Rigs of the 2024 Highland Trail 550 (HT550)

Known for its stunning scenery, uncooperative Scottish weather, and technical terrain, the Highland Trail 550 (HT550) is one of the bikepacking classics. The 2024 grand depart kicks off Saturday morning, and more than 60 riders will take on the rugged 550-mile route. Find our gallery of over 30 race rigs here, featuring detailed bag and gear highlights for each…

Seeing who lines up in Tyndrum, Scotland, for the annual Highland Trail 550 (HT550) is always uniquely exciting. Originally designed as a training ride for the Colorado Trail Race, the HT550 has evolved into one of the most storied bikepacking events in the world, attracting ultra-endurance athletes looking to take a run at the record as well as everyday bikepackers seeking a little slice of solitude and one hell of a challenging ride. The 550-mile route boasts over 50,000 feet of vertical gain and is known for its rocky singletrack, unforgiving Scottish weather, and remote backcountry terrain. Since 2013, riders have flocked to the village of Tyndrum each spring to tackle the route, and it’s grown in popularity each year. More than 60 riders are registered for the 2024 grand depart, which takes off at 8:30 a.m. local time this Saturday.

With the help of Alan and the participants, we gathered bike and gear details for over 30 riders taking on the HT550 this year. Scroll through to get a good look at all the rigs rig, and then head over to the 2024 Highland Trail 550 event page to follow along live when they roll out this weekend.

Alex Berry

Age 42 / Disley (United Kingdom)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: For my second attempt at the HT550, I’ll be riding the 2024 Pipedream Sirius S6 Ti (influenced by Bikepacking.com), with 2024 Rockshox SID Ultimates and Hope E4’s. I’m running The 2.4” Maxxis Forkaster and Recon Race on an Enve 24h 525 Wheelset and a OneUp 210mm V3 dropper.
The drivetrain is a mix of Sram XX1 and GX taken from my 2022 HT550 Cannondale F-SI. Hopefully this bike will be a bit easier going than the Cannondale, which was somewhat unforgiving over the distance.
BAGS: The top tube bag, 2 x stem bags and frame bag are all home-made by my mum out of VX21, lined and seam sealed. Total credit to her as this is her first attempt! It took her longer to make these than it will for me to ride the HT550! Using a Restrap drybag bag for the rack, and contemplating using a couple of tailfin cages (not shown) to pack extra kit on the rack mounts or downtube in the event the weather shifts and I need wet weather kit.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The bags! Very proud of these, and the Tumbleweed Ti rack which is giving me 100% dropper use. As its looking dry, and I’m planning to camp one night and use 2 x bothys, I’m just taking an Alpkit Bivvy Bag, Therm-a-Rest ¾ pad, Alpkit Pipedream 400 bag. Im also packing extra lighting, 2 bar lights and one helmet light, as I enjoy night riding and in 2022 I ran out of lights causing me to lose time. I will be packing the stem cells and framebag full of Torque and Stryker food to keep me going for the first couple of days without much need to resupply. Note that wet weather may result in a change of kit – i.e Big Agnes Copper Spur or Vango F10 tent.

Flora Rendell-Bhatti

Age 29 / Stirling (Scotland)

Bhatti HT550 Rigs

BIKE: I’ll be riding the HT550 on a Sonder Titanium Broken Road with the SRAM NX Eagle 1×12 groupset and Rockshox SID fork. With the addition of TT bars on a Sonder confucius handlebar. I’ll be running 2.35″ Maxxis Ikon Tyres with a Vittoria insert in the rear.
BAGS: Alpkit custom stingray frame pack, with two stem cell snack pouches either side of my handlebars. Apidura 14L handlebar bag with 4.5L accessory pocket. Arkel 15L Seatpacker. Evoc Hip 3L pack with hydration bladder. 1.5L top tube bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: MSR carbon reflex 1 to keep the midge out! Therm-a-Rest Hyperion sleeping bag. Restrap hike-a-bike harness to allow me to wear my bike like a backpack when going gets tough! Katadyn water filtration pump.

Allen Boardman

Age 41 / Northwest (United Kingdom)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: I’ll not be at the pointy end, more the slow painful back end on my Hunt Bikes 29er. I’m going to run this with a 130 fork for sleepy descents in the dark and trying to slog my way up the other side with Sram 12 Speed Eagle with 32T Chainring. Hope E4s are taking care of stopping and Hope Fortus 30w SC’s with Teravail Honcho F&R 2.6 Tan Wall tyres, Stooge Moto bars, Ergon grips and no dropper.
BAGS: I will be an 8L Acepac drybag in harness. Top Tube bag & two feed bags either side of the stem and I’ll have either an 8L, or rolled up 16 ltr Acepac front drybag attached to a Salsa cradle I got earlier this year. Custom frame bag by Mike @ Poca Bags – fair few thousand KM old now.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo LE tent. Neo Air Xtherm, Acepac Down Coat, Cumulus bag, Cumulus down pants (I’m a cold person) Garmin 540 Solar for navigation, 6-pack Exposure front light.

Thomas Bour

Age 32 / Lyon (France)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: Epsilon Bike, steel frame handmade in Lyon, France. RockShox SID SL Ultimate 100mm Fork, Shimano XT 1×12 drivetrain, XTR cassette 10-51T, Hope 32T crankset, Canecreek eeSilk seatpost, Asterionwheels, Hutchinson Kraken 2.4” tires + rear insert. Farr aero bolt-on for the fast sections.
BAGS: All bags are made by Restrap. I’ll be using the hydration pack without bladder to carry bulkier items like the mat and bivy.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’ve changed my usual 34T chainring for a 32T. I’ve also swapped the Garmin power pedals over the Ritchey with a wider platform to have more comfort, as the race will require more standing. Wahoo Roam and Bolt as backup.

Emil Carr-Ross

Age 21 / Glasgow (Scotland)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: Orange P7 2019 29er, Pipedream rigid fork, SON 28 dynamo, Vittoria Mezcal 2.35” tyres, Redshift Components suspension seatpost, Velo Orange Crazy bars with Ergon GP1 grips. Box One/Two Prime 9 drivetrain.
BAGS: Handmade/homemade waxed canvas half frame bag and 2x stem bags, Tailfin Aeropack, top tube bag and cages. Evoc 1.5L hydration vest.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My Stove! A Chinese ‘wasp’ titanium gas stove and Lifeventure mug to keep me well fed and warm at night.

Thomas Casey

Age 33 / Sudbury (United Kingdom)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: Cannondale Scalpel HT, with a Fox 34, Roval Wheels with Barzo Tyres 2.35″ and 2.6″ up front, a dropper post for getting rad.
BAGS: Ortlieb, Apidura, and tailfin with an Evoc hydration vest.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A new Gore rain jacket and my expertise in feet drying.

Kirsten Cluley

Age 35 / Glasgow (Scotland)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: Mason Raw, RockShox SID front fork, Vittoria Barzo/Mezcal 2.35” tyres with rear insert.
BAGS: Apidura frame, saddle, and top tube bags with Scotland-made Straight Cut Design Sidekick feed bags.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Self-modified hydration pack to allow bike carry on the hike-a-bike sections.

Felix Cousineau

Age 22 / Montreal, Quebec (Canada)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: The bike I’ll be riding is a Salsa Horsethief C, which I’ve fitted with a SID 120mm fork and GX AXS setup. Between the ground and me are some Terravail tires (2.6″ front/2.5″ back), Specialized Power 155 saddle and some Ergon grips.
BAGS: Revelate Sweetroll for camping gear and some layers, Mag Tank-2000 bolt-on and Shrew saddle bag for snack storage, custom frame bag built by Shaka Packs, divided to hold food (bottom) and all my tools/spares (top). Also carrying a Hyperlite Mountain Gear Versa for quick access to certain items.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: For camping I’m using my OR helium bivy, with a Sea to Summit mattress and quilt. For cooking, I have a 700ml Vargo pot which can hold a 4oz canister and all my accessories neatly. Super excited about the frame bag and not having to go around with a backpack!

Laurens Dingenen

Age 32 / Antwerp (Belgium)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: I’m tackling my first Highland Trail 550 on a Cannondale Scalpel HT (HT stands for Highland Trail, right?) Carbon 4. The groupset is a stock Shimano Deore XT 1×12 (34t, 10-51 cassette). I’ve spiced the bike up with Hunt Proven carbon wheels and a Crankbrothers Highline dropper seatpost. Tires are the unoriginal Vittoria Barzo/Mezcal combo in 2.35″, with a foam insert in the rear. My hands rest on Ergon GS2 grips with barends, and a pair of inner barends for an extra position. No dynamo, just a lot of weight in powerbanks.
BAGS: Tailfin Aeropack alloy, Ortlieb full frame bag, Restrap Race top tube bag, a small feed bag on the handlebars and the Ortlieb handlebar pack. I’ll be drinking out of a Camelbak Chase hydration vest. None of these are new, and all have served me well on multiple trips.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The bike. Last year I rode a big section of the HT550 on my gravel bike in GBDURO. I’m looking forward to redoing some of that rough stuff on a proper MTB. Even though I’ll probably be wishing for a full sus later on the route.

Greg Drew

Age 39 / Inverness (Scotland)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: Orbea Oiz m pro trail, carbon, dropper, Fox 34 110mm, Fox Float with 3 position lockout, 34T chainring, 10-51T XT, Ergon GP3, Vittoria Barzo 29 x 2.35″ tires. Peatys fidlock bottles.
BAGS: Straight Cut frame bag, top tube bag, custom sidekick stem bags. Salsa Anything front cradle with dry bag. Apidura backcountry dropper saddle bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Outdoor Research bivvy with additional hoop, Therm-a-Rest NeoAir mat, Vango cobra 400 ultralight sleeping bag, Alpkit rig 3.5 tarp, Albion all road ultralight jacket for nights, 7mesh Copilot rain jacket, Garmin 1040 solar, Garmin Spot gen 4, backup manual map laminated cards. Exposure Maxx d, Joystick and Sirrius.

Calum Fisher

Age 34 / Edinburgh (Scotland)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: Mason Raw with XT drivetrain, Rockshox SID fork, DT Swiss wheels, and Vittoria Barzo/Mezcal tyres.
BAGS: Frame and top tube bags from Straight Cut Designs, and Restrap saddle and stem bags
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Hooped bivi, sleeping bag, mat and pillow in the saddle bag, snacks in the top tube bag, and bladder and bits in the frame bag. I’m well used to Scottish summers, so key equipment includes suncream, waterproofs, sunglasses, thermals, tick remover, and midge net.

Lukas Franciszkiewicz

Age 36 / Zurich (Switzerland)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: I’ve kept the same setup as on my last attempt in 2022. The most important upgrade is the sintered brake pads.
BAGS: Mix of bags, including Tailfin and some self-made stuff.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My waterproofs.

Miron Golfman

Age 31 / Anchorage, Alaska (USA)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: I’ll be racing the 2024 HT550 on a 2023 Santa Cruz Blur. On the rig is a 120mm DTswiss F 232 One fork, 115mm Rockshox Super Deluxe Ultimate rear shock, prototype HUNT Proven Trail Carbon wheels with Maxxis Ardent F & Ardent Race R tires (with Cushcore inserts), SRAM Code RSC brakes, drivetrain is a mix of SRAM Eagle 12speed components, Wolf Tooth Resole dropper post, Specialized Power Arc saddle, and Munky Nutz mudguards front & rear. For electronics, I have x2 Wahoo Element Roam for navigation, and a Fenix BC30 front light.
BAGS: The frame pack is a Tailfin R&D Division custom bag, with a Tailfin prototype Long Top Tube Pack, and a Tailfin prototype Handle Bar Pack.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I’ll be wearing a full Albion clothing kit, which includes their featured ABR1 Pocket bib shorts, a new Traverse jersey as well as a custom-built Visibility Cargo Vest. Between the carrying capacity of these layers, I’ll be carrying the majority of weight on my body, including food, repair kit, and electronics. I’ve built out my cockpit with hand care and longevity in mind. On the bars are Cane Creek bar ends, Woolf Tooth Fat Paw Cam grips, SQLabs inner bar ends, and Farr aero bolt-on V3 pads that work in combo with my Tailfin prototype bar pack to create a sort of aero bar system for resting on road sections. For my sleep system, I have a ground sheet, Sea To Summit Spark 18°F sleeping bag, and an Ibex merino wool Indie Hoodie for extra warmth in the wet cool of the Scottish highlands!

Andrew Hutcheson

Age 33 / Fife (UK)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: Orbea Oiz. Vittoria Mezcal front and Schwalbe Racing Ralph rear. Specialized saddle, Ergon grips. Everything else as stock.
BAGS: Wildcat Gear Front Harness with PHD Sleeping Bag and Bivvy Bag. Revelate Designs Vole seatpack, Revelate Designs Mag Tank and a StraightCut framebag for tools, clothes, and food.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The sleeping set up in the Wildcat Harness is the same set up that’s been on every bikepacking ride, on 6 different bikes, since 2014, no need to change what works!

Lars Henning

Age 43 / South Oxfordshire (England)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: Specialized Epic Evo, Fox 34 fork, Fox Transfer dropper, HUNT Proven wheels, SRAM NX Groupset.
BAGS: Apidura Backcountry front and rear, DIY Framebag made from VX21, Alpamayo stem bag and feed bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Big Agnes 1P Fly Creek tent, Cumulus 350 Quilt, Exposure lights, Barzo tyres.

Clement Jacqueline

Age 27 / Thierache (France)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: I’ll be riding the Highland Trail 550 on a Surly Karate Monkey. The wheelset is made up of Maxxis Crossmark 29 x 2.25″ mounted on a Velocity rim and a modified 1×10 drivetrain with a 28T chainring.
BAGS: The bag set is a mix of homemade, reused items adapted to my small frame made with my old kayak equipment.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The vintage look of this bike is because of a magnificent sticker kit found in the unsold boxes of a bike store.

Eleanor Jaskowska

Age 32 / Llangadog, Carmarthenshire (Wales)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: I’ll be aiming to complete the HT550 in one piece with a smile on my face. I’m a full-suspension kinda gal, I’m also carrying a shelter and full sleep system (including pillow) to try and look after myself and rest as well as possible on a route like this!
BAGS: Like most women of average height who opt to ride a full-suspension bike, I struggle for space. I’m running a Tailfin prototype handlebar bag up front (inherited second-hand from my partner Liam Glen). Then there’s an Apidura dropper post bag on the rear. I’m also carrying a 22l fastpacking rucksack to make up volume. I’m hoping that by carrying more weight on my body my bike will be a bit lighter and easier to push and carry.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A controversial decision is to ride without a chamois. so I’ll let you know how that goes!

Katie Jones

Age 45 / Edinburgh (Scotland)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: I’m riding a Sonder Broken Road Ti XT. I’ve swapped out the tyres and will be running Maxxis Ardent front and rear, and I’ve made the switch to Hope EVO 155mm crankset and a 30t chainring. I’ve added a Sonder Confucius handlebar for extra stability and lift the front pack, to improve tyre clearance. I’m keeping my mudguards on to try and stay dry, and to get the most out of the dropper post.
BAGS: A total mix. Ortlieb seat pack QR for extra clothes and food (shorter cranks means I can use my dropper with this), Alpkit custom frame bag for a 1.5L bladder, tools, spares and charging kit, Revelate Designs harness with a 13L dry bag for tent and sleep kit, Apidura stem bag for snacks. I’ll also be wearing a 3L Evoc hip pack for bits and bobs to keep handy on the go.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I love my Nordisk Telemark tent. Super light and quick to pitch. Midge protection in minutes.

Camilla Loughlin

Age 29 / Revelstoke, British Columbia (Canada)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: I’ll be riding my Jackalope custom steel hardtail, which was built right at home in Revelstoke! The bike is set up with a RockShox SID 120mm fork, We Are One 29″ carbon wheels with 2.4″ tires, One Up dropper post, Ergon saddle, Surly Moloko handlebars, and Wolf Tooth fat paw grips.
BAGS: Rockgeist Gondola saddle bag, frame, top tube and feed bags, Revelate Egress pocket and roll, Apidura downtube bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: 1-person tent (Nemo Hornet), waterproof socks, margarita shot bloks and berry sour patch kids.

Kerry MacPhee

Age 37 / Stirling (Scotland)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: I’m riding a Genesis Mantle Hardtail finished off with Pro components, Koryak dropper, Fox StepCast 32 100mm travel fork, and full Shimano XTR with a 32T chainring. Cranks are 165mm. My wheelset is DT Swiss, and I’m running Vittoria Mezcal 2.25″ tyres with an insert in the rear.
BAGS: Full Restrap race setup! Bar bag, frame bag, stem cells, top tube bag, and saddle bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The Restrap harness is a fantastic bit of kit for the inevitable hike-a-bike, and their new backpack is excellent. Lots of pockets and adjustability. I’ll use Garmin for my navigation, which is always reliable.

Alex McCormack

Age 26 / South Devon (United Kingdom)

2024 Highland Trail 550 rigs

BIKE: I’m lucky enough to to be riding the Fairlight Holt 29er paired with 100mm RockShox Sid fork, Hunt proven XC wheelset, XTR groupset, PNW dropper, Garmin rally XC power pedals, Specialised power 143 saddle, Mt Zoom Stem, Vittoria tyres with a rear insert, Ergon grips
BAGS: Tailfin R&D full frame bag, Tailfin Long TT bag, Tailfin 1.5L Downtube bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Albion Zoa down and rain shell, Fuel+ snacks in every crevice, Exposure lights.

Zoe Painter

Age 26 / Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: I’ll be riding my 2020 Surly Karate Monkey with a One Up dropper and a Fox 140mm fork.
BAGS: I have a Revelate Designs harness up front, a Porcelain Rocket frame bag, and Rockgeist Microwave Panniers in the back.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A Zpacks one-person tent to keep me dry and a cozy Enlightened Equipment quilt.

Ellie Park

Age 23 / East Kilbride (Scotland)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: 2024 Marin Team 2 29ner Alloy Hardtail with Shimano XT groupset. No dropper for me, a lovely Thompson Seatpost and 2.35 Vittoria Mezcal Tyres.
BAGS: Frame Bag is custom from Straight Cut Designs in Edinburgh. Front bag is Sea to Summit 12L dry bag on Salsa Rack which is super sturdy and keeps cables free. Rear is an Alloy Trailfin rack with 20L aero pack which has been a game changer for my small frame.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Restrap Hike a Bike Harness is a must for this route. Seat to Summit pillow because we all need a good sleep!

Ed Procter

Age 50ish / Castleton, Hope Valley (England)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: Santa Cruz Blur, with Maxxis Ikons.
BAGS: Custom Restrap frame bag coupled with the Tailfin Aeropack and top tube bag. I’ll be also using an OMM hydration vest.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Not many! Rather than a dynamo, I’ll be going with an Exposure front light and Anker power bank. My sleep system will be my good old Rab sleeping bag with an old army surplus bivi bag. Still deciding on GPS, my Edge 830 battery life seems a bit rubbish so probably going with my trusted Etrex 20.

Max Riese

Age 33 / Salzburg (Austria)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: I’ll be riding my Cervélo ZHT-5 hardtail with full SRAM XX1 groupset, Reserve 24 XC wheels, Race Face flat bars, and Pirelli Scorpion M and H 2.4″ tires.
BAGS: I will be riding with a full set of Ortlieb waterproof bags. A 4L frame bag, Fuel Bag top tube bag, and a small seat bag. The only change is that this year I will use the new dark sand color. I’m also using a 3L trail running vest for food and drinks.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I will take the full 7mesh Revelation jacket and Thunder pants combo. I trust my warmth to a Freeflow Polartec insulated jacket. Navigation on a Wahoo Roam v2. I have been riding on a custom Posedla 3D-printed saddle for over a year now. I like it so much, actually, that I got a special one fitted for my MTB position. So hopefully no saddle sores. Last but not least, I’m running a full kLite light system with a new Micro USB charger.

Jocelyn De La Rosa

Age 34 / Kelowna, British Columbia (Canada)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: I’ll be racing the HT550 on a Wildwood Cycles TI Hardtail paired to a Fox 34SC 120mm fork. Drivetrain is a mix of Shimano SLX/XT/XTR, 1×12 with a 30t chainring. Brakes are Hope Tech4/V4. Tires are by Wolfpack, Race rear/Cross front combo. Other components include a One-up 160mm dropper to have more fun on the descents, SQLabs handlebars, and inner bar ends for more comfort.
BAGS: Dispersed Framebag, Rockgeist Gondola saddle bag, Tailfin Top tube and down-tube bag, and a Gurp Stitchwork feedbag. I’ll be wearing a Salomon hydration vest with a 2L bladder.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Rain is pretty much a certainty. To stay dry-ish, I’m bringing four pairs of socks plus a Velocio hardshell, Sealzskin waterproof socks, some rain knickers, and a set of Pogie Lites. Front light is an Outbound Trail Evo, and I’ll have a Stoots Opalo 2 on my helmet. Carrying a full sleep kit with an S2S 8C sleeping bag, MLD event Bivy, and a Therm-a-Rest pad.

Sofiane Sehili

Age 42 / Esclauzels, Lot (France)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: Bombtrack Cale XC with Shimano XT M8100 groupset, Hunt Proven XC carbon wheels, René Herse Fleecer Ridge tires, KS Lev Ci seat post, Fizik Alpaca saddle, Rockshox Sid Ultimate fork and Sid Select shock.
BAGS: All bags by Miss Grape. Il Coso, Cluster 7, Internode custom, Node.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Supernova M99 pro2 battery powered front light.

Niall Shannon

Age 39 / Edinburgh (Scotland)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: An Ibis Ripley with a Pike fork, Fox Float shock, OneUp dropper, XT groupset, and Maxxis Ardent Race tyres (29 x 2.35″) rolling on Hope hubs/Lightbicycle rims.
BAGS: It’s the inevitable cocktail of bag brands with the highlight being the Straight Cut custom frame and top tube bags, Revelate Designs front harness (with tatty old 12L drybag that refuses to die), Jerrycan and Feedbag, and a Restrap saddle bag that’s just about small enough to still give some value from the dropper/shock.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I love it all, but I’m most stoked on the custom Straight Cut bags. Ross did a great job making the most of limited/awkward space. Other than that, I have an insulated Sea to Summit mat that turns any old cold damp spot into the Shangri-La and a whole lot of peanut butter.

Lesley Sharpe

Age 48 / Portree, Skye (Scotland)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: Trek Procaliber 9.7, SRAM GX Eagle 12 speed (10-52T), Bontrager Kovee Elite 23 wheelset with Barzco XC Trail 2.35″ up front plus Mezcal XC Trail 2.25″ out back, RockShox fork with 100mm of bounce.
BAGS: Restrap and Apidura mash-up; Restrap Race Bar Bag, Apidura saddle, frame, top tube bag, and pouch for lots of squashies. Montane Gecko 12+ running vest for extra storage and Restrap Harness for the tough hike a bike sections of which I know will be a few!
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Terra Nova Pulse 1 tent for extra comfort and what little sleep I’ll get, 7mesh foundation pants – these are silky smooth and a dream to ride in for days, Muc Off mechanics gloves cause they’re nice n sticky and a Flex Tail Tiny Pump to inflate my Neo Air pad as I’ll have no lungs left.

Matt Stainsby

Age 45 / Presteigne (Wales)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: YT Jeffsy Aluminium full suspension, XT groupset, Ergon saddle and grips, Vittoria Mezcal/Barzo tyres, SON dynamo hub.
BAGS: Salsa anything cradle and bag, Alpkit frame bag, Revelate Joey bag.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Probably going to go with an OR Helium bivvy, Exped sleeping mat, Therm-a-Rest quilt, and my 10-year-old Garmin 810 for navigation.

Ben Steurbaut

Age 41 / Bredene, West-Vlaanderen (Belgium)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: I’m riding and hiking my titanium Chiru Divider through the Highlands. Completed the setup with a Shimano xt groupset (34T chainring / 11-51T cassette), a pair of Vittoria tyres, and a Fox Stepcast 32 suspension fork. On the handlebar I added a mini aerobar for the transition parts.
BAGS: My lugggage goes into a custom made framebag from Witslingers, a DIY frontrol and Tailfin bags. Extra’s goes into the CamelBak onto my back.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Sleeping kit: Sea to Summit sleeping pad, SOL emergency bivy, and down pants and jacket. Lights: Fenix UC35 + extra batteries. Navigation: combo of a Garmin 530 and eTrex 30x.

Jenny Tough

Highlands + British Columbia (Canada)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: Canyon Exceed CF SLX.
BAGS: Apidura Backcountry kit.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Smidge and tick tweezers!

Quinda Verheul

Age 34 / Rotterdam (The Netherlands)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: The bike I’ll be riding is a Sour full-suspension prototype, which has 120mm travel front and rear. It’s equipped with Fox suspension and Hope components. For the tires, I’m running Schwalbe XC tires. The drivetrain has a 10-52T cassette paired with a 30T chainring.
BAGS: I’ll be packing my gear in a Tailfin R&D AeroPack, frame bag, and front roll made custom for the bike. I’ll also have a supply vest from Carrie Gere, and for quick access to snacks, I’m using feed bags from Wit Slingers.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Given the recent ride, a midge net is a must-have! For weather protection, I’ll be wearing an Arc’teryx rain jacket and pants, paired with Sealskinz socks and Black Diamond waterproof overmitts.

Garry Whitehead

Age 46 / Bristol (United Kingdom)

2024 Highland Trail 550 Rigs

BIKE: I’ll be trundling around the Highland Trail on my trusty Fairlight Holt equipped with RockShox Ultimate SID fork, custom-built wheels – DT XM481 rims and Hope Pro5 hubs, PNW dropper post, Maxxis Rekon 2.4″ tyres with insert in the rear for those pesky drainage bars. Specialized Mimic saddle. Ergon GP3 grips and SQL inner bar-ends to add a variety of hand positions.
BAGS: Mainly Tailfin bags with a Restrap bar bag. I will also be using an Ultimate Direction vest for extra storage.
GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Sleeping kit will comprise of a Nemo Hornet tent, Alpkit Pipedream 200 sleeping bag, and Alpkit Cloudbase mat. Haglofs LIM GTX jacket. Patagonia NanoPuff hoody for night time riding. Exposure Toro on the bike and LedSensor MH10 headtorch to light the way. Garmin Edge 530 for navigation.

Further Reading

Make sure to dig into these related articles for more info...


Bikepacking Bikes

Bikepacking Race Rigs

Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.