Rigs of the 2021 Veneto Trail
The 2021 edition of the Veneto Trail unsupported bike adventure took place in Italy late last month, with close 200 riders taking on the challenging 450-kilometer route through the dramatic Dolomites. We rounded up photos and details on more than 60 bikes at the starting line. Find the rigs of the 2021 Veneto Trail here…
Starting and ending in the historic walled city of Cittadella, the Veneto Trail (@veneto_trail) is a 450-kilometer mixed-terrain loop through the beautiful Veneto region of northeastern Italy. The track passes through dozens of time-worn villages as it winds its way into the spectacularly rugged Dolomites, packing in around 10,000+ meters of climbing and offering up-close views of world-famous peaks and mountains such as Monte Pelmo, Civetta, Croda da Lago, Cadini di Misurina, and Tre Cime di Lavaredo. It also passes by countless lakes and rivers with vibrant green-blue water, beckoning bikepackers in for mid-ride dips. Riders can wild camp or stay in the many rifugios (mountain shelters) that dot the trail. The route culminates with a challenging ride through the Prosecco hills and a jaunt through Asolo, which is regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
The sixth edition of the Veneto Trail unsupported bike adventure kicked off on June 26th, with 228 riders from 17 countries signed up. Of those, 180 were able to navigate travel restrictions and make it to the starting line, and 150 completed the route. Organizer Andrea Securo photographed more than 60 rigs as participants showed up to register the evening before the event, which you can find below, along with brief descriptions of each bike and its bags and gear.
Age 37 / Nomain (France)
BIKE: A Bombtrack Beyond+ 2021 out of the box. Set with a Brooks Cambium C17 carved, chunky ESI grips, deore XT pedals, and two bottle cages for 1.7 liter of water. Set up tubeless, of course.
BAGS: A full set of my trusty Apidura bags, which I’ve used for mutliple years now. Small size saddle bag for the sleeping, frame bag and two pouch for food, small handlebar bag for clothes, and a Bombtrack x Apidura Tank bag for electronics.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My master key sleeping system: Snugpak racing sleeping bag, special force bivy, Alpkit mat, and a tarp. I never go bikepacking without my seven-year-old Garmin Etrex 30.
Age 32 / Wolfratshausen (Germany)
BIKE: I rode my Veloheld Icon.X during the Veneto Trail with a 28″ wheelset and 40mm Schwalbe G-One Allround tires. Its drivetrain is 1×11 with a 38T chainring and a 10-42T cassette. The flare of my Ritchey Venturemax Comp handlebars gives me control even in rough terrain. Of course, a mountain bike would have been a better choice for this event but the bike you own is always the best choice.
BAGS: I have a custom seat bag, a custom frame bag, and a top tube bag from Gramm Tourpacking. For the handlebar, I use a dry bag combined with the Drj0n DeWidget Strap Deck and Voile Straps. I also carried three 590ml Fidlock water bottles.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Probably the highlight was the ventour.eu tent that we used. It is light, small when packed, easy to use, and still in development. It was great that we had the chance to test it. My sleeping mat is the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir X-Lite Women. I also have the Yeti Fever Zero sleeping bag and combine it with an ultralight inlet from Cumulus.
Age 35 / Treviso (Italy)
BIKE: I took part in the Veneto Trail with a 2017 Gasventinove Santiago made of steel. The bike has a set of Damil wheels with a 27mm inner channel and Gravel King SK plus 700 x 50mm tyres. The transmission is a GRX 1×11 with Zeta bike components titanium crown 36T chainring and 11-42 cassette. Handlebars are Ritchey Venturemax 46 cm with gel inserts and a Brooks saddle.
BAGS: Complete set of Miss Grape bags: Node, Cluster 13, and Internode (custom for my frame). I had with me two 1.25L bottles of water, more than enough for me. I also had a tool case with tools.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Ledsenser MT10 front light with replaceable 18650 battery on the run and great durability. Garmin Edge 530 for navigation and an extra battery.
Age 37 / Leipzig (Germany)
BIKE: I rode the Veneto Trail on my 29+ MTB “Le BonBon,” which I built three years ago. The bike features a 140mm RockShox Pike boost, a SRAM GX 1×12 drivetrain with 32T chainring, DT Swiss wheels with tubeless WTB Ranger 3″ rubber, and a Kindshock LEV Si 120mm for the 27.2mm seat tube. With its Niner Biocentric 30 BB, “Le BonBon” is easily converted to a Singlespeed MTB (I did the Slovenia West Loop single speed two years ago after the SSWC2019 in Kobarid).
BAGS: On the bar, I have a holster from Restrap packed with sleeping bag and pad. The frame bag is from Restrap too, and at the rear, I have a Revelate saddle bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My gear highlight on the trail was the dropper seat post, for sure.
Age 32 / Vienna (Austria)
BIKE: I picked the 2019 Bombtrack Hook EXT C for this adventure because it is an incredibly capable machine. Beforehand, I’d seen that there is a fair bit of tarmac riding involved, so I figured I’d pick the fast-rolling WTB Horizon 650b x 47mm tires for that extra shock absorption for the off-road sections. I was gambling that it would not rain, otherwise, the semi-slick tire would have led to a certain DNF. The Bike is pretty standard, gearing is 40t up front, paired with a standard 11/42 11s cassette. I’ve added TT Extensions to be able to rest on the flat parts of the course.
BAGS: The main storage is the 4L Ortlieb Frame Bag, which holds tools, some long sleeve clothing, and a rain jacket. I did not plan on bringing a lot of food, so four Clif Bars and some nuts was all I had in store. The Top Tube Pack by Apidura was for my power pack to recharge the Garmin or my phone if need be. Under the seat, I have a small SWAT Rack by Specialized, big enough for a spare tube and a tubeless repair kit.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My personal Highlight was the “hidden” front light, tucked away between the extensions of the aero bar. It was quite tricky to mount it directly on the stem clamp, but with some rubber bands and a Voile Strap, anything is possible! I was also really happy about my Castelli Unlimited Cargo Bib shorts for carrying essentials during the ride.
Age 38 / Bologna (Italy)
BIKE: For the Veneto Trail I used a Legor Indole 29er plus steel frame welded by my friend Mattia Paganotti in Barcelona and with a Shimano XT 1×11, Pirelli Scorpione XC tires, Hope Pro 4 hubs, and a Kashima fork with 100mm travel. For lights, I used an Exposure Strada and a Black Diamond Storm 375 as a headlamp.
BAGS: As always, I used Miss Grape bags with a very light set up without a saddlebag: Two Bud bags on the handlebars for food, bars, gels, a frame bag for bivvy bag and my repair kit, a Node for glasses and candies, and the Moon in front for the inevitable long-sleeved down jacket.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My down jacket, a Patagonia Micropuff, which is essential when you think of spending the night in the mountains, even in summer. Maad Cycling merino wool jersey, durable, insulating, and great on the skin. Fizik Argo Vento R1 saddle, very comfortable over any distance. Alba Optics Delta glasses, incredible lenses, light, and very comfortable. Garmin 1030, battery that lasts much longer than first expected and clear reading of data.
Age 25 / Berlin (Germany)
BIKE: For the Veneto Trail, I’m lucky to ride the steel Bombtrack Cale (size M) equipped with 29 x 2.4″ Maxxis Ardent tires and an Eagle GX drivetrain with a 30T chainring and the new 10-52T cassette. The true mountain gearing means even this flatlander can pedal up the steep gravel pitches of Monte Grappa while the suspension fork keeps me safely planted on the fast downhill sections. Since the bike is on loan, the build is stock as seen on the Bombtrack website except for the saddle, fixed seatpost, and pedals.
BAGS: For this alpine occasion, I’m running an old version of the Outershell handlebar harness system complete with oval drybag, which contains my sleep system and clothes, and the handlebar snack bag. In the cockpit area, I’ve got double Outershell stem bags for a water bottle and my camera, as well as a Revelate Mag Tank top tube bag for snacks, sunscreen, etc. I strapped various small bags into the triangle to make up for the lack of a fitting framebag. In the back, my venerable Outershell Dropper seatpost bag stores rain gear and coffee equipment for quick access during the day.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: In our group of Lucas, Joachim, and me, we share a stove setup centered around the GSI water kettle for boiling eggs in the piazza and brewing coffee on alpine meadows. My ultralight sleep system, comprising of a bug bivy bag and tarp made by John at Borah Gear, a Cumulus 250 quilt, NeoAir XLite and Tyvek groundsheet, stores in less than 5L of bag volume in the front roll. This flexible setup is perfect for enjoying the clear night sky at altitude and low-profile stealth camping.
Age 42 / Monselice (Italy)
BIKE: Specialized Epic 2021 full-suspension. Continental Cross II King 2.3 tyre up front, Specialized Fast Trak 2.2″ rear. SRAM Eagle 1×12 drivetrain with 32T chainring.
BAGS: BBB Cycling 10 L front bag, (packed carefully to fit it under the cables); Apidura Expedition 17 L saddle bag (70% full). Apidura Expedition series 1L top tube bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Original Garmin mount required to accommodate charging cable with power bank. Bivy bag for emergencies. No sleeping bag or mattress.
Age 31 / Munich, Bavaria (Germany)
BIKE: Fearless Vulture with DT Swiss wheels, tubless WTB Radler 44mm tires, Shimano brakes, SRAM GX derailleur, a dynamo hub powering Supernova front and year lights, and a Tubus Fly Evo rack.
BAGS: Two Ortlieb Gravel-Pack panniers, an Ortlieb Handlebar-Pack and Accessory-Pack, plus my tent on the rear rack in a dry bag.
Age 38 / Vienna (Austria)
BIKE: My Veneto Trail rig is my custom built Commencal Meta HT AM Enduro Hardtail, rolling on fine 29″ Pancho Wheels with Wolfpack Cross & Trail & Sram GX Eagle 32/10-50. I use this bike for everything from city to alpine trails.
BAGS: My packing kit includes a Revelate Designs Ranger frame bag with tools, first aid kit, powerbank, 2l water bladder, and, of course, beer & snacks; a Revelate Designs Harness + Alpkit 20l Dry Bag with sleeping kit; a Revelate Designs Vole Dropper Post Seat Bag with clothes for bad weather & changing; and Acepac Tube Bag & Fuel Bag for wallet, headlight, other electronics & Cliff Bars, a .65l Bottle under downtube for soft drinks, and a Garmin GPSMap64s for navigation.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Besides my bike, my sleeping kit is probably my personal highlight: Outdoor Research Stargazer Bivy with Sea to Summit Comfort light air mattress & Alpkit Pipedream 200 sleeping bag plus silk inlet for adaptable sleeping comfort in temperatures between +7 to +20 degrees C in all conditions, small tarp in spare for really tough weather. Ideal for the Dolomites!
Age 50 / Padua (Italy)
BIKE: My bike is a Specialized Epic with full suspension, a 32T single chainring, and Schwalbe Nobby Nic 29 x 2.25″ tyres (excellent for muddy terrain, wrong choice for my first Veneto Trail because they’re too soft).
BAGS: Ten-litre Roswheel saddlebag, 3-litre Rockbros frame bag, waterproof Roswheel handlebar bag, two bottle cages on the frame with half-litre bottles, 20cm handlebar extension to make room for headlights and Garmin eTrex 35 touch GPS.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My repair kit with a set of Allen keys, chain cutter, scissors, tape clamps, screwdrivers, three inner tubes, and a first aid kit.
Age 41 / Kampfelbach-Bilfingen (Germany)
BIKE: I rode the Veneto Trail on a 2020 Salsa Timberjack Ti, which is also called “Chilli” from my daughter. The bike is rolling on Continental Race King Protection 29 x 2.2″ tubeless tires with DT Swiss XR1650 wheels, RockShox Pike Ultimate 120mm fork, XT drivetrain 32 x 10/51, a Tune Speedneedle Marathon saddle, and King Cage Titanium bottle cages.
BAGS: Ortlieb Frame-Pack Toptube & Ortlieb seat pack 16L, Ortlieb cockpit pack; three litre bottle will be mounted to the fork and the downtube.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I have to travel with my small “Audi bunny” sitting on my handlebar for good luck. A Hilleberg Tarp 5 will serve as my shelter along with a Cumulus X-Lite 200 sleeping bag and a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite sleeping pad. I navigate with Garmin 64s and during the night with Lupine Piko headlamp. To scare cows away from the trail, I use a Spurcycle Bell.
Age 63 / Chiavenna (Italy)
BIKE: My rig is a 2013 Cube Super Competition mounted with aluminum rims, Maxxis Rekon 2.35″ front tyre, Schwalbe Rocket Ron 2.25″ rear tire, SRAM XX1 drivetrain.
BAGS: Two Miss Grape Bud bags, a small top tube bag, and a bigger handlebar bag with Butterfly guns support.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Catlike helmet.
Age 31 / Weyarn, Bavaria (Germany)
BIKE: My first love was and still is the Bombtrack Hook 2. It’s perfect for bikepacking but you can speed up on this fellow as well. I’ll be racing this year’s Further with it too. Tech details are: Conti Terra Speed 42mm tires, 11×42 cassette, 40T chainring (yes, that wasn’t thigh-friendly). For the handlebar, I switched for a Salsa Cowchipper (46cm). Best choice for those MTB trails!
BAGS: For bags, I used the cheapest ones (Topeak), nothing special. I am planning to get the Apidura series next.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Seemed like I was the only one using a saddle stabilizer from Woho. Best purchase! I had the Exposure Lights Toro, the Cumulus Magic 125 sleeping bag, the Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Reg air mat, and the new ventour.eu tent (500g, 1l volume) where you put your bike the other way around in the middle and two people have space to sleep.
Age 57 / Noale (Italy)
BIKE: Specialized Chisel in aluminum, size M with a SRAM SX single chainring 32T sprocket 10-50 Shimano hydraulic braking system with 180-160 discs, 100mm RockShox suspension fork.
BAGS: Apidura 9L saddlebag where I kept the sleeping bag, Blackburn 3.5L frame bag for food and accessories and clothing, Apidura 1L top tube bag for electrical accessories, two Riverside handlebar bottle holders where I stashed bars, gels, three universal bottle holder supports that I placed on a suspension fork for water and under the down tube with a Garmin Burracia for mechanical tools.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Garmin Explore navigator, PEdALED merino clothing.
Age 35 / Berlin (Germany)
BIKE: My rig for this year’s Veneto Trail was a mostly stock 2021 Bombtrack Cale AL. I swapped out the dropper for a rigid seatpost and added my trusty Brooks C17 saddle. The SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed (30T/11-50T) drivetrain provided ample range for all the terrain along the route (which isn’t to say I didn’t still push a fair amount). If I could do it again, I’d replace the chunky 29 x 2.4″ Kenda Hellcat Pro tires for something with less tread, as they were overkill for much of the trail.
BAGS: I ran a mix of loaner bags from Apidura and tried and true Porcelain Rocket bags that have been with me for years, including my original MCA front harness that held my sleeping kit and Mini Slinger that held my camera.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The shining star of this kit was surely the custom little top tube bag that Gaëlle Bojko (who’s easily one of the most inspiring cyclists out there) very kindly made for me just days before I headed to Italy. Also, my titanium Snowpeak spork, as always.
Age 30 / Padua (Italy)
BIKE: A lovely steel Surly Krampus frame equipped with a 120mm RS1 fork, mixed Shimano drivetrain (SLX-XT 1X11 32T/11-50), and Maxxis Agressor and High Roller tyres as you never know if it’s gonna rain.
BAGS: Miss Grape Cluster, Kicking Donkey node, and custom bag that fit the whole frame. 1l of water under the downtube and .7l set to the fork stem.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Garmin Edge 510 for navigation, and a lot of Snickers bars.
Age 45 / De Wijk, Drenthe (Netherlands)
BIKE: My bike of choice is my trusty Trek Stache 9.6 from 2017 with 29” Bontrager Line Pro 40 wheels and a pair of 3” Chupacabra tires (which have seen better times but couldn’t get my hands on a decent replacement). Love the 29 plus wheels because they roll over everything. Normally, I ride the Stache with a Salsa Cowchipper 52cm drop bar, but because of the steep climbs and tricky descents, I switched out the SRAM Force for a SRAM GX group with a 28T in front and an 11-46 cassette in the back and mounted a wide flat bar with some backsweep. The aero bars (Profile Designs T2 in combination with the flip armrests) are super handy to keep the front bag up and away from the wheel and to act as a pizza tray/accessory mount.
BAGS: Up front is an Acepac harness and Bar Bag with a big Exped Drybag that holds the sleeping kit. Frame bag is a self-made roll-top bag with elastic cord closure, which holds a 2 litre water blatter. The rear bag is a Revelate Designs Terrapin. For the small stuff, I have an Acepac Fuel Bag large, Acepac Fat bottle bag for snacks, and a homemade snack bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I planned to camp out in nature every night, so brought a full camping kit with a Dan Durston X-mid 1P tent because there might be some heavy thunderstorms in the night (so no bivy). For warmth, my Enlightened Equipment Revelation is my trusty friend and I packed the Therm-a-Rest Uberlite for the first time. A small ultralight Speedster alcohol stove for unforeseen events and maybe a cup of tea of coffee in the morning. My special item is the Hydrapak Hydrant Tube kit, which is my rinse, spray, and easy drink solution for fun and comfort.
Age 40 / As (Belgium)
BIKE: I rode the Veneto Trail on a Salsa Timberjack Ti with a Rockshox SID SL 100mm fork, custom wheelset with SON Dynamo hub and Duke Lucky Jack rims, and Schwalbe Racing Ralph/Racing Ray 29 x 2.35″ tyres. The drivetrain is a SRAM XX1 crank with 32T Absolute Black oval chainring and e-thirteen Helix R 9-50 cassette (smooth shifting and perfect for the variety of terrain and the power in my legs). The bike is finished with SQ-Lab saddle, 16deg backsweep handlebar and inner-bar ends to provide some comfort and as little pain as possible.
BAGS: Salsa EXP framebag, Revelate MagTank 2000, and Revelate feedbag (attached to the frame, not the handlebar). Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion harness (2017 version) upgraded with a Wildcat tapered drybag 10L (saves 100gram over the standard drybag) which holds my sleeping bag/mat/pillow. On the handlebar, I have an ultralight Wildcat DeWidget Strapdeck Large with G-Funk bar clamps and a Revelate Polecat bag fixed with Voile straps to keep my toiletry and fresh clothing separate. I have a Salsa Nickless cage on the top tube, kept in place by King Cage Universal Support Bolts. And a custom Broadfork bags downtube bag that holds my Nemo Apollo tent.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Big focus was spent over the last years on a light, compact, waterproof, rattle-free, weight-centralized on the frame (as little weight on the handlebar as possible) and a rock-solid system to keep me going on even the rockiest descents. This makes the bike very enjoyable on technical terrain. On longer trips, I can put more stuff in the dry bags in front or back. On shorter trips, I can leave the tent at home, and use the downtube bag for waterproof clothing or other stuff. Very versatile system, while always remaining rock solid. I also carry a Camelbak Chase bike vest with a 2-liter water bladder.
Age 39 / Cologne (Germany)
BIKE: My bike is a 2018 Bombtrack Beyond XPD with a 2×10 drivetrain, 26/42 chainrings, an 11-14 cassette, WTB Ranger 29 x 2.25″ tires, Ritchey VentureMax handlebars, and a dynamo hub with Supernova and Sinewave lights.
BAGS: For this trip, I packed my gear into an Apidura Expedition Saddle Pack 14L, Apidura Expedition Handlebar Pack 14L, Apidura Food Pouches, and a Black Heron Fabrix custom made full frame bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: MSR Carbon Reflex Tent, Sea to summit Ul Mat, Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bag, Wahoo Roam.
Age 48 / Ilmmunster, Bavaria (Germany)
BIKE: I rode the Rennstahl 853 MTB TRAIL from a Bavarian Bike Builder producing steel Bikes. The bike features Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.25″ tires on Rennstahl carbon rims and Tune Hubs with an asymmetrical rear structure, Hope Tech 3E4 brakes, and a Shimano 1×12 XT drivetrain.
BAGS: Apidura Dropper Saddle Bag, Apidura Racing Top Tube and Food Pouch, and a Revelate Design Sweet Roll.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: SQ Lab Innerbarends for different hand positions on the bike.
Age 65 / Portogruaro (Italy)
BIKE: Giant ToughRoad SLR 1 with Shimano Deore 38/24 crankset, Sunrace 11/46 cassette, Schwalbe Racing Ralph TR 2.25″ front and 2.15″ rear tyres, and Shimano SPD XT pedals.
BAGS: Ortlieb and Apidura.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A big thanks to my shoes, Northwave Enduro, which saved me in Forcella Ambrizzola and many other critical points!
Age 58 / Tombolo (Italy)
BIKE: For trails like this one, I use a front-suspended 2016 Scapin Oracle MTB, size S. Double chainring 24-38 (10-speed). Stan’s ZTR Crest rims and Maxxis tubeless tires. Deore XT derailleur.
BAGS: I used a 13-litre saddle bag from Miss Grape, Miss Grape Internode as frame bag, a small top tube bag for my mobile phone and coins. A Miss Grape Tendril as handlebar pack and two Miss Grape Buds for water bottles.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Garmin 1030 navigator and Garmin eTrex 20x. I packed a bivy bag and rainproof shorts. I did not bring a sleeping bag or a mattress. Front lights from Specialized with power bank charging ports and a small light on the fork plus 2 red lights on the back (1 on a bag under the saddle and one on the bike frame). I also had 2 small lights (one white and one red) on the helmet.
Age 44 / Cologne (Germany)
BIKE: I always prefer to count on the proven, so I rode my beloved Bombtrack HOOK ADV from 2018. For the Veneto Trail terrain, I converted it to two-by with stuff I had lying around without the need to buy any new stuff (that’s always my first approach!). I was using a Microshift BS-M10 bar-end shifter for the front, SRAM NX 28 / 36 chainrings, mounted to a Bombtrack “Lyer” crank served by a Microshift Advent 2x front derailleur and an old SRAM 10-speed Rival in the back. For pedals, I used Cass’ old Ritcheys he once forgot at my place. For the wheelset, I drew on a HUNT 4-season and Teravail Rutlands in 27.5 x 2.1″ size. In combination with the bike’s MRP Baxter suspension fork, it offered maximum control and comfort in the challenging parts and pretty rough terrain of the trail.
BAGS: A wild mix I’ve amassed over the years. Based on a set of longtime friends from Apidura, I added a Restrap fuel stem bag and Cass’ old Oveja Negra top tube bag. My personal highlight among the bags has probably been the Tailfin rack, actually the only new gear on the bike, which I used for the very first time. It gained huge appreciation (alongside its practicability) as my daily neckroll/pillow at night.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A Charge “Knife” seat, Ritchey WCS seatpost and stem, Satori handlebar, Garmin Edge 520, and for sleeping I didn’t bring anything too fancy: a LACD Bivy bag light, Forclaz tarp, and a Penguin mat and sleeping bag.
Age 33 / Turin (Italy)
BIKE: I participated in the VT21 with my super-proven Salsa Cutthroat 2018 equipped with Continental RaceKing Protection 2.2″ tires on DT Swiss XR361 rims with SON28 front dynamo hub and Hope rear hub. The transmission is the real highlight of the assembly, SRAM Etap Force AXS road controls combined with SRAM X01 AXS MTB rear derailleur, Absolute Black 34T oval chainring and SRAM X01 10-52 cassette. The range of ratios allows me to climb everywhere without straining too much, even when I’m tired.
BAGS: The masterpiece is a custom waterproof Rusjan framebag. In the front, I have an integrated VAP Cycling system that incorporates a front drybag with a pair of convenient extensions for flatter transfers. To hydrate, I use a Camelbak Chase vest with the most important things inside (Spot, money, documents).
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A Therm-a-Rest Neo Air mattress with a Sea To Summit liner guarantee me the right comfort without running the risk of staying asleep for too long! My travel companion eTrex 30x guides me on the road, helped during the night by the Klite Ultra V2 dynamo light. The Redshift stem helps me keep direction when my arms are tired.
Age 56 / Parma (Italy)
BIKE: Locomotive Westlander with 2.2″ Pirelli tubeless tyres. I use a double 22/42 crankset and a 36 as a more agile ratio at the back. Mechanical brakes.
BAGS: Complete set of Apidura bags (frame, saddle, handlebar, top tube).
Age 30 / Verona (Italy)
BIKE: I took part in the Veneto Trail with a 2019 Cannondale F-Si Hi-Mod. The bike had Maxxis Forekaster 2.35″ tyres on the front and Maxxis Aspen 2.25″ on the rear. Shimano XTR 1×12 drivetrain with 34T chainringg on the front and 10-51 cassette in back.
BAGS: I used one size L Ortlieb saddle bag, one 15L Ortlieb handlebar bag, and one 4L ortlieb frame bag. In addition, a 0.75 L Topeak top tube bag and two 950 ml water bottles.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I used a Naturhike Mongar 2 tent (2 kg), a blow-up sleeping pad (500 g), and a Ferrino Duvat 800 sleeping bag (800 g). For navigation, I used a Garmin 530.
Age 30 / Padova (Italy)
BIKE: Mondraker Podium, front suspended (RockShox Sid), 32T ring with Sram Eagle XX1 cassette. DRC 29” wheels.
BAGS: Handlebar-Pack M and Seat-Pack 16.5 from Ortlieb, Zefal 5L frame pack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Two water bottles and some gear on the second bottle cage on the frame.
Marco van Veen
Age 51 / Nijmegen (Netherlands)
BIKE: I rode (and enjoyed) the Veneto Trail with a Sonder Broken Road Titanium. The bike features a Lauf TR Boost Fork, ENVE Wheels with Rocket Ron 27,5 x 3” tyres, SRAM GX 10-52 with a 28T chainring, Shimano Deore 4-piston brakes with Calfer Rotors, and a Brooks B17 saddle for the long days on the road.
BAGS: The bags are a Revelate Sweetroll front roll with an Egress Pocket, Acepack medium fuel bag, Custom Alpkit Framebag, and PDW Bindle Rack with a Revelate Terrapin Drybag. Two Zefal Magnum 1 liter bottles kept me hydrated.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: For camping, I used the Big Agnes Tree Wire Bivy and a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite mattress with an As Tucas Sestrals Quilt. The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Mini pump was great (again) after long days of cycling, I have been testing a beta 20ml ethanol stove with a small titanium pan from Bikepackingshop (Netherlands), which worked well. The Garmin Etrex 32x showed me the way.
Age 34 / Oderzo (Italy)
BIKE: For the Veneto Trail adventure, I used my full-suspension XC-marathon bike, a 2019 Canyon Lux. It has a RaceFace Crank with 34T chainring and XTR 12-speed rear derailleur, FOX34 Performance Elite SC fork, FOX Performance rear shock, and DT Swiss XRC1250 carbon wheels. Plus, it has a KS LEV hydraulic seatpost. I didn’t modify the general trim of the bike, except for some more pressure for the fork and rear shock because of the additional weight of the bags.
BAGS: I decided to put two bottles on the frame, so there was no room for a frame bag. I’ve used a 10L handlebar bag with an extender, a 9L saddlebag, and a smaller bag between the frame and the seat tube. I also had a small rucksack but it was not fully loaded to avoid fatigue on my back.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Being my first bikepacking adventure, I decided to stop for the nights in some hostels during the trail, so I didn’t have specific equipment to spend nights under the stars. Anyway, I was equipped to travel in the dark as needed, with lights on the handlebar and helmet. To follow the track, I used a Garmin eTrex GPS. I’m a follower of the “less is more” theory.
Age 27 / Linz (Austria)
BIKE: I rode the Veneto Trail on a Rondo Ruut ST1. The bike wore a pair of Maxxis Race TT ” tires and had a modified 1×11 drivetrain with a 42T chainring. One other modification is my Ritchey Venture Max gravel bar with armrests on on it.
BAGS: My food pouch is from Revelate Designs but most of my setup is from Restrap’s Race line.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My food pouch. Carried all my beer & Pringles. And the WoHo saddle bag stabilizer.
Age 40 / Noale (Italy)
BIKE: I rode the Veneto Trail with a Surly Karate Monkey 2021 XL High Fiber Green mounted with a SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 12 V with 32T crankset and 10-50 cassette in rainbow finish. The bike has Shimano XTR M9100 brakes, DT Swiss XMC 1501 carbon rims, and a Schwalbe Racing Ralph tyre on the rear and a Rocket Ron tyre on the front. Brooks England Cambium All Weather C17 saddle.
BAGS: I had a complete set of Revelate Designs bags: 1 Ranger frame bag, 1 Gas tank, 2 Mountain feedbags, 1 Shrew, and 1 Polecat. All of this plus an Ortlieb dry bag (7L).
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Spurcycle Compact Bell; 2 aluminum thermal bottles (Klean Kanteen and WD Lifestyle; Garmin Edge 1000. For lighting, I used a Gaciron 5000 mAh light (1600 lumens) and a Pezl Actik Core headlamp.
Still feel like 29 / Berlin (Germany)
BIKE: I rode a modified 2021 Bombtrack Beyond+ ADV set up with a drop bar with 1×11 SRAM Rival shifter and a 12-speed Eagle rear derailleur, made possible with an upgrade kit from Ratio. I ran a 32T with 10-52 cassette and 29” x 3.0” WTB Ranger tires.
BAGS: Apidura Expedtion front roll (9L) with bivy bag, mat, and sleeping bag; Apidura Expedtion seat pack (9L) for clothes; Apidura Expedtion top tube bag for cables, sunscreen, money; Apidura Backcountry full frame bag for tools, spare parts, tube, food, and first aid stuff.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Little coffee tea bags from Vote Coffee in Berlin for the daily shot. And Clem (from Bombtrack) for all the bike first aid repairs.
Age 46 / Veggiano (Italy)
BIKE: My bike is a Wilier Triestina Jaroon with 650B rims with 27.5 x 2” Maxxis tyres.
BAGS: I have an old version of the Miss Grape Cluster as saddle bag, a Miss Grape Internode as frame, bag plus a small top tube bag by Deuter.
Age 49 / Padua (Italy)
BIKE: I did the Veneto Trail using a 2020 Salsa Fargo with a steel frame and carbon fork. Tyres are 2.1″ Vittoria Mezcal, SRAM Apex 11-speed drivetrain, and SRAM hydraulic brakes. Brooks B17 saddle.
BAGS: Tailor-made Kicking Donkey bags set up, except for the small handlebar bag that broke on the first descent from Monte Grappa. Two Elite Syssa 0.75 litre flasks, one mounted on the handlebars with a Decathlon fabric flask holder, and one mounted on the fork.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I slept in hotels and B&Bs, so no tent or sleeping bag. I used a Garmin Edge 530; I confirm a good visibility track while driving and a long-lasting integrated battery.
Age 52 / Baone (Italy)
BIKE: Scapin Geko full-suspensions with a 12-speed one-by drivetrain.
BAGS: 12L saddlebag, Deuter Race Air 10 backpack, Deuter Streamer 3L fluid bag, triangular frame bag from M-Wave.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My very ergonomic and functional backpack has never given me back problems. The triangular bag has the possibility to expand the volume. For the shape of my frame, it fits perfectly. The use of the saddlebag did not allow me to use the dropper post. I will consider whether to opt for a handlebar bag next time.
Age 38 / Munich (Germany)
BIKE: I rode the Veneto Trail on a 2016 Niner One 9 RDO. The bike came originally as a single-speed setup, modified with a 1×11 SRAM XX1 crankset and drivetrain with a 34T chainring, Stan’s Notubes ZTR wheels with Hope Tech 2 hubs, and a pair of Continental Race King 2.2” tires. One other modification is a Formula Cura brake set in 2019.
BAGS: My bag setup is an Ortlieb handlebar pack combined with an Ortlieb seat pack. I am also running an Ortlieb Accessory pack on top of my handlebar pack and a Revelate Mountain Feedbag, which can fit an additional bidon.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A North Face Trek bivy tent with a Cumulus Lite Line 200 sleeping bag and a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite mat. I also can’t do without my Cocoon Travel Sheet and my Rapha Cargo bibs.
Mattia De Marchi
Age 30 / Noale (Italy)
BIKE: I have been using 3T bikes for years, and in the last year I’ve been riding a 3T RaceMax mounted with Campagnolo Ekar 1×13 (38T X 10-44) and 27.5” Fulcrum Rapid Red 3 wheels. I love big tyres, so I mounted Pirelli M 50mm gravel tyres. Probably if there were bigger ones, I would mount those. Fizik Argo Terra saddle, Elite bottle cage with side exit. Lights are from Exposure.
BAGS: Miss Grape bags: a Cluster saddle bag (7L), an Internode frame bag, a Moon handlebar bag in the front, a Bud, and an Internode Road version in the top tube.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: For navigation, I used a Garmin 1030 plus, a great product, and the battery life is a must for this kind of events. For the VT, due to the uncertain weather conditions, I had a bivy in the front bag (Moon), a rain jacket and a power bank in the frame bag, and a down jacket, wool jersey, and spare socks in the saddle bag. I always bring attack glue and big roll of electrical tape with me; believe me, you can fix anything. Even a broken handlebar… see my Atlas Mountain Race 2020! I always say you have to bring with you the will to struggle and to suffer. Struggling and enjoying the landscapes, the solitude, and the experience of trails like this one is something you cannot understand until you try it.
Age 35 / Berlin (Germany)
BIKE: I rode the 2021 Veneto Trail on my beloved Bombtrack Beyond Plus. I was super lucky to inherit the frame and some parts from Franzi from Tales on Tyres and build it up with Dave and Peter at Guten Biken in München. SRAM 1×11, purple Hope Pro 4 hubs, and well-worn Maxxis Rekon 2.8” tires let the bike climb like a loaded donkey and sound like a colony of angry cicadas on the downhill.
BAGS: Main bags are Blackburn front roll, Blackburn frame bag, Apidura top tube bag, and an Ortlieb seat pack. However, the most important cargo is carried in the dual snack/bottle bags from Neza of What Happened Outdoors.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Gotta be my brand spanking new Vans TRK Slipons, as recommended by my fashion mentor Konstantin of Drust Cycles. Perfect for any terrain, maximum ventilation, a little bit of toe protection plus they match the pink Brezel valve cap Fabi made!
Age 40 / Borgo Valsugana (Italy)
BIKE: I did the Veneto Trail on a Sonder Broken Road with a 100mm RockShox Reba fork. The bike features a pair of Vittoria Mezcal 2.25” tires, a 1×12 drivetrain with a 30T chainring, a pair of GP3 Ergon Grips, and a Brooks Cambium Carved saddle.
BAGS: The best piece of my bag setup is the fantastic Vap Cycling Butterfly 2 with a large Vap Cycling front bag. I am also running an Alpkit frame bag and a handlebar bottle cage.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I carried an eTrex 30 for navigation, a Cumulus sleeping bag, and a Therm-a-Rest inflatable mattress.
Age 48 / Heiloo (Netherlands)
BIKE: I rode my 2018 Trek 1120 with new wheels (Hugo 52 rims on a SON dynamo hub and a DT Swiss 350 rear hub). Tires are stock 29 x 3” Bontrager Chupacabras. DMR Vault pedals (like all my other bikes, yes, even my gravel bike). The drivetrain is also the standard Shimano one, the dropper has not been changed yet, although I don’t really like it (the dropper is a bit sticky and the lever is shiny so it reflects the sun into your eyes). Light and USB Power provided by Busch + Müller Lumotec IQ2 Luxos U Front Light (not the smallest / lightest, but a lot of light and USB power so I can charge while riding my bike).
BAGS: I have a Rogue Panda custom frame bag (very happy with this one, not really a cheap option if you live in Europe), Osprey 2.5L water bag inside the frame bag), a set of dry sacks in the rear. Revelate Designs Sweetroll on the frontrack. Two one-liter Nalgene bottle in the Salsa Anything Cages on the fork. Under the downtube, I have a Sigg 1.5L water bottle in a Santos cage.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I packed an MSR Hubba Hubba tent, Vango Venom 200 sleeping bag, Exped Downmat UL 7 M (without the pump sack, as this failed recently), Primus Omnilite, navigating via a Garmin Edge 1000.
Age 48 / Hamburg (Germany)
BIKE: I rode a 2018 Brother Cycles Big Bro 2018, which I bought from Suicycle Hamburg when the frame was on sale. I haven’t spent too many kms on this bike so far, actually just a few shorter bikepacking trips in Denmark with the kids, but it felt good on my journey. It’s equipped with a rather simple SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain (30/11-50 ratio) but I opted for the GripShift shifters because I’m used to them from my former bike (a 26” Cannondale hardtail) and I like the ergonomics. Pedals are Shimano XT PD-T8000 w/ new pins (worth it!). I wanted the wheels to be very traditional: XT Hubs (6-Hole, QR), Mavic rims, DT spokes. Wolfpack tires in 29 x 2,25″ (front: Trail; rear: Cross) which I had set up tubeless just a few days before the start. Brakes: Avid BB7, which are sufficient for my style of travelling. I use an SQLab saddle (model no. 611, 16cm) on all of my bikes and I am totally satisfied with it. The Paul Components QR allows for some lowering of the seat when it gets rough. On the front end, I run a handlebar by SQLab, and the 90mm stem is an old Bombtrack one from another bike.
BAGS: As always, I put my reliable Ortlieb Seatpack (L) and the Handlebar roll (also L) with accessory pack on my bike. I use a Woho seat bag stabilizer which very much prevents swaying of the seat bag. Two Decathlon stem bags (sold as “textile bottle holder”), two Deuter energy bags for snacks, and an additional bottle. Spare parts in a tool/storage bottle.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Well, everything has to work, highlight or not… In particular, I fell in love with my new shoes, the Shimano SH-XM-900. And like my trusted Gore Bike Wear Power Trail MTB Jacket, and for the colder parts, my Simond down jacket.
Age 42 / Borgo Valsugana (Italy)
BIKE: I rode the Veneto Trail on a Sonder Broken Road with a 100mm RockShox Reba fork. The bike features a pair of Vittoria Mezcal 2.25” tires, a 1×12 drivetrain with a 30T chainring, a pair of extra chunky ESI Grips, and a WTB Pure saddle.
BAGS: I’m running a large Ortlieb front bag, an Alpkit frame bag, and a handlebar bottle cage.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I carried an eTrex 30x for navigation, a Cumulus sleeping bag, and a Therm-a-Rest inflatable mattress.
Age 30 / Linz (Austria)
BIKE: I rode a 2021 Salsa Fargo 2021 with Teravail Sparwood, 29 x 2.2” tires, SRAM Apex 1 rear derailleur, SRAM PG 1130, 11-42T cassette, 32T Stylo 6K DUB crankset, SRAM Apex 1 shifter, and TRP Spyre-C 160mm rotors.
BAGS: A Revelate “Ranger” Frame Bag as the Centerpiece with an Apidura handlebar bag and saddle bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My blow-up mattress and sleeping bag (Mountain Equipment) fixed with cages, Adiletten on my saddle bag (never without my Adidas slippers), and Wahoo Element for navigation.
Age 49 / Fidenza (Italy)
BIKE: I participated in the Veneto Trail with a 2019 Cannondale Scalpel with a Lefty Ocho front fork. The bike had Schwalbe Racing Ralph (rear) and Racing Ray (front) 2.25″ tyres. The drivetrain is SRAM 12-speed with a 32T front sprocket and 10-50 rear cassette. The wheels are DT Swiss carbon with a Carbon-Ti front hub.
BAGS: My setup consists of an 11L Ortlieb seat-pack M; a 9L Ortlieb handlebar bag S; Ortlieb cockpit-pack on the top tube, and a 2L Force water backpack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A bivy bag served as a shelter in case of emergency. Navigation provided by a Garmin Edge 830.
Age 55 / Arnhem (Netherlands)
BIKE: I did the Veneto Trail with three of my mates on different bikes. My do-it-all bike for the last 8 years is a steel Singular Swift with rigid fork. I use it for bikepacking, single-speed events, and training. The drivetrain is a 34T chainring in front with a 17T on the back connected to a Rohlloff hub, which gives me a small enough gear to conquer the steep slopes on the tour. I fitted a new pair of Vittoria Barzo 2.25” tires for the rough terrain. I use a Salsa handlebar with Ergon grips with the bar ends and ride an SQlabs 610 saddle. I rely on an old Garmin GPS map 60 for navigation.
BAGS: The most important thing to me is that all bags can withstand the forces of a rocky descent. So, in front we have the Ortlieb Handlebar-Pack with all the camping gear. On the back is a PDW Bindle rack with Revelate Terrapin 14L bag. The top tank and food pouches are from Acepack. The framebag is a DIY one inspired by a post on this site. I taped two additional bottle cages to the fork and have a 2L bladder as an evening back-up in the framebag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The Rohloff hub, which has never failed in 18 years. Therm-a-Rest quilt, no sleeping bag for me. And for evening rides I use a Gloworm light on the handle bar with external battery. And off course my shirt is flannel because “Flannel Macht Schnell!”
Filippo Dal Corso
Age 41 / Mira (Italy)
BIKE: 2018 Salsa Cutthroat with a 2×11 SRAM Force and an X0 crankset with 39-24 chainrings and an 11-34 Ultegra cassette. Front RockShox Reba 100 fork.
BAGS: Blackburn frame bag and 10L Topeak saddle bag. Sleeping bag, sleeping mat, Ferrino bivy. Two water bottles plus 1L water bag in the frame bag. Front, rear, and helmet lights.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Garmin eTrex 35 and Garmin Edge 520 plus.
More Veneto Trail rigs
Last but not least, find another batch of Veneto Trail rigs for which we have photos but didn’t receive detailed descriptions from the riders. You can swipe through all 19 of those in the gallery below:
Registration for the 2022 edition of the Veneto Trail unsupported bike adventure opens on January 1st, 2022. Learn more about the route and event over at VenetoTrail.eu.
Make sure to dig into these related articles for more from Italy's incredible Veneto region...
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