This is not so much a scoop, as a “hey, that’s pretty cool” moment we had while strolling around the enormous warehouse of ISON Distribution. We felt it was worth sharing.
ISON Distribution is probably best known as the UK importer of Surly Bikes, but they do so much more than just that. Wandering around their huge warehouse reminded me of Hangar 51 at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. Rows upon rows of boxes piled high, stretching into the distance…
Nestled in a corner, and fresh from a trade show, was a Light Blue Cycles Darwin, decked out in full bikepacking gear that deserved a closer look.
Light Blue Cycles Darwin One By MT
ISON own-brand ‘Light Blue’ probably flies under the radar for most consumers. But it’s worth a closer look. The brand has been around a few years now. The name is s tip of the hat to company MD Lloyd Townsend’s family who have been involved with the bike trade in Cambridge since 1895.
Within the range of steel framed tourers and commuter bikes, you’ll find the Darwin One By MT. The name may have you scratching your head, but this ‘tourer on steroids’ stands out as a seriously cool, ready to go bikepacking rig. The Darwin One By MT is based on, Reynolds 725 tubed, Darwin. Light Blue have replaced the front fork with a much wider Cro-Mo steel item so the bike can run 2.25″ x 29 MTB tyres front and rear.
The groupset is SRAM Rival 1x with a 44t chainring and 10-42 cassette. This gives the bike the ability to go anywhere and climb anything. Wide, extra flared drop bars round off a well thought out build that retails for £1,750
Passport is the other ISON own-brand range :
“An expanding range of quality Touring and Commuting products developed using decades of experience in the bicycle market.”
You could be excused for not giving most of the range more than a cursory glance. Basic saddles, wicker baskets, anti-rust chains and flat pedals are all commuter stuff really.
Tucked away within the product portfolio though, are some impressively cheap bikepacking options. Frame packs starting from £29.99, seat packs from £55.00, a toptube bag for £19.99 and handlebar bar bags at £34.99.
You could kit yourself out and be ready to roll on your first backpacking adventure for less than £150. Bags from one of the big names in bikepacking gear for example, could see you without change from £300 or more.
Budget they may be, but that isn’t to say they have skimped on the details. All the packs are water resistant, constructed from durable 210D nylon, and feature YKK buckles, reflective detailing and mounting points for lights.
Another natty little gadget in the range is the Passport Cage Mover, designed to allow adjustment of bottle cages with 30mm of adjustment. If you are struggling to fit a bottle in your cage with a frame pack in situ, this might be the best £12 you’ll ever spend.
Last modified: 9th April 2018