Rigs of the 2019 Silk Road Mountain Race
This second annual Silk Road Mountain Race kicks off this weekend. Riders will face a long and arduous course through the remote mountain landscapes of the Tian Shan mountains in eastern Kyrgyzstan. Over 40 participants sent in photos of their rigs along with details about their kit. See them all here…
Based on our own Tian Shan Traverse, the Silk Road Mountain Race (SRMR) is breathtaking and challenging course through the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. The second edition of the SRMR will feature nearly 140 participants taking on a 1,710 kilometer (1,062 miles) route with some 26,000 meters of climbing. Over 40 of those riders sent in their profile, each featuring a photo of their rig, the name, age, and hometown of the rider, as well as details about their bags and kit. Some of the more interesting finds in these kits include Butterfly Guns and a 3d-printed toilet paper holder. A big thank you to all the participants! Good luck out there, and enjoy the ride!
Shona Oldfield and Richard Naylar
Age 50 and 51 / Location Manchester, UK
THE BIKE: Salsa Powderkeg M/S
BAGS: Salsa EXP cradles, Salsa front frame bag, Porcelain Rocket custom middle frame bag and Mr Fusion seat pack. Apidura and Bedrock accessory pockets.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Using same tried and tested kit that got us round in the first edition of the race. Sinewave for light and charging, Cane Creek eeSilk seatpost, and Carbon Jones bars.
Duncan Ledingham (Scottish)
Age 33 / Annecy, Haute Savoie, France
THE BIKE: I’m riding my 3 year old trusty Chumba Stella ti 29er fitted with XT finishing kit. I’m running a SON dynamo at the front, e-werks power system and a Garmin etrex touch20 for navigation. To give a little extra comfort and position change on the long straights, I’ve kept on my profile design aerobars which I also find useful when climbing.
BAGS: I’ll be using the same type of bags now for 3 years, the Wanderlust series. A Rattlesnake bottle, Divide frame, Shenandoah seat and a Sawtooth bar bag. The are pretty solid and carry all I needed. I’ve also a couple of dry bags inside for precious cargo.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I guess one of the bigger highlights, which could be a complete game-changer for the bikepacking industry, is the custom gold toilet-roll holder, prototyped and 3D-printed a few weeks before the event. A sure essential for anyone caught short…
Age 25 / East Sussex (UK)
THE BIKE: For the Silk Rod Mountain Race I will be riding my S-Works Diverge set upon 650b Roval wheels and 48mm tyres. My groupset is 1×11 Dura Ace Di2 Hydro with 38T one the front and 11-42 out back.
BAGS: I will be running a full set of the Apidura Expedition packs for all of my kit including the full frame bag, front, rear, 2 top tube and 2 snack pouches. For water I’ll be using Camelbak Chase vest.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: For routing I have the Wahoo ROAM to guide me through Kyrgyzstan and a Exposure 6pack front light for when it gets dark.
Age 50 / Gunnison, CO (USA)
THE BIKE: 2009 Gary Fisher Superfly w Niner fork, 2×12, five finger FD, 26/34 x 9/46
BAGS: Revelate frame bag, Apidura seat bag, JPaks tube bag and Ovega Negra sling w Exped backpack in case I wanna go for a hike along the way.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: SP Dynamo hub, 3.5w Voltaic solar panel and battery packs for power. Etrex and inReach for navigation and tracking. Phone for back up.
Age 53 / Lucerne Switzerland
THE BIKE: I will be riding the SRMR on a self built bike based on a MTB Cycletech RAW frame. The bike features a Rohloff Speedhub gear hub, at front a SON dynamo hub, a Magura T8 suspension fork and BB7 brakes from Avid. I will run 2.2″ SmartSam tires from Schwalbe.
BAGS: The bags are (custom made) from Alpamayo Design.
Age 28 / Dorking, Surrey (UK)
THE BIKE: This is my XL Brother Cycles Big Bro, it’s a workhorse of a bike and my go-to guide rig for Pannier.cc tours. I have fitted it out with Halo Vapour 35 29er wheels laced into a SuperDrive rear hub and SP dynamo upfront. Teravail Sparwood 2.2 tyres providing the grip and suspension. Aside from a new bar and stem for fit purposes, the rest is pretty much stock.
BAGS: Keeping my sleep kit and warm clothes dry are the Ortlieb Waterproof seat and bar bags, plus an accessory pouch for grabables. In the middle I have a massive custom frame bag from Ross at Straight Cut Designs, housing a 4L bladder with inline filter, food, stove and tent poles. Down on the forks are Salsa anything cages and bags storing an MSR Hubba NX tent, wet rain sheet in one, dry inner in the other.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Hidden away on the bike I am using the K-Lite dual charging system, switch and cache battery plus Exposure Revo lights. I know it’s nothing new but being able to generate power and run a self-sufficient set up is pretty cool, I think…
Age 25 / Manchester, Greater Manchester, UK
THE BIKE: I’ll be riding the SRMR on a Salsa Journeyman Sora 650b. Only modifications from stock are a switch to Maxxis Ikon 2.20” tubeless tyres, and a fresh equivalent (11-34T) cassette.
BAGS: Homemade goods; framepack and bolt-on top tube bag I made out of VX21 (X-pac) fabric, and the saddle pack out of Gore-Tex Pro Shell. The rest; I’ve got a Sea-to-Summit eVent dry bag in a Salsa Anything Cradle on the handlebars, lightweight Cordura dry bags wrapped around large bidons on some fork mounted Salsa Anything Cage HDs, and finally an Apidura Food Pouch Plus.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Waterproof jacket I made from the same sheet of fabric as the saddlepack, strapped on top there it blends in well.
Age 42 / Antwerp, Belgium
THE BIKE: My race horse Canyon Exceed CF SL, 1×12 (34. 10/510 SON hub powering the Klite mtb light. 2 bottle’s 750ml and 1 500ml underneed. Arm rests on the handlebars. Race king 2.2 front and rear.
BAGS: Seatbag ortlieb, front roswheel, top tube toppeack bag. I’m driving with a backpack (camelback mule) not for water but for extra stuff I hope I won’t need, and some delicious food! (Dry food Muesli and French fries…NOT)
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My brand new, (way to expensive) Nordisk lofoten 2p tent (extra place for my own stuff). I only used it for two nights on a tour in the Belgian Ardennes (Max altitude 600meters 😉) but it gave me great comfort and a good feeling shelter is only a few seconds away!! Two GPS divices should get me to the finish… Garmin 820 and a etrex 35 as backup…
Age 41 / Eagle, Colorado (USA)
THE BIKE: Canyon Exceed (size L) built up with Shimano XTR 2×12, DT Swiss XR391 wheel set, Fox 34SC fork with remote lock-out, Ergon SM Men Pro saddle in size M/L, Ergon GS3-Small grips, Maxxis Aspen 2.25 tires set up tubeless with Stan’s, SP dynamo hub attached to K-Lite Bikepacker Ultra light, Garmin eTrex 30 GPS, Profile Design aero bars, Topeak Ninja water bottle cages on fork legs and frame
BAGS: Topeak BackLoader 10L, Topeak FrontLoader (prototype 2020 product), Topeak TopLoader, Topeak FastFuel TriBag, Custom frame bag made by Eagle, CO resident Robert Tadlock, Revelate Design Mountain Feed Bag x2.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My overall goals when building my SRMR race bike was a bike that is fun, reliable, efficient and comfortable. I’m very excited about the wide range that the Shimano XTR 2×12 groupset gives. The front derailleur is back! :)
Age 28 / London, UK
THE BIKE: Canyon Exceed SL hardtail. Handbuilt DT Swiss EX511 (30mm) rims with SON dynamo, shod with WTB Ranger 2.4. Shimano XTR 12 speed with 4 pot calipers. Jones bars, ergon grips, VCLS seatpost. Exposure lights. FSA powermeter, 30T chainring.
BAGS: Rusjan bags; framebag, saddlebag, handlebar roll bag and puch plus backpack. All custom handmade and waterproof.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Everything works together really well, for a slick and great ride.
Alberto Pugno Vanoni
Age 60 / Milan (ITALY)
THE BIKE: I’ll be riding the SRMR on a Canyon Inflite sx. The bike is equipped with tubeless Panaracer Gravel king 43 tires, modified 2×11 Ultrega RX with 46-36 chainrings, Casette 11/42; Shutter Precison Dynamo hub up front. I changed the Canyon H31 Ergocockpit CF with a Bar Deda Gravel 100, arm rests on the handlebars.
BAGS: Apidura set
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Ferrino Lightend, Ferrino mat. I’ll use an Garmin 820 edge for navigation and my phone with Komoot offline maps.
Age 31 / Sheffield, United Kingdom
THE BIKE: I’ll be riding a Sonder Broken Road with a SRAM 1×11 drivetrain and 2.4” tires on Love Mud 29” hobo wheels. I’ll also be using a Cane Creek thudbuster ST seatpost and hoop handlebars with armrests.
BAGS: I’m using a variety of Alpkit bags, with a Stingray frame bag, Fiana seat pack, Tivaro and Big Roo upfront, Stem Cell on the bars and Fuel Pod and Touko on the top tube. I’ll also have two litres of water on the forks.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’ll be sleeping in an Alpkit Ordos 2 tent with a REI Nooksack UL bag and using an Edge 520 for navigation.
Age 43 / Silvi, Teramo, Italy
THE BIKE: I’ll be riding the SRMR on a 2019 Cicli Elios Code Squadra Corse. The bike features a Continental Race King 2.25” tire and Vee Tire 2.20″, a 1×11 drivetrain with a 32T chainring, and mavic with a SON Dynamo hub up front and rear Miche wheel. One other modification is a bar with arm rests on the handlebars.
BAGS: The centerpiece of my bag setup is a Blackburn Frame bag. I am also running a Apidura seat pack, Apidura top tube bag, and a small Apidura Roll/Pocket on the handlebars. Four liters in my bag pack will be available
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A Cumulus bivy, a Camp tent and Sea To Summit UL Air Mat. I’ll also be carrying an eTrex 30 for navigation.
Age 56 / Turrialba, Costa Rica
THE BIKE: 2017 Specialized Epic Hardtail. Wheels by Waterfront Wheels with SP dynamo hub, Ikon tires, stock 1×11 drive train, Brooks saddle.
BAGS: Revelate all around (they should give me a better deal)
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: MEC ultralight tent, Enlightened Equipment quilt and Sea To Summit pillow. Garmin eTrex 20 and 810 for navigation, Steripen for water purification and Supernova front light
Age 27 / San Jose, Costa Rica
THE BIKE: 2017 Specialized Epic Hardtail. Wheels by Waterfront Wheels with SP dynamo hub, Ikon tires, stock 1×11 drive train.
BAGS: Specialized seat and front bag with NRS dry bag and Revelate frame and tube bags.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: MEC ultralight tent, Sea To Summit pillow. Garmin eTrex 20 and 810 for navigation, Steripen for water purification and Supernova front light.
Age 39 / Trieste, Italy
THE BIKE: I’ll be riding the SRMR on a 2018 TREK Procaliber 9.8, original 1x 12 Sram GX (32T 10x50T); modified Shimano XT brakes; Vittoria Mezcal 2.25″ tires.
BAGS: Custom frame bag by https://kickingdonkeybags.com/; Water bags on the handlebar by https://kickingdonkeybags.com/; Tank top tube 1 by Kickingdonkeys(close to the seatpost) and 1 by Missgrape (close to handlebar); Seat bag by MissGrape Cluster https://missgrape.net/; SECRET WEAPON: Butterfly Guns by Vap Cycling with front dry bag (17l) and integrated arm rests!!
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Outdoor Research Helium Bivy, custom Cumulus X-Lite 200 sleeping bag, Thermarest NeoAir X-lite mattress, Garmin eTrex 20x for navigation.
Age 34 / Verona (Italy)
THE BIKE: I’ll be riding the SRMR2019 on a 2016 Niner RLT 9 Steel. The bike features a new pair of WTB Ridler 700x42c on the rear and KENDA Karma 29×1.95” tires on front, a 2 x 11 drivetrain (36/22 and 11/34 cassette), and a custom CYP Wheels. The fork is the Lauf Grit.
BAGS: I ride with Alpkit front bag, Rusjan rear bag and Alpamayo frame bag. I use a small Hydratation backpack in addiction.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I use the following night kit: Seat o Summit Ultralight mat, Therm a Rest Hyperion 32 sleeping bag and Terra Nova Photon 1 tent. I use a Garmin Edge 820 for the navigation. I carry two powerbank (10000 mAh + 24000 mAh) for the Energy supply.
Age 41 / Berlin (GER)
THE BIKE: I’ll be riding the SRMR on a 2018 Bombtrack Beyond+1. Actually there´s not much left of the original bike except the frame and the stem. The bike features a new pair of Maxxis IKON+1 2.8” tires, a modified 1×11 drivetrain with a 30T chainring, a Garbaruk 11-50 HG cassette and WTB iScraper rims with a SON Dynamo hub up front. Steel fork was swapped to carbon, seatpost is now a Thomson and the cockpit features a FUNN-Wide dropbar with a Syntace C3 aerobar. Lighting and USB-converting is done with a Sinewave Cycles Beacon.
BAGS: All bags are custom bags by Gramm-Tourpacking from Berlin. Tine, the founder of Gramm, is a good friend of mine and that makes putting your own ideas into bags more easy. We came up with an extra-large top tube bag which has a split top, that way you can either open the upper, or the lower, or both…all with a simple velcro closure. Makes handling stuff way more easy when being on the edge of your power… Full cooking set incl. 500g of peanut butter nests on the lower part of the downtube. All insulation incl. sleeping bag is wrapped in a Sea-to-Summit compression bag hold tight to my handlebar by a Revelate Harness.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: This year i´ll approach the challenging nights of Kyrgyzstan with a set of Western Mountaineering Flash Down Booties, Down Flash Pant, a Patagonia Down Sweater and a Western Mountaineering Nano-Lite Quilt. New to me will be the USWE-PACE running vest. It´ll host 2 Liter of water, incl. filtering it while drinking ( I put a SAWYER Filter “in line” of the tube ) and all additional rain gear.
Rollenberg Rudy (riding pair with Jayne Wadsworth UK)
Age 54 / Ghent (Belgium)
THE BIKE: I’ll be riding the SRMR on a Van Nicholas Revelstoke (titanium). The bike features a pair of Continental Race King protection 2.25, a Shimano XT 1×11 drivetrain with a 30T chainring – 11/46 cassette, and handmade Tune wheels with a SP Dynamo hub up front. One other modification is a VNT multi function aero handlebars. The front fork is a LAUF.
BAGS: Revelate Viscacha seat bag, Gas tank, Sweetroll (handlebar), feedbag and jerrycan. 4 x 750 bottles will be mounted to the fork and downtube.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A Nordisk Telemark UL 2 tent will serve as my shelter along with an Firefly sleeping bag and Thermarest NeoAir Xlite air mattress. Lights: Exposure; Backpack: Vaude UL (food); Power bank: X-Torm 9000 and 15000mAh; Water filter: Trail shot; Stove: MSR Reactor Stove; GPS: Sigma Rox 12 / iPhone
Age 29 / Salzburg, Austria
THE BIKE: I’ll be riding a 2018 Bombtrack Beyond. Trusting my comfort to some 2.1” WTB Nanos and a 1×11 Setup made up of a SRAM XX1 Crank with 32t chainring and a 11-46t cassette. The Groupset is SRAM Force, I also opted for some profile design clip on bars, to get my hands some rest.
BAGS: I got a wild mix of products, using a Blackburn Outpost full frame bag, a Specialized Burra Burra Front Harness paired with a Revelate Designs Egress Pocket and their Mag Tank top tube bag. Last but not least an Ortlieb Seatpack. Two Liter bottles will be mounted to the fork plus a small EVOC CC 3l Race Backpack with Bladder.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: To be sheltered from the elements I’ll use a Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 Tent and Sea To Summit Spark II Sleeping bag as well as an Etherlight Sleeping Matt. I’m also carrying a Wahoo ELMNT Bolt and as a Backup a Garmin Edge 800 for navigation.
Age 29 / Berlin, Germany
THE BIKE: I’ll be racing the SRMR 2019 on a Bombtrack Hook EXT-C. I’ve upgraded the wheels to Maxxis Ikon 2.2 (650 b) and changed the original stem to a Redshift ShockStop suspension stem which give me excellent comfort on longer washboard tracks. It features 1 x 11 SRAM Rival double tap shift with a 40 chainring and 11 – 42 rear and hydraulic disc brakes. I’ve added Profile Designs aero bars on which my Sinewave Beacon Cycles lamp is mounted (draining power from a SON 28 dynamo).
BAGS: Ortlieb handlebar-pack (15 l) for a Sea to Summit Spark IV sleeping bag (comfort temperature – 8 degree); Apidura framebag (7,5 l) for food, camping gear, tools and spares; 2 x Salsa Anything Bags (4.5 l each) mounted on Salsa Anything Cages for Firepot expedition high-calorie food; 2 x Revelate designs feedbag (1 l) for drinking bottle, snacks and small accessories; Salsa EXP Series Top Tube Bag (1.2 l) for mobile, power bank and wallet
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Definitely the Sinewave Cycles Beacon light and USB charger as well as the flexible stem. The combination of a Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo tent, an ultralight Sea to Summit sleeping bag and sleeping mattress (also StS) will provide some nice quality sleep in the high mountains. I’ll also be carrying a Wahoo Element Bolt for navigation.
Age 30 / Seattle, Washington (USA)
THE BIKE: This year I’ll be riding a Titanium, Air Land Sea frame built by Max Kullaway of 333fab, based here in Seattle, Washington. The bike is fitted with 2.2” Maxxis Ikon tires, 32×10/42 gearing, White Industries Cranks, Hunt 650b wheels laced to a SON Dynamo hub and a super fun, 40mm travel suspension fork built by MRP.
BAGS: I’m running a combination of bags made by Apidura, Porcelain Rocket & Revelate. My latest addition is the Porcelain frame pack which was newly created for gravel bikes. I have roughly 36L of total bag space on the bike.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’m using a carbon reflex single person tent from MSR along with a thermarest sleep system. Three Exposure lights will illuminate the roads at night. My riding kit is fully dialed via the Rapha Brevet line. My Sinewave Beacon will serve as a charger for all my electronics and navigation. This year, I’ve opted to ride with a hydration pack made by Osprey to give extra water carrying capacity and increase my ability to pack food along the route.
Age 32 / From London, UK, but based in Moscow, Russia
THE BIKE: A 2019 Salsa Cutthroat built up by the awesome Shona and Rich at Keep Pedalling. 38/28 rings on the front and 11-42 on the back should help me up the hills, and a SP dynamo hub will power my Sinewave Beacon light. I’ll be rolling on Velocity Blunt SS rims with Maxis Ikon’s, 2.2 at the front and 2.0 in the rear.
BAGS: Salsa framebag and top tube bag, Apidura seat pack and Alpkit dry bag strapped to a Salsa cradle at the front.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’ll be sleeping in a RAB 200 Neutrino bag on a Thermarest NeoAir Xlite with a RAB storm bivi bag hopefully keeping out the rain. Navigation will come from the eTrex20 with Komoot on my phone as backup.
Age 30 / Geneva, Switzerland
THE BIKE: My bike of choice for the SRMR is a freshly bought titanium Reilly Gradient gravel, equipped with SRAM Force 1×11 (42t cassette) and a SRAM X01 (32t) chainring. 700c DCR wheels and WTB 45mm tires will get me through dusty and rocky Kyrgyz roads. My electronic devices will be charged thanks to Sinewave Revolution USB Charger and a SON 28 dynamo as power output.
BAGS: 32L of bags will host all my belongings, distributed as follow: 9L Apidura handlebar and 7L frame bags and a16L Ortlieb saddle bag
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Hydration being key, I particularly like my filtration setup composed of a 3L Camelbak with an all-in-one water filtration system integrated in the water tube. Food wise, I opted for Real Turmat freeze dried rations as they are very compact and tasty and jars peanut butter! :) Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1 Bikepack tent and Enlightened Equipement Enigma Stock quilt will complete my night setup!
Age 27 / Birmingham, UK
THE BIKE: I’m riding a custom Vulcan Bicycle Works frame that I made for a trip to the American southwest a few years ago. Despite the 2.6″ Vittoria tyres (Mezcal/Barzo) it’s really a touring inspired design, the opposite end of the bikepacking spectrum to the other, more trail inspired VBW bike being ridden in this year’s SRMR. As a singlespeed rider, I use the incredibly durable Surly Ultra New rear hub and a White Industries trials freewheel, driven by an Absolute Black oval ch ainring and a long-life ebike chain. In the front I have just rebuilt my wheel with the new Shimano DH-UR705 dynamo, which powers either a Supernova E3 Triple light or an Igaro D1 for charging batteries.
BAGS: My bags are made by 7 Roads Workshop, and I couldn’t be more happy with how they have endured several long trips and races. The solid saddlebag with mini rack is a particular highlight, but all of the bags are very well designed and made. I’m happy taking a small weight penalty to use more durable bags and eliminate the worry of wet kit or unstable handling. My sleeping kit is kept on the fork legs, leaving the main triangle free for two extra 48oz Nalgenes (plus one on the downtube) and keeping it easy to carry the bike, compared to using a frame bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I usually camp with a tarp but considering the severe conditions I splashed out on a Tarptent Protrail for a bit more protection. My favourite Alpkit Filo jacket is still going strong after almost ten years, so I’m bringing it to add a bit more comfort and supplement my down quilt at altitude. I’m gambling that carrying almost a whole race’s food (Huel and dehydrated Tentmeals) will save me enough time and inconvenience/malnourishment to offset the weight and space penalty.
Age 28 / Edinburgh, Scotland
THE BIKE: My friend and fellow SRMR competitor Ben Hudson of Vulcan Bicycle Works made me a custom steel frame specifically for the Silk Road. It’s a lovely smooth ride which I’ve plushed up further with Rockshox SID forks and 2.4 inch Maxxis Ikon tubeless tyres. The drivechain is a mixture of Eagle and Shimano XTR, and DCR made me a bombproof pair of wheels with a SON dynamo front and silent Onyx rear hub laced to DT Swiss EX511 rims.
BAGS: Ben’s frame has bosses in the main triangle and on the top tube to take bolt-on bags custom made by Rockgeist for a neat strapless set-up. The seat bag is my old Revelate Viscacha, still going strong after about 20,000 km. Up front my tent (HMG Ultamid) and sleeping bag are held by a Revelate Designs Pronghorn harness.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The custom frame has got to be the highlight, it’s a real luxury having a purpose-built machine which fits me perfectly. Highlight no. 2 is the 18,000 calories of flapjack and nuts hidden away in the frame bag…
Age 30 / Vilnius, Lithuania
THE BIKE: Salsa Woodsmoke 2017 custom whit Cutthroat rigid fork. Funworks Atmosphere 25XL wheels with Maxxis Ikon rear and WTB Nine Line front tires. Also SP Dynamo hub with K-lite lighting system. On the cockpit I use Deda Parabolica aerobars, Ergon grips and an additional hand position – Spiregrips. Gear system 1×11 / 42 with 34T narrow wide. I also decided to use the BB7 mechanical brakes for easy service.
BAGS: This year I will be using the rear Revelate Designs saddle bag, Bike Bag Dude full frame bag & garage bag as well as the 7roadsworkshop TPU front bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Jack Wolfskin Gossamer tent, Alpkit Numo sleeping mat and two Aegismax down sleeping bags. I will navigate with Etrex 30 GPS.
Age 42 / Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria (England)
THE BIKE: I’ll be riding a Sonder Broken Road Ti kitted out with Hope components 12 speed Sram Eagle with 32 oval, Hope wheel set with Pirelli Scorpion 2.4 front and 2.2 rear, Jones Carbon loop bar, Torus Ti seat post. Electronics will be powered from battery cache that will be charged via solar panel.
BAGS: All bike luggage is from Alpkit with front dry bag, frame and saddle bag along with two fuel pods on the top tube. I will also be taking Osprey Hydration back pack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Anker Solar panel, Alpkit Soloist tent and cloud base sleep mat. Navigation will be Garmin Etrex 30x with Komoot for back up.
Age 31 / Fort Wright, KY (USA)
THE BIKE: Santa Cruz Highball CC 29er. Maxxis IKON 29×2.2 front and rear. Shimano XT 2×11 (26/36 up front, 11×42 in back). Shimano XT cranks, brakes, shifter & derailleur. SON dynamo upfront connected to a Sinewave Beacon for light and power. Crankbrothers Double Shot 2 pedals. Fox 32 100mm fork. Ergon GP3 cork grips. BarYak Expedition with EC90 grips and armrests. Rockgeist Spacelink. Spiderflex saddle.
BAGS: Custom Rockgeist Dyneema 40 frame bag, Rockgeist Honeypot Feedbag, Rockgeist Cache Top Tube Bag – XL, Rockgeist Medic Top-Tube Bag (saddle side). Revelate Designs Terrapin Seat Bag, and a medium Sweet Roll with Egress Pocket on the handlebars. Endura MT500 Enduro Backpack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2 Bikepack Tent, Endura MT500 Jacket, PEdAL ED Kaido Jersey.
Age 25 / San Francisco, CA (USA)
THE BIKE: The bike is an Advocate Cycles Seldom Seen with a Fox 34 fork. The wheels are 29ers with 2.1″ and 2.25″ Vittoria Mezcals on Spank Spike Race rims, SP dynamo hub, Onyx silent rear hub. I’m using the Shimano XT 2×11 drivetrain with 24-34 chainrings and an 11-42 cassette to help me up the many long climbs. I’m using Salsa flat handlebars with Ergon grips and Profile Design aerobars.
BAGS: The Seldom Seen comes with a Revelate bolt-on frame bag. I also have a Revelate Terrapin drybag in an Alpamayo Designs holster, a Alpamayo front harness and accessory bag around a Revelate Salty Roll, and Revelate and Alpamayo stem and top tube bags.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’m excited about my Enlightened Equipment 20 deg and Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm to keep me warm through cold mountain nights. My lightweight weight Ice Breaker merino zipup will allow me to bike in cool weather and into the night when necessary. A Sinewave Beacon will light the path and keep my devices charged.
Berten De Canne
Age 49 / Berendrecht (Belgium)
THE BIKE: I’ll be riding the SRMR on a Gilbertson Inferno (titanium bike). SADDLE: Fizik Gobi; PEDALS: Crank Brothers Candy; GEARING: 2×11
BAGS: All bags are from the AGU Venture Bikepacking line (seat pack, handlebar pack, top tube bag, frame pack and 2x snack packs). BACKPACK: Osprey Raptor 10
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: FRONT LIGHTS: kLite Bikepacker Ultra with Bar switch and USB charger powered by a SON Dynamo hub up front. TOOLS & PUMP: Crank Brothers. SLEEPING: Nordisk Lofoten 2 tent with a YetiWorld Passion Three down sleeping bag in combo with a survival sleeping bag/blanket. CLOTHES: All by AGU. NAVIGATION: GARMIN eTREX 30x. WATER TREATMENT: Katadyn Tactical BeFree Filter and CarePlus Hadex chlorine solution.
Age 32 / Switzerland via Deidesheim, Germany
THE BIKE: I will be riding my new Open U.P. In bright blue with a Shimano Ultegra RX mechanical Groupset and a Rotor Aldhu Crankset. Equipped with a 46/30 in the front and a 11-40 cassette in the rear – I am sure to still run out of gears, haha. Wheelset is my trustworthy Hunt Dynamo 700C wheelset which I will run Tubeless with Rene Herse 42mm Hurricane Ridge Tires.
BAGS: I mostly use Revelate Designs bags (sweetroll, framebag, gastank etc.). However the seatpost/saddlebag is my beloved Mr. Fusion by Porcelain Rocket – it allows you to add more drybags and doesn’t move on the bike!
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Can’t decide here but I am super happy to finally own a dynamo powered Sinewave beacon lamp. So far the hurricane Ridge tires were really impressive as well – I will keep my fingers crossed that the endurance plus casing will hold up in the harsh conditions.
Age 44 / Edinburgh, Scotland
THE BIKE: Shand Stoater FT. I first saw this frame at the Bristol bespoke bike show back in 2013, back then “monster cross” bikes were unusual. I brought the frame when it came up on eBay a few years later. It’s been built up with what I had lying around. I’m running an old school 9 speed MTB group set with bar end shifters, I changed to an Exotic carbon fork to make the front end a bit stiffer bus drop some weight. I have 2.2” 700c tyres on there to soak up the bumps. Keeping in simple with cable operated bb7 brakes. It did treat myself to some Hunt carbon wheels which help keep the weight to an acceptable level.
BAGS: Apidura bags all round. Plus a small stem pack with spare tubes and tools in.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I have my sleeping system in the tail pack which consists of a super light Nordisc tent, 2 season PHD down bag and a thin foam 1/2 length mat. (That lot comes in at a respectable 1660gm inc. the Apidura bag). This will be topped up with a down jacket and my biking clothes if things get cold. I have my MSR pocket rocket gas cooker, REI Tinpot and clothes in the bar bag. In the frame bag I have 6 days of dehydrated mash potatoes (yum) along with snacks and capacity for 2l of water. I didn’t fit a dynamo hub so also have 25,000 mwh of batteries – I’m hoping that’s enough power for recharging lights and navigation device. I’m liking my old school bar end shifters – I think they help you be more gentle on the gears and chain when moving up and down the cassette.
Age 25 / Brookwood, Surrey (UK)
THE BIKE: For the SRMR 2019 I will be riding my NS Bikes Rag+, although there’s not many original parts left on it. Up front there’s a new hand-built wheelset by DCR Wheels, with a Son hub, Maxxis Crossmark tyres and lauf grit forks. The groupset is a mix of SRAM Force/Rival with a 34t chain ring and 11-46t cassette.
BAGS: they’re are a bit of a mix, Restrap saddle and frame bags, Vaude handlebar roll and a top peak top tube bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: KLite Bikepacker Ultra front light, switch and USB charger to light my way and keep my garmin etrex 30x running. I’m also taking a Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL1 Bikepack tent.
Age 32 / Taiwan
I am Terry Hsiu from Taiwan, This is my second time joining the SRMR, I went with my father last time. We rode as a pair but we had an accident; my dad broke his rib and we stopped the race. This was a different experience for us. This year I’m riding again to finish, to learn more from nature and from the outdoors. I hope to meet different people and makes memories together
THE BIKE: I ride Kualis cycles Titanium bike, Using Woho bike bags, this time use Lauf fork to make the road more comfortable, in front of tires is WTB Ranger 2.25 rear is 47c venture for the electric power, i using dynamo hub connect with the plug usb to charge power bank.
Age 33 / Hong Kong via Melbourne, Australia
THE BIKE: Handbuilt steel frame by yours truly, Belle Bicycles. Columbus OS MTB tubing & some bent OS road seatstays for compliancy. Custom geometry, 27.5+/29+ clearances. SnS Coupled Downtube, fillet brazed top tube breakaway splitter. XT 11 Speed 1 X. Cable brakes because thermal expansion differences caused a leak with my hydraulics last time I crossed an Alpine lake..
BAGS: Custom frame bag by Able Carry Co. Handlebar Bags in Auscam by H_ngry. 15L seatpost bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: OG full size sleeping mat because Comfort is King.
Age 26 / Melbourne, Australia
THE BIKE: Curve Titanium GXR (aka KEVIN), running on Curve’s carbon Dirt Hoops and 27×2.1 Vittoria Mezcal’s. Sram Force 1x with 30t oval chainring (not pictured) and Thomson build kit. Profile design Aerobars. SP dynamo hub powers a K-lite Bikepacker light and charger.
BAGS: Full range of Stealth bags, New Zealand’s finest.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My sleep system by Terra Rosa Gear: custom bivy and synthetic quilt handmade here in Melbourne.
Age 32 / Heidelberg, Germany
THE BIKE: Purple Trek Stache 7 2016; Will be running aerobars. Switched to Eagle 12-Speed and fell in love with the 50th Cassette. Better to crawl on the bike than next to it… Decided last minute to switch from a hydraulic brakes to a mechanical BB7s. Unfortunately the rear clearance for the caliper is too small, so now I’m running mechanical in the front and hydraulic in the back… what a bodge. But fingers crossed it’ll work out. Running 2.6. Vittoria Mezcals on 29″ wheels. They might be slower in the beginning, but hopefully will help during the rougher parts. 30 tooth Absolute black oval chainring to save the knees. Hope I will still love the bike after the race.
BAGS: Ortlieb bags in the front and back, Blackburn in the middle and Topeak on the toptube.
Age 43 / Little Rock, Arkansas (USA)
THE BIKE: For SRMR, I’m riding my 2019 Orbea Terra. I chose the custom 650b ROL Wheels with Dynamo front hub, XT rear hub, and have a mix of Panaracer Gravel King SK and the Kenda Flintridge tires, both in 45c. The Terra has Ultegra Di2, and I’ll be using the AbsoluteBLACK chainrings with a 46/30T combo. For rear cassette, I’ve got an XT 11-40. My handlebars are Salsa Cowchippers with Zipp clip-on aerobars. I’ve got capacity for four water bottles by mounting two cages to the fork and two cages to the rear using the WOHO anti-sway bottle cage mounts.
BAGS: For packing, it’s Apidura all around for frame pack, seat pack, front roll, and top tube pack. I’ve place a mount for my keg tool kit to the underside of the downtube and will carry and additional top tube small pack for quick-grab items. To light our way in the darker hours, have a K-Lite Bikepacker Ultra mounted to my aerobars.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Racing with my wife Scotti, we’ll share the Big Agnes Copper Fly tent along with 40 degree Pluton Big Agnes bags. We chose their AXL Air sleeping pads, as well. We have the Garmin Etrex that we’ll both share, then she and I both individually have our Wahoo ELEMNTs.
Age 34 / Little Rock, Arkansas (USA)
THE BIKE: I’ll be racing the SRMR on the 2019 Parlee Chebacco. Since I wanted to run a wider width tire, I chose 650b ROL Wheels to accommodate the WTB Venture 47’s and the Dynamo front hub. I have Shimano DuraAce mechanical shifting and an AbsoluteBLACK chainring combo of 46/30T with XT 11-42 cassette. I widened my normal size handlebars by switching to the Salsa Cowchippers, and then am using clip-on aero bars from Profile Design. I love my saddle, which is the gravel-specific Selle Royale Novus Boost.
BAGS: Apidura is my bag choice, and I’ll have a frame pack, seat pack, front roll and top tube pack. I’ve attached two cages to my front fork for water bottles and have more storage for water elsewhere. For riding at night, I’ve mounted the Dynamo powered K-Lite Bikepacker Ultra.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Since I am racing as a pair with my husband Ernie, we’ve chosen to use a Big Agnes Copper Fly tent along with 40 degree Pluton Big Agnes bags with their AXL Air sleeping pads. For navigation, we are sharing the Garmin Etrex and each have our own Wahoo ELEMNTs. Personal gear highlight: not seen in this picture are two very small dream catchers that my twin sons have chosen for me to remember them by as I pedal across Kyrgyzstan!
Age 36 / Hobart, Tasmania (USA)
THE BIKE: I’m riding a Bombtrack Beyond 2 with Hunt 29 MTB rims with a SON up front. Mezcal 2.35 front and 2.1 rear tires. Drivetrain is SRAM Eagle 1×12 with a 30t chainring. Alpkit Confucius bars which have been hacked with a pair of old MTB bar ends to give another hand position.
BAGS: Bags are a mixture of old and new from Revelate and Bike Bag Dude. 3 litre bottles on the frame.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Zpacks 20F sleeping bag plus a borahgear Snowyside eVent bivvy plus a Zpacks tarp if the weather turns foul. Navigation is Garmin Etrex 30 with phone for backup. KLite bikepacker ultra light plus sinewave USB charger.
Age 27 / New York, New York (USA)
THE BIKE: Custom Dark Moon Fabworks Steel Drop bar 29er/Monster Cross. Built around a Salsa Firestarter Boost fork. SON Dynamo/Chris King to new Light Bicycle XC rims. Ultegra di2 / XT 1×11 setup 28×9-46 gearing. K-Light bikepacker Ultra light/usb cache. Vittoria Mezcal Tires.
BAGS: Bike Bag Dude Custom Frame Bags and Revelate Terrapin 14L with a Porcelainrocket/Hunter demi rack Voile’d for additional stabilization. 20L big river bag up front in the revelate harness.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: All the cold weather and rain gear to keep warm in the Kyrgyz wilderness. Similar to what I bring for cold wet winter days as a bicycle courier in manahttan. 64oz downtube bottle and 4x 1 liter bottles on the Fork and Seatstays with Custom sweet tooth fab brackets for heel clearance and Max water capacity. Wahoo Elemnt Roam for navigation with a Garmin Etrex 20x + Galileo maps on the phone as redundancy.
Age 40 / Edinburgh, Scotland
THE BIKE: I am riding a 2017 Surly Straggler, the UK version with with Halo Devaura wheels. Modifications include Fibrax Ultra Light rotors, a SP PD-8 dynamo hub with Sinewave Charger and Exposure Revo lights, a 11-42 cassette, Gusset chain, ESI RCT bar tape, Brooks Cambium C15 saddle, HT M1 Leopard M Pedals and Schwalbe G-One Bite tires, 2.0inch on the front & 1.5inch on the rear wheel.
BAGS: I am using Apidura’s 14l Expedition handlebar pack with the accessory bag, the small Expedition full frame bag, 14l Expedition Saddle Pack, 2 backcountry food pouches plus and the bigger Expedition top tube bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I am using a Nordisk Lofoten 2 ULW tent, which packs super small and weighs less than 600g. For kit I trust the experience if an ex Formula 1 driver with Aussie Grit’s cycling range, using their Ignite 2in1 bibs. Another favourite is the Source Hipster 1.5l bladder with the Sawyer filter kit, which should make hydration a straight forward thing.
Age 37 / Canberra, Australia
THE BIKE: I’ll be pedalling a Hunt Bikes 29er titanium prototype that will become available for order pending a successful SRMR. The bike is rolling on 36mm carbon rims, 2.35” rubber and a SON dynamo that powers a K-Lite bikepacker ultra light. Plenty of hand positions up front with TT bars, Ergon grips and some bar ends mounted inside the grips.
BAGS: Ortlieb dry bag under the bars, waterproof Apidura saddle bag, old but trusty Revelate top tube bags and front pouch. 3 x 1L water bottles on the frame
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Ricoh GRiii camera to capture the adventure and amazing landscape, Garmin Edge 810 to keep me from getting lost, Montane down jacket to keep me warm and the Ti Hunt frame to save a few grams.
Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as we have a lot more coverage of the Silk Road Mountain Race on tap…
New in bikes
- Dec 3, 2019Bombtrack Hook EXT Review: More Than Just Good Looks
- Dec 2, 2019Jon Yazzie, Kayenta, and the Navajo Nation
- Nov 12, 2019Salsa Spearfish Review
- Oct 22, 2019Ibis Ripley Review, v4
- Oct 10, 2019Salsa Cutthroat V2 Review + Direct Mount Frame Bag