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  1. #1
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    New question here. What is your fantasy Great Divide bikepacking rig ?

    In the interest of refreshing the state of the market discussion to 2014 standards, what is your ultimate bike packing rig ?
    We will use the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail for this example.

    So, what make and model (currently available) would you buy ?

    What gear setup?
    Fork setup?
    Wheels and tires? (Or rims+hubs for those who will use custom).
    Tubeless or tubeless with spare tubes? Or tubes all the way ?

    If building from frame, what make of frame and why?

    Your budget (OK I said "Fantasy" but lets have a budget) is $6.5 K without the wheels, allowing an additional $2.5 K for those.
    Racks and bags are not included in the pricing.

    The bike (basic frame, wheels, and fork) must be durable enough to
    survive the 2700+ miles with only minor repairs needed during the ride.
    The typical load would be a 175 Lb rider +30 Lbs clothing and backpack worn, plus 30 Lbs additional mounted cargo max.

  2. #2
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    Don't know too much about the Tour divide, but it is pretty mixed terrain right - not all single track; where you can restock food water every 100 / 150 miles?
    My choice for that type of thing is
    - Frame: KM / Ogre / El Mariachi or similar 29er hardtail frame
    - Fork: 100mm rockshox SID or equivalent 15mm
    - Front Hub: SON or SP Dyno front hub - CW with e-werk and battery to keep GPS / phone charge and for lights
    - Rear hub: Rohloff speedhub 14 speed.
    - Rims: probably something like Flow EX's
    - Tires, for that specific route I don't really know enough but I generally like to run tubeless snakeskin ralphs or with maybe a nic up front for bikepacking trips. But something reasonably fast rolling and not too heavy above trail suitability; even if more caution on techy descents is required
    - Cockpit: probably run a thudbuster, Selle italia saddle I use on my tourer and a straight bar with Ergon GP5 cork grips
    - Pedals: Clipless XT/XTR trail
    - Frame bag, 12L Seat bag, medium bar roll and my 12L Hydropack - Solo I reckon 3 to 5 days+ is OK with that set up.

    Where I do most of my touring / bike packing I need no sleeping bag or cold weather gear also water is never an issue as long as you filter and steripen / boil it. So I can go 7 days plus here if I am minimalist about it. Rinse out clothes and the like

    FWIW I certainly wouldn't want 30lbs on my back though for long days in the saddle. Assuming 3lbs of water carried at a time I would be looking at another 30lbs on top of that being at or above the upper limit of what I would carry (less with careful planning) I have never actually weighed my frame / seat / bar bags but I have toured with 60lb panniers before, 3 to 5 days worth of kit in the bags is barely noticable in comparison:
    For three days, where water is available daily this is what I work on:
    - Food dried 6lbs (1 to 2lbs emergency)
    - Water 3lbs per carried at a time
    - Hammock 2lbs
    - Stove fuel/ pan etc 2lbs
    - Bags 2lb
    - Spare clothing 2lbs
    - rain jacket 1lbs
    - Other stuff (bike tools / spares, med kit, wash kit, water filter etc), 6lbs to 7lbs

    That would leave another 6lbs for bag, warm clothes and an air mattress for colder weather some of which could be ditched for extra water bladders when you move into the hotter parts of the tour divide.

    I reckon that would come in at $5K ~5.5K ish for the bike, wheels and bags- I really don't see how spending $9K would make it 3.5K to 4K better for long distance adventure touring, unless you want to competitively race it, in which case you would probably be looking at carting 10 to 15lbs of kit tops. A bespoke handbuilt frame would be a nice to have though
    Last edited by SimpleJon; 10-07-2014 at 01:05 AM.

  3. #3
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    What is your fantasy Great Divide bikepacking rig ?

    Custom titanium 29+ frame (previously would have been Quiring ... When I was in Michigan)
    Drivetrain XX1 (durability?) or Rohloff definitely Rohloff for the divide
    XTR brakes
    700 mm handlebar with 8 ish sweep (enve?) I want bar ends so I might have to go ti or aluminum
    ESI grips
    Stem - *ummmmmm ........
    Fork - rigid - ENVE or suspension lefty modified for 29+ not sure which way to go...
    Pedals - Time ATACs
    Crank - 180mm spiderless ? No pressfit my only complaint with SRAM GXP is bearing durability so I could get a Chris king or enduro BB for SRAM*
    seatpost - ergon CF-3 not sure I trust this but would like to try it - otherwise eriksen custom or i like the Zipp service course aluminum I have
    Saddle - specialized toupe
    Headset - I suppose since I am dreaming CK or CC 110
    Front hub ???? Depends on fork*
    Rims - nexties 29+
    Spokes - Sapim*
    Tires - knards tubeless

    Bags porcelain rocket cuben fibre seat bag small
    I would run a custom handle bar bag*
    Tarp + bug bivy
    One of the ultra light air mattresses
    Ultralight quilt
    No frame bag would prefer a waterbottle *plus small dry bag on seat tube and small dry bag below down tube
    2 mountain feed bags, *gas tank bag and jerry can bag - all for food storage*
    Small hydration pack mostly for water plus some additional storage

    "The trick, and oh, what a trick it is, is to remain consciously blind to the danger that surrounds you, and simultaneously hyper-aware of every hard bit of pavement or sharp bit of metal that enters your air space. This is the Zen koan of riding your bicycle on the road." Robot, Red Kite Prayer - rkp.com - October 20, 2011
    Last edited by clydeone; 10-06-2014 at 10:26 PM.

  4. #4
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    For the sake of explanation: The loadup weights I specified were for the bike spec, not meant to infer that I would be carrying that much, but that the bike should be capable of that kind of loading.
    On the other hand, I can see, after reading about the route, that there are some situations where one *might* want to carry up to 16 pounds of extra water (a days worth in 95 degree heat) where water is scarce.
    I didn't want to go too far off topic into kits, but I have some good UL backpacking stuff, (Skyscape-X cuben fiber tent, weight weenie clothing, Synmat 7 UL pad, caldera cone alcohol stove, Montbell 20 degree spiral down hugger bag, cuben fiber mitts etc) so I expect the kit to be as light as possible.

    Back to the bike ..... I should add to the spec: A dynamo front hub would be nice. And the ability to use the anything brackets on the fork.
    This Jones frame looks nice so far, but I would want the salsa fargo carbon fork:
    Jones Titanium Diamond frame with steel Unicrown fork - Jones Bikes

    Or this:
    Jones Titanium Spaceframe with Truss Fork - Jones Bikes

    The Rohloff 14 speed hub is REALLY REALLY interesting !
    The last divide race winner used one and said it outlasted chains (with carbon belt) by 3 to 1. A spare belt would be easy to carry and the hub is indestructible, wide gear ratio. So my personal fantasy bike would have a Rohloff/Carbon belt drive.
    I don't know if the Mariachi Ti is offered with the Rohloff hub (yet) but looking into it. Seems to be possible within budget so far.
    Please keep the ideas coming.
    I guess this is a stupid question but I'll ask anyway- would a fat wheel bike be too slow ? (thinking about the snow here).
    So, finding a frame easily adaptable to the requirements of mounting a disc Rohloff hub is something I'm searching out now.

  5. #5
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    I think you are not getting a lot of responses to this thread because quite frankly that route does not require anything special in a bicycle. It's main feature is simply distance.

    Any bike packing rig will do. It's been done on a Surly Long Haul Trucker. The fantasy is the ride, not the bike.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saddle Up View Post
    I think you are not getting a lot of responses to this thread because quite frankly that route does not require anything special in a bicycle. It's main feature is simply distance.

    Any bike packing rig will do. It's been done on a Surly Long Haul Trucker. The fantasy is the ride, not the bike.
    Thanks.
    Have you done this ride?

  7. #7
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    I would be happy with my niner the fantasy part for me would being able to take a month
    off from work and daily life to ride it. Oh well

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatsleepbikes View Post
    I would be happy with my niner the fantasy part for me would being able to take a month
    off from work and daily life to ride it. Oh well
    Yeah - my fantasy bike packing rig is pretty much exactly what I've got (a karate monkey) no Rohloff as yet but its on the way.
    Interestingly someone mentioned XX1 my km currently has an XX1 drivetrain on it which is eventually destined for a new full sus i am building. I did a big chunk of the munda biddi in western oz for a couple of weeks and XX1 was a better choice than single speed the bike was previously but is not the greatest choice for mixed terrain long distance routes. With a 34T ring i did find myself on the 10T cogwishing for more gears on flat, downhill tarmac / fire road days and it does need cleaning and lubing every couple of days or it gets noisy. Zero reliability issues and it was great on the single track days though

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIABLO-V View Post
    For the sake of explanation: The loadup weights I specified were for the bike spec, not meant to infer that I would be carrying that much, but that the bike should be capable of that kind of loading.
    On the other hand, I can see, after reading about the route, that there are some situations where one *might* want to carry up to 16 pounds of extra water (a days worth in 95 degree heat) where water is scarce.
    I didn't want to go too far off topic into kits, but I have some good UL backpacking stuff, (Skyscape-X cuben fiber tent, weight weenie clothing, Synmat 7 UL pad, caldera cone alcohol stove, Montbell 20 degree spiral down hugger bag, cuben fiber mitts etc) so I expect the kit to be as light as possible.

    Back to the bike ..... I should add to the spec: A dynamo front hub would be nice. And the ability to use the anything brackets on the fork.
    This Jones frame looks nice so far, but I would want the salsa fargo carbon fork:
    Jones Titanium Diamond frame with steel Unicrown fork - Jones Bikes

    Or this:
    Jones Titanium Spaceframe with Truss Fork - Jones Bikes

    The Rohloff 14 speed hub is REALLY REALLY interesting !
    The last divide race winner used one and said it outlasted chains (with carbon belt) by 3 to 1. A spare belt would be easy to carry and the hub is indestructible, wide gear ratio. So my personal fantasy bike would have a Rohloff/Carbon belt drive.
    I don't know if the Mariachi Ti is offered with the Rohloff hub (yet) but looking into it. Seems to be possible within budget so far.
    Please keep the ideas coming.
    I guess this is a stupid question but I'll ask anyway- would a fat wheel bike be too slow ? (thinking about the snow here).
    So, finding a frame easily adaptable to the requirements of mounting a disc Rohloff hub is something I'm searching out now.
    Yep the Jones is impressive. You need about $9K budget for this one.




    The Monkey Lab: Jeff Jones Titanium Space Frame With Rohloff SPEEDHUB

    And I'd use a Bob Yak to carry my gear.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatsleepbikes View Post
    I would be happy with my niner the fantasy part for me would being able to take a month
    off from work and daily life to ride it. Oh well
    Yes, same here. I can't see getting the time off in the next two years but I'm planning it anyway. I can't even get one day off nowadays except the occasional 6 day work week. But if aviation hits another slump like it did after 9/11, I know where I will be during the furlough, and I want to be ready.

    On the Gates carbon drive website, they have a ridiculous testing regime to "certify" a bike make/model for use with the carbon drive. I skimmed through it. You have to build a fancy test rig and measure chainstay deflection, and only "stiff" bikes qualify.
    Their list of American bikes that are already certified is pretty sparse, mostly steel framed bikes.

    Front forks: I want a carbon or titanium truss fork = no maintenance or chance of blowout on the trail. And lighter too. If I could get a "fat" fork and run a 3" front tire at low pressure, I think that would be comfy.

    Rohloffs: Still trying to understand how they interface but it looks like salsa makes an adapter for the 135 X 10 QR Rohloff. I guess you need a slider also on the disc side to hold the brake housing to keep it aligned with the disc. (For use with the carbon belt).
    The hardest part is the right chainstay or seatstay has to open up for belt replacement, so it really takes a frame made for this ....

    I'm pretty sure Salsa can configure the El mariachi frame exactly as needed. I will be trying to get a price for the frame, fork, carbon drive, Rohloff, and let me lace my own wheels and do my own bars, seat, stem of choice. Might even get the whole thing under 6.5 K if I use some LB rims.

    As far as weight of gear, after reading the reports over last several years of the GDR, biggest problems experienced by otherwise well prepared racers were :
    1) Running out of water.
    2) Running out of calories.
    3) Mechanical breakdowns not repairable on trailside.
    4) Physical issues; blisters, chaffing, road rash, fatigue.
    Since hikers plan on 2.5 pounds of food per day to get 3500 or so calories, I would guess nearly double of that is needed for a 100+ mile/day ride.
    I haven't done the math on the details but for sure I will need to use a back pack to add additional load capacity when needed.

  11. #11
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    Cycle Monkey has built at least one winner's bike on the El Comandante (aluminum only ) frame. Here's another similar one. This is getting warmer:
    What is your fantasy Great Divide bikepacking rig ?-comandante_wholebike.jpg



    The juicy part:

    What is your fantasy Great Divide bikepacking rig ?-comandante_drivetrain1.jpg

  12. #12
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    For me 2 to 2.5 lbs of food per day is pretty reasonable for cycling as well. From my road riding days I work on 500 cals per hour if I am at 70% max Heart rate, 30 or 40% of that is coming from fat (unless you are super fit already) which doesn't need to be replaced at the end of the day, if you are doing 10 hrs per day that's 5000 cal so you will need e3000 to 3500 cal to replace the glycogen burnt. I try and eat 200 to 250 cal per hour while riding to stave off the dreaded bonk so 1500 to 2000 needs to be replaced in meals.
    I really don't believe what Garmins and other HRMs spit out in terms of calories burned, they always seem to be way over estimated to me I have had my edge tell me 10000+ after a long day before, that is a lot of food. Everybody is different though but I would say 5lbs per day is probably too much

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  14. #14
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    The bike that I used this year was my dream bike. I used a True North custom built steel hardtail. (Small custom builder just outside Toronto). Carbon fork, Ergon saddle, Ergon grips, Hope hubs, Stan's rims, XT brakes, XT rear derailleur, XT cranks, single chainring (Renthal, it still looks new). So, it really was just a mountain bike though. I didn't want something that was too task specific.
    I'm going to continue using it with the only change being a steel fork to replace the carbon one. The carbon fork was great but I'm curious about a 15mm through axle and I also want a minimalist rack on the front. Ahhh, I will also change the front hub to a generator hub.
    Cheers, Dave

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatsleepbikes View Post
    ...the fantasy part for me would being able to take a month...
    Savvy answer. (As is Saddle Up's.)


    Sorry to obfuscate, diablo. I wouldn't make any notable changes to this:



    Incredibly, it costs less than many single bikes at under 6k. It's a MTB Tandems Fandango Tourista, frame manufactured by Ventana. Because Ventana builds great frames, and MTB Tandems designs a great, solid alum bike. And there are not many, if any other, Rohloff MTB tandem HT frames : / Rohloff on a 36t, stock wheelset tubed.


    That Jones is a work of art!

  16. #16
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    Nice rig.
    My approach is to treat each aspect of this sample ride with equal respect and diligence.
    Bike comes first. Physical training. Mental Training. Gear selection. Food regime. Water.
    Sleep/restock locations, Navigation, bears/bugs, more physical training ......
    I understand the logic of the earlier post, but I don't share agreement.
    Because the ride can be done on "any old bike" does not mean that it should. This is my personal view, and my reason for starting this thread.

    Like I said, it is only one factor, and agreed, not the most important one. When I say "bike comes first" it doesn't make the bike as the most important aspect, it makes it the first to deal with since I can't rush out and get it tomorrow, must save and plan.
    I can wisely use the waiting for training etc.
    This thread was started to discuss "the bike", not whether we needed a special bike or not. In other words, it's about the bike, not the ride, in *this* thread.

    Surley blew me off when I asked about the Gates drive on the El Mariachi Ti (It would be a frame mod so I don't blame them).

    The El Comandante was designed around the Rohloff and Gates drive so, at this point it looks like an aluminum frame is the current choice.

    Cycle Monkey gave me a rough estimate and it looks like I can get the works, including the wheels, under 6.5 K.

    Thinking about a 3 inch Knard on the front with a Whiskey 29+ carbon fork.
    Looking forward, I need to think about handlebars setup.

  17. #17
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    What is your fantasy Great Divide bikepacking rig ?-10724783_695704547181148_1053617124_n.jpg

    This, because in my fantasy, I'm strong enough to ride it single speed.

    I might chicken out and run an XO1 drivetrain like I did for TNGA.
    "...when I stand to climb I'm like the Hulk rowing the USS Badass up the Kickass River."
    -michaelscott

  18. #18
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    This, because in my fantasy, I'm strong enough to ride it single speed.

    I might chicken out and run an XO1 drivetrain like I did for TNGA.
    What is it ? Moots ?
    (Can't see the label).
    If you were doing X01 , what size would you use on the chainring?

  19. #19
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    My fantasy GDMBR bike is the pile of parts under my bed waiting to be assembled, it's a 20lb 11-spd 29er+ Have had hip problems all year so I have been unable to ride. Plan was to build it last Spring and do some serious training this year, but those plans changed unexpectedly. If I can recover over the winter then I will build the bike next Spring.

  20. #20
    ECR
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleJon View Post
    With a 34T ring i did find myself on the 10T cogwishing for more gears on flat, downhill tarmac / fire road days and it does need cleaning and lubing every couple of days or it gets noisy.
    This was my concern going with 11-spd cassette. I have Rotor 36t QX1 and that is the largest available. Be interesting to hear performance with 9t cog on the Leonardi 11-spd cassette.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIABLO-V View Post
    What is it ? Moots ?
    (Can't see the label).
    If you were doing X01 , what size would you use on the chainring?
    Salsa El Mariachi Ti, as for chainring, 32T, maybe 34T for the GDMBR
    "...when I stand to climb I'm like the Hulk rowing the USS Badass up the Kickass River."
    -michaelscott

  22. #22
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    I'm wondering if using a 3" Knard on the front is a bad idea. I need to make a choice early on. Too slow for racing ?

    I found out from Cycle Monkey that, yes, the El Mariachi can be modded to have a breakopen for the seat stay to accept the Gates Drive. Good news.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iamrockandroll13 View Post
    Salsa El Mariachi Ti, as for chainring, 32T, maybe 34T for the GDMBR
    You were posting at the same time so I missed this. My 2015 Superfly 9.8 X1 has a 32 t chain ring so I will be able to test this setup soon when my bike gets here.
    Rear is standard 10 x 42 X1.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIABLO-V View Post
    I'm wondering if using a 3" Knard on the front is a bad idea. I need to make a choice early on. Too slow for racing ?

    I found out from Cycle Monkey that, yes, the El Mariachi can be modded to have a breakopen for the seat stay to accept the Gates Drive. Good news.
    The Knard with a carbon fork is way lighter than a suspension fork. That build i posted is 23.5 lbs. Another option if you are looking for a similar effect on the ride and handling is the Lauf suspension fork.
    "...when I stand to climb I'm like the Hulk rowing the USS Badass up the Kickass River."
    -michaelscott

  25. #25
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    Lauf fork was offered as an option by Cycle Monkey.
    After reading the detailed review here I think carbon fixed fork is the way to go (for me).

    Gear Review: Lauf Trail Racer 29 fork - Mtbr.com

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