Santos Travelmaster Review: a Comparison between Santos Travelmaster 2,9 and 3+
Santos Travelmaster series encompasses the greatest Dutch achievements in the field of bicycle craftsmanship.
Since Queen Wilhelmina (1898-1948) became passionately fond of cycling and Dutch royals have traditionally chosen bicycles as their favorite means of transportation, the Netherlands has gained a reputation as the most bicycle-friendly country in the world.
Such inclination added to a long history of exploration and high technological standards has been leading the Dutch bicycle industry to reach top-notch quality in design and manufacturing.
Right into that tradition, Santos roots its own philosophy to deliver to its customers ideal bicycles built by cyclists for cyclists.
TravelMaster 2,9 and 3+ are indeed fully customizable to the small details; they are packed with all kinds of accessories you won’t anymore do without once you have tried them.
Robust yet agile, beautifully designed yet solid, these bicycles are sturdy pieces of art naturally equipped to nest the Rohloff gear hub or the Pinion gearbox.
The price asked for these indestructible rigs is stellar.
Disclosure: Some of our articles contain affiliate links. This comes at no additional cost for you and helps us keep this website up and running. (as Amazon Associates we earn commission from qualifying purchases)
How we write our reviews: most of our reviews are based on first-hand long-term use or short-term test by a member of our team. For some new models or build variations, we rely on our experience with similar models and our team's experience in understanding bike geometry and components.
Santos is a small and independent bicycle brand. It was founded in 1997 in Lisse, a small town of Netherlands’ most famous tulips producing region.
Nowadays a team of 20 bicycle enthusiasts works daily to enlarge the market of craftsman bicycles. They all are cyclists and ride daily.
They use only top quality parts and often develop new components. One thing you won’t find at Santos is an assembly line: every mechanic has his own workplace and builds your bike from start to finish.
The Frame Set – Travelmaster 2.9
The material of choice here is, of course, aluminum. (Check out our review of the aluminum frame of Cannondale Topstone).
The first feature that stands out about the Travelmaster 2.9 frame is the remarkably shaped top tube, a kind of dromedary hump.
Santos wanted a frame that would fit a 29’er suspension fork as well as a fixed front fork, that’s why the front of the bike is higher.
In addition, the head tube has been designed to be as long as possible, because that results in a stiffer frame and therefore more stability with full luggage.
In order not to touch the tube with your noble parts when dismounting, the top tube has been given that peculiar twist.
An additional advantage is that the frame offers lots of room for three PET bottle holders, and 6 liters of water inside the frame space itself.
The raised front offers space for a suspension fork and at the same time provides a more comfortable seating position.
Riders who like to sprint, however, might as well adjust their beloved sporty posture to it.
The Frame Set – Travelmaster 3+
Also, the frame of the Santos Travelmaster 3+ is made of aluminum and actually looks very much like that of the 2.6, Santos’s most successful travel bike.
Sturdy and compact, it’s a bit of a working horse. To make the frame suitable for two different sizes of wheels the seat stay and chainstays have been carefully shaped.
Not only they are slightly wider, but they also have mounts for hydraulic Magura rim brakes or V-brakes, for example. Thanks to the double slot you can place the brakes low for the 27.5 wheels or high for the 28 inches rims.
Both frame cables run outside, in order to make their replacement easier. Furthermore, as much thread as possible has been kept outside the frame, also to save the frame from damage. No need to worry about getting stuck with mud in your fenders!
Both Santos Travelmasters have a Tubus Lowrider as a front rack, while behind they mount Santos Travelrack XL, a heavy-duty carrier especially designed by Santos and made by Tubus, which additionally nests the rear lamp and perfectly fit mudguard.
The front rack can hold 15 kg and the rear one 40 kg, for a generous 55 kg total weight capacity.
Add three filled PET bottles and the TravelMaster 2.9 can rightly be called a pack mule, but even with the 3+, you won’t have to worry about limiting the weight of groceries.
With full front panniers, the flip-over blocker is useful to prevent the bike from falling over while standing.
These are the only bikes available in the market with such a level of customization. They are perfect for commuting or long-distance travel.
Removing the unneeded accessories and installing a front suspension you can go riding serious MTB trails.
You can mount two different wheelsets. Choosing a narrower 28 inches rim with a 42 mm tire you’ll end up lighter, with less mass inertia and smoother handling.
The 42 mm tire can also be inflated harder, resulting in less rolling resistance. All in all, the 28-inch sports wheelset is better suited for everyday commuting.
Nice to know that the circumference of the wheels remains the same, no matter which wheelset you choose. So there’s no change to the geometry, seating position, or bottom bracket height.
Custom care comes at a price.
The TravelMaster series by Santos is a brilliant example of a concept that is well developed in Europe: all-around bicycles capable of great adventure under heavy weight, always handy and reliable for everyday use.
The Dromedary hump version of the TravelMaster 2.9 adds to the equation the possibility to enjoy MTBiking with few steps, while the TravelMaster 3+ with its compact frame gives you a reactive yet comfortable touring feeling.