Eric Plankton is a Finnish Kona Super Grassroots rider who spent last year bike-packing around Europe onboard his trusty Kona Rove. For 2016 he has refined his tastes and built up what he calls “the ultimate bike packing rig“. That ultimate rig is this Ti Raijin and just looking at these photos, it seems to be moving up my list too. He may have built it for bike-packing but Eric’s Rajin is built for all round good times on ALL terrain!
Kona Raijin Ti, size 21”
First we have the super light and sexy Race Face Next SL crank in 175mm length with a direct mount 30T ring. The SRAM X1 11-speed derailleur provides reliable and precise shifting without breaking the bank. For the cassette we decided to try something new and went for the Sunrace 11-42T wide ratio. So far the performance has been excellent with smooth shifting.
Since the bike will be primarily used for bike packing I decided to go for 27.5 wheels with a plus sized tire. The Easton Heist 30 if fairly light yet strong enough for riding with a loaded bike. The wheel set comes fully tubeless ready with rim tape and valve installed. Another good thing about the wheels is that the straight pull spokes are the same length all around. So changing a spoke in the bush should be quick and easy. The set came with 5 spare spokes, which is great. The WTB Trailblazer 2.8 tires mounted on to the 30mm wide rim super easy with a loud snap. The Trailblazer casing is actually wider than the knobs, so there is plenty of clearance in the back even with the sliders in the front position.
I was originally planning on building the Raijin with 29 wheels and a light carbon fork. But when I decided to go with the more “fun” 27.5+ tires I also figured out that a suspension fork would add not only a kilogram of weight, but also a ton of fun. So now the Raijin is equipped with a Rockshox Pike RCT 29” with 120mm of travel. The Pike should handle everything that comes easily, even with a loaded bike.
The Race Face Next 35 carbon bar weighs just 180g! It has a 20mm ride and is wide enough for a big guy at 760mm. The Aeffect stem is 70mm. I have to do more riding and longer days to fully dial in the riding position and bar height. Then I can cut the steer tube to the correct length.
SRAM Guide RSC brakes with 180mm rotors offer plenty of power and good modulation.
The frame has internal routing for a dropper seat post, so installation was simple and looks clean. The Turbine dropper seatpost has been great so far. Works like a charm and should increase confidence on steeper descents. Saddle will be the Brooks Cambium once I get another one for this bike. I had one on the Kona Rove all of last year, and really liked it.
I really like the reliability of Shimano pedals. The XT M8020 pedal has a small gage to give extra support and reduce the possibility to slip. The cage makes it possible to do short rides without SPD shoes when camping. For example getting water or doing a grocery run in the good old Crocs, which are by the way great camp shoes after a long day of riding. They also work for wading rivers.