Saturday, November 2, 2013

Avanti Inc 3: New Tires, Fenders, Rack and Lights

After spending much effort resolving the new crankset issue, I could finally continue with the bike modifications. These bike modifications are not to increase speed or make the bike lighter. Rather, these additions are to make the bike more suitable for commuting.

First up, the tires! The stock Continental SportContact tires are quite OK, but I would like something more puncture resistant and maybe slighter faster. This will help to avoid having to repair punctures and also make the ride slightly smoother. After much research comparing a few Schwalbe tires, I finally decided on the Marathon Supremes.

Folding tires for easier installation and removal from the rims!

One of the tires with a good balance between puncture resistance and rolling resistance.

700x32C size for the Marathon Supreme, versus the wider 700x37C size for the Continental SportContact tires. Just a little bit narrower.

As a true commuting bike, the bike must be able to handle wet weather as well. Fenders are a must to minimise road spray onto the rider and the bike. The stock bike does not come with fenders, but it does have fender mounts. I decided to get a good set of SKS full fenders for maximum protection against wet roads.

 New set of fenders for 700C wheels! Matte black to go with the matte black frame.

I ordered the 45mm wide fenders, after researching on the suitable fender width for the 700x32C tires. It turned out to be a good size! A narrower set would get too close to the tires.

The metal stays and the plastic fenders. They were actually quite a pain to setup, with the over complicated way of fixing the stays to the fenders. The nut and bolt fixing method was very fiddly, and when you manage to fix up one of it, the other side comes out. Very time consuming.

Fixing the front fenders onto the front fork. The bolt provided (M5x45mm) was not long enough to go through the thick front fork, I had to look for a 60mm long bolt to install the fenders.

Front fender fits the wheel nicely! Slightly large gap between the tire and the fenders. If not for the cumbersome method of removing and fixing the fenders, I would have taken out the stays to cut off maybe 10mm, for a better fit. Probably next time.

As for the rear fenders, the fitting was not so good out of the box. But before that, let's take a look at the rear rack. A rear rack is another important part of a commuting bike, as it is very useful for bringing things along.

I selected a matte black rack to go with the matte black frame. Although the bike has disc brakes, the disc brake parts are neatly hidden within the rear triangle, so I can just use a standard rear rack instead of requiring special disc-specific rear racks.

Rear brake caliper mounted on the inside of the rear triangle, instead of on top of the seat stay. This enables the use of a standard rear rack.

Double rails for greater flexibility. I can mount panniers and still fix something onto the top of the rack.

Rear rack and rear fenders shares the same mounting point on the frame.

Rack is slightly tilted forward as the seat stay fixing rods were too short. Not a big issue though. 

The rear fender stays have been cut short by 20mm, in order to put the fenders closer to the tires. The initial lengths were too long, and there was a big gap between the fenders and the tires. It was troublesome but necessary to remove the rear fender stays, and to cut them before reinstalling them again.

When I was selecting the new components and accessories for the new Avanti Inc 3, I took care to use similar and compatible components as my Dahon Boardwalk. What I mean by this is that I used the same PD-A530 SPD pedals, and selected a rear rack with a similar tubing diameter (10mm) as the Biologic Arclite Rear Rack, so that I can swap the panniers between the bikes without adjusting anything.

Same Shimano PD-A530 SPD/Platform pedals on both the bikes. This allows me to use the same RT82 Road Touring SPD shoes on both the bikes.

With compatible pedals and racks, I can basically prepare the same shoes and panniers for cycling, and depending on the weather in the morning, I just grab the appropriate bike and go. Dahon Boardwalk for dry weather, and the Avanti for wet weather.

Although the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires should greatly lower the chance of getting a puncture, I still feel more prepared if I have the correct equipment to fix a puncture if required. The Alfine 11 rear hub of the Avanti means that I need a size 15 spanner to remove the locknuts on the rear axle, in order to remove the rear wheel if required.

I added a Topeak Wedge DryBag, Large with Strap Mount as a rainproof saddle bag. It will be permanently fixed to the Avanti and will have some basic tools. This is the same saddle bag that I am using on my Polygon Cosmic CX 3.0 MTB.

The Topeak saddle bag with the tools: Topeak Mini 9 Tool, Topeak RaceRocket High Pressure pump, Schwalbe tire levers, a spare tube and a size 15 spanner.

This was the initial position where I mounted the saddle bag. 

Due to the size of the bag and the rack, the saddle cannot be lowered further, although it is at the right height for me. But the problem is that when cycling, the inner thighs will touch the saddle bag, as the saddle bag is rather wide and close to the saddle.

I found an alternative way of mounting the saddle bag, using the rear rack instead of the saddle rails. This avoids the problem of the legs touching the saddle bag when pedaling.

Saddle bag mounted on the rear rack instead.

It is actually a very secure way of mounting the saddle bag! I am quite surprised at the stability.

The only problem is that the rear light tends to tilt downwards when mounted on the saddle bag. I have tried mounting it on the rear rack, but I just can't seem to find a good place to mount it, even with L-shaped brackets and other spare parts.

I have also gotten new lights for the Avanti. The new lights will be introduced soon in separate blog posts, but here is just a sneak preview.

Ultra bright 2 watt Solas rear light by NiteRider!

Goes onto the light clip on the saddle bag.

  Also from NiteRider, the Mako 200 front light.

Mako 200 mounted on the handlebar.

The reason these lights are chosen is because of the relatively long battery life (18hrs for the rear and 42hrs for the front, in the flashing modes), which minimises the need to change batteries often. Matte black casing of the front light also matches the bike, and the ultra bright rear light would really catch attention! Detailed light reviews to posted separately.

Topeak Modula Cage, to fit various water bottle sizes. The one that I have is the older version without the rubber grips on the cage.

LitePro copper bell for a lovely ringing sound!

I had planned to write about the adjustment of the eccentric BB and the belt tension, but this post is getting too long! Shall write about it in the next post instead.

With the accessories such as the fenders and the rear rack added, the bike is now ready for commuting duties! Just rode the bike after rain on wet roads, and the feeling is great!

All ready!

What I love about the Avanti Inc 3:
1) No need to dry, clean and re-lube any bike parts after getting home. There is nothing to rust!
2) Hydraulic disc brakes work well in all weather conditions, and there is no need to clean the rims after riding in the rain.
3) Full fenders blocks most of the road spray, keeping me and my bike mostly dry.
4) Belt drive system is super smooth, quiet and clean. Also does not rust or require lubing like a metal chain.

I could go on about other points which I like, but these are the major ones that really differentiates this bike from other bikes.


  1. Thumbs up for the accessorizing. I like your thinking re the rubber. I have 700x32 Michelin Pilot Sports ready to go when I take delivery. The mudguards look sweet. Do you plan to fit a kickstand?

    1. I had thought about installing a Pletscher double kickstand, but it seems that the space between the seat tube and the rear fender is quite cramped. There are also the hydraulic hose for the rear brake and the shifter cable running along the underside of the left and right chainstays respectively.

      The kickstand would add another 500+ grams to this already heavy bike, and it will pick up more dirt. Think I will try to go without a kickstand and see if it works for me.

  2. Thats looks truly like a real commuter bike. Looking forward to ur sharing on cyclo-commuting in our Sunny island!

  3. The centre mount stand was always going to be a long shot on the Inc.

    I had one of these stands on my hybrid

    Not very heavy, cheap and did it's job. It shouldn't interfere with the brake hose if its mounted closer towards the crank but pedal/crank arm clearance could be the only issue. I'll be trying it out.

    1. It may not fit the Avanti as the rear brake caliper is mounted on the inside of the rear triangle, which means the rear brake hose will be in the way.

      It can fit only if the brake hose is rerouted around the kickstand clamp.

  4. May I know the brand/model of the rear rack and where to get it?

  5. The brand is RackTime, not sure the exact model. I got it from There are many other rear rack models available on the website.

  6. Hi, came across your blog after I purchased my first ever bike, the Avanti Inc 2.0. A fantastic and very informative series of articles on the customisation of your Inc 3.0. I have a steep learning curve ahead of me. You have definitely inspired me to continue with my new found interest. Thank you.

  7. Just wanted to chime in basically what Hinsane said. I was thinking about an Inc 3 and your website answered enough questions that I now have a new bike (and a steep learning curve ahead of me). Thankyou for putting so much information about this bike online. I didn't get a manual with mine either, but I'm going to hit the bikeshop and see if they've got one.

  8. Hi, I have had an Inc 3 for over a year (love it!) but the tyres need replacing. I bought some 28-622s online rather than 37-622s but now I am thinking they may be 'too thin' for daily commuting. What do you think?

    1. It really depends on your route. If you mainly travel on smooth roads, it will be great. I got the Schwalbe for the added puncture protection.


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