The gravel, cycle touring and bikepacking categories have risen in popularity in recent years. These cycling genres allow self-supported, long distance cycling that involves carrying all the necessary gear and supplies on the bike itself. Loading up your bike and heading off the beaten path brings a sense of freedom and adventure, but does require careful planning, the right gear and good preparation. In this article we’ll provide some tips on how to get the most out of future bike packing adventures.
With the raft of gravel and bike packing bikes available on the market, it can sometimes be hard to determine what is right for you.
First of all you need to hone in on what you are looking for and wanting to get out of your ride. Are you looking to haul as much gear as possible where speed is not a priority? What biking surfaces are you looking to ride on? A bike designed purely paved roads will look a lot different from something designed to cover ground on gravel roads, beaches or singletrack. Tyre size, frame geometry and components vary significantly depending on the type of riding you need the bike to be able to handle.
Frame material and maximum system weights are things that are often overlooked but yet are one of the most important factors in helping you make that informed decision and getting you on the right stead for the job.
For example bikes in the Trek Checkpoint range (both aluminium and carbon frames) have a max system weight of 125 kg.
So what does this mean? Max system weights are defined as the maximum total weight including the bike, rider, clothing, on bike accessories such as racks and bags plus cargo you are carrying. Typically speaking, bike packing has always been about packing light, so ensuring you know exactly what you are going to be carrying and its total weight is extremely important and should be thought about prior to making your investment. Exceeding these max system weights puts you at higher risk of component damage or catastrophic frame failure and in turn a decision that could leave you stranded (or worse, injured).
Frame material should also be factored in, carbon frames have advanced significantly in the past few years, something that was once only available to high end road frames has trickled across to gravel and mountain bikes. We know that carbon is known for being a strong and lightweight material. That said, alloy or steel frames have tended to be the go to for many reasons. First of all the price, alloy frames typically are more affordable in price, but one may also argue they have the added benefit of being more durable for the adventure at hand. So again ensuring you know what you are wanting from the bike will assist you in your purchase.
Regardless of your bike purchasing decision there are still more decisions to make. In fact, it is often more important to understand what you will be carrying before buying your bike as to not exceed max weight limits of the bicycle.
This is a basic list of gear needed for bikepacking, depending on the duration and location of the trip, you may need more or less gear:
It's important to make sure your bike is in good working condition before setting off on your adventure. Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure you and your bike can go the distance, but also can save you money in the long run. Here are some key maintenance tasks you should carry out on your bike:
It's a good idea to carry out these checks at least once a month and before any long trip. If you're unsure about how to carry out any of these tasks, it's best to take your bike to a professional bike mechanic.Learn More About Evo Services
Once you have your gear and maintenance dialled, bike packing is a great way to explore the outdoors and experience the freedom on and off the road. Here are just a few things that people love about the journey.
With all these things in mind and the right knowledge, there is no better way to see the world than from a bike. At a slower pace and through continuous immersion in the elements, bikepacking creates experiences like no other. Whatever your journey, bikepacking gives you the freedom to explore.
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