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  1. #1
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    Bikepacking beginner - use my FS or find a rigid frame??

    So my friend in Denver has proposed the idea of a week long, unsupported bikepacking trip on a portion of the Colorado Trail. I've been aware of bikepacking/bike expeditions and have loved the idea but never thought I would ever partake. I'm not a stranger to ultralight camping or wilderness but this is new. Now I'm trying to figure out if my gear will work!

    Any proposed trip is over a year out, so I have plenty of time to research, train and gear up. I don't see this becoming a regular thing but maybe I'll catch the bug. We are leaning away from trailers and racks; strictly bags on the bike and a small/medium backpack.

    My biggest question right now is if my existing bike will work, and if not, what type of frame to go with? My stable consists of a Ventana El Rey 29er full-suspension and a On-One Inbred SS EBB 26" hardtail (sees little trail time these days). From what I see, most bikepackers use full rigid/geared or hardtail frames with big tires to minimize the number of moving parts/things to go wrong/weight.

    So I'm weighing my options:

    - make the El Rey work
    - look for a used 29er rigid frameset and swap parts from the El Rey

    I see the El Rey frame being a challenge fitting a main triangle bag of any real capacity. I also don't want to spend too much time making the El Rey work if it is not the best choice. What would you do in the same situation? Any thoughts would be appreciated!

    Last edited by zanq; 06-12-2013 at 08:04 PM.
    Ventana El Rey
    Felt F35
    Schwinn High Plains

    Project - Surly Ogre

  2. #2
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    It will definitely work. Just peruse the thread on everyone's set ups.

    You may not find a production frame bag to fit, but handlebar and seat bag would be no problem. And you can always go custom. You can also look at Thule's Pack n Pedal racks which are designed to work on suspension bikes (used to be called Freeloader racks until bought out)

    I wouldn't go through the trouble of swapping parts for one ride.

  3. #3
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    If you're already into ultralight camping then just get a saddle pack and put some water bottle cages on your frame. Use the Zefal 1L bottles to get a bit more water capacity, pack as much heavy stuff as you can in your saddle pack and then use an ultralight backpack (I use a gossamer gear Murmur backpack @ 350g) to carry the rest. There's nothing wrong with using a pack if you keep the weight down. Indeed, in the more technical stuff you and bike will be far more maneuverable with some of the weight on your back. Having a pack also alllows you to ditch the bike and hike off the beaten track a ways to camp.

    Once you start adding too much stuff to carry other stuff you just end up putting on unnecessary weight.

  4. #4
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    How about ditching the On One 26" frame and picking up a 29er frameset and swapping over whatever parts you can? You said you don't use the On One much anyway. That way, you would have a 29er hardtail or rigid that would work great for bikepacking, and would probably get ridden more than the On One. Just a thought!

    Mark

  5. #5
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    your Ventana will do just fine. I did a few trips before I bit the bullet and bought a frame bag. If you're going to be pulling a trailer anyhow, it might be unnecessary.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevland View Post
    your Ventana will do just fine. I did a few trips before I bit the bullet and bought a frame bag. If you're going to be pulling a trailer anyhow, it might be unnecessary.
    He said he's leaning away from trailers and racks. You may be able to buy a small frame bag that would fit in front of the shock on your Ventana. Look up Ibera for a really inexpensive one.

    That and a nice seatpack and bar bag setup should work great.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny View Post
    How about ditching the On One 26" frame and picking up a 29er frameset and swapping over whatever parts you can? You said you don't use the On One much anyway. That way, you would have a 29er hardtail or rigid that would work great for bikepacking, and would probably get ridden more than the On One. Just a thought!

    Mark
    That idea is definitely rolling around in my head. Maybe exchange it for something like a Surly Ogre that can do everything (geared, SS, 29er, attachment points) better? I can keep some parts to run SS when wanted, rebuild the hubs on 29" rims (with an added geared hub) and pick up some new hardware. Definitely a consideration...

    Thanks for the feedback so far! It sounds like the Ventana is definitely a worthy rig. I'm considering every angle and idea at this point.
    Ventana El Rey
    Felt F35
    Schwinn High Plains

    Project - Surly Ogre

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