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  1. #1
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    Bike Packing with a 29er??? Pros... Cons

    I've been bike packing the Colorado Trail, and the Moab UT area's since 2008 and I am looking for something new to build and try.
    Is anyone out there bike packing with a full suspension 29er?
    If so, I'd love to hear any stories and or advice you could offer.

    I am current looking at
    Ellsworth Evolve SST.2, Niner RIP9, Salsa Horsethief

    Comments, advice, suggestions, welcome.

    EDIT to change bike model from Epiphany to Evolve
    Last edited by SingleTrackLovr; 10-10-2012 at 01:39 PM. Reason: Change Epiphany to Evolve

    04 Azonic Saber
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  2. #2
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    My son is 13 and rides a RIP 9 in medium for everything, including touring. He also did tours on his old 26" Specialized, but overall like the bigger wheels. It certainly have not slowed him down or hurt his techie skills, but hard to tell if the wheels have anything to do with this as he's also older now.

    The Cruz Tallboy LT would make a great Moab area tour bike if full suspension is a must.

    BTW, the Epiphany is 26 or, soon, 650b but not 29.

  3. #3
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    Quote Originally Posted by jan_nikolajsen View Post
    My son is 13 and rides a RIP 9 in medium for everything, including touring. He also did tours on his old 26" Specialized, but overall like the bigger wheels. It certainly have not slowed him down or hurt his techie skills, but hard to tell if the wheels have anything to do with this as he's also older now.

    The Cruz Tallboy LT would make a great Moab area tour bike if full suspension is a must.

    BTW, the Epiphany is 26 or, soon, 650b but not 29.

    Thank you Jan, my bad, I meant Ellsworth Evolve SST.2 I will edit my first post.

    I saw your trip report and noticed your son riding a Niner.
    That photo is what sparked my interest and why I posted the questions.

    Yes full suspension is a must in fact I'd like to stay in the 130mm to 140mm range front and rear. Not because I bomb down hills or do a lot of tech stuff.
    But because I'm old-and-decrepit and need that travel so I can stay in the saddle for more than 4 hours.
    Note my two current bikes in the sig. both are 6inches or better and set to uber soft.

    Thank you for the info.
    Last edited by SingleTrackLovr; 10-10-2012 at 01:49 PM.

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  4. #4
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    I have a rigid Salsa Fargo

    With 4 or 5000 miles on it. I can think of no negatives for a 29er. They rule dirt roads. You may wish to try a 4" travel bike before you commit to more travel. Somehow the big wheels make it feel like you have more suspension than you do. I would never go back to 26" wheels. Harry

  5. #5
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    Post your FS bikepackers

    Some sweet FS rigs there.

    Short-travel 29er is awesome, CCB. I just rode the CT on one and never wished for something different. I think stiffer is better; my Pivot 429 has served me well enough that I'm looking to build a 429c when it comes out.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  6. #6
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    Of course you can bikepack on a FS 29er. I've done that. The only drawback is that there is not space for a large frame bag on an FS bike, which forces you to put most of the gear in a backpack. A heavy backpack interferes enough with the riding to offset the advantage of suspension in my opinion.

    Nowadays I use my rigid 29" Fargo for bikepacking in easy terrain and on roads. For more difficult terrain I prefer my fatbike, because of the grip and primitive suspension. Both bikes allow me to go with a very light backpack, or even without one if necessary.
    My bike blog: www.yetirides.com

  7. #7
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harryonaspot View Post
    With 4 or 5000 miles on it. I can think of no negatives for a 29er. They rule dirt roads. You may wish to try a 4" travel bike before you commit to more travel. Somehow the big wheels make it feel like you have more suspension than you do. I would never go back to 26" wheels. Harry
    Thanks Harry. Ruling the dirt road sound really nice. I do a lot of back road riding esp with my fishing pole.



    Quote Originally Posted by She&I View Post
    Post your FS bikepackers

    Some sweet FS rigs there.

    Short-travel 29er is awesome, CCB. I just rode the CT on one and never wished for something different. I think stiffer is better; my Pivot 429 has served me well enough that I'm looking to build a 429c when it comes out.

    Cheers,

    Mike
    Thanks for the link Mike those are some nice rides.
    I still plan to use my Yeti for the CT.
    I don't do a lot of climbing these days at my age but I do chase gravity on the CT.
    Mt Guyot to Breckenridge (seg6) is one of my favorite rides. This is what i use.



    Quote Originally Posted by Outsider View Post
    Of course you can bikepack on a FS 29er. I've done that. The only drawback is that there is not space for a large frame bag on an FS bike, which forces you to put most of the gear in a backpack. A heavy backpack interferes enough with the riding to offset the advantage of suspension in my opinion.

    Nowadays I use my rigid 29" Fargo for bikepacking in easy terrain and on roads. For more difficult terrain I prefer my fatbike, because of the grip and primitive suspension. Both bikes allow me to go with a very light backpack, or even without one if necessary.
    Hi Outsider, thanks for posting.
    From the picts above you can see I have the rough to mild bike packing covered.

    I'm looking to build a uber comfortable 29er that would be used for riding on railroad track gravel, dirt and gravel roads mostly for fishing to your local concrete bike paths. Something that will roll faster that my 26 Azonic.

    Remember I am old-and-decrepit and need/want that travel/FS so I can stay in the saddle for more than 4 hours. I can't stress this part enough.

    Thanks again everyone for your help so far.
    If you know of a FS 29er with 130-140mm of travel that might work for me please post.
    Any additional advice on bikepacking or riding a 29er with a load is also welcome.

    04 Azonic Saber
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  8. #8
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    My main bikepacking rig is a 29er hardtail. The big wheels are nice when it comes to covering miles on dirt roads and trails. I didn't go for a FS bike because I figured the 29er wheels would provide the cush I needed without the hassle of the extra rear suspension mechanism.

    Ultimately what I'd do when selecting a bikepacking rig is to come at it from 2 directions. 1st is what bike would you like to ride on the terrain in question unloaded? The 2nd is what gear do you want to carry and how do you want to carry it? Then work back towards a choice from those two starting points.

    If you want to carry most of your weight centered low on the frame in a framebag some FS designs won't work. If you want to carry stuff in a backpack you can ride just about any FS bike.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    My main bikepacking rig is a 29er hardtail. The big wheels are nice when it comes to covering miles on dirt roads and trails. I didn't go for a FS bike because I figured the 29er wheels would provide the cush I needed without the hassle of the extra rear suspension mechanism.

    Ultimately what I'd do when selecting a bikepacking rig is to come at it from 2 directions. 1st is what bike would you like to ride on the terrain in question unloaded? The 2nd is what gear do you want to carry and how do you want to carry it? Then work back towards a choice from those two starting points.

    If you want to carry most of your weight centered low on the frame in a framebag some FS designs won't work. If you want to carry stuff in a backpack you can ride just about any FS bike.
    Hi Vik, Thanks that's some great advice.
    Something you mentioned on the larger wheels got me wondering about spoke diameter and count per wheel.
    Would a 29er that will be carrying panniers need more or thicker spokes?

    04 Azonic Saber
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTrackLovr View Post
    Hi Vik, Thanks that's some great advice.
    Something you mentioned on the larger wheels got me wondering about spoke diameter and count per wheel.
    Would a 29er that will be carrying panniers need more or thicker spokes?
    I wouldn't go ultralight, but I've never had issues with 32H wheels with straight gauge or butted spokes built by a professional wheel builder. If the wheels you get are machine built pay a few $$ to a wheel builder to properly tension the machine built wheels before you ride them.

    My 29er uses Stan's Flow rims and has an IGH in the rear so the wheel is almost symmetrical making for a particularly strong wheel, but if I had built a derailleur rear wheel I would have still gone for 32H.

    I went with the Flows more for their width than the fact they were stronger than say a Stans Arch. Wheels are expensive and I figure they may well end up on a different frame than where they start so I try and futureproof them as much as possible.

    If you are on the clyde end of things and/or plan to carry a lot of weight you'll need to consider building particularly heavy duty wheels. In that case it's probably worth chatting with Mike Curiak or someone similar who could recommend a bombproof setup at a reasonable weight.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  11. #11
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    If you are on the clyde end of things and/or plan to carry a lot of weight you'll need to consider building particularly heavy duty wheels.-Vik
    I'm 5'9" 180#
    unsprung weight on rear axle estimated at no more than 25# (rack,panniers,gear)
    Handlebar packs 10# max
    Backpack 15# max

    Total weight 230#

    Would that be clydeland? Probably so with that much gear.
    Worst riding conditions would be railroad gravel no DH on this rig.

    Again thank you for any advice you are willing to share.
    I'm starting to think I could get by with 125mm of travel and have added the Turner Sultan 29er to my review list.

    04 Azonic Saber
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    12 Rocky Mtn 29er Alt 970



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleTrackLovr View Post
    I'm 5'9" 180#
    unsprung weight on rear axle estimated at no more than 25# (rack,panniers,gear)
    Handlebar packs 10# max
    Backpack 15# max

    Total weight 230#

    Would that be clydeland?
    Not in my books!... I weigh 175-180lbs naked so add 10lbs of clothes/shoes etc... I tend to carry my weight in a frame bag and only a tent/clothes in the seatbag. Not sure what the weight on the rear wheel would be...say ~15lbs of gear.

    You sound pretty average in the weight dept. I wouldn't do anything special.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  13. #13
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    Gave up on finding a long travel 29er the development is just not there yet.

    Ended up getting a 2012 Rocky Mountain Altitude 970 with XT brakes and drivetrain.

    Planned mods; swap out seat for a Brooks B17Ti replace tires with small block 8's 29x2.1 folding, 730mm x 31.8 cf handlebar.

    Still researching rear rack and front fender. Suggestions welcome.
    For a rails to trails bike I think panniers would give me quicker access to gear over a seat bag.
    Last edited by SingleTrackLovr; 10-14-2012 at 03:56 PM.

    04 Azonic Saber
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  14. #14
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    I think I'm in love...

    Last edited by SingleTrackLovr; 11-09-2012 at 03:23 PM.

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  15. #15
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    Very nice. Lots of room for a framebag if you decide to go that route at some point...
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  16. #16
    slow:biker
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    As for a front fender suggestion I've been using the SKS Shockboard for 3 years and have been happy with it, esp. the ease of putting it on/off.
    SKS Shockboard Cycling Fender - Mountain Equipment Co-op. Free Shipping Available

  17. #17
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Very nice. Lots of room for a framebag if you decide to go that route at some point...
    Thank you. I now see what all the excitement is about with the 29ers.
    I took the bike out for it's first ride today up an old railroad bed turned dirt road. 6 miles up with a 3% grade pretty much all the way. I arrived at the end in about 1/2 the time it usually takes me and I did not half to stop and rest as much.

    When they say 29ers rule the dirt and gravel roads I now understand.
    I'd like to outfit this bike for dirt/gravel road riding. Rails to trails bikepacking.

    I'm still thinking panniers just because accessing the gear is so easy.
    I don't know.......I need to try a few different setups an see which works best for me.
    Last edited by SingleTrackLovr; 10-19-2012 at 08:32 PM.

    04 Azonic Saber
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    12 Rocky Mtn 29er Alt 970



  18. #18
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    single trak what rack is that on you other suspension bike? I've never seen 1 like that and how well does that work?
    “An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” Marco Polo

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by t0pcat View Post
    single trak what rack is that on you other suspension bike? I've never seen 1 like that and how well does that work?
    Hi TC,
    The Black Yeti has a Freeloader on the rear.

    The Silver Azonic has an Old Man Mountain.

    hth

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  20. #20
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    Not trying to hijack this thread but i have a fargo that i have set up for packin and also have been thinking about setting up my new bike (santa cruz superlight 29 ) for packin as my lower back really likes the suspension. Am wondering if its a good idea to just get a rack (like the look of the freeloader) so i can use my ortlieb panners but don't know how this will affect the suspension with all that weight just on the rear wheel. Don't really have room for a frame bag, but all i am running on the fargo is the panners and bar bag so a rack for the sl would be a cheap way out if it won't be a problem down the road.
    “An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” Marco Polo

  21. #21
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    Not trying to hijack this thread but i have a fargo that i have set up for packin and also have been thinking about setting up my new bike (santa cruz superlight 29 ) for packin as my lower back really likes the suspension. Am wondering if its a good idea to just get a rack (like the look of the freeloader) so i can use my ortlieb panners but don't know how this will affect the suspension with all that weight just on the rear wheel. Don't really have room for a frame bag, but all i am running on the fargo is the panners and bar bag so a rack for the sl would be a cheap way out if it won't be a problem down the road.
    “An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” Marco Polo

  22. #22
    ColoradoCoolBreeze
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    Quote Originally Posted by t0pcat View Post
    Not trying to hijack this thread but i have a fargo that i have set up for packin and also have been thinking about setting up my new bike (santa cruz superlight 29 ) for packin as my lower back really likes the suspension. Am wondering if its a good idea to just get a rack (like the look of the freeloader) so i can use my ortlieb panners but don't know how this will affect the suspension with all that weight just on the rear wheel. Don't really have room for a frame bag, but all i am running on the fargo is the panners and bar bag so a rack for the sl would be a cheap way out if it won't be a problem down the road.
    I guess it just depends on how much weight you want to carry and how rough of a trail you plan to take the superlite on. The more weigh the poorer it will handle no matter if it's in a seatbag or panniers. On the seat will add load to the shock not so sure that's a good idea.
    Best of luck. Hope you will post some picts when it's done.

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  23. #23
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    First overnite trip report with the 29er. The 29er is everything I had hoped it would be and more.
    Nothing epic just a shakedown trip on a paved bike path.
    Hope you enjoy the picts.

    Did you get out and bikepack lately? with weekly updates

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  24. #24
    SpoK Werks Handmade Goods
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    Personal opinion as someone who's ridden a 29'er for 10+ years and done the TDR on one. For you, the rider.... all pluses. The one and only thing I can think of and it could happen to someone on a 26" bike as well is lack of repair parts. If something breaks (one more argument for singlespeed and rigid frame/fork) there are not many places along the route to get replacement parts... even fewer when it comes to wheel parts and tires in some places.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1 Speed View Post
    Personal opinion as someone who's ridden a 29'er for 10+ years and done the TDR on one. For you, the rider.... all pluses. The one and only thing I can think of and it could happen to someone on a 26" bike as well is lack of repair parts. If something breaks (one more argument for singlespeed and rigid frame/fork) there are not many places along the route to get replacement parts... even fewer when it comes to wheel parts and tires in some places.
    That makes sense 1 speed.
    For a long off road trip like the TDR, CT, GDT one must have to take a pretty big toolkit with many spare parts. Even more for a 29er since there will be even fewer sources.

    04 Azonic Saber
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