Santos Touring Bike

Santos bikes was established by a Dutch mountain bike enthusiast, Robbert Rutgrink. It seeks to offer a highly customised bike to meet the preferences of the cyclist. This is a Santos Travel Master 2.6  Alu which was used in a successful around the world bike ride by James Bowthorpe (18,000 miles in 176 days)


I had a test ride on one of their top of the range touring bikes a Santos Travel Master Alu 2.6.
It is based on an aluminium frame and is designed to give lowest maintenance possible for long tough terrains. Handlebars are ergonomically designed for comfortable riding. End bars give a choice of grip position.

Rolhoff Gears

The Rolhoff Gears offer 14 different gear combinations over a wide range of gear sizes. It is like having a triple chainring, except without the need to change the front chain ring. Changing gear is very easy. Important for a heavily laden bike. Rolhoff gears need very little maintenance, maybe a change of oil every 8,000 miles. They are easy to use.

Hydraulic disc brakes

The hydraulic disc brakes were one of the most powerful braking systems I’ve tested, you felt it could stop on any terrain or descent.

Santos Belt Drive

It was ironic to be testing a belt drive, just a few days after snapping another standard chain. Belt Drives are quiet and much more longer lasting; they are said to have 3-4 times the lifespan of a standard chain. Also when chains become worn they can lose some of their efficiency. With a belt drive  there are no connecting rivets or links to break. Given how debilitating a chain break can be, this is a really good feature for when low maintenance is a necessity.

Ride Quality

The bike has great stability, and is easy to ride. The steering is fairly neutral and easily copes with any turns.

The bike is set up for a comfortable touring ride; also with highly adjustable stem, you can easily change the position of cycling. With 26 wheels, it definitely feels harder work to cycle, though the bike is customisable, if you prefer standard road tyres at 700c you can order this.

The Aluminium frame doesn’t help absorb shocks in the road, (though this is somewhat mitigated by comfortable grips. However, given weight of touring bike, switching to a steel frame isn’t going to make much difference overall. Some tourists like aluminium frames because it gives a stiffer ride, could for steering with a heavily laden bag.

Would I buy it?

I wouldn’t buy the bike I tested, but only because I don’t plan to do the kind of touring this bike enables. It really feels like the kind of bike you could ride around the world, complete with tent and cooking stove. However, overall, I really like the ethos of Santos, I think being able to customise your bike is very important. For a serious tourer, this provides some really nice top of the range features.

Customisation options

  • Steel v Aluminium Frame
  • 24 colours
  • Groupset – Rolhoff internal or Shimano Deore/LX Shimano LX/XT
  • Size of wheels 26 or 700c
  • Rimbrakes vs Hyraulic disc brakes.
  • Standard chain vs Santos Belt Drive
  • The cheapest custom option opens at £999. There are some off the peg – pre-specced models from£1,199, which helps give some good components.


Santos Bike in Round the World Challenge

James Bowthorpe used a Santos Travel Master in his world record cycle around the world (18,000 miles in 175 days). He also had a long custom fitting experience to gain perfect ergonomics.

Touring Bikes

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

2 + 9 =