Born from a love affair of mountain biking and a thirst for adventure, bikepacking could be considered the new and trendier update to cycle touring.
Although your bikepacker friend might try to convince you that morning campfire coffee is far superior, the woodsmoke loving riders amongst us have proved that bikepacking isn’t just a novelty, and bike manufacturers have started to provide some really innovative new bikes.
Best bikepacking bikes
Trek’s 1120 could be the answer to a no nonsense bikepacking rig aimed towards the off-road cycle tourist, but beware, this bike has been known to arouse the ultra-endurance athlete in all of us... Tour Divide anyone?
Trek has designed the 1120 for “better bikepacking” and the proprietary rack system is a welcome innovation. Having the confidence to push hard on big descents and know that your worldly possessions haven’t flung themselves off a cliff face is always a good thing.
The Bontrager Dropline dropper post is standard on select frames for the 2019 model and can work freely without a saddlebag hindering its performance thanks to the rear rack. Riding long days loaded up the dropper post makes getting on and off easier too.
Bombtrack Beyond+ ADV
Bombtrack has quickly become part of the bikepacking family, supporting gravel and long-distance bikepacking races such as The Dirty Reiver and Navad 1000.
The Bombtrack Beyond+ ADV is a truly capable bike built around a shockingly large 29x3.0 platform and features an equally massive SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed cassette for tackling those wildly steep climbs.
The 4130 steel frame features three bottle cage mounts and routing for a stealth style dropper should you decide to push the bike harder. The full carbon forks also bare a pair of triple boss cage mounts for accommodating heavier cargo.
The bike comes with Jones Bikes Loop H-Bars as standard and provides the bike with a platform for a cockpit worthy of the starship enterprise. Though these bars aren’t to everyone’s taste, Bombtrack has listened to riders who spend days on end aboard their bike and offer myriad of hand positions increasing comfort and reducing fatigue.
Your current mountain bike
Yep, you knew it was coming! It’s all too easy to romanticise the idea of sleeping under the stars or successfully navigating across a mountain range. But for many riders the dreams just seem out of reach.
Your bike isn’t 29 plus, you don’t have 10 bottle cage mounts or even super-wide rims. Fear not, become a real bikepacking hero and take a look at your trusty bike, but this time with a campfire glistening in one eye and a hint of imagination in the other and anything could be possible!
Bikepacking is all about the adventures you have while riding, so why should your bike stop you from living the bikepacking dream? Whether that’s heading out to the next town loaded up for a sleepover or a cheeky mid-week bivi to clear the head. After all, isn’t that the true essence of bikepacking?
Are you ready to take your frugal bikepacking lifestyle to the next level? Shand’s Bahookie steel hardtail will make sure of that.
The small independent company produces gorgeously crafted steel frames from its humble workshop in Scotland where the Highlands prove to be some of the harshest testing grounds for developing the bikes.
Minimalists can rejoice as the Bahookie comes in a number of build options to suit a broad range of tastes. If fast and light is your game plan, carbon forks and drop handlebars are an option, or perhaps you’re after an ultra-reliable Gates belt drive singlespeed — guaranteed to fire up debate around camp.
Put on a suspension fork, wide bars and your favourite 1x drivetrain and you also have a lively little mountain bike happy to munch away those trail centre miles.
Chumba Terlingua Titanium
You’re a keen adventurist who dabbles in the odd cyclocross race at the weekend, but has always dreamed of a crazy world tour. Well, the US made Chumba Terlingua is a bike that will live life to the full but also keep up with your numerous cycling obsessions.
Some of you might recall the name Chumba harking back to older days of downhilling and the widely celebrated, yet frightfully ugly, Chumba Evo. Under new ownership, Chumba USA is now creating exceptional quality hardtail gravel and mountain bikes.
Thanks to the sliding dropout inserts manufactured by the renowned maker of frame building components, Paragon Machine Works, the chainstays can be slammed to 425mm for cyclocross-sharp handling through corners. Load up the Terlingua with your weekend essentials and extend the chainstays to 445mm for a more stable and comfortable adventure.
Industry leading tyre clearance allows for tyres up to a whopping 700x54C, stealthy Di2 integration, Rohloff compatibility and not to mention a beautifully finished titanium frame, which all adds up to make this a truly versatile bike.