Digital editor Richard Windsor's Meteor Works Aesir tourer
CYCLING WEEKLY|October 21, 2021
A workhorse with an impeccable pedigree for long days in the saddle where comfort is king
A few years ago I decided to give up doing anything particularly fast or competitive on a bicycle any more, much as I enjoyed paying for the privilege of finishing in the mid to low end of a local road race.

Long-distance, multi-day touring had captured my interest – an activity much better suited to sub-zone two riding but still literally packed with challenges thanks to the sheer number of hours and days spent loaded up in the saddle.

For my initial adventures I’d used off the-peg endurance bikes which, although they did the job, weren’t really built for strapping on bags. And so I set out to build the ultimate tourer, something that could handle the demands of bikepacking and the varied terrain that comes with it, all without feeling slow and sluggish.

The build

The starting point was the Meteor Works Aesir frame, designed and built by Lee Prescott of Velo Atelier in Warwickshire. The Aesir is Velo Atelier’s first production frame, aiming to offer the quality construction you’d hope for from 30 years’ experience in frame building, but with a much more affordable price tag (£1,500) than a bespoke offering.

The frame, size 58, is double-butted steel – a blend of Reynolds, Columbus and Dedacciai – and is disc brake only, with clearance for up to 45mm tyres up front and 40mm at the rear. The initial appeal for me was the more traditional geometry and round tubing, which makes it easy to load up your bike with bags, bottles, lights, and everything else for a long trip. In the past, sloping geometries and wider-profile tubes have made fitting bags a real pain. The Aesir features a tapered top tube to dampen road vibrations, and its S-bend chainstays are a thoughtful touch to avoid heel clipping on the frame, something that has been an issue for me previously.

On top of that the Aesir includes mounts for a bottle cage below the down tube, a bento box on the top tube, mudguards front and rear, as well as reinforced mounts for pannier racks. The frame comes with the option of a racier carbon fork or a steel adventure fork. I went with the beefy-looking steel fork which features mounts for low riders and integrated routing for a dynamo.

The handlebar is also from Velo Atelier, a carbon adventure bar which offers enough flare to once again make life that bit easier when fitting bags to the bike. I’m using a 42cm bar with 120mm of drop.

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