Rigs of the 2022 Silk Road Mountain Race (SRMR)
The Silk Road Mountain Race is a fixed-route, single-stage, unsupported cycling race through the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. For the third year in a row, we’re back with details on over 70 rigs that will be on the course for this year’s event. Find them all here, complete with bag and gear highlights…
Now in its fourth year, the 2022 Silk Road Mountain Race (SRMR) sees some updates, including a slightly longer course and more climbing. There are also more fast-rolling sections and fewer hike-a-bikes, so it shouldn’t be significantly harder than the previous versions (which isn’t to say it’s not already extremely challenging). This year’s edition will follow a 1,895-kilometre route with roughly 34,500 meters of elevation gain. It will again take riders through the remote mountain landscapes of the Tian Shan range in eastern Kyrgyzstan but will also enter into the south of the country. One of the more notable changes is the new start and finish location. This year, riders will line up and start the race in the southern city of Osh and finish in the capital, Bishkek.
With the help of the riders, we’ve gathered details on over 70 rigs lining up for the grand depart on Friday. We’ve included details on each rider’s bike, bags, and other highlights, as well as their age and hometown. The race starts at midnight on Friday and finishes at midnight on August 27th, giving riders the best possible chance to get up and over Jiptik Pass, the highest point in any SRMR to date at 4,185 metres (13,730 feet).
Check out the rigs below and then head over to the 2022 Silk Road Mountain Race event page to follow along live later this week.
Age 24 / Nijmegen (Netherlands)
BIKE: I’ll be riding on my secondhand Trek 8000. I bought this bike as good as new for an absolute bargain. It might be a bit outdated, but it has 8cm of suspension and the Deore XT triple drivetrain that can take me anywhere. Moreover, the bike has hydraulic disc brakes, and all for less than 300 euros. I replaced the stock Bontrager tyres with Conti Race King Protection 2.2” tyres, added aero bars, and replaced the saddle, but otherwise it’s still original.
BAGS: My favourite bag is the custom-made Detour Studio framebag for all the small necessities. The Ortlieb saddlebag is carrying my clothes, while the Topeak Frontloader contains my sleeping equipment. The Vaude bags on the forks contain food and rain clothing.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The old-school 26″ tyres will make the ride just slightly more challenging.
Boros Balázs (Mókus)
Age 40 / Kismaros (Hungary)
BIKE: Hungarian 29er custom-made steel frame (Hunor brand) with a Bombtrack BPC fork. DT Swiss rims (XM 481) and front hub (350), a Rohloff speedhub at the back. Shimano XT crank and BB, TRP Spyke brakes with 180-size rotors, and Avid SD7 levers. 2.35″ Vittoria Mezcal tires and a Brooks saddle for comfort. I don’t have a dynamo hub (because of the terrain), I’ll use a Knog Trail front light, and a Knog rear light.
BAGS: I have my own brand of bikepacking bags, Mokush. Some of the bags were made by me, some by my lovely colleague, Judit. I have two extra size feed bags, a roll top frame bag, top tube bags, two dry bags for the fork, and one as a seat bag. I’ll carry my filtered water in three bottles, one on the downtubes and two at the back.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: For the night I’ll have a down quilt made by me, a Klymit insulated pad, and a Force Ten Helium Ul 1 tent. I’ll also be carrying an Etrex 20x for navigation. In case of stormy weather, I’ll use my Endura GV500 rain jacket and pants. I’ll take a gas stove as well.
Age 47 / Bristol, Connecticut (USA)
BIKE: Specialized Epic Evo Comp with a Fox 34 front fork suspension. SRAM Eagle GS mechanical shifting with a 36T front chainring and 10-52T cassette. Wheels were custom built with a dynamo hub by Chris and Nate at Elevation Wheels. Rims are Nextie Carbon. Tires are Vittoria Mezcal 2.1″. Handlebar setup is Baryak Expedition SL custom setup with a harness system.
BAGS: Rear bag is a Revelate Terrapin 14L, frame bag is the Revelate full-suspension bag, Jerrycan, and MagTank 2000 top tube bag. Top that with two feed bags and an Egress in the front. My handlebar bag is from Baryak, Talon harness, and Nano bag with quick-release magnetic clips.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Baryak Expedition SL setup with harness. The top of the bar setup has plenty of space for custom mounts and electronics. kLite bikepacking OG light setup with dynamo. Sleep gear consists of a super light OR Bivy and Big Agnes sleeping bag with Sea to Summit sleeping pad. Last but not least, the wheels—awesome, super responsive, durable build with Nextie carbon DT Swiss 350 hub in the rear.
Age 40 / Bavaria (Germany)
BIKE: I’ll be riding a 2021 Specialized Chisel that I bought as a complete bike and sold all the parts except the frame. And then I did what you probably shouldn’t do with a bike for the Silk Road Mountain Race: lots of upgrades. SRAM Red AXS 10×52 cassette with a CeramicSpeed upgrade for the OSPW and the bottom bracket, Cane Creek eeWings titanium cranks, Wolf Tooth 32T chainring, Roval Control Wheels with a SON Dynamo hub up front, Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge TC 700x55mm tires, RockShox SID SL Ultimate fork, S-Works Power Mirror saddle.
BAGS: Everything is geared towards practicality and not necessarily towards aesthetics and bling-bling. Restrap top tube bag, Restrap small rear top tube bag, Restrap frame bag, Tailfin AeroPack Alloy rack, a waterproof bag with my bivy sack attached under my aero bars with Tailfin straps. Bidons will be also mounted on the fork.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The Sinewave Beacon light on the front is absolutely luminous with a simultaneous charging function for my power bank. The Hope RX4+ Caliper front and rear brakes are killer and perfect for such a setup. The BikeYoke Dropper Post is not necessary for everyone, but I am very tall and need a low center of mass for fast downhill rides.
Age 41 / Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan)
BIKE: I’ll be riding the 2022 Silk Road Mountain Race on a GT Avalanche. The bike features a pair of WTB Ranger 2.25″ tires, a standard 1×10 drivetrain with a 32T chainring, and WTB SX wheels.
BAGS: I am using a Rockbros 14L handlebar bag, full frame bag, 17L saddle bag, and stem bags.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I am using a regular tent with an inflatable sleeping pad. I’ll also be carrying a Garmin eTrex 20 for navigation.
Age 58 / Parma (Italy)
BIKE: My bike is a 2018 Salsa Fargo set up with a SRAM Apex 2×10 drivetrain with hydraulic brakes, and Maxxis Crossmark 2 29×2.1″ tires.
BAGS: Apidura 17L saddle bag, 17L handlebar bag, top tube bag and half frame bag, fork bags with Gorilla cages + 1.8L down tube bag, plus two small feed bags.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: SON dynamo lighting system that also allows devices to be recharged. I will have a Mammut one-person tent, Therm-a-Rest sleeping bag and sleeping pad, and bivvy bag. Garmin 1030, eTrex 30, Gpsmap 66i, and an inReach.
Age 37 / Brooklyn, New York (USA)
BIKE: For the 2022 edition of the SRMR I will be riding a ‘22 Kona Unit X hardtail with 100mm Marzocchi Z2 Bomber fork. Maxxis Ikon 2.35” tire in the rear with WI XMR hub, 1×12 XO1 Eagle 10-52 paired with M30 cranks and 32T Wolf Tooth elliptical chainring. On the front is a Maxxis Rekon 2.4” with a Stan’s Flow rim and a SON28 dynamo hub wired to a Sinewave Reactor to keep the batteries topped up between resupply towns. Ergon Ergon SM Pro seat on a PNW Components Cascade dropper for ripping those sketchy descents.
BAGS: Storage is designed around a custom roll top full-frame pack and double-ended front roll sewn by Yellowbird Threadworks (thank you Brian!). Downtube bag by DirtBags and massive JPaks Farva top tube bag for quick access to essentials. Tumbleweed rack in the rear with a SealLine Purge 5L for full range of the dropper and 2 large Tailfin cargo cages for expandable storage capacity. Rockgeist Bar Jam, Honeypots and Horton complete the setup.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Running the new Wren Sports Perseverance bars with modified Zipp Vuka armrests. Most comfortable “aerobars” I’ve ever used and feature a built in loop to mount a Garmin Edge 830 and Fenix BC21R v3 front and center. 6 MicroUSB chargeable 18650 batteries that power the headlamp and front light also double as cache batteries via a Fenix ARE-X11.
Age 58 / Efringen-Kirchen (Germany)
BIKE: I will be riding the SRMR with my custom Bice Ramingo hardtail from Italian frame maker Dario Colombo. The bike features a SRAM Eagle AXS 1×12 drivetrain with a 30T chainring, and 10-50T in the back. It has a RockShox Reba RL 100 suspension fork, Cane Creek eeSilk+ Suspension Seatpost, and a SON Dynamo hub up front.
BAGS: I have a wild mixture of bags. In the back, I will use a Tailfin Aero Pack with two mini panniers attached. The custom frame pack is made by Gramm Tourpacking, and the top tube bag is from Restrap. The stem bags are Revelate Designs Mountain Feed bags. On the handlebar, there is a Butterfly system from VAP Cycling with wings and bar ends. There is a dry bag attached for my camping gear. The suspension fork has two cargo cages attached for carrying water bottles.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I will be using my iPhone and the Komoot app for navigation. As a backup, I have the Outdooractive app on my phone and the Workoutdoors app on my Apple watch. As I will be riding very slow, I’ll also be carrying camping gear with me, which includes a Nordisk Telemark 1 person tent, a Therm-a-Rest Hyperion 20 sleeping bag, and a Hikenture sleeping pad.
Age 37 / (Australia)
BIKE: My bike is a Salsa Fargo 29er mountain bike. It runs a 14-speed Rohloff hub, Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge 700 x 55mm tyres, Spank carbon wheels, and a SON dynamo hub setup.
BAGS: I use all Revelate Designs bags, which includes a top tube bag, 14L saddle bag, full frame bag, and a handlebar roll.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The 14-speed Rohloff gear hub, custom-made T2 aero bar setup, the Klite charging system and light, and the bike. It’s just a great rig.
Age 35 / Truckee, California (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be pedalling an Ibis Dv9 with an Eagle drivetrain, Shimano Deore XT brakes, and Berd carbon wheels. The 120mm fork and Ergon grips and saddle will hopefully keep things comfy.
BAGS: I have a mixture of bags I sewed myself with some Revelate Designs and Oveja Negra bags to fill in the ones I find too hard to make.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The UGQ quilt and Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo will keep me warm at night and are still super light. The rope spokes on the wheels are just plain cool. I also have a patch on my stem bag of a surfer running away from a bear to remind me things could be worse.
Marlow, Buckinghamshire (United Kingdom)
BIKE: I’ll be riding the SRMR on a Sonder Broken Road with a Lauf fork and eeSilk seatpost. Shifting is taken care of by a SRAM Eagle GX drivetrain featuring a 28T AbsoluteBlack oval chainring to keep me spinning (?!) up those brutal gradients. Up front, I have a SON dynamo / Stans Arch CB7 wheel built by fellow racer Rich from keeppedalling.co.uk and at the back a Hunt All Mountain wheel. I’ll be swapping the fast-rolling Mezcals for more durable Maxxis Crossmarks before the start. The cockpit features SQlab Innerbarends and extra chunky ESI grips.
BAGS: I’m running an almost full set of Apidura bags plus an Alpkit custom frame bag. For hydration, I have a 1L bottle in the frame and I’ll wear a 1.5L CamelBak.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: An Outdoor Research Interstellar bivvy and PHD down bag will keep me warm at night and I’ll be carrying an eTrex 30 for navigation. A kLite Bikepacker Ultra and a Silva headlamp will light the dark Kyrgyz nights. No stove this time, so just surviving on a diet of Snickers and Sprite.
Age 36 / Singapore, Taipei, and Toronto
BIKE: I’ll be riding the SRMR on a Salsa Ti Timberjack. The bike is set up with an XTR 1×12 speed drivetrain, Vittoria Mezcal 29 x 2.3″ tires, and SQlab 612 saddle, grips, and inner bar ends.
BAGS: My bags are Apidura on the back and frame, with Six Rolling Wheels (Singapore made!) feed bags, and a Woho harness up front. I’m based in Asia and wanted to represent some of the great manufacturers and shops supporting bikepacking in Taiwan and Singapore, like my friends at Pineconeworks and R3 Bikes.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’ve approached this setup with “three can’t fail” systems—my navigation, wheels, and water. To keep my GPS charged, I’m running a Rasta Sinewave Beacon from R3 cycles in Singapore and a SON dynamo. For wheels, I’m running Vittoria tubeless inserts and packing a robust repair kit. For water I’ve got capacity for up to six liters (Apidura 3L Bladder + bottles) for long stretches, plus a filter and purification tablets. Remember to keep your filter warm at altitude, otherwise ice will ruin it. I’m also running a -6°C rated Therm-a-Rest down quilt with a light OR bivy and hexamid tarp. For clothing, my highlight is a Gore Shakedry H5 thermally insulated hiking jacket.
Age 26 / Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada)
BIKE: 2020 Salsa Warbird GRX 815 Di2. Running 2.1″/1.9″ tires. This setup is a little underbikey given that most people are opting for MTBs, but I do a lot of underbiking at home so feel confident in my gear choice. I also don’t own a suitable MTB and come from a road background, so agressive drop-bar bikes are where I’m most comfortable.
BAGS: Salsa EXP Cradle up front carrying my sleep system, down jacket, and some clothes. A couple of Apidura top tube packs for quick access small items. An Apidura backcountry half framepack for easy access to rain jacket/pants, first aid kit, and other small odds and ends. My Apidura expedition saddle pack has my stove, spare kit, and layers in it. Finally, an Apidura downtube bag has most of my tools/backup parts. I also have a couple of snack bags up front for food.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: This bike is my favorite bike I’ve ever ridden, so the whole thing is a highlight for me. Particularly the hot pink paint job. Di2 seems like a controversial choice for bikepacking but it’s yet to fail me and allows for me to really pack my bar roll full since I don’t need to worry about lever throw. My Velocio Utility bibs are also a highlight here as they allow me to keep a day’s worth of food on my body.
Mattia De Marchi and Federico Damiani
Age 31 / Noale, Venice and Legnano, Milan (Italy)
BIKE: We will ride our 3T Exploro Ultra, custom painted for our Enough Cycling Collective. Both bikes feature Campagnolo Ekar Groups, 38T / 10-44T, Fulcrum Rapid Red 3 650B wheels, and Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M 650 x 50mm tyres. Fizik Vento Argo 00 to complete the bike, alongside a Redshift stem to provide a bit of suspension.
BAGS: We will use a full Miss Grape kit, with 2 Trunk (6L) mounted on the fork, two buds on the handlebar, a toptube Node Adventure, and a Cluster 7 saddle bag from the standard Miss Grape catalogue. Moreover, we have two custom Frame Bags with magnetic closing instead of a normal zip.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Racing in a pair, we decided to split the weight of our gear, with Mattia carrying our Camp Minima tent under his handlebar and Federico taking care of the food and the “media kit” with a Fuji Mirrorless camera. We will both ride with a hydration backpack with 2L of water, plus one Elite Fly 950ml bottle each.
Age 34 / Grenoble (France)
BIKE: I’ll be fast touring the SRMR on a brand new ALPHA X-PLORER 2023, the very first one released. It came with very cool parts from lots of friends’ brands, such as the beautiful custom cranks from INGRID and the custom FSA AGX cockpit. I’m rolling with our in-house carbon adventure wheels with TUNE hubs and very unique rims with custom logos. I even got a small SRMR logo on them. The frame also has full-custom anodizing, and I love it! I’m using a SRAM RED XPLR groupset with 36T on front and a 10-44T cassette. Tyres are the PIRELLI CINTURATO Gravel M with 700 x 50mm on front and 700x45mm on rear. Saddle is San Marco Ground wide fitted on a Cane Creek eeSILK+ carbon seatpost for super smooth ride!
BAGS: I’m using a Miss Grape Cluster 13 on the back and a custom set of bags from URSUS, a French artisan in Grenoble, with very cool custom patches on them. Muc-Off tool-bag under the downtube and a large thermal bottle from Hydroflask on the fork—always great to enjoy some fresh drinks along the way!
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Lights are from Magicshine / Moon with a large capacity powerbank to keep all the electronic stuff running for many days. Wahoo ELMENT BOLT for navigation. I’m using quite a luxury sleeping kit with Minima 1SL tent from CAMP, a PAJAK Radical bag + a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir X-LITE pad. Cooking stuff is from Evernew Titanium + MSR PocketRocket Deluxe stove. And not to forget my peanut butter jar on the fork, life saving stuff!
Age 26 / Shropshire (United Kingdom)
BIKE: I’m riding my first SRMR on a hardtail Canyon Exceed equipped with 2.25″ Mezcals, a 1x drivetrain, and a SON dynamo up front powering a kLite. Aerobars added for extra comfort.
BAGS: I’m riding with a mix of bags, all tried and tested. I like keeping things flexible with dry bags and straps, so I’ve got my tent up front with poles in the frame bag and currently three days’ worth of food at the back. Apidura downtube for spares/repairs, electronics in the toptube and moosepack feed bags for daily essentials. Tailfin Aeropack holds my warm and dry gear. Hydration-wise, I have a 1.5L pack along with a bottle on top and a few collapsible flasks for long stretches without water.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: MSR Hubba NX 1 person tent, four layers of gloves, and Endura MT500 overshoes for the cold nights. I’m keeping my cook system light with a 600ml Alpkit pot and an MSR Pocket Rocket.
Age 34 / Portland, Oregon (USA)
BIKE: Boltcutter Peacemaker+ with HiFi Hootenanny wheelset, SP Dynamo and Sinewave Beacon.
BAGS: Mostly a full Apidura setup with an Oveja Negra handlebar bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My favorite pieces of gear would be my Sea to Summit Spark 28F sleeping pad, an Absolute Black oval chainring (28T paired with 10-42T cassette for the climbing) and a 3.5oz Senchi Designs Wren hoodie for some extra warmth during the cold nights.
Age 46 / Boston, Massachusetts (USA)
BIKE: This year, I am riding the same 2020 Kona Sutra LTD, converted with 760mm Envy flat bar and XTR components. I added Richter mini aerobars with a dry bag for quick access to warm clothing. I have the same WHISKY No.9 30w Rims 29″ with a SON Dynamo hub with 700x 5 0mm Panaracer Gravelking SK tire and DT Swiss hub 180 with 700 x 45mm Kenda Flintridge Pro tire in the rear. I kept the same 31/48T chainrings, 11-42T cassette, SPD pedals, and Redshift seat post and suspension stem.
BAGS: Lezyne top tube bag (Sinewave Revolution charger), Ortlieb frame 6L (3L bladder, water filter, and tire pump) and 16.5L seat bag (stove, tent, and sleeping kit).
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Exposure Revo light with DIY aerobridge mount. Its brightness makes up for my lack thereof.
Age 38 / Gillette, Wyoming (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be riding the SRMR on a 2022 Canyon Grizl CF with a Rockshox Rudy Gravel Fork. The bike features a new pair of Maxxis IKON 29 x 2.0″ tires and a modified Shimano GRX 812 1×11 drivetrain with a 34T Wolf Tooth chainring. The front wheel was custom-built by prowheelbuilder.com with a DT Swiss XM421 Rim on a SON Dynamo hub and a stock DT Swiss G1800 rear wheel. One other modification is the Ritchey WCS VentureMax handlebar with a set of aerobars. I’m also running the kLite gravel kit for lights and charging.
BAGS: I’m running a combination of bags. The Revelate seatbag and two Polecat fork-mounted bags mounted to a set of King Cage Manythings Fork mounts. Up front, I have an EVOC Boa handlebar bag and an Apidura Expedition top tube bag. A Rockgeist frame bag completes the setup.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A Big Agnes Carbon Tiger Wall 3 UL tent will serve as our shelter with a Western Mountaineering Ultralight bag and Big Agnes Q Core SLX pad. Keeping my sit bones comfortable will be a Cane Creek eeSilk Seatpost.
Age 31 / Brussels (Belgium)
BIKE: Soulrider Titanium custom-made MTB, 120mm front suspension, adjustable dropouts. Wheelset from Erase Components with a SON hub dynamo up front powering a Sineweave Beacon unit.
BAGS: Full frame bag by Wit Slingers and the rest from Revelate Designs, Apidura, and Tailfin. Extra dry bags for food storage just in case, as this year I’m taking food with me!
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The frame is something made for long rides with a more upright position. Shoutout to Tailfin’s rack that does not move while riding while being waterproof and pretty big.
Age 31 / Chambéry, Savoie (France)
BIKE: I’ll be racing the Silk Road with my Rockrider XC 900s. It’s a full suspension with 120/120mm of travel with 2.25″ Maxxis Ardent tires, which will hopefully be enough to face the rutted track of Kirghizistan.
BAGS: I have a Vaude Trailfront 19L in the front and an Ortlieb 16L in the back.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I am taking a lightweight tent from Naturehike along for the ride. I don’t have a dynamo, just a power bank. I will navigate with my Garmin Forerunner 945 watch.
Age 37 / Berlin (Germany)
BIKE: For the SRMR, I’m riding a SOUR Pasta Party XC steel frame with 29″ Duke wheels and 2.35″ Vittoria tires. Hope hub in the back, SON dynamo up front. SRAM GX 1×12 with a shiny Ingrid crank. And (hopefully) a comfortable cockpit to cruise the endless expanses of Kyrgyzstan.
BAGS: The bike is fully equipped with custom Berlin-made Gramm Tourpacking bags. Sleeping kit in the handlebar roll, warm clothes in the seat bag, rain clothes attached to the fork, food and small stuff in the frame bag. More food in the top tube bag. One feed bag for my camera, the other one for electronics.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Warm sleeping bag and a bivvy, Forumslader for all-day (and night) electricity. Wahoo Roam for navigation. Camera, music, and a lot of food.
Age 46 / Hanmer Springs (New Zealand)
BIKE: Super amped to be racing on my Binary Bicycles HAVOK Titanium drop bar mountain bike. Running a 38T chainring and 11-46T out back with Di2 shifting. Rock Shox SID squish up front and two new Mezcals. Carrying three water bottles on the frame and kLite to shine the way after dark.
BAGS: Full Apidura bag set.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Well, my rig will be heavier initially with the extra nutrition I’m taking from home as my plant-based diet could be tricky in Kyrgyzstan. Taking Tailwind nutrition, Radix dehy meals, Clif bars, and Roam nut butter sachets for fuel.
Age 31 / Catalan Pyrenees (Spain)
BIKE: I am riding a Fairlight Holt XC steel mountain bike with a SID suspension fork. I have handbuilt Beast XC 30 wheels by Parallel Handbuilt with a Son dynamo and K-lite, Vittoria varzo tyres and Cush core inserts. I’ll be shifting with SRAM AXS GX on a Shimano drivetrain.
BAGS: All my bags are from Tailfin with a mix of off the shelf and custom prototypes. I’m using a front roll for sleeping stuff, rear rack for clothing, toptube bag for electrics and framebag for tools and food. I’ve gone for two 1L bidons and a 1L Katadyn filter.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I love the way everything works well together and is just slick. I’ve been riding this setup the past few weeks in the mountains at home and it’s ideal. I’ll be navigating with Ride with GPS on my phone and an Etrex.
Age 48 / Inverness (Scotland)
BIKE: I’ll be riding my Mason Raw steel hardtail with an Absolute Black oval 30T chainring and Eagle AXS electronic shifting for the 10-50T cassette. Shimano XT brakes, Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost for additional comfort, and 2.35″ Maxxis Ardent Race tyres on a DT Swiss XMC rear wheel and Hunt front rim with a SON28 dynamo hub.
BAGS: To carry my kit, I’ll be using a selection of custom bags from Straight Cut Design (made in Scotland) and “off the shelf” bags from Revelate Designs. The front bar roll holds my sleeping bag and mat, seat pack holds my tent and clothing, frame bag holds hygiene and repair stuff, top tube and stem bags hold my electronics and trail food. Anything Cages support two Revelate Polecat bags for additional storage capacity. My stove and gas is stashed under the down tube, and I’ll be carrying a small backpack with capacity for 1.5L of water and extra food.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’m taking a cautious approach with a Terra Nova Laser Compact tent and as many freeze-dried meals as I can be bothered to push over those 4,000-metre passes! I’ll be relying on a Garmin 1030 charged by the dynamo for navigation (Garmin eTrex backup) and my Sinewave Beacon for light and charging.
Age 47 / Gillette, Wyoming (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be riding the SRMR on a 2022 Why Cycles El Jefe with a FOX Racing SHOX 32 Float SC 29 FIT4 fork. The bike features a new pair of Vittoria 29 x 2.1″ tires and SRAM XX1 Eagle components. Wheels are custom built by Fanatik with DT Swiss XM421 rims on a SON Dynamo hub for the front and a DT Swiss rear hub. One other modification is the Perseverance Adventure Bar, and I’ll be navigating using a Garmin Edge 1030 Plus.
BAGS: I’m running a combination of bags. A Revelate Seatbag and two King Cage Manythings Fork mounts with water bottles. Up front, I have a Revelate Sweetroll and Gas Tank top tube bag. A Bedrock Custom Frame bag completes the setup.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A Big Agnes Carbon Tiger Wall 3 UL tent will serve as my shelter with a Western Mountaineering Ultralight bag and Big Agnes Q Core SLX pad.
Age 47 / Erica, Victoria (Australia)
BIKE: 2019 Custom Salsa Fargo.
BAGS: Mixed set of bags, some Revelate Designs and Bike Bag Dude, but mainly TreadLite Bags.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Definitely the Fargo as it’s so reliable and the custom Treadlite Bags they are awesome, large, bright, robust, and as weatherproof as they can get. Plus, the chaff bags are big enough for me to get my hands into.
Age 45 / Invergordon, Ross-shire (Scotland)
BIKE: I’ll be riding my Sonder Signal Ti with 29 x 2.4″ WTB Rangers on Mason x Hunt Search wheels with a SON 28 dynamo. A Sinewave Inverter will charge a couple of power banks for my electronics and a Supernova dynamo light is there for when I need to ride into the night. It’s a 1×11 drivetrain with 28T SRAM chainring and 11-51T Shimano Deore cassette. A Microshift thumbshifter moves a Shimano SLX mech. My comfort is taken care of by a Brooks Flyer Carved seat and Jones H bars.
BAGS: An older 20L Alpkit bar bag holds my sleeping kit, Tundra Pure and Dry -5 sleeping bag, and Therm-a-Rest Prolite sleeping pad. The framebag is a Revelate Ranger, initially bought for a larger framed bike. The fork bags are a pair of Ortlieb Gear Fork packs. The rear rack is an Aeroe Spider rack with a couple of roll-top dry bags—a godsend for short people who can’t take advantage of large seatpacks.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The Aeroe Spider rack has proved to be rock-solid on some very rough terrain. I like my rest, so the Tundra sleeping bag and a Six Moon Design Lunar Solo tent will be my most treasured kit.
Age 32 / Oxford (United Kingdom)
BIKE: I’m taking on the SRMR2022 on a Canyon Exceed CF SLX 8 with a few tweaks to aid comfort, including TT bars, flexible Canyon VCLS seatpost, and Brooks C13 saddle. The front wheel is swapped for a SON 28 dynamo build and the tyres are 2.25-2.35″ Vittoria Mezcals.
BAGS: Custom Straight Cut frame bag and handlebar harness, Tailfin AeroPack and 2x fork mounted 3L cage packs, Apidura Expedition 9L bar bag and Racing top tube pack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1 Bikepack tent will provide shelter from the fickle Kyrgyzstan weather, and a Sea to Summit Spark SP1 sleeping bag will keep me warm in the valleys. If I have to camp at the top of one of the 4000m passes a Thermolite bag liner plus Rab Mythic Alpine down jacket and Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer down trousers should cover the range of temperatures. I’ll also be packing a stove, water filter, and ~10,000kcal of freeze dried meals to give me options on the remote sections of the route.
Age 41 / Gdansk (Poland)
BIKE: I’ll be riding the Silk Road Mountain Race on an Ibis DV9 with Continental Race King Protection tires and a 1×12 SRAM GX drivetrain. A SON dynamo hub will power my Sinewave Beacon light in front. Hopefully, my Ergon SMC core saddle will provide enough comfort to get me through the race.
BAGS: The majority of the bags I use are from Revelate Designs. Sweetroll 11L in front, Ranger frame bag, and a 8L Tarpin dry bag with some old harness I have at the back. The cockpit is a mix of Topeak top tube bag and food pouches from Btwin. Tailfin V-mount under the down tube will have all my spare parts.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: An OR Helium Bivy will serve as my shelter along with a Cumulus X-Lite 400 sleeping bag and Camp essential air mat. For navigation, I’ll use Garmin 1040 with Wahoo Element as a backup.
Age 37 / Vienna (Austria)
BIKE: I’ll be riding the Silk Road Mountain Race on my Canyon Exceed CF with 2.35″ Maxxis tubeless tires and a SON dynamo hub for front light and USB charging.
BAGS: Mix of bags I’ve used on different adventures over the past few years. For water, I’ll carry a camelbak backpack for the first time.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Cumulus bivy bag, Sea to Summit mat, Sea to Summit sleeping bag, for the rainy nights the fly and footprint of an Exped one person tent will keep me dry. Cumulus down pants and down jacket for the cold moments of this adventure.
Age 47 / Adršpach (Czech Republic)
BIKE: Cannondale Flash with Fox factory 34 fork, Sram XX1 1×11 mechanical shifting, SON dynamo with buffer battery and CINQ charging, light powered by Supernova dynamo.
BAGS: I have a mix of bags from Acepac, Blackburn, Revelate, and Apidura.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Wahoo Element Roam.
Age 64 / Ottawa (Canada)
BIKE: I’ll be riding (not racing) the Silk Road Mountain Race on a Trek Pro Calibre 9.6. My bike now has new Maxxis Minion and Ardent Race 2.3″ tires with 27.5″ tubeless wheels. A highlight is the front bag holder that I created myself out of scrap metal.
BAGS: I’ve got an Apidura 17L saddle bag, frame bag, and top tube bag. I have a Pod Sack on my handlebars and two more on my forks for extra snacks. I’ve got an Alpit handlebar bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’ll be sharing a tent with Sonia, who I’m riding with in a pair, and my sleeping gear is what I could find here in Bishkek (fingers crossed!). Highlight is the stove I’ll be bringing, which is only 42 grams (plus the gas canister, of course). I’ll also be carrying a Garmin Edge 530 for navigation.
Age 33 / Ottawa (Canada)
BIKE: I’ll be riding (not racing) the Silk Road Mountain Race on a 2020 Specialized Rock Hopper. My bike now has new Maxxis Minion 2.5″ tires with 29″ tubeless wheels.
BAGS: I’ve got mostly an Apidura set up: 14L saddle bag, handlebar bag, top tube bag, and bottom frame bag. My frame bag is my trusty Moosetracks bag that has taken me on many adventures. Last but not least, I have a Pod Sack on my handlebars and 2x5L Lomo bags on my fork.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I have my tent, an Alpkit Ordos 2, a Therm-a-Rest Neoair sleeping mat, and a North Face down sleeping bag rated for -10. I’ve added an Exposure Diablo light to my setup for night riding. I’ll also be carrying a Garmin eTrex 32 for navigation.
Age 54 / Mount Airy, North Carolina (USA)
BIKE: Salsa Cutthroat with a Lauf TR fork with 60mm of travel, front wheel is a Jefe carbon with SP dynamo hub, Hunt aluminum rear wheel, tires are Vittoria Mezcal 2.25″, 1x SRAM with 11-speed cassette 10-42T, Bar Yak TT bars, Salsa carbon handlebar.
BAGS: Apidura race bags and Salsa frame bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I have a Sea to Summit sleeping bag, Black Diamond bivy sack, and an Exped sleeping pad.
Age 29 / Feltre (Italy)
BIKE: A 3T Exploro Ultra Enough Cycling Collective edition. It’s built up with sturdy Fulcrum Rapid Red 3 650B wheels and the Campagnolo Ekar groupset (38T x 10-44T). A Redshif stem provides some cushioning upfront.
BAGS: The all-time favourite Miss Grape kit (13L, 6L, 6L, 1L, 1L, 1L) with two nice additions: the Coso mounted on the handlebar and a custom built frame bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My custom Miss Grape frame bag.
Age 46 / Bentonville, Arkansas (USA)
BIKE: I’m riding a Rodeo Labs Show Pony prototype mountain bike. This bike has front suspension, 29 x 2.2″ tires, flat bar with aero extensions, and a 30T front chainring to spin up the climbs.
BAGS: FBJ Creations made me a sick custom frame pack and an aero bar bag. The Tailfin rear rack system is really easy to get in and out of since it’s top loading, and it’s super stable. I’m also using Tailfin’s fork packs and have their down tube pack for most of my tools and repair items.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I love that my setup makes packing in and out really easy. This is my first time using a custom frame pack, and already it feels like such an upgrade to have something made especially to fit my bike. I know I’ll be tested out there, so the less I’m thinking about gear, the better.
Age 39 / Bentonville, Arkansas (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be riding a Rodeo Labs Show Pony prototype hardtail mountain bike. I have 1×12 SRAM setup with a baby 30T front chain ring to accommodate all the steep climbs. I’m excited to have several places for my hands, thanks to my flat-bar handlebars with aero extensions via a Fred bar mount. I have a dynamo hub to power my front kLite and all devices. I’m riding 2.2″ tires and will definitely enjoy having front suspension this time around!
BAGS: So stoked on my packs. I’m using a combination of custom packs from FBJ Creations (frame and aero bar pack) + Tailfin fork packs, down tube pack, and their carbon rear rack packing system.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: This setup gives me so many storage options without having to carry anything on my back. The dual-sided fork mounts from Tailfin allow me to carry a fork mount pack and water bottle on each stanchion. I’m also thrilled to have the new Garmin 1040 Solar, which will extend my head unit battery life by a ton!
Age 33 / Sepsiszentgyörgy (Romania)
BIKE: I’ll be riding the 2022 SRMR with my 2014 Specialized full suspensioned Epic. It’s equipped with kLite rims and Maxxis Aspen tyres. Lights are also kLite powered by an SP dynamo hub. I’m using a SRAM XX1 electronic groupset with 10-52 casette and 30T chainring.
BAGS: I’m proudly using Hungarian made frame, top tube and feedbags by Mokush. The saddle bag is a common Apidura.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Learning from last years event, one of my most important pieces of equipment will be a needle and thread. Hopefully I wont be using it tho…
Aldean Philip Lim
Age 39 / Marikina (Philippines)
BIKE: I’ll be riding the Silk Road Mountain Race on a Trek Procaliber. The bike features isospeed on the rear and a Lauf fork for compliance and comfort. Vittoria Mezcal 2.25″ tires, SRAM Eagle XX1 Mechanical 1×12 drivetrain with a 30T chainring. Bontrager Kovee Pro wheels on the rear and SON dynamo Hub up front. Bar Yak Expedition with arm rest on the handlebars.
BAGS: The centerpiece of my cargo setup is that all bags are Dyneema Cuben Fiber (DCF) bags. Frame bag is a custom DCF Rockgeist frame bag. On the front is Baryak Talon harness with DCF compression bag and Revelate Designs top tube bag. My friend Mac of 44zero5 made all of my custom DCF bags, including DCF feedbags and dry bag on the Tailfin carbon rear rack. He also made all of my DCF stuff sacks for our electronics and down gear. Two 1L bottles will be mounted to the fork.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A Tarptent Notch Li DCF tent will serve as my shelter along with a Cumulus Equipment custom xlite 200 and Therm-a-Rest NeoAir. I’ll also be carrying a Bryton S800 for navigation and Komoot as backup nav on my phone. For lights, I am running full kLite MTB front and rear lights with USB Charger, Fenix PD35 on helmet mount, and backup light is a Petzl Zipka.
Age 33 / Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be riding a 2020 Salsa Fargo that’s basically Theseus’s bike. Some highlights include Continental RaceKing Protection 29×2.2″ tires, SON 28 dynamo, Onyx Vesper rear hub, 1×12 SRAM GX AXS (32T chainring), Fox 34 100mm fork, Salsa Rustler 800 bar, Profile Designs 50A comfy bars, and kLite lights.
BAGS: A big mix. Excited about the custom Cedaero frame bag, Rockgeist Mr. Fusion seat bag, Revelate Harness + Egress pocket, Rogue Panda + Revelate top tube bags. Moosetrek and Bedrock feedbags. Tailfin SFM for more water on the forks.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Sleeping with a Nemo Dragonfly 1P bikepacking tent, trusty Western Mountaineering sleeping bag, and Therm-a-Rest Neoair sleeping pad. I’ll be navigating with an Edge 530. Frame bag is exclusively filled to the brim with Jif creamy peanut butter squeeze pouches and trail mix, no long spoon necessary.
Age 31 / Stepnogorsk, Aqmol (Kazakhstan)
BIKE: Cube Reaction GTC SL 2014 29″. Stock build.
BAGS: APIDURA bags.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Therm-a-Rest Corus quilt -6C with Outdoor Research helium bivy will make me happy then last year. Nine-year-old Shimano shoes, “old, but not obsolete.”
Age 22 / Stepnogorsk, Aqmola (Kazakhstan)
BIKE: I will be racing in the Silk Road Mountain Race on my Canyon Exceed CF SL 7.0 Pro Race. The bike features a new pair of Continental Race King 2.2″ tires.
BAGS: Apidura bags and small Deuter Race backpack with 2L hydration pack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Flat Wellgo pedals and Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX hiking shoes will give me more confidence as a beginner. I’m also looking forward to trying out the new Therm-a-Rest Corus -6C quilt and Outdoor Research Helium bivy.
Age 28 / Durham (UK)
BIKE: Cotic Cascade. Built as a flat bar with Deore components. Handbuilt DT Swiss EX511 29″ Wheels.
BAGS: Ortlieb sddle bag and handlebar Bag, Apidura Frame Bag, Alpkit stem bag and top tube bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Dynamo Hub for lights and charging. Tri bars that have been on all events with me and hold all electronic devices needed.
Age 41 / Gdansk (Poland)
BIKE: I will be riding SRMR on the Canyon Lux Trail with a Shimano SLX groupset. I hope brand new Vittoria Mezcal 2.25″ tyres will keep me safe on the track and will protect me from too many punctures.
BAGS: I will be carrying the majority of my equipment in the 20L Tailfin Top Bag (clothes) and two 10L Tailfin Mini Panniers (the sleeping system & food), all mounted on the Tailfin Rack. Tools and spare parts will be packed in the custom made frame bag, electronics in the Topeak top tube pack, and snacks in two food pouches.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My sleeping system will consist of an MSR Carbon Reflex 1 tent, Cumulus X-Lite 400 sleeping bag, and Robens Vapor mat. I will be also carrying the Jetboil Stash Cooking System to make my stomach happy. For navigation, I will use a Wahoo Element Bolt.
Age 58 / Benicia, California (USA)
BIKE: For the 2022 edition of the Silk Road Mountain Race, I will be riding a Chiru Kegeti with ENVE gravel 46cm bars and mountain fork. The bike has SRAM Force shifters that have been modified to work with an Eagle X01 rear derailleur using a Ratio Technology 12s upgrade kit. The gearing is 10-52 32T. The bike rolls on Vittoria Mezcal 2.35″ tubeless tires mounted on WeAreOne Faction wheels with a SON Dynamo hub up front. The bike is also fitted with a Firefly titanium seatpost and a Sslsa Cowchipper bar.
BAGS: Cedaero Frame Pack, Tailfin rack, Revelate Designs harness with Egress Pocket, Rouge Panda Oracle Downtube Bag, and two Rockbros top tube bags. This year, I decided to run with a small backpack so I’d have plenty room for food.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: For sleeping, I am bringing a Tarptent Moment.
Age 42 / Brussels (Belgium)
BIKE: A trusted and tried Stevens Vapor 2019 CX bike turned endurance/gravel that I rode successfully through the Pamir last year. Many upgrades have been made lately, such as a mix and match of Shimano Ultegra and GRX for a 46-34T and 11-40T gearing. Hunt Gravel Race wheelset shod with Panaracer GravelKing SK+ 43mm tires. Stem and seatpost were also upgraded to suspension eeSilk and Redshift in order to smooth things out. A PedalCell dynamo, the old-school solution reinvented, will keep electronics and lights charged.
BAGS: A Tailfin AeroPack with Carry Anything cages for extra volume. Other bags are classic Apidura of the Race or Expedition series with a serious thought given to accessibility and waterproofness for each and every item within.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A modular sleep system from British brand PHD made up of a 0°C sleeping bag, a mandatory warm down jacket together with down pants and booties. I save a lot of weight (full kit is 1000g!), can sleep with it all down to -15°C, and have very warm layers to be just toasty while tired or in more extreme ride conditions. I’m proud of my kitchen too: minimalist titanium hardware, a stove with 300ml of fuel, no heavier than a gas one with two canisters but allowing for on-the-go refilling and warm beverage at will, and a 7g coffee filter for the quality daily caffeine intake.
Age 50 / Manly, NSW (Australia)
BIKE: It will be the second outing in Kyrgyzstan for my 2019 Bombtrack Hook Ext-C. It’s still rolling on the ever-reliable Hunt Adventure Sport 650B wheelset. Recently upgraded to a GRX Di2 groupset. I’ll be starting with a fresh Praxis 36T Direct Mount front ring, Sunrace 11-42T cassette, and Vittoria Mezcal 2.25″ tires.
BAGS: I have a full house of Relevate Designs bags including a harness and Salty Roll upfront (not pictured), large Frame Bag, and Spinelock saddle bag carrying the majority of my kit. A Mountain Feed Bag, Jerry Can, and Gas Tank will be used for bits and pieces. I’m pairing my on-bike storage with a Salomon S/Lab Vest with 3L of water capacity.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My sleep system consists of a Sierra Designs Backcountry Bivy and Sea to Summit Micro III bag. A Knog PWR Road and Knog Bilby headlamp lighting system will be keep me upright in the early hours. My favourite kit would definitely be my Salomon Vest for keeping weight off my bike up the long climbs and my Garmin inReach Mini for keeping in touch with family back home.
Age 43 / Ohio (USA)
BIKE: I’m riding the SRMR 2022 with “Baby Yak.” It’s an unbranded titanium frame measured and designed by Jeff Liu. It has a Carver fork, Industry Nine wheels and hubs, Ikon tires (2.3″ front/2.2″ rear) with a SRAM Eagle 10-52T drivetrain.
BAGS: As a Brooks England sponsored rider this year, I’m riding with their full frame bag, bar harness, saddle bag, feed bag, and stem bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Outdoor Research Alpine Bivvy, Enlightened Equipment quilt, and four-season Therm-a-Rest mattress.
Age 31 / London (United Kingdom)
BIKE: Surly Karate Monkey with Hunt 27.5 Enduro wheels and Shimano Deore components.
BAGS: All the bags are from the Apidura Backcountry range with expedition fork bags for carrying food and supplies. The long top tube bag with internal dividers is a favourite and allows plenty of space for faff on the go.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Something old, my trusty pen-knife, a gift from my parents when I turned 10. Something new, the real highlight of my kit is a MAAP Haelo jacket which has loads of pockets, is super warm and just looks cool as! Something borrowed, my Dad’s old glacier sunglasses, they’ve been on many expeditions and I hope they’ll bring me good fortune in the high mountains.
Age 35 / London (United Kingdom)
BIKE: A 2019 Salsa Cutthroat built up by the awesome Shona and Rich at Keep Pedalling. I have since added a RockShoxx SID 100mm fork and Cane Creek eeSilk seatpost which feels like cheating on Kyrgyz and UK “gravel.” My 38/28T rings on the front and 11-42T on the back help with the climb, and a SP dynamo hub will power my Sinewave Beacon light (via a power bank) and plethora of electronics. I’ll be rolling on Velocity Blunt SS rims with the ubiquitous Mezcals 2.25″ tires with Tubolight inserts.
BAGS: Salsa framebag and top tube bag, Apidura seat pack, and Alpkit dry bag out front strapped to the immense Mission Control deck from Drj0n, which also mounts my Garmin and light. Hydration and extra food storage will be taken care of by the Pedaled Odyssey Hydration Vest loaded with a 1.5L bladder and two 0.5L soft running bottles.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’ll be sleeping in a RAB 200 Neutrino bag on a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite with a RAB storm bivvy bag hopefully keeping out the rain. Navigation will come from the Garmin Edge 1030+ with Komoot on my phone as backup. Top (and most underrated) bit of gear is an old OR desert marathon cap that keeps off all the sun and the rain and most unnecessary piece is my Power2Max power meter, although it does remind me how many calories I’m burning.
Shona Oldfield & Richard Naylar
Age 53 & 54 / Manchester (United Kingdom)
BIKE: Salsa Powderkeg, S&S couplings, 3×10 thumbshifters, Middleburn cranks, Velocity/DTSwiss/SPDynamo wheels, CaneCreek eeSilk post and stem.
BAGS: Bags by Salsa, Apidura and Tailfin.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: kLite MTB lights and charger, tyres by Teravail, cages by King Cage.
Age 33 / Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan)
BIKE: I’ll be riding the 2022 Silk Road Mountain Race on a 2019 Kona Blast. The bike features a pair of WTB Trail Boss 2.25″ tires, a standard 1×10 drivetrain with a 32T chainring, and WTB ST i29 wheels with a SON Dynamo hub up front. I am also using a Cycle4Charge V3 USB charger.
BAGS: I am using Apidura’s 14L Expedition handlebar pack with the accessory pocket, a full frame bag handmade here in Bishkek, 17L Apidura Expedition Saddle Pack, 2 Lezyne food pouches, and the bigger Apidura Expedition top tube pack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I am using a regular tent with Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad (both are not ultralight). I’ll also be carrying a Wahoo Element Bolt for navigation.
Age 41 / Seoul, Gangseo-gu (South Korea)
BIKE: Big Nine SLX Edition, aluminum frame, Shimano SLX 1×12, Maxis Ikon 29×2.2″ tires.
BAGS: Ortlieb Sports Roller City Panniers, Ortlieb Fork Bag Plus, Topak Tetra M1 front rack, Specialized Frame Bag, Rapha bar bag, USWE Vertical 4 plus hydration pack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Sea to Summit Base Camp 2 sleeping bag, Sea to Summit Ultra Light R1.1 pad, Naturehike Vik1 tent.
Age 30 / Vienna (Austria)
BIKE: Sour Purple Haze with carbon fork and custom painting. Shimano GRX 2×11 with Specialties T.A. 45/28T chainrings and 11-42T cassette. Lightwolf custom hand built wheelset (front: DT-Swiss XR391 29“ and SON 28 hub dynamo / rear: DT-Swiss XR391 29“ and DT-Swiss 350 Hub). Vittoria Mezcal 29 x 2.1″ tires. Hope RX 4+ brakes and hope floating brake discs. Salsa Cowchipper 52cm handlebars. Brooks C13 saddle. Thomson Elite stem and seat post. Chris King headset. Profile Design Airstryke aero bars with custom made milled aluminum spacers by my dad. kLite gravel light and dual charger. Not displayed are additional two bottle cages on the fork and strap mounts on the Tailfin legs.
BAGS: Tailfin seat pack, Salsa frame bag, Revelate Designs Harness and Sweet Roll, Dyed in the Wool top tube bag in custom color, down tube cargo bottle, Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 1 Bikepacking tent (only fly and groundsheet), snack bag (not displayed), and ultralight DIY musette for additional food.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Rubber raccoon mascot by my fiancee living on my aero bars. Snack bag made by my mom (not displayed). Trail wallet with embroidery by my mother sewed by myself (pattern by BIKEPACKING.com). My pink Jersey by Trikoterie Vienna. Finally, all the love that Radplatz put in the bike.
Age 35 / Alavus (Finland)
BIKE: My choice of bike is a custom Pässilä Bicycles Kytö titanium frame built by Tuurin Pyörä. I’m using a SDG Bel Air 3 saddle, Ergon GA3 grips and SQlabs Innerbarends to provide some comfort. Tires are Maxxis Rekon 29 x 2.25″.
BAGS: I use several bag brands. My handlebar and saddlebag are Topeak, framebag and stem bags are Blackburn, and my top tube bag is Geosmina. I also have a 16L Evoc backpack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I will be using a two-person Lanshan tent, Cumulus Xlite sleeping bag, and Therm-a-Rest Xlite Neoair pad and a pillow. GPS device is a Garmin Edge 530.
Age 51 / County Antrim (Northern Ireland)
BIKE: Salsa Fargo steel rigid singlespeed with 34x20T gearing. Maxxis Ikon EKO tires on DT Swiss wheels, Hope BB with Shimano XT 175mm crank, KMC chain, flat pedals for fast bail outs on steep sections that the singlespeed can’t handle, flat bars with Ergon grips, Thompson seat post with WTB Volt seat. Fenix PD35 headlight (Black Diamond h/t back up), Etrex 20 for nav.
BAGS: Salsa frame bag, Salsa Anything Cages, Ortlieb saddlebag, and triple feed bags on bars (1 for bottle).
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Outdoor Research bivi, Neo Air inflatable half-length mat, RAB sleep bag (shortened and open bottom to pull up and walk/in Petervary style on cold mornings). Mountain Hardwear rain kit and Seal Skinz socks.
Age 34 / Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey (United Kingdom)
BIKE: The bike is a Frankenstein of eBay wins and has evolved considerably to get to this point. The frameset is a 2016 Orbea Alma, forks are 100mm Rockshox TK Gold, and I built the wheels using Roval Control SL rims, Stout rear hub, Novatec freehub and SP Dynamo on the front powering a Supernova light and Kemo USB charger. Drivetrain is 32T x 11/46T SRAM NX 11-speed, and saddle is a Brooks C17 carved.
BAGS: The bags are a mix of Podsacs bar and snack bags, Decathlon frame bag holding 6L of water bladders and food, the top tube bag stores my devices, as well as a 15L Topeak backloader on the rear which is all clothing.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: With the aim to keep things comfortable, I have gone with a trusty Etrex 30 for navigation, PlanetX stove, an Alpkit Soloist tent, and Vango Cobra sleeping bag.
Age 54 / Donegal Town, Co. Donegal (Ireland)
BIKE: I’ll be riding my aluminum Cannondale Beast of the East with a lefty fork during the Silk Road Mountain Bike Race. I upgraded it to run a 1×12 SRAM drivetrain and swapped the 27.5+ wheels for 29 x 2.4″ tires in the front and 2.3″ in the rear. I power my electronics (lights, Garmin Edge 1030, and iPhone) with a PedalCell Rim dynamo and hope it will survive the rough terrain! My rear is supported by a well-tested WTB saddle, and I use Ergon grips.
BAGS: I use a mixture of my trusted waterproof Ortlieb Bags and a combination of feed bags and storage Bags from Acepack and Bedrock.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: At my age, comfort is king, and my favorite piece of gear has to be my down sleeping bag from Mammut. It’s hard to slip out of it in the mornings! I also use a Big Agnes UL tent and a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir sleeping mat. I’ll be using a gas cooker and Katadyn BeFree water filter.
Age 52 / Birmingham (England)
BIKE: Bike is a Sonder Broken Road. 29er with mezcal 2.25 tyres. Eagle 12 speed 10-50. Hope E4 brakes and Hope cranks with an oval 30t chainring for those big climbs. 100mm Rockshox sid ultimate forks, I had carbon forks last year so lesson learnt. Hope carbon seatpost and a brooks leather saddle for a comfy ride.
BAGS: Bags all by Spokeduk and seemingly indestructible!
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Gear highlights are my Omm primaloft top, super light and warm. An Alpkit windproof jacket my most used piece of cycling clothing. My Big Agnes Fly Creek bikepack tent its like a home from home. Also my Katadyn Befree water filter, super light and quick.
Age 23 / Madrid (Spain)
BIKE: BMC Twostroke 01 ONE built with Hunt Trail 29 and Maxxis Ikon 2.2″ tires + Pepi’s R-Evolution inserts. SRAM GX AXS (6x spare batteries) 34T / 10-52T and Level ltm brakes.
BAGS: All the packs are from Apidura, a mix of the Expedition and Backcountry series, including my 4L hydration vest.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Alpkit Soloist tent and Pipedream 600 sleeping bag. My raincoat, down jacket, waterproof gloves, and water filter are from Alpkit. SQlabs inner bar ends + aerobars to increase hand positions. Two Garmin 1030 (one as spare), Petzl actic core headlamp (with 7 spare rechargeable batteries), Bontrager Ion Pro RT clamped to the aerobars, and plenty of power banks. Framebag full of oats, peanut butter, and peanut bars.
Age 48 / Richterswil (Switzerland)
BIKE: I’ll be riding a Specialized Epic Evo with Continental RaceKing 29 x 2.2″ tires. Drivetrain is SRAM 32T / 10-52T AXS, a Race Face front wheel with a SON Dynamo hub. Tri bars are Zipp and light and electricity is provided by kLite.
BAGS: A nicely fitting combo of Revelate Designs frame bag, downtube and feed bags with Tailfin rear pack and suspension fork mounts. Under the bottom bracket sits a Wolf Tooth bag, the front roll is Ortlieb and top tube bag is Apidura.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The Samays 2.0 Alpine tent is my stormproof shelter paired with Western Mountaineering sleeping bag and Therm-a-Rest X-Therm.
Age 36 / Chattanooga, Tennessee (USA)
BIKE: I’m riding a titanium Litespeed Pinhoti 3. The bike’s namesake is one of my favorite local trails and the frame was built in my hometown, Chattanooga, Tennessee. It has a 1×12 Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes with a Fox 34 120mm fork. There’s an ENVE Carbon Bar with Ergon Bar Ends and SQlab “bar-ins.” The wheels are Reynolds carbon with a SON Dynamo Hub powering a Sinewave Beacon light. Tires are Maxxis Ikon 2.25” front and back. Tailfin fork mounts with a bottle cage on one side and a Tailfin cargo cage with a 3L cage pack holding my tools/repair kit on the other.
BAGS: Rockgeist bolt-on/lace-up custom frame bag carrying most of my gear. Bedrock Coconino Seat Bag for extra clothes. My bar bags are Oveja Negra Front End Loader Dry Bag Mount for my sleep setup secured with a Lunchbox Handlebar Bag. I’ll run another bottle in a Rockgeist Feed Bag. My battery pack and electronics will charge from a Revelate Mag-Tank on the Top Tube.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: OR Helium Bivy, Western Mountaineering Sleep Bag. I’m running a Garmin 530 and iPhone backup for navigation. I’ve agonized over my gear selection with the intention of having enough to keep me warm/safe while making some sacrifices to be light and fast (hopefully).
Age 40 / Paris (France)
BIKE: Vitus Rapide, Rockshox Sid ultimate 120mm fork, Hunt trail wide carbon wheels with SON dynamo, René Herse Fleecer ridge endurance tires, Shimano XT M8100 12sp 30 – 10/51, XT pedals, XT rotors 180/180, Redshift ShockStop seat post, Ritchey WCS stem, Ritchey WCS carbon flat bar, Fizik Terra Alpaca saddle, Ergon GS3 grips, Profile T3+ aerobars, Supernova M99 DY Pro front light/E3 tail light , Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS.
BAGS: All by Miss Grape. Cluster 13, custom frame bag, Node adventure, Node road, and two Buds.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My Suspensiont fork! It will be my first racing with one.
Age 38 / Moscow (Russia)
BIKE: I’ll ride my middle-price custom bike, built around an Airwolf chinese carbon frame with assymetrical stays and boost spacing. It’s made for long distance and long hours in the saddle, that’s why it has carbon frame with carbon seatpost, handlebar, and rims, a dear old Brooks B17, suspension fork, and 27.5 x 2.8 Rocket Rons. For handlebars, I use a carbon version of Carver MyTi 30° accompanied with custom aluminum Fred Bar copy and self-made carbon single aerobar with pads.
BAGS: For bags, I’ll be using toptube bag and aero handlebar bag made from X-Pac by @madibagbike in Barnaul, Russia. Feedbags made from aramid sailcloth fabric by @dmitrypopov_nino in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. He also made a saddle holster for my Revelate Terrapin drybag. Feedbags are used for 1L bottles, saddle bag system is used for my sleep kit. I’ll be using a Lanshan Pro tent for shelter because it’s more versatile and provides more protection against elements than bivvy bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Base layer, active insulation and insulated jacket are made by Sivera, a Russian ultralight outdoor gear manufacturer. The best you can find when looking for light and functional performance gear. For navigation, I’ll be using my tried-and-tested Garmin GPSmap64 with 32h run from one charge.
Age 51 / Almaty (Kazakhstan)
BIKE: Canyon Grand Canyon CF. Last SRMR warrior. Almaty XC Cups winner.
BAGS: Blackburn frame bag, Revelate saddle bag, Zefal, Apidura, and Restrap smaller bags.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Ritchey bar worked very well on the preparatory races. New shifters and brake levers are perfectly calibrated.
Age 31 / Waterbury, Vermont (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be riding the SRMR on a 2020 Salsa Cutthroat with SQ Lab flat bars. Tires are Vittoria Mezcal 2.6” in the front and 2.35” rear, a modified 1×12 drivetrain with a 30T chainring, and Industry Nine hubs laced to We Are One carbon rims.
BAGS: The Frame bag, feed bag, handlebar bag, and seat bag are all custom made by my race partner, Andrew. I am also using Mag Tank 2000 top tube bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I will be wearing Julbo Rush glasses for eye protection. My sleeping set up is a six moon designs lunar solo tent, a Therm-a-Rest Neo Air X-lite sleeping pad, and a down quilt by UGQ (10f/-12c).
Age 49 / Vantaa (Finland)
BIKE: I will experience the Silk Road Mountain Race 2022 on a custom-built titanium bike. Frame, fork, etc., are neatly made in China by Waltly Titanium. Geometry is mildly modified from my ’97 Marin hybrid. Titaniumthumbs made sturdy 27.5 boost wheels in Helsinki. SON28 dynamo hub in front. New pair of tubeless Vittoria Mezcal 2.1″ in front and 2.35 in rear to take the burden. Drivetrain is 2×11 Shimano XT/XTR: 24T/38T chainrings and 11-36 cassette. Magura four-piston brakes and 180 mm rotors at both ends. Leather saddle is Gilles Berthoud Galibier.
BAGS: I trust on minimalistic Tubus rear rack and Altura’s light and simple waterproof panniers to carry the big-volume stuff. Hilleberg Enan solo tent and sleeping pad are on top of them. Alpkit made a handy and nice-looking custom frame bag, which eats most of the heavy items. The smaller bags are just a random collection, with my old climbing chalk bag giving some bright colors to bike’s appearance. The largest of the bags is my more than 20-year-old Finnish Joutsen down sleeping bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The somewhat old-fashioned brand-new bike itself. It is a (bit early) 50-year birthday present from me to myself. I will pack everything on the bike, so I don’t have to carry a backpack on my shoulders. The genuine highlights though – I suppose – will reveal themselves by the end of the race.
Age 34 / Queens, New York (USA)
BIKE: Having previously raced SRMR on an old MB-1, this Esker Japhy is a bit of an A-B test. There’s a lot of tech that’s new to me, and so I’ve been considering this bike a spaceship. Raceface SixC carbon handlebar with Profile Design aerobars and SQlab innerbarends. Shimano XT 4-piston hydraulic brakes. Cane Creek eeSilk seatpost with a Brooks carved C17 saddle. ENVE mountain fork set to 44mm rake. Fresh 29 x 2.6” Maxxis Ikon tires running tubeless. Shimano XT 30/10-51t 1×12 drivetrain. Thank you to Sean at Eastern Wheelworks for building up a bomber wheelset using downhill ENVE rims laced to SON28/Bitex hubs!
BAGS: Custom Rogue Panda full frame bag and Revelate Designs for everything else. Nothing planned for the fork mounts but will have Problem Solver bow tie mounts in case I need to expand my cargo capacity at some point. King Cage Manything Cage for 1.5L bottles of water/soda. Black Diamond Distance 15L backpack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Fujifilm X100F camera. Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy. Patagonia elephant foot sleeping bag. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm pad with a leak I can’t find yet. 3L Hydrapak bladder in framebag. OR overmitts. Sinewave Beacon, Wahoo Bolt v2, and Garmin Etrex 30x (backup). Velocio clothing to keep me feeling snazzy.
Age 49 / London (United Kingdom)
BIKE: Riding a Curve GMX+ with Vittoria Mezcal 2.6” tires on Curve Dirt hoops, SRAM Eagle AXS 12 speed drivetrain with 50-10T cassette and 30T chainring, and a SON Dynamo hub. Curve Walmer bars plus Profile Design aero bars. kLite front and rear light plus Exposure Strada.
BAGS: Apidura bags plus Alpkit airlok front roll. 2 bottles plus 3L internal bag. Lightweight Ortlieb backpack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Nemo tensor pad with Sea to Summit sleeping bag. Hyperlite tent. Garmin Edge 530 and eTrex 10 for navigation.
Age 59 / Bornem (Belgium)
BIKE: I will be riding the SRMR for the second time, and again on a Dutch made Santos Travelmaster 3+ with a Rohloff speed hub, Gates carbon drive belt, SRAM hydraulic brakes and mechanical shifters, a SON 28 Dynamo hub with a SON Edelux II front light, Brooks C17 Saddle, and Profile Design 45/25A aero bars. This time, I will go for the 55-622 Vittoria Mezcal tires.
BAGS: All Apidura Expedition bags, 17L saddle pack, 14L handlebar pack, 4.5L accessory pocket, 14L full frame pack, 1L top tube pack, 2 Backcountry food pouches and a backcountry downtube pack. I will be carrying this time a smaller 20L Nine Trails Patagonia backpack for water and food.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My sleep system will be again a Nordisk Lofoten 2 tent, a Valandre Mirage 3/4 sleeping bag with a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm sleeping pad. My navigation will be the Garmin Edge 1030 Plus with a Garmin Edge 830 as a backup. Batteries will be two Anker power banks. I will switch between two Lezyne Lite Drive 1000XL as a helmet light. Cooking will be done with a Jetboil MicroMo. Filtering water with the MSR Trailshot.
Age 27 / Frunze (Kyrgyzstan)
BIKE: Cr-mo frameset from chinese brands Missile and Darkrock on 26″ wheels. Jones bar, Brooks B17 saddle, Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires. Transmission Shimano Deore M6100 3×10. Perhaps the best that you can gather in Kyrgyzstan for mountain travel, with a budget under $1000.
BAGS: Chinese replica of Ortlieb from Rockbros brand and a frame bag sewn by my buddy for a bottle of vodka.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Half of a Naturehike Cloud Up tent (500g) and a phone for navigation. Why do I need a separate navigator if I live here?
Age 26 / Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada)
BIKE: I’ll be riding a Scott Spark 920, equipped with SRAM GX Eagle 12 Speed, a 10-52T Cassette, and front and rear travel. The remote lockout is definitely a highlight, as I can fully lock out the suspension without getting off, and have a fully rigid machine. Other notable specs include a Shutter Precision boost dynamo hub and a Sinewave light for charging. I’ve opted to run Tannus tubeless tire inserts to hopefully protect my Vittoria Mezcal’s from side wall slashes.
BAGS: Dialling in the bag set up for a tiny bike (I ride a small frame) coupled with full-suspension was a challenge, but I think I’ve now got the perfect mix. Salsa EXP cradle and dry bag on the front allows me to store my entire sleep system and some additional layers, while the rest of my clothes and stove go in the 6L Apidura backcountry saddle pack. Other bags include two 1.2L Apidura food pouches on the bars, Salsa accessory bag for electronics, Apidura downtube bag for repair kit, Apidura backcountry 2.5L full frame bag for food and other bits and bobs, and Apidura 2L long top tube pack for items I’ll use throughout the day.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: This bike is so comfy and my favourite bike I’ve ever owned. For kit, I’ll be rocking Velocio, and they are hands down my favourite women’s cycling kit. Other highlights include a collapsible hydrapak bottle that is compatible with my Katadyn filter (also a 1L bag). That plus a 750mL Bivo and 1.5L Hydration pack, and I shouldn’t ever run into water issues (knock on wood).
Age 25 / Weymouth, Dorset (United Kingdom)
BIKE: The bike I’m riding is a custom-built 29er frame from Sven Cycles, who know how to make a light but bombproof steel frame! Using Rnne Herse Fleecer Ridge endurance tyres with 11 speed gearing 11-46t.
BAGS: My bags are all made by Spoked UK and are a huge gear highlight as they maximise space to pack with some real genius ways to get around some annoying issues you get whilst riding. The bag highlights are their new prototype rear rack and custom frame, top tube, and down tube bag!
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Spoked UK bags, Vango Helium tent, and two Exposure Race lights for long nights and distance with out charging. Also full Mountain Hardwear Ghostwhisper puffer pants and jacket paired with a Therm-a-Rest hyperion down sleeping bag to keep me warm even at high altitude.
Age 29 / Amsterdam, Noord-Holland (The Netherlands)
BIKE: I am riding a sun-stained 2019 Surly Karate Monkey frame with a 29” Hunt wheelset and Vittoria Mezcal 2.25” tires underneath. A SON dynamo hub will transform power from my legs into electricity that is stored in a powerbank. Profile Design aerobars in the front should provide some extra comfort during the relatively flatter segments.
BAGS: A saddle bag, frame bag, and handlebar bag – all from Ortlieb.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The kLite lighting system will enable me to cycle through the dark hours. Shelter from the (snow)storms comes from a lightweight tent, sleeping bag and air mat provided by See To Summit. The route will be shown on a Garmin 1030 Edge, with my mobile serving as a backup for offline navigation.
Age 35 / Birmingham (United Kingdom)
BIKE: I have a Scott Scale 920 hardtail 29er. No modifications as I picked it to (hopefully) be exactly what I need.
BAGS: A mix of Brooks, Apidura, and Revelate.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My North Face summit down jacket is amazing warmth for the weight. Charging my electronics with a solar panel on my small backpack, it’s worked well for me on previous expeditions but doesn’t seem to be popular amongst bikepackers.
Age 39 / Birmingham (United Kingdom)
BIKE: I’m riding my usual MTB, a 2017 Specialized Carbon Camber. It’s full sus, certainly won’t be the lightest bike on the SRMR, but it’s comfortable and fast downhill. Added some old aerobars and new tubeless 29” Maxxis Ikon tyres. I’m relying on battery packs to charge the Joystick front light and assorted electronics.
BAGS: Restrap for toptube and a seat bag that works with my dropper post. Apidura handlebar bag and some £5 Decathlon water bottle bags for a downtube bag and food pouches. Repair kit and two inner tubes fit in the frame storage. I’ll carry a small rucksack for a 2.5L camelbak and my waterproofs.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Going old school for navigation with a Garmin eTrex 20. I’m using a Grayl Ultrapress for water filtration. I have a 3F UL tent and OMM sleeping bag.
Age 38 / Várpalota (Hungary)
BIKE: This is my XL OPEN WI.DE, 1×11 (36-11/44 powering the K-lite MTB light. It’s a workhorse of a bike and my go-to guide rig for bikepacking trips. I have fitted it out with DT Swiss M502 27.5er wheels laced into a DT350 rear hub and Shimano dynamo upfront. Maxxis Icon 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: All bike luggage is from APIDURA with front dry bag, frame and saddle bag along with two fuel pods on the top tube. I will also be taking an Black diamond Hydration back pack.
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 Várpalota. Wahoo Elemnt Roam for navigation with a Garmin InReach mini + Komoot maps on the phone as redundancy. I am using a Ferrino Sintesi 1 tent, which packs super small and weighs less than 900gr with Cumulus Lite 200 sleeping bags and Sea To Summit insulated mats.
Age 37 / Lenexa, Kansas (USA)
BIKE: I’ll be attempting the SRMR on a 2022 Trek Checkpoint SL6. I’m running SRAM Rival AXS with a 40T chainring up front and a X01 AXS 10x52T in the back. Wheels are Hunt 650b with a SON 28 Dynamo. Around them are the popular Vittoria Mezcal tires, 2.1”.
BAGS: Salsa bags are on the forks and out front. Apidura bags for everything else.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Full Garmin connected bike with an Edge 1040 solar, inReach mini 2, Rally pedals, Varia radar, and HRM Pro. Heavier, but trusty MSR 2 man tent, WM down bag, and Therm-a-rest pad.
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