy a lot of tires from BikeTiresDirect.com, but they're sold out of these right now but have a few other options. Tires are relatively cheap compared to what they do for you on a bike.

As far as your other items, ToPeak offers some really nice bags and racks, pic of wife's below. The seat-post mounted version are really flexible, offer good fit and quality. A little spendy.
Fenders we don't bother with so no comment. A standard bottle cage works fine. For high-miles or hot weather a CamelBak is hard to beat, and way convenient.

For a lock there are some good options on amazon without breaking the bank. If you want the best they're stupid expensive, like the ABUS and Kryptonite. I'm more than happy with the $35 OnGuard U-lock with cable. Versatile, the cable is a little short, but you can lock the two bikes together or to a rack. And it comes with a mount to attach to one of your bikes. There are a couple of bar-thickness options...the more you pay the heavier-duty they are.

For your Explore, Giant offers some really nice LED lights with li-ion rechargable batts. I have a head and taillight I shift from bike to bike, they work fine, are inexpensive. I also picked up a couple of the cheapo planet bike rear lights and they've been great, 2AAA's in them. We don't really ride at night, so don't worry much, but if you get caught out in the shorter days they're nice to have.

I carry a tool kit I've put together over the years that includes appropriate allen wrenches, a plier, a few applicable wrenches. Nothing too fancy or elaborate. A pump, a patch kit, and a spare tube.


The cool thing about this MTX bag are the built-in saddle bags that flip out. Kind of $$, but cool nonetheless:



 
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Browneye

Well-Known Member
Oh, and I put taller stems on both bikes, a shorter reach on hers, much taller on mine. They improve on the leaned-over stance. The older we get the worse it gets. LOL
And Mirrycle mirrors for both - a must-have, cheap and good. If you're running the phone app on your smartphone, the ROAM mount is really nice and very inexpensive. 👍
 
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LeftyS7

Active Member
I put a 2&1/2" extender on my stem and it's just about perfect.

What seat do you have? From the photo it looks stock. I have to upgrade, stock isn't working for me. I'm looking at a Ergon Touring ST Core Prime Men's saddle. I haven't read any bad reviews about it.

I can't get my personal date to download to the app.
 
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Grison

New Member
Browneye -- thank you for the detailed reply and suggestions! I suspect that 75-80% of our riding will be on pavement, with the rest on gravel or dirt. I definitely like the idea of a puncture-resistant tire setup, and I am comfortable with changing and patching tubes when needed. The Marathons look great, but I'm wondering if they are too purely pavement-oriented for us. These Continentals seem like they might fit the bill in 700x50. (I'm not sure if these are the same ones you referenced, as there seem to be two different versions.) I already ordered Continental Cross 28 Tubes for the stock tires, but it seems like these might be a bit small if we go to 50mm.

Our bikes are starting to get accessorized based on the suggestions here and additional research. We have suspension seat posts installed now (splurged on Thudbusters), along with ABUS 5950 frame locks+chains installed for quick/visible daytime security. We'll supplement those with stronger locks when needed. We went with the same trunk bag you mentioned, but on a standard rear rack rather than the post-mount version, as I'm expecting to load them up with groceries sometimes. I fished the existing headlight wiring and found the right connectors, so I'm adding an integrated light (IQ-X E) to the Explore. I also put together a basic toolkit, and I'm experimenting with adapting a small seat bag to fit into the tiny frame triangle of these bikes. I'll post pics if it actually works. :)
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
We load them up at the market on our 10 mile after-work jaunt. Way fun, come home for a beer, or go out. 🍻
Today its Johnny Cash on sirrus xm on the BT, and sunny and 78. 👍
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Ya, those tubes are too small, even for your stock tires. You want something for 45-55, or thereabouts. Standard tubes aren't very thick in the first place, so if you blow small ones up to fill a larger tire they really get stretched thin.

Here are the new Marathon Energizer Plus - 50-622 size - on wifes bike. These are 50km ebike rated with green guard. Super nice tires. Note that for smooth dirt bike paths this tread provides ample traction. These are not offroad bikes anyway. Ride, traction, durability, are all enhanced over the stock tires.




Here's how I mounted our ONGuard U-lock. Yeah, it's not the fanciest lock out there, but a thief would have to have a cordless grinding wheel and several minutes to cut through it. This is the 13mm hardened steel version; there are even thicker ones available, but they get bulky. Here's the amazon link for them:
The price has gone up a bit since I got mine, about $46 now. They even offer theft insurance up to a couple of grand. I thought it was a bargain - well reviewed elsewhere, and hella stout, easy to work with. The key even has a led light built in. With the cable you can lock the front and rear wheels to the bike. We don't leave ours in high-crime areas for extended periods.

 

Grison

New Member
Ya, those tubes are too small, even for your stock tires. You want something for 45-55, or thereabouts. Standard tubes aren't very thick in the first place, so if you blow small ones up to fill a larger tire they really get stretched thin...
Those tubes were also available in a width of "32 - 47c" (which is what I had ordered), so I thought those would work with the stock 45's. Not so much?

Thanks for the photos. Those Marathons do state that they are fine for gravel, so I might go that route. The big question is whether I do it now, or wait until after my first flat with the stock tires. :)

I also see that you added "sidewalls" to the beam rack. I was wondering how that rack would work with the flip-down trunk "pannier pockets" -- interesting solution!
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Those tubes were also available in a width of "32 - 47c" (which is what I had ordered), so I thought those would work with the stock 45's. Not so much?

Thanks for the photos. Those Marathons do state that they are fine for gravel, so I might go that route. The big question is whether I do it now, or wait until after my first flat with the stock tires. :)

I also see that you added "sidewalls" to the beam rack. I was wondering how that rack would work with the flip-down trunk "pannier pockets" -- interesting solution!

Tubes to 47c will cover your stock tires. They would be a stretch for a 50mm tire, but would still work. Tubes for 2" tires would be better if you're going to go to a 50mm/2" wide tire - there's just a lot more volume. Which also means you can run a lower pressure for the same amount of support, which gives it a much softer ride - there's a lot more cushion. Balloon tires go a long way to adding some suspension, and why fat-bikes have become so popular. Schwalbe claims they invented the 'balloon tire'. But they've been popular on beach-cruisers for decades - remember the 26" fat-tires?

I didn't care for the cross-cuts much so I changed mine out right away for Marathons/Marathon Plus - 47-622. Nice tire, super duty, but a little skinny. Ran them on the wife's for a bit as well.
My Explore pictured below with them on, then with the Big Apples at 2.35"

For us, I've decided the 2" size is perfect - not too narrow, and not too bulbous.

For the beam rack, the sidewalls are required if you want to flip the side bags out from the trunk-bag. It provides a way to fasten them down so they don't flop around, and to keep them out of the wheel. Another $25 option/upgrade. LOL

We've loaded it up with groceries and it works killer. And since the Amiti doesn't have bottle cage bosses we needed a bottle holder somehow - this solved that too, although not as convenient for reaching for a drink. We stop plenty so it's a non-issue for us/her.

With 47-622 tires. (You can also spot my 45* stem riser - it adds about an inch and a half.)



With 55-622 tires - they barely fit in the frame, but do work. We've both run them, but prefer a little thinner tire. Handling is more crisp, and there's less rotating mass.



 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Here are the Giant bike LED lights - the headlight is 500 lumens on bright, and the taillight is very bright as well. Both rechargeable, both have four to six modes, both last for a minimum of a couple of hours at the highest setting, and ten to twelve hours on the lower setting. I can move them to either of my bikes, so preferred for me in lieu of hardwired lights. They were like sixty or seventy bucks for the pair.
I just don't like to ride or drive at night - getting old sucks. 😋

 

Grison

New Member
Tubes to 47c will cover your stock tires. They would be a stretch for a 50mm tire, but would still work. Tubes for 2" tires would be better if you're going to go to a 50mm/2" wide tire - there's just a lot more volume. Which also means you can run a lower pressure for the same amount of support, which gives it a much softer ride - there's a lot more cushion. Balloon tires go a long way to adding some suspension, and why fat-bikes have become so popular. Schwalbe claims they invented the 'balloon tire'. But they've been popular on beach-cruisers for decades - remember the 26" fat-tires?

I didn't care for the cross-cuts much so I changed mine out right away for Marathons/Marathon Plus - 47-622. Nice tire, super duty, but a little skinny. Ran them on the wife's for a bit as well.
My Explore pictured below with them on, then with the Big Apples at 2.35"

For us, I've decided the 2" size is perfect - not too narrow, and not too bulbous.

For the beam rack, the sidewalls are required if you want to flip the side bags out from the trunk-bag. It provides a way to fasten them down so they don't flop around, and to keep them out of the wheel. Another $25 option/upgrade. LOL

We've loaded it up with groceries and it works killer. And since the Amiti doesn't have bottle cage bosses we needed a bottle holder somehow - this solved that too, although not as convenient for reaching for a drink. We stop plenty so it's a non-issue for us/her.

With 47-622 tires. (You can also spot my 45* stem riser - it adds about an inch and a half.)

Yeah, 50mm sounds about right for the tires -- especially if we want to leave room for fenders. What pressure do you typically run on those?

Since neither of us has bottle cage bosses (I have the STA version of teh Explore), we've opted for a handlebar-mounted bottle cage for now. It seems to work well. The handlebar riser is also an interesting idea; stock seems fine for us at the moment, but I can see how it would create a more relaxed posture.

I also noticed the USB wire from your trunk bag to your phone mount. :)
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
I play with pressures 'till I find something that works. The bigger the tire the lower the pressure. The Big Apples I would run about 32 to 35. Hers have about 40 in them, seems good.
I put the stock tires back on mine and seem a little hard with 45-50psi. I have the new tires due this week...will report back with a pic or two after mounting and test ride. Kind of excited about them - seem like a good combination of size, tread, thickness, and weight. The Conti Contact Travel come in 50-622, and weigh in about 800g, so light and fast. Ebike 25 rated. Not the most puncture-proof option, but do have a kevlar liner. I don't seem to have trouble with flats, never have. I like the smooth center tread with the knobs on the shoulder - good combo tire for paved and dirt bike paths.



Since there's no usb port for a phone, I put a charge-brick in the trunk bag. Good enough.
If you use the RideControl app, and leave your phone display on, it really sucks the juice. A couple of hours can use half your phone battery. I usually stream Sirius Xm too. 😋
 

Grison

New Member
I play with pressures 'till I find something that works. The bigger the tire the lower the pressure. The Big Apples I would run about 32 to 35. Hers have about 40 in them, seems good.
I put the stock tires back on mine and seem a little hard with 45-50psi. I have the new tires due this week...will report back with a pic or two after mounting and test ride. Kind of excited about them - seem like a good combination of size, tread, thickness, and weight. The Conti Contact Travel come in 50-622, and weigh in about 800g, so light and fast. Ebike 25 rated. Not the most puncture-proof option, but do have a kevlar liner. I don't seem to have trouble with flats, never have. I like the smooth center tread with the knobs on the shoulder - good combo tire for paved and dirt bike paths.


I was looking at those as well, so I'd be very curious what you think when you get them. They are also about half the price of the Marathon E Pluses.
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Another tire I've wanted to try are the Schwalbe Big Bens. Can be hard to find in 50-622. Must be the sister to the Moto-X, which only comes in 650b size (27.5).

And one from Trek, the Bontrager E6 ebike road tire. I got a set in 27.5, they're huge in that size, but available in 50-622. I have them on a set of road wheels for my eMTB. Very nice heavy duty high quality tire, ebike 50km rated:





There's another thread floating around here on the Schwalbe Hurricane - great looking tire, reviews well, but only in a 42, 57, and 62mm/2.4 size for 700c/28/29.
Why oh why don't they have a 50-622?!?



And there a couple from Kenda, Kwik Journey or Drumlin. Neither are tubeless, but both are ebike certified.

Kenda.JPG
 
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Browneye

Well-Known Member
Okay...the Continental Contact Travel tire set arrived yesterday. They are great looking tires, thick center tread section showing lots of puncture-proofness, knobby shoulder, nice width, nice kevlar sidewall look to them. Seems like they would be ideal on the Explore.

Got home a little late last night and was anxious to see how they looked on the bike, so flipped 'er over and took the front wheel off, removed the tire, installed the new one. Very easy to mount, looking good. Blew it up to 55psi to seat the beads, put it on the the bike, spins true.

Hmmm...can't stand it, gotta put the rear one on too. So I removed the rear wheel, just got it deflated and one bead off, and BLAM, POP, CLANG. What the.... the front tire completely blew off the rim - one whole bead and the tube busting out between the tire and the rim. Probly a good thing it was mounted on the bike, or who knows what would have happened if that tire would have went flying, or even the whole assembly.

Dear lord, I sure don't want that kind of risk. Put my Schawalbe Marathons on, packed up the new Conti's, and shipped them back. NO MORE CONTINENTAL TIRES FOR ME!!! o_O
From now on it's Schwalbe or Maxxis, all the way baby!
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Another tire I've wanted to try are the Schwalbe Big Bens. Can be hard to find in 50-622. Must be the sister to the Moto-X, which only comes in 650b size (27.5).

And one from Trek, the Bontrager E6 ebike road tire. I got a set in 27.5, they're huge in that size, but available in 50-622. I have them on a set of road wheels for my eMTB. Very nice heavy duty high quality tire, ebike 50km rated:





There's another thread floating around here on the Schwalbe Hurricane - great looking tire, reviews well, but only in a 42, 57, and 62mm/2.4 size for 700c/28/29.
Why oh why don't they have a 50-622?!?



And there a couple from Kenda, Kwik Journey or Drumlin. Neither are tubeless, but both are ebike certified.

View attachment 55722

Excellent write-up on the various tires. I have tried about a half-dozen different Schwalbe tires and decided on the 50-622 Big Ben Plus for my road bikes.

They seem to have the best combination of level 6 flat protection, high durability, and smooth low resistance ride characteristics. My favorite tire!

The only problem is that I now have a dozen take-off tires that did not make the final cut... time to donate to my friends and family.



1592593519958.png
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
I just put a set of those in my shopping cart at Schwalbe. I applied for a new-account discount, but they never sent it. Just under a hundred plus shipping, direct from Schwalbe USA - they're in WA state!
The more I sort thru these tire options the more I like the 50-622 size for the Explore. It's really ideal.
I like the Hurricane, and it does look like I was wrong before - there is a 50-622 size - but they're hard to find, and they don't have that green-guard flat protection. I think they're more like level 4. IMO, if you're going to spend the money for an upgraded road tire, why not get the best flat protections you can at the same time.

Since you like them so well I'll probly order a set. 👍

BTW, the Trek Bontrager E6 Hardcase tires are VERY similar, 50kmh ebike rated, and the same cost. It's kind of a toss-up, really. Those may even be in stock at a local Trek bike dealer.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
I just put a set of those in my shopping cart at Schwalbe. I applied for a new-account discount, but they never sent it. Just under a hundred plus shipping, direct from Schwalbe USA - they're in WA state!
The more I sort thru these tire options the more I like the 50-622 size for the Explore. It's really ideal.
I like the Hurricane, and it does look like I was wrong before - there is a 50-622 size - but they're hard to find, and they don't have that green-guard flat protection. I think they're more like level 4. IMO, if you're going to spend the money for an upgraded road tire, why not get the best flat protections you can at the same time.

Since you like them so well I'll probably order a set. 👍

BTW, the Trek Bontrager E6 Hardcase tires are VERY similar, 50kmh e-bike rated, and the same cost. It's kind of a toss-up, really. Those may even be in stock at a local Trek bike dealer.

Found a set on Amazon with free shipping... $47 each. ;)

 
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