How the Shogun became the Sholto 

A mid-90s Shogun Alpine GT, but it feels like a brand-new bike to ride.

I wanted to refurbish my mid-90s Shogun Alpine GT touring bike. I’ve owned the bike since new, in fact I remember going on my first solo tour on the Shogun around the Bunya Mountains for my 30th birthday in 1994. The original spec was based on Shimano STX RC, with a triple crank, and cantilever brakes that I could never get to work well.

When I got a custom (Frezoni) road bike for my 40th, the Shogun was passed on to my teenage son, and then as components wore out, it started to morph into other roles. It was a singlespeed flat-bar city bike for a couple of years when I first started work with BQ. 

When I began cyclocross racing it was set up 1×9 and I found it some amazing old Shimano XTR v-brakes, but this was before narrrow-wide chainrings and the Shogun had an unfortunate habit of dropping the chain in muddy creek crossings.  The whole bike and I had a lay-down in ‘Hepatitis Creek’ at the State titles at Ipswich one year.

Its most recent incarnation was once again around the city and flatter rides on rail trails, with the same 1×9 drivetrain and Soma moustache bars. A week-long tour on the Victorian rail trails was a highlight for this bike last year.

I’ve been bike-packing mainly on dirt roads on a 29er mountain bike for the last three years, but I wanted to get a road touring machine ready for a self-supported End-to-End ride in the UK.

I could have bought a new Wayward Cape York tourer, because they are fantastic value and a well thought-out spec. But I also wanted to pay tribute to my friend Sholto, who died after a battle with a blood disease earlier this year. Sholto was an intrepid tourer who rode across the US, and also did the LEJOG End to End (Lands End to John O’Groats that is).

So, here is the ‘Sholto Alpine GT’ in all its refurbished glory. It was no cheaper than buying a brand new Wayward Cape York.

The frame was powder coated in candy green by Robertos Custom Powder at Morningside. The decals were designed and applied by me, printed by Vinyl Lettering Direct.

The parts mix was assembled with an eye on value, ease of use and durability. Most parts are from the value end of the Shimano range, and just a couple of pieces were re-used from the most recent build of this bike, notably the brakes (Tektro v-brakes operated by Tektro RL520 levers) and seat post.

The wheels are brand new, Shimano 105 5800 32-hole hubs on H Plus Son Archetype rims. The wheels were built by Craftworx in Brisbane. Tyres are WTB Exposure 700×32.

The drivetrain highlights are the beautiful Middleburn R01 cranks, with a 94 bcd (bolt circle diameter) spider, bought direct from the UK. The chainrings are TA Speclalties, a French brand. I found a source in Sydney for these chainrings (new/old stock) and as a result have 44T and 42T big rings, and 30T and 29T small rings.

The bike is set up with 42-30 chainrings. The derailleurs are Shimano Tiagra (front) and Alivio (rear), and the 9-speed Alivio cassette is 11-34. Shifters are second-hand bar-end Dura Ace 9-speed. It’s all lower-end Shimano, but it all works well together because it’s 9 speed and friction shift.

The finishing kit reprises some favourites from other bikes. My cyclocross bike has a WTB Volt saddle (143 mm width) and 46cm-wide Ritchey compact alloy bars. So does this bike.

Of course for any bike I assemble, you can pretty much guarantee that I’ve sought (& received!) the assistance of Emma a.k.a Bike Bestie to turn my pile of parts into a working bike. It only took us two evenings to get it done!

I’m experimenting with exactly how the Sholto will be set up for load carrying. I have a generic front rack ($20 from Abbotsford Cycles) which has a black Wald 137 basket, secured with cable ties.

The Wald 137 easily swallows enough gear for a weekend pub-stay ride. I can add my Bridge Street saddle bag for another 8-10 litres of capacity.

The Sholto Alpine GT has restored a frame I’ve always found comfortable and fun to ride, and I can’t wait to try it out on some weekend tours around SEQ.