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Rigid Steel Mountain Bikes (The Best Off-road Touring Bikes)

When it comes to backcountry touring, we love fully rigid steel mountain bikes with flat bars and big tires. These bikes are inherently simple, robust, and easy to maintain. They're also capable, confidence-inspiring, and comfortable off-road explorers. Plus, they encourage a state of mind that's conducive to discovery rather than simple mile crunching, which is what bikepacking is all about. Find over 40 bikes that fit this category and learn about the criteria we used to select them here...

Updated October, 2023 (originally published January, 2019)

In our opinion, fully rigid steel mountain bikes—especially those with plus-sized tires—have inherited the crown of the first ATBs (All Terrain Bikes), offering sure-footed traction and an adventurous spirit. They’re the updated essence of the original 1980s mountain bikes, and like their forebears, are robust enough to be around 20 years from now. Rigid bikes aren’t the fastest or lightest in the world, but they’re amongst the most fun and capable for the money.

  • Rigid Steel Mountain Bikes and off-road touring bikes
  • Rigid Steel Mountain Bikes and off-road touring bikes
  • Rigid Steel Mountain Bikes and off-road touring bikes

Plus Tire Heyday

If you’re new to bikepacking and wondering what we’re talking about when we reference plus-size bikes, it’s those that have ample clearance for tires between 2.8 and 3.25″ on suitable rims, whether they’re 26″, 27.5″, or 29″ in diameter. The heyday of plus bikes and tires has come and gone, but we think they remain ideal for a broad range of bikepacking pursuits.

Surly introduced this supersized tire width in 2012 with the 29+ Krampus. Since then, it’s been championed by a number of manufacturers in a variety of rim sizes. As for our penchant for ferrous frame materials, whilst we’re fully aware that many riders are perfectly happy touring on aluminum bikes, we appreciate chromoly (or steel, in common parlance) because it’s capable of surviving the odd ding and knock, whether you’re riding it, boxing it for a flight, or transporting it on the roof of a bus. It’s also less prone to fatigue and easy to repair, making it a perfect material for backcountry exploits.

Lastly, plus-size tires lend themselves very well to tubeless setups. The large volume allows you to run lower tire pressures than you might otherwise, adding even more grip and comfort to mixed-terrain touring and trail riding. Setting them up without inner tubes eliminates the risk of a pinch flat, but watch out for rim strikes.

  • Rider Rig Surly Krampus Bikepacking
  • Franzi Rider Rig Bombtrack Beyond +

Where to Use Plus tires on Steel Mountain Bikes

What kind of bikepacking trip benefits from a plus bike? Many mixed-terrain, backcountry routes are plus bike-friendly, especially if you’re running a fully rigid setup and/or you’re new to off-road touring. Whilst these routes may be perfectly rideable on tires with less volume, plus-size tires add undoubted confidence and comfort to your off-road riding. The rougher the riding, the more helpful large-volume tires will be.

few sandier bikepacking routes arguably require such setups, such as the popular Baja Divide, the Camino del Diablo, or the epic Ruta de Los Seis Miles, whilst areas with extended stints on cobbled surfaces, like the Trans Ecuador Mountain Bike Route, will also benefit greatly, as you can run lower tire pressures than you might be able to otherwise. Yes, full-fledged fat bikes are even more capable machines when it comes to undiluted off-the-grid exploration, but plus-size rigid bikes strike a more balanced sweet spot between versatility and capability, which will appeal to many, especially for trips that mix many different qualities of road surfaces.

Here are several criteria that are important to note when looking into these bikes:

Plus Tire Clearance

The majority of the bikes in our list can comfortably clear a 2.8”- 3” tire, on rims between 30-50mm width, be it a 26, 27.5, or 29er in diameter. A large volume tire on a wide rim offers excellent traction and confidence, which makes up for its extra weight, especially when touring off road on a fully rigid setup.

Steel Mountain Bikes

Most of these bikes are ‘mountain bikes’ at heart, with geometries designed for flat handlebars. Some are more suited to technical trails than others, which we’ve mentioned in our overviews. Similarly, some have geometries suitable for a suspension fork, whilst others are rigid specific. There are a few models, particularly framesets, that we’ve seen set up with drops or flat bars, (like the Piolet, Fargo, and Evasion), so we’ve added those in too.

Steel is Real

Almost all these bikes use chromoly frames and forks, and feature the kind of mounting points you’d expect from an off-road touring bike, like eyelets on the fork and downtube, or provision for front and rear racks. Yes, you can make do without, but with so many options on the market, it makes sense to hone in on those that are bikepacking-friendly.

Confused about all our talk of plus sizes and wheel diameters? Be sure to scroll down below the lineup of fully rigid steel mountain bikes for our breakdown of which wheel size will work best for your needs.

List of Rigid Steel Mountain Bikes

There are a few things to note about our list of rigid steel plus bikes. The factors that we found particularly important to consider are listed in the highlights (in red). These include the maximum tire size (and to the best of our knowledge, its wide trail equivalent), and the dropout width specs. In addition, note the bottom bracket spec. Bottom bracket drop is relevant to pedal clearance, but don’t forget to account for wheels and tires of different diameters when you compare them. Also, we reference whether it’s threaded or PressFit (PF)—an important factor for many. Click each list item to expand the details and see a larger photo. Lists are displayed in alphabetical order, with bikes we’ve tested grouped at top (represented with a hexagonal “T” icon):

  • $1999
    Bombtrack Beyond+

    Bombtrack Beyond+

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel & Carbon
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Bottom bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 110 / 12 x 148mm
    • BB drop: 65mm

    The Beyond+ is now only offered in a single version, but our review and what we’ve shared below remains accurate.

    We tested the Beyond+ 2 and were impressed. It’s a light, sharp-handling, fully rigid hardtail with all the bikepacking touches you’d expect from a company that’s passionate about adventure. Take away the carbon fork and GX drivetrain and you get the Beyond +1, which sports the same frame and geo, albeit with a different finish, a rigid steel fork, and a cheaper price tag. Like all good bikepacking rigs, it features provisions for fork bags and rear racks. And, should you want to run front suspension, a 120mm fork with 25% sag keeps the geometry the same. Or, slot in a 130mm fork with 30%, slackening it out a touch for big trail descents. Both the carbon fork and the steel for have eyelets for water bottles and cargo cages.

    You can also see more images of the Beyond +1 in Franzi Wernsing’s Rider and Rig.

    • Price: $1999 (Complete)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • £725
    Brother Big Bro

    Brother Big Bro

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/steel
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 3” / 29 x 2.6"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 12 x 148 / 15 x 110mm
    • BB Drop: 60mm

    We’re big fans of the Brother Cycles Big Bro. It’s simple, classic, and sensibly specced. It is based around a 4130 Chromoly Steel frame, a matching rigid fork, 73mm threaded bottom bracket, and has full-length external cables. It was updated in 2022 with boost hub spacing, clearance for big 27.5 x 3″ or 29 x 2.6″ tires, lots of mounting points, and comes in four sizes as both a complete build or as a frame only.

    • Price: £725 (frame Only)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1175
    Crust Scapegoat

    Crust Scapegoat

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire size: 26 x 3.8 or 29 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 12 x 148 / 15 x 110mm
    • BB drop: 58mm

    The Scapegoat is Crust’s expedition bike. It features a low Q-Factor, go-anywhere design that fits about any tire. A tight rear end and longish top tube mean its meant for trails, yet is has a lot of traits that are suitable for multi-year expeditions. Unlike many fat bikes out there (although its not just a fat bike), the Scapegoat sports a 73mm Bottom Bracket shell, which allows a comfortable 170mm Q-Factor.

    The rocker dropouts mean you can run 26 × 3.8” tires, 650b/27.5 x 3.8″ tires, or full 29+ rubber. The frame is 4130 double butted Chromoly. What makes it most interesting is its non-suspension corrected fork. It features 15 x 110mm front dropouts, 12 x 148mm rear dropouts, and is loaded with mounts. Check out our long-term review here.

    • Price: $1175 (Frameset)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1375
    Jones Plus LWB

    Jones Plus LWB

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel (or ti Truss)
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 3.25"
    • Bottom Bracket: 68mm Threaded Eccentric
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 150mm / 12 x 148mm
    • BB drop: 88mm

    When we tested the rigid-specific Jones Plus (now rebranded LWB), we were blown away by its trail manners; we never expected a bike that was so upright and comfortable to ride could also be so capable on technical singletrack. The latest iteration features some tweaks; there’s now provision for a rear rack and the rear hub is Boost-spaced (rather than 135QR), which helps clearances with 1x drivetrains and wider plus tires. As per all of Jones’ bikes, all forks can be shod with 26 x 4.3” fat tires if you want some extra “suspension” to your ride. And, in addition to the steel and Ti truss options, there’s now a more user-friendly steel unicrown fork, with the exact same offset and dimensions. Note that the BB drop is offset by the ability to rotate the eccentric bottom bracket by as much as 12mm and the fact that all Jones bikes are specced with cranks 5mm shorter than usual. There are two sizes and a number of colors to choose from. We tested the steel diamond frame, but there are also spaceframes and titanium options too.

    Priced below with truss fork. You can also purchase a frameset for $1,100 with a Steel Diamond frame with unicrown fork (most economical build) or with a steel truss fork for £1,350. Top of the line is the Ti spaceframe and truss fork, which goes for $4,550.

    • Price: $1375 (Frame/Truss Fork)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1800
    Jones Plus SWB + SWB Complete

    Jones Plus SWB + SWB Complete

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel (or ti truss)
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 3.25”
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 100 / 12 x 148mm

    Replacing the classic Jones mountain bike of old, the rigid-specific SWB offers full 27.5+ clearances (with ample room for 29 x 2.6” too) and a slightly rejigged, longer rear end. Note then that Short Wheel Base is a relative term – the stays are still some 449mm in length. The premium-priced, custom-specced version and the newer, more affordable SWB Complete have the exact same geometry and are both made in Taiwan, though the latter uses non-heat-treated tubing and loses the eccentric bottom bracket, which is useful for in-the-field drivetrain repairs and adjusting BB height. Still, at $1,800, we can’t fault the SWB Complete for price. It has all the Jones magic for a much more inclusive cost than we’ve seen before, even if the gearing (22-83″) is a little on the low side for loaded, mountainous bikepacking, and the tires aren’t tubeless ready. There’s room for a 27.5 x 3.8” tire if you want extra volume up front, whether you’re running the truss fork (available in steel or Ti) or the SWB Complete’s unicrown version. And, there’s plenty of space for 3.25” tires in the back. Read our full release with specs here.

    • Price: $1800 (Complete)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1599
    Kona Unit X

    Kona Unit X

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 X 3.0″ / 29 X 2.8″
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 X 110MM / 12 X 148MM
    • BB drop: 65mm

    The Kona Unit X was completely revamped in 2020, and these changes hold true today. It’s now built around 29 x 2.6″ tires, boost hub spacing (148 x 12mm rear and 110 x 15mm front), and its geometry was updated to follow modern trail bike trends. The frame has two standard bottle mounts in the main triangle, downtube mounts, and triple pack mounts on the fork legs. It also has front and rear rack mounts and fender bosses for even more versatility. Logan was so impressed with the 2020 Kona Unit X that it was our top pick for our 2020 Bikepacking Awards. Make sure read our full review here.

    • Price: $1599 (Complete)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • €729
    Nordest Sardinha

    Nordest Sardinha

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 3.0″ / 29 x 2.6″
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 110 x 15mm / 148 x 12mm
    • BB drop : 60mm

    The Nordest Sardinha features a Taiwanese-made, double-butted CRMO 4130 frame with clearance for 27.5 x 3.0″ or 29 x 2.6″ tires. It’s available in sizes S, M/L, and L, fitting riders from 168-193cm (5’6″-6’4″). The frame gets a threaded bottom bracket, 44mm head tube for a straight or tapered steerer, and a welded plate chainstay yoke to allow for plenty of tire and chainring clearance. It also has triple bottle mounts on both the top and bottom of the down tube, as well as a pair on the seat tube. Nordest sells the Sardinha as a frame only or as a “kit” that includes a matching rigid chromoly fork and headset. Both come in yellow with blue and red fish-themed graphical icons and phrases such as “Base Camp” and “Vital Support.” Read Logan’s review here.

    • Price: €729 (Frame)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $2550
    Otso Fenrir

    Otso Fenrir

    • Frame: Titanium/Stainless
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 2.6"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 110mm / 12 x 148mm

    Taking its name from a giant wolf in Norse mythology that was destined to devour the sun, the Otso Fenrir has a lot to live up to. But Otso claims it’s their most versatile rig to date. The Otso Fenrir is built around a custom-butted stainless steel or titanium frame with loads of mounts and adjustability, and according to Otso, it’s built for bikepacking on rides like the Tour Divide or any other mixed terrain route you might dream up. What makes it unique is a geometry designed for use with either drop bars or MTB flat bars. In short, this means it has a longer reach than most drop bikes, and a shorter reach and higher stack than most mountain bikes.

    From Logan’s review: “As far as bikepacking, The Otso Fenrir has everything you might need as far as mounts, provisions, frame bag space, and long-ride comfort. It’s pegged squarely at big mixed terrain routes like the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, the Tian Shan Traverse, Baja Divide, NMORR, or any number of rides that combine singletrack with all forms of dirt roads. It doesn’t hesitate on any terrain, and I wouldn’t hesitate to take it on any given bikepacking trip.”

    • Price: $2550 (Stainless Frameset)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1649
    Panorama Taiga

    Panorama Taiga

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Carbon
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 2.8" / 27.5 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 110mm / 12 x 148mm
    • BB Drop: 65mm

    The Panorama Taïga is based around a Reynolds 725 steel frame, 29 x 2.8″ tire clearance, lots of mounting points, and can be set up with a rigid or suspension fork. The Taïga was updated in 2023, and it addresses some of the minor issues we had with the original version. On the geometry front, the bottom bracket has been lowered by 5mm, and the stack/reach numbers have also increased slightly. Complete builds are now specced with size-specific dropper post lengths, 32-spoke wheels from Hunt, and the rigid fork comes stock, but suspension forks are available upon request. The Taïga is available as a frame only, frameset, complete build, and with a Rohloff hub. Check out Miles’ review here.

    • Price: $1649 (Frame / Fork)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1499
    Surly Bridge Club

    Surly Bridge Club

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 2.8”
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 100QR/10 x 138mm "Gnot Boost" for 135 or 142mm
    • BB drop : 60mm

    It’s perhaps no surprise to see so many Surlys in this list, as the plus size tire was their crazy (good) idea in the first place! The Bridge Club, however, is a little different. It comes specced with 2.4s on 29mm rims. But, there’s ample clearance for 2.8s (which mount up nicely on the rims provided). The price point is very inclusive too; $1499 gets you a simple and well considered spec list that will suit newby bikepackers or those who carry extra payloads, given the low gearing and double chainring. Granted, there’s not as many fork barnacles as the likes of the Ogre, Troll, and ECR. But that doesn’t mean Surly have skimped out either, as there still provision for rack mounts and triple-boss cages. A Gnot-boost-style dropout means you can run a number of QR hub standards too, which could come in handy when travelling into the reaches of the globe. Read our review here.

    • Price: $1499 (Complete)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1849
    Surly Karate Monkey

    Surly Karate Monkey

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 3”
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 110mm / “Gnot Boost” 135, 142, or 148mm
    • BB drop: 55mm

    The Surly Karate Monkey is a classic hardtail, reborn in its latest incarnation to take a longer fork (up to 140mm) and plus tires as standard. A favorite of both Miles Arbour and Michael Dammer (see our Rider and Rig from the Colorado Trail), the KM is famous for being a tough-as-nails hardail that makes up for it’s relatively heavy frame weight with its fun, confident, and cheeky disposition. In fully rigid form, the Surly Karate Monkey promises a great blend of low maintenance components and invigorating handling at a reasonable price tag.

    • Price: $1849 (Rigid Complete)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1849
    Surly Krampus

    Surly Krampus

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 110 / 12 x 142/148mm
    • BB drop : 60mm

    The Surly Krampus started it all. The first plus tire bike, the first 29+ bike, and arguably the first bike that drew the term “bikepacking bike.” Why? Although the comparable bikepacking-specific Surly ECR can do it all, between the two, the Krampus dominates steep rooty singletrack, rock gardens, and technical conditions. It’s a trail bike at heart. The high bottom bracket and slack geometry make it a thrill ride, and honestly one of the most fun, confidence inspiring bikes you’ll come across. The best analogy is that it’s comparable to being a big kid on a grown up BMX bike, one that can plow over anything. Even loaded with a frame bag, seat bag, and handlebar luggage, it performs well and feels solid and confident. If you are waffling over other bikes, and enjoy trail riding as much as you do bikepacking, the Krampus is a must-ride.

    • Price: $1849 (Rigid Complete)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1699
    Surly Ogre

    Surly Ogre

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 3” or 29 x 2.6”
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 100QR/145mm "Gnot-Boost"
    • BB drop: 68mm

    The Surly Ogre is one of our favourite do-it-all framesets, though note that as a complete bike, it comes with 29 x 2.5” tires, so it’s not a plus bike out of the box. There’s a lot to like: the Ogre is rigid specific so sports a large framebag, the dropout is compatible with a Rohloff hub of you so choose, and aside from a full complement of rack mounts, there are no less than four sets of triple-pack mounts on the fork, facing both forward and aft. We should point out that the bike featured in our review isn’t quite current; new frames no longer feature canti studs, making the bike disc-specific and more plus-size friendly, as it’s easier to install and remove wheels.

    • Price: $1699 (Complete)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • €4690
    Tout Terrain Outback

    Tout Terrain Outback

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Carbon
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 3” / 29 x 2.3”
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 110 / 12 x 142mm
    • BB drop: 65mm

    Hailing from Germany, Tout Terrain’s frames are made in Taiwan but painted and assembled in Germany. Veterans of the traditional bike touring world and well versed in a variety of enclosed drivetrains, Tout Terrain have embraced the long distance durability of the Pinion C12 system for the Outback, their first foray into the bikepacking realm. Having had some time with this bike in the French Alps, we can vouch for its singletrack prowess and its build quality. We love the geometry too; it’s a little slacker than some, so suits big mountain descents, and sports a steepish seat angle that really helps with climbing. Each bike is built to spec, from a choice of high end components. As such, it can be purchased with both a rigid carbon fork (complete with triple boss cargo/water bottle eyelets) or with a 120mm suspension fork for more dedicated trail use. Yes, technically this isn’t a fully rigid steel bike, but it’s close!

    • Price: €4690
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan/Germany
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $2900
    Tumbleweed Prospector

    Tumbleweed Prospector

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 26 x 4.0" / 29 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Custom EBB
    • Dropouts (F/R): 100 QR or 110 thru / 135mm QR
    • BB drop: 58mm

    The Tumbleweed Prospector is a unique do-it-all expedition bike made specifically for bikepacking and dirt-road touring. The Prospector’s headline feature is a custom yoke designed to allow its steel, symmetrical frame accommodate fat tires up to 4″ wide with a standard-width, über reliable Rohloff Speedhub. Translation? Without need for an extra-wide bottom bracket shell, there’s no increase in the distance between the pedals and the resulting Q Factor, a fat bike trait that’s irksome to many.

    However, there’s more to the Prospector than that. For those plus-tires, the prospector has a custom eccentric Bottom Bracket allowing a half an inch of bottom bracket height adjustability (12mm), in turn making it equally as suitable for 29+ and 27.5+ tires. The frame is built around a standard 135mm dropout for easy-to-source hubs as well as a 100mm QR fork (or 110mm with an optional thru-axle fork). The frame also features a suspension-corrected geometry. And, it has as all the necessary braze-ons for racks, panniers, and a myriad of water bottles. All of which makes for a very versatile bike, one that Tumbleweed promotes as a rugged, adaptable, backcountry explorer, as well as a fun rig to spin around the local trails.

    To learn more, find two Rider and Rigs on this site featuring the Prospector, one with filmmaker Jay Ritchey set up 27.5+, and one with world traveller Pepper Cook. Also, read the pre-launch QA with founder Daniel Malloy.

    • Price: $2900 (Frameset/Rohloff Kit)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $2950
    Bantam Bicycles Travelall

    Bantam Bicycles Travelall

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 2.4"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 12 x 100mm / 12 x 142mm

    Th Bantam Bicycles Travelall is their take on the “best bikepacking/trekking/go anywhere do anything bike possible.” It’s based around a custom-sized TIG welded steel frame, an integrated lighting system, geometry and handling optimized for bikepacking and loaded riding, and a suggested base build or your choice of a completely custom setup. The Travelall fits 27.5 x 2.4″ tires with fenders, has external cable routing, three bottle mounts, rack and fender mounts, and a copper Bantam head badge.

    Each Travelall comes equipped with a custom front rack called the Travelrack. According to Bantam, they’ve found a well-designed front rack to be lighter and more versatile than some handlebar bag setups, so they’ve equipped theirs with Wald basket mounts, triple bosses for cargo cages, and a headlight mount. Bantam has partnered with Portland-based bag maker Lords Luggage on a bolt-on, roll-top frame bag for each Travelall, made from durable waxed cotton canvas in a color complementary to your frameset color. See more of the Travellall from our MADE Bike Show coverage here.

    • Price: $2950 (Frame/Fork/Rack/Bags)
    • Place of Manufacture: USA
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1350CAD
    Bassi Coyote

    Bassi Coyote

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 110mm / 12 x 148mm
    • BB Drop: 50mm

    The Bassi Coyote is based around a 4130 Chromoly steel frame, a matching rigid fork, and Boost thru-axles. There are three-pack mounts on the fork legs and under the downtube, two standard bottle mounts, and rear rack mounts. The frame is set up with sliding dropouts for singlespeed and geared setups, and the frame is suspension corrected to accept 120mm forks. It has clearance for 27.5 x 3.0″ or 29 x 2.4″ tires, dropper post routing, and lovely frame graphics and colors. Read our press release here.

    • Price: $1350CAD (Frame / Fork)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • €2699
    Bombtrack Beyond+ ADV

    Bombtrack Beyond+ ADV

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Carbon
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 110mm / 12 x 148mm
    • BB drop: 70mm

    The ADV is the bigger sibling of the Beyond+. Technically, it shouldn’t be in our listing, as it’s not a fully rigid steel bike, but, the carbon fork comes with triple eyelets for cargo cages, and you could also swap it out for an aftermarket rigid fork if you prefer the idea of traveling with steel over carbon. This aside, it fits the criteria of an overland explorer perfectly. With its 1×12 Eagle GX cassette, it boasts a wide gear range, and it also has WTB tubeless-ready rims and our favourite Ranger Tough tires. It comes with the ultra comfortable Jones Loop H-Bar too. This is a bike you could get rowdy on, too; it’s suspension corrected for a 120mm fork, set up with 25% sage, or you can even push it to 130mm with 30%.

    • Price: €2699
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1499
    Breezer Thunder

    Breezer Thunder

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 2.95"
    • Bottom Bracket: BSA Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 110 x 15mm / 148 x 12mm
    • BB Drop: 70mm

    The Breezer Thunder is a fully rigid steel mountain bike with a reasonable price tag and some pretty appealing features for bikepacking. It’s built up around a Chromoly steel frame and fork, boost hub spacing and thru-axles, external cable routing (as well as internal dropper post routing), and has clearance for tires up to 29 x 2.95” wide. The frame itself is fully kitted out with mounting options, including rack and fenders, standard bottle mounts, triple pack mounts on the fork legs and the seat stays, plus additional bosses on the top tube and under the downtube.

    • Price: $1499
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1175
    Crust Evasion

    Crust Evasion

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 2.8" or 26 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 12 x 100mm / 12 x 148mm (or 135mm QR)

    The Crust Evasion is designed around 26+ (up to 26 x 3″) tires on 45mm rims, but it’s just as happy on a 650B tire (27.5″) up to x 2.8″ wide. This bike is designed for dirt touring and bikepacking and touted as “comfortable for the long haul but fast and nimble while still being ready for some pretty technical/rough riding.” It’s got plenty of rack mounts and bottle bosses, and rocker-style dropouts to either run a 148mm thru-axle rear or 135mm QR, single speed or Rolloff. The bi-plane front fork features a 100mm x 12mm thru axle.

    • Price: $1175 (Frameset)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • £1499
    Genesis Longitude

    Genesis Longitude

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 3” / 29 x 2.4”
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 100QR/130QR
    • BB drop: 70mm

    Over in the UK, Genesis have built up an enviable reputation for putting together very capable bikes that don’t break the bank. The rigid-specific Longitude is no exception. It offers a great spec for the price, including a WTB tubeless-ready wheelset, a sensible Deore double chainset for a broad spread of gears suited to touring and bikepacking, and reliable if basic Shimano Alivio hydraulic brakes. Genesis even throw in a couple of Gorilla Cages to get you started. If you’re in the UK, this one is hard to beat on price.

    • Price: £1499
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1543
    Hunt Bikes 29+

    Hunt Bikes 29+

    • Frame/fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: PF30 PressFit
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 100mm / 12 x 142mm
    • BB Drop: 62mm

    We’ve long admired Hunt’s frames from afar, elegant as they are. Hunt is based in Australia, but framesets can be shipped worldwide. Designed to accommodate both 29” and 29+ tires, these bikepacking-orientated framesets come in three sizes and two colors: gloss black and brushed chrome. As you’d expect from a company enamoured by bikepacking (see the Hunt 1000 event that they put on across the Australian Alps), there’s no shortage of bag and water bottle mounts. Note though that there’s no provision for racks, as by their own admission, they much prefer soft bags, and the bottom bracket is press fit rather than threaded.

    • Price: $1543 (Frameset)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $2475
    Jones LWB HD/E Complete

    Jones LWB HD/E Complete

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max tire: 29 x 3.25
    • Droupouts F/R: 15 x 150m / 12 / 148mm
    • Bottom Bracket : 68mm threaded

    The Jones LWB HD/E is the latest addition to the Jones range. At first glance, it looks similar to the Jones LWB Complete. However, closer inspection reveals a very different beast. Although the reach, angles, and all-important fork offset remain the same, the HD/E sports 1in longer seats stays… effectively making it a Jones XLWB!

    These long stays free up more space for big panniers, help keep the bike stable under heavy loads, and prevents the front from lifting on heavy climbs. In addition, the clue is in the name: Heavy Duty / Electric. This bike uses a heavier gauge of head-treated tubing to ensure it can handle heavy heavy loads, or even an e-bike conversion kit, like a Bafang. The longer wheelbase creates enough space to fit one without any issues.

    A burly bike needs burly wheels. Hoops are Jones’ own. They’re 50mm wide and the rims have 36 holes, abd are double walled and eyeletted. They’re tubeless-ready too, using Jones’ own Shraeder kit. In other regards, this bike is similar to the Jones LWB Complete, as seen here. The LWB HD/E is available as frame only, and you can mix and match with a unicrown or truss fork.

    We did notice that the frame looses eyelets under the downtube, which is disappointing. Nor are there any on the seat tube due to the bend, though the upper side of the downtube does at least have provision for two water bottles, or a cargo cage and a water bottle cage.

    • Price: $2475
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1325
    MONē La Roca

    MONē La Roca

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 110mm / 12 x 148mm
    • BB drop : 34mm

    The La Roca is Cjell Mone’s signature plus hardtail featuring a hand-brazed, custom-butted frame hardened 4130 chromoly tubeset and a unique, tuneable rear-end that allows a wide range of chainstay lengths depending on your wheel choice. 27.5 x 2.5″ minions will allow you to tuck into a super-short 405mm cheinstay length if you want to slam it. Or you can bump that number to a 430mm and run full 3.0″ 29+ tires.

    As shown here, La Roca is offered with a 120mm suspension-corrected biplane fork with 2x Anything cage mounts (four total on the frame). The Mone La Roca also has fender mounts and low rider rack mounts.

    • Price: $1325 (Frameset (with fork))
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
    contract Close
  • $2150
    MONē SB2

    MONē SB2

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 2.6″ / 27.5 x 2.8″
    • Bottom Bracket: 68mm Threaded
    • BB Drop: 55mm

    Monē is calling the new klunker frame the SB2, short for Small Batch Straight Bar, and it features the twin top tubes reminiscent of the klunkers of yesteryear. Cjell is also tipping the hat with the coaster specific-ish brake allowances, which is a very Monē choice. The frames feature a mix of butted and straight-gauge tubing for a claimed sub-five-pound weight. For reference, Cjell tells us this is around half of what an old Schwinn frame weighs. The fork is also SB2 coaster-specific, featuring skinny 7/8″ chromoly blades setup as a unicrown for a ride quality Cjell describes as “maximum supple.” We’re told the fork is optimised for no front brake, which sounds a little sketchy because it is. Monē is also offering a breadtruck-brazed version of their bi-plane fork for folks who want to run disc front and rear. Read more here.

    • Price: $2150 (Frame + Fork)
    • Place of Manufacture: USA
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • £4200
    Quirk Cycles Overland

    Quirk Cycles Overland

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 2.4″ / 27.5 x 2.6″
    • Bottom Bracket: PF30 / T47
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 110mm / 12 x 148mm
    • BB Drop: 60mm

    The Quirk Cycles Overland is their take on a do-everything, go-anywhere bikepacking rig, which first debuted at the 2020 Atlas Mountain Race. According to Quirk, “The Overland is designed for those wanting to take their off-road adventures to the next level. Our aim was to run big tyres, increase our cargo-carrying capacity but still have a frame that is fast and fun to ride unloaded.”

    While the overall package remains the same, including custom geometry, Quirk Custom Select tubing, and being handmade in Quirk’s London-based shop, there are some interesting updates launched in Spring 2023 worth noting. Quirk has introduced 3D-printed seat tube cluster and dropouts, replacing the previous adjustable version that wasn’t necessary for their customers. Their integrated bolt-on Rack ‘N’ Roll has received some laser-cut mounting plates and custom-machined washers and bolts. The frame is now suspension-corrected for a 100mm travel fork so folks can swap out the steel fork out when some extra cushion is needed.

    All other details remain the same, including clearance for 29 x 2.4″ / 27.5 x 2.6″ tires (although customers have fit larger), front and rear internal dynamo routing, and lots of mounts for cages and other gear. The Overland features boost hub spacing, a custom unicrown cargo fork, and framebag mounts within the main triangle. For those after a custom bag, Quirk has partnered with our friends at Wizard Works for the ultimate custom experience. Read the press release here.

    • Price: £4200 (Frameset)
    • Place of Manufacture: London
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $2000
    Rivendell Gus Boots Willsen

    Rivendell Gus Boots Willsen

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 2.6"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 100 x 135mm QR

    From Rivendell: “The Gus Boots-Willsen is our most versatile Hillibike. It weighs a little more than the Susie/Wolbis because the tubes are fatter and stronger, but there’s no dumb weight. For Hillibikers of all weights and loads to 60lbs. The Boots rides light and tracks well, even on trails more suited to the noble jackass.” It has a long wheelbase, high handlebars, and can clear tires up to 2.6″ wide. While it might look like a cruiser, the Gus has some serious off-road bikepacking potential.

    • Price: $2000 (Frame + Fork)
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • £3595
    Shand Bahookie

    Shand Bahookie

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Carbon
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: PF30 Pressfit
    • Dropouts (F/R): 135×10MM / 142×12MM
    • BB Drop: 55mm

    The Shand Bahookie is a do-it-all mountain bike. It features a hand-built Reynolds 631 steel frame designed around 29er or 650B+ wheels and a rigid or 120mm travel fork. It looks ideal for for bikepacking, adventure racing, bashing round local trails, or heading out for a long day in the hills. It’s also available with a Rohloff for those looking for a bomb-proof setup.

    • Price: £3595
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • £4645
    Shand Tam

    Shand Tam

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: Eccentric
    • DROPOUTS (F/R): 135×10mm / 142×12mm
    • BB Drop: 72mm

    The Shand Tam is an Rohloff equipped, expedition bike that’s designed to be comfortable and extremely capable. It’s built up around a Reynolds 853/Dedaccia steel frame, has modular dropouts to accept singelspeed and geared drivetrains, and comes equipped with Shand’s very own steel fork with anything cage mounts and internal dynamo wiring. The Tam has front/rear rack and fender mounts, an eccentric bottom bracket, and the standard complete build is specced with hydraulic brakes, WTB Nano tires, and a swept back Ritchey Kyote bar.

    • Price: £4645
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1880
    SimWorks Doppo MTB

    SimWorks Doppo MTB

    • FRAME/FORK: Steel/Steel
    • MAX TIRE SIZE: 27.5 X 2.8″ OR 29 X 2.4″
    • BOTTOM BRACKET: 73mm Threaded
    • DROPOUTS (F/R): 110 X 15MM / 148 X 12MM
    • BB DROP: 60mm

    The SimWorks Doppo MTB is made from Tange Chromoly Steel tubing and can be setup rigid with the included steel fork or with your favourite 120mm travel suspension fork. The frame comes kitted out with two standard bottle mounts, triple pack mounts under the downtube and on the fork legs. It has clearance for both 27.5 x 2.8″ and 29 x 2.4″ tires, uses boost hub spacing, front and rear thru-axles, and a standard 30.9mm seatpost with internal dropper post routing.

    Read the full press release here.

    • Price: $1880 (Framset)
    • Place of Manufacture: Japan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1170
    Singular Swift

    Singular Swift

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 110mm / 12 x 148mm
    • BB Drop: 75mm

    The Swift was first launched back in 2006, when UK-based Singular Cycles was getting started and 29″ mountain bikes were just becoming mainstream. The Singular Cycles Swift is now in its fifth iteration, which they describe as a “suspension capable do-it-all off-road machine.”

    The Swift MK5 has been updated with a tapered headtube for suspension fork compatibility, thru axles front and rear, internal dropper post cable routing, all while retaining the ride quality and handling it’s known for. The Swift is built up around Taiwan-made custom drawn triple butted 4130 Chromoly steel tubing, has a 73mm BSA threaded bottom bracket, boost hub spacing, clearance for 29 x 3.0″ tires, and all sizes get bottle mounts on the seat tube, down tube, and under the down tube.

    The matching Swift fork has a 483mm axle-to-crown (100mm suspension corrected), triple pack mounts, rack and fender mounts, and internal dynamo routing. The frame has dropper post routing, bolt-on cable guides on underside of down tube, and it uses post-mount brakes front and back. It comes in three sizes and one color option.

    • Price: $1170 (Frameset)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $769
    Soma Jawbone

    Soma Jawbone

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 2.25″ and 27.5 x 2.6″
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 12 x 100mm / 12 x 142mm
    • BB Drop: 72mm

    The Soma Jawbone is built on a Tange Prestige heat-treated double-butted CrMo steel frame with clearance for up to 29 x 2.25″ and 27.5 x 2.6″ tires (with good mud clearance). The frame is designed to have more stability while loaded thanks to a longer wheelbase and slightly stiffer design. It’s also outfitted with plenty of mounts for packing gear. There are two variations on the frame: the A-type with thru-axles and a unique lugged fork, and the B-type with sliding dropouts and a unicrown fork. Learn more here.

    • Price: $769 (B-Type Frame + Fork)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • €1099
    Sour Bad Granny

    Sour Bad Granny

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 2.4"
    • Bottom Bracket: 68MM BSA ECCENTRIC
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 110 / 12 x 142mm

    The Bad Granny is something quite special from Sour, and it’s a joy to ride. Its companion fork sports two sets of eyelets, light cable routing, and clearance for 29 x 2.4″ tires. The frame is available in sizes M and L. According to Sour, “Usually grandparents have different functions in a child’s development. In this case our Bad Granny is here to remind you that singlespeed, rigid forks, and a laid back geometry is everything you need to have the most fun on a bike. Of course Bad Granny keeps up with the times, derailleur shifting, suspension forks, even internal or external dropper posts comes beside the old-fashioned style…she can handle it all.”

    • Price: €1099 (Frame-Only)
    • Place of Manufacture: Germany
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • £780
    Stooge MK6

    Stooge MK6

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 2.8" / 27.5 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: Eccentric
    • Dropouts (F/R): 110x15mm / 148x12mm
    • BB Drop: 60mm

    The MK6 is the latest iteration of the bike that started it all for Stooge back in 2014. The Stooge MK6 is a classic mix of the Scrambler and the MK4. It has lots of bikepacking potential but doesn’t shy away from rowdy trail rides and big skids. The official wheel size is 29×3 front/29×2.3-2.6 rear, but it also plays nicely with 29 x 2.6″ – 2.8″ and 27.5+.

    • Price: £780 (Frame / Fork)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
    contract Close
  • £780
    Stooge Scrambler

    Stooge Scrambler

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: Eccentric
    • Dropouts (F/R): 110X15MM / 148X12MM
    • BB Drop: 65mm

    First and foremost, the Scrambler is a rigid trail bike, but it also comes with all manner of gear mounts: rack and cage mounts on the biplane fork, three-pack mounts on the fork blades and both sides of the downtube, a pair on the seat tube, rear rack mounts, and half rack mounts for saddlebag supports. Stooge’s pet name for for the bike is the RADventure bike, “an adventure bike you can still get rad on, still take around the old BMX track, but still ride into the sunset on in all-day-comfort with Knocking On Heaven’s Door playing in the background.” Like Stooge’s other bikes, it still has twin top tubes but there’s room for a bigger frame bag.

    The Stooge Scrambler will be offered in 18 and a 20″ sizes with effective top tube lengths of 610 and 635mm, respectively. Compared to the MK4, the Scrambler has a slacker 67° head tube angle and is a little shorter overall, which puts the rider in a more upright riding position. As Andy puts it, “Coupled with the short chainstays this will feel really poppy and light on its feet.” Read the full press release here.

    • Price: £780 (Frame / Fork)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • £820
    Stooge Speedbomb

    Stooge Speedbomb

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: Eccentric
    • Dropouts (F/R): 110x15mm / 148x12mm
    • BB Drop: 75mm

    The Stooge Dirtbomb is part klunker, part modern rigid trail bike. It’s offered in one size, since klunkers are only offered in one size, has clearance for 29+ tires, and uses a eccentric bottom bracket so you can run 27.5+ as well. As Stooge puts, “This slice of steel will take you on a joyride so fantabulously exciting you’ll take every other bike you own and throw them heartily in the skip of eternity…”

    • Price: £820 (Frame / Fork)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $699
    Veloci Wild Move

    Veloci Wild Move

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 2.6" / 29 x 2.4"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 9 x 100mm / 10 x 135mm
    • BB Drop: 60-70mm

    The Veloci Wild Move is a versatile fully rigid bike that can be loaded up with gear for big trips or stripped down for zipping around local trails. It’s based around double and triple-butted 4130 Chromoly Steel tubing that’s ED coated for corrosion resistance. The fork is finished with triple-pack and rack/fender mounts and has upper eyelets. The frame itself has top tube mounts, multiple mounts inside the main triangle and under the downtube, and can accept a rear rack as well. The rigid fork is 465mm, allowing the use of certain 80mm-130mm travel forks, which are specified on Veloci’s website.

    A quick look at the Wild Move’s geometry chart will show a long-ish wheelbase, low bottom bracket, and a generous stack height that should all add up to a comfortable and stable ride quality. The frame has clearance for 27.5 x 2.6″ or 29 x 2.4″ tires, while the fork can clear 27.5 x 3.0″ or 29 x 3.0″.

    • Price: $699 (Frame + Fork)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • €2499
    Veloheld Iron

    Veloheld Iron

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel (or 130mm suspension)
    • Max Tire Size: 27.5 x 3 and 29 x 2.35
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 110 x 15mm / 148 x 12mm
    • BB Drop: 63mm

    We don’t know too much about the Veloheld Iron, but from what we can discern from the German website, it looks like a very capable bikepacking rig. The Iron is available as both a rigid build or with a 130mm fork, with all the provisions we know and love – eyelets for Anything Cages on the chromo fork and provision under the downtube for a water bottle too. The stock build looks good, with a SRAM NX Eagle Boost drivetrain and a choice between a 29er wheelset or 27.5+, both tubeless ready. There are four sizes available.

    • Price: €2499 (Complete)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1200
    Wilde Supertramp

    Wilde Supertramp

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 2.6"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 110mm / 12 x 148mm
    • BB Drop: 66mm

    The Wilde Supertramp is handmade in Taiwan through their partnership with the Maxway factory. It’s based around their own Wilde TLC (Tough Light Compliant) Chromoly steel tubing and a matching steel segmented fork. The frame has three pack mounts on the top and bottom of down tube, a bottle boss on seat tube, top tube mounts, fender mounts, internal dropper post routing, full loop cable guides, and clearance for 29 x 2.6″ tires (though it’s optimized for 29 x 2.25″).

    As for geometry, Wilde describes the Supertramp as having “comfortable off-road touring geometry,” and they say it’s perfect for an all-rounder. It has a tall stack height, long-ish reach, and works nicely with short stems and heavy front loads. The main triangle is optimized for a big frame bag, and it looks like it offers a capable platform for everyday riding and loaded bikepacking alike. Read the full press release here.

    • Price: $1200 (Frameset)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1799
    Windover Beacon

    Windover Beacon

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Carbon
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 2.5"
    • Bottom Bracket: T47 Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 110mm / 12 x 148mm

    The Windover Beacon is a true ATB. It’s inspired by the mountain bikes Windover grew up riding. It’s perfect for big rides on varied terrain where you might not need suspension or dropper posts (although it can handle both). The Beacon is built up around Reynolds 853 DZB steel tubing, has clearance for 29 x 2.5″ tires, boost hub spacing, rack and fender mounts, and three bottle mounts on each frame. It’s designed to run Windover’s Type 3 carbon fork, which has Anything Cage mounts on each leg and a 415mm axle-to-crown length, making it easy to swap out for gravel suspension forks from RockShox, Fox, or Lauf.

    The Windover Beacon is available as a frame-only for £1,499, a frame + fork for £1,799, or as a frameset (frame, fork, BB, headset, seat clamp) for £1,999. Full builds are also available upon request, and anyone interested should contact Windover directly. Learn more about Windover Bikes here.

    • Price: $1799 (Frame + Fork)
    • Place of Manufacture: England
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $3495
    XX – Chumba URSA 29plus Backcountry (RIP)

    XX – Chumba URSA 29plus Backcountry (RIP)

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel (or carbon)
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 15 x 110mm / 12 x 148mm (sliding)
    • BB drop: 56mm

    The Chumba URSA 29plus Backcountry was one of the first production, bikepacking-specific 29+ rigs on the market. Featuring a made-in-the-USA steel frame, sliding dropouts, and plenty of mounts, its a great option to consider when eying bikes such as the Krampus, ECR, and the Tumbleweed Prospector. Check out this report on it.

    • Price: $3495 (BC)
    • Place of Manufacture: Texas, USA
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • £599
    XX – Stooge Speedball (RIP)

    XX – Stooge Speedball (RIP)

    • Frame/fork: Steel/steel
    • Tire Clearance: 29 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: Eccentric
    • Dropouts (F/R): 142 × 12 / 100 × 15mm

    The Speedball is a 29+ bike featuring a Klunkpacker bi-plane fork with triple cage mounts. The speedball is offered in one size only: 23.5″ ETT and 18″ seat tube for anyone between 5’8′ and 6’1″. It has clearance for 3″ rubber on a 45mm rim in the rear and 3.25″ on the front, a 27.2 post, 142 × 12 and 100 × 15 dropouts, and an included eccentric bottom bracket.

    Here’s some geo specs: ETT – 597mm, Seat tube – 457mm, head angle – 69, seat angle- 72, BB drop – 75mm, chainstays – 450mm, fork axle to crown – 455mm, head tube – 140mm, fork offset – 55mm truss, 57mm biplane.

    • Price: £599 (Frame/Bi-plane fork)
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1900
    XX – Surly ECR (RIP)

    XX – Surly ECR (RIP)

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 29 x 3.0
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts: 100mm QR / 12 x 142/148mm
    • BB drop: 80mm

    The magic of 29+ is that it provides a large rolling diameter as well as significant floatation and suspension qualities due to a wider footprint. And, all of this is at its disposal without the same penalties that 4″ fatbike tires possess. In essence, 29+ provides added cushion and confidence while not being as sluggish at a fatbike. The Surly ECR was one of the first few 29+ bikes, and the first to repurpose 29+ specifically for bikepacking. Many have followed in its wide footsteps, but it remains the archetype of its own niche.

    • Price: $1900 (Complete)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
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  • $1700
    XX – Surly Troll

    XX – Surly Troll

    • Frame/Fork: Steel/Steel
    • Max Tire Size: 26 x 3.0"
    • Bottom Bracket: 73mm Threaded
    • Dropouts (F/R): 100QR/145mm "Gnot-Boost"
    • BB drop: 40mm

    The little brother to Surly’s Ogre, the Troll has long been an excellent choice for those headed to lands where 26” tires still reign supreme, or for those of a smaller stature, for whom front and rear bag clearance can be an issue. Smaller tires means more space. The Troll doesn’t come set up as a plus bike. Rather, it comes stock with Surly’s touring-friendly 2.5” ETs tires, but in typical Fatties Fit Fine fashion, there’s plenty of room for 26 x 3” tires. Just remember that you’ll want to build up a set of wheels with wider rims, as the standard ones are rather narrow. The Troll is rigid specific, the rear dropout is compatible with a Rohloff hub, and aside from a full complement of rack mounts, there’s no less than four sets of triple-pack mounts on the fork, facing both forward and aft. The Troll is available as both a complete build and a frameset, and has a BB drop of 40mm, so take that into account when swapping out wheels.

    • Price: $1700 (Complete)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer's Details: Link
    contract Close

A note on tire and rim widths

Within the ‘plus’ bike category, there’s a broad range of rim and tire width options. Whilst 3″ tyres on 50mm rims offer the very best in traction, comfort, and flotation, there are reasons why a narrower configuration – a 2.8″ tire on a rim that measures 35mm, or a 2.6″ tire on a 30-32mm internal rim width, for instance – may make sense. Such setups are lighter, offer more options when sourcing replacement tires on the road, and if you’re planning a tour with multi-modal transport, more train and bus friendly. They’re also better in mud, thanks to the larger clearances afforded by your frame and fork, and the fact that they have less of a tendency to plane over surfaces. Again, be aware of the impact that a smaller diameter tire will have on your bottom bracket height; it will likely effect it by a few millimetres, which will increase the chance of pedal strikes. All in all, pairing the right rim with the right tire width makes sense, as it maximises tire stability, avoiding some of the side to side roll that can be associated with plus tires, and protecting the rim too.

  • Surly ECR, Is 29 plus dead
  • Baja Divide

26+ vs. 27.5+ vs. 29+ vs. Wide Trail, in brief

There are pros and cons to each wheel size. Generally speaking, the larger the wheel, the smoother the ride. The smaller the wheel, the more nimble the handling. Which plus tire size is best for you will likely boil down to two main factors. The first is the availability of replacement tires in the areas you live or intend to travel. The second is your own stature. The larger diameter the tire, the less clearance you’ll have for a seat pack or front roll, especially if you intend to use suspension at some point (remember to allow for the fork’s compression). At the time of writing, the largest availability of tires is in the 27.5″ size, which will likely suit most riders.

Worth noting too is that bikes with plus-size clearances often overlap with ‘wide trail’ clearances in the next wheel size up. For example, 26+ generally fits 27.5 x 2.4” and 27.5+ often has clearances for 29 x 2.4” tires. This allows you to reinvent your bike and helps futureproof your frame. If you’re planning to experiment with wheel and tire sizes, be aware of the potential impact on bottom bracket height, which will affect pedal clearance. More recently, many of us have been gravitating toward 29 x 2.6″ tires, for which there are numerous now. One last factor to consider: the smaller the wheel, the easier it will be bag and box your bike for overseas travel.

Parting Thoughts

It’s great to see such a broad variety of fully rigid, steel mountain bikes on the market. Which particular model works best for you will likely depend on what you intend to do with it. Do you want the possibility of running suspension, or more framebag space? The stopping power of hydraulic brakes, or the backcountry serviceability of mechanical brakes? Do you favour the ability to roll over all manner of terrain, or do you prefer a bike that’s lighter and handles more quickly? Are you tall in stature, or on the shorter end?

And, of course, it will depend on money you have in your back pocket, because there’s a wide spectrum of prices to choose from (and don’t forget to save some cash for the trip!). Whatever you decide upon, we’re confident that a simplicity of a fully rigid steel plus bike will capture your imagination and you lead far and wide, just as it did for us.

As with our other Gear Indexes, we took quite a bit of time to collate a comprehensive selection of rigid steel mountain bikes for off-road touring in this list. However, there are probably a few that we missed. After publishing our Indexes of Drop-bar 29ers and 650B Gravel Plus bikes, we’ve added dozens of options; we expect this one will grow as well. If you know of a bike you think will make a solid addition to this list—preferably one you have first-hand experience with and can recommend—please let us know in the comments below.