The weekly Debrief highlights small but important bits of news, products, and things that caught our attention on the website, in the conversation, and elsewhere around the community. These include upcoming events and interesting items our readers shared in the comments. Check out this week’s findings below.
Bits & Bobs
New products that are worth highlighting but didn’t make the Dispatch…
Fairlight Cycles Holt Complete Build
After many customer requests, Fairlight Cycles is offering their Holt hardtail mountain bike as a complete build. The build features a Shimano XT drivetrain, Rockshox SID Ultimate fork, Hunt Trail Wide wheels, plus other add-ons and upgrades. The base price is £3,299 (~$4,100 USD), and while it’s an XC bike at heart, it would make a capable bikepacking rig as well.
Made in Europe / £3,299 at FairlightCycles.com
Wolf Tooth Remote Pro
Wolf Tooth launched their Remote Pro dropper lever that they claim “features more adjustment than any other dropper lever.” It also boasts a full metal machined assembly and a progressive leverage curve using a cam actuation. Eight clamp options are available to integrate directly with Shimano, SRAM, Magura, Hope Tech, and Hayes brakes.
Made in Minnesota, USA / $69.95 at Wolf Tooth
Rambler Bags Ready-To-Ship
After previously focusing on only made-to-order work, Rambler Bags recently announced new in-stock and ready-to-ship bags. The first of many in-stock drops has several of last year’s quilted Luxe bags in unique colorways, tons of options for Challenge Ecopak tool rolls and packable musettes, and several bags with antique railroading buttons, including a limited run of tool rolls that utilize new-old-stock 100+-year-old silver plated Pennsylvania Railroad buttons along with a custom Baltimore & Ohio randonneur bag.
Made in USA / $39-$370 at RamblerBags.com
Chris King Brings Back 3D Violet
Some 35 years after its first appearance, Chris King just brought back their coveted 3D Violet color as a component color for 2023. Inspired by the BMX culture of the 1980s, it was the first vibrant hue they offered alongside silver and black, and it was a huge success, leading to the company’s strong tradition of anodization. According to Chris King, their 3D Violet “has no actual three-dimensional effect, nor will it cause the user to shift into a third dimension (probably).” Pre-orders are open now for products that will begin shipping in June.
Made in USA / ChrisKing.com
Search And State Chainstitched Merino Jersey
We love Search And State’s flagship merino zip jersey. Logan has been wearing one for years. SAS just announced a limited run featuring a chain-stitched logo by master craftsman Brain Blakely. “Brian’s work is exquisite and a nod to the days when clothing was made with just a bit more passion for the craft.” All jerseys were stitched by hand in Brian’s Brooklyn workshop and now reside in SAS’s Manhattan studio.
Made in NY, USA / $250 at Search And State
Maxxis’ All-new MaxxSpeed Tread Compound
Maxxis released the new MaxxSpeed XC tread compound yesterday. They claim a 25% reduction in rolling resistance and better performance in muddy conditions. The new tread compound is available on their full line of XC tires, including the Aspen, Rekon Race, Ikon, and new Severe XC tire. Find those over at Maxxis.com.
State Bicycle Co. x Taco Bell Klunker
Despite the absurdity of the idea and its $420.69 price tag, this collaboration is very real. State Bicycle Co. and Taco Bell have teamed up on a special edition State Klunker with a matching frame bag. The frame is “decked out with the iconic Taco Bell logo and signature purple, pink, and yellow brand colors. The model even features a fork lined with ‘Live Mas.'” It’s available in a single size that State says fits 5’5″ to 6’3″ tall riders.
$420.69 at StateBicycle.com
A Custom Fork from Liberation Fab
We spotted this beautiful fork on Liberation Fab’s Instagram and reached out to learn more. This was a custom fork for a customer who wanted a replacement for their Rock Lobster. It’s a fun combination of long blades (445mm A-C), the Pacenti fork crown for clearance up to 2.4″, a 12x100mm thru-axle, and mid-blade eyelets.
Made in USA / $450 at LiberationFab.com
Apidura 3L Racing Saddle Pack
Yesterday, Apidura launched a smaller 3L version (down from 5L and 7L) of their popular Racing Saddle Pack that came about through collaboration with ambassador Liam Yates. They say it’s ideal for those who pack light, travel fast and go far, whether on road or gravel. It’s made from Hexalon, features a roll-top closure with an integrated light mount and reflective graphics, and weighs just 170 grams.
$149 at Apidura.com
Exchanges and ideas that caught our attention in the site’s conversation section…
Trickle-Down E-Bike Technology?
We’re not particularly interested in e-bikes, but we’re always on the lookout for products that can improve the bikepacking experience. There seems to be an emerging trend of e-bike-specific components having some crossover for good old-fashioned bikepacking. We shared some tongue-in-cheek coverage of the new WTB Devo e-bike saddle that features a built-in handle that looks ideal for hike-a-bikes, and a commenter pointed out his interest in products such as Shimano’s LinkGlide drivetrain, which was designed to handle the “brisk acceleration and deceleration of e-bikes” and claims to be three times as durable. That sounds great for cross-continent bikepacking journeys to us! Have you noticed any other e-bike-focused developments that have hidden benefits for bikepackers? Let us know in the conversation below.
Around the Community
News from around the bikepacking world…
Eric Olsen’s 2023 Enduro-Packing Rig
Enduro racer Eric Olsen is racing the Enduro World Series again with plans to bikepack his way from race to race. This time, he’s off to Tasmania. Fanatik Bikes just released a bike check video for folks interested in his setup. Watch the video above and then head over to his Instagram to follow along.
This week, Patagonia released this animated video that depicts how their Worn Wear program works. From Patagonia: “Every year, 85% of clothing waste gets landfilled or incinerated. One of the best things we can do for the planet is keep stuff in use longer and reduce our consumption. That means buying less, repairing more and trading in gear when you no longer need it. When you’ve gotten the most out of your Patagonia items, trade them in on WornWear.com or at a Patagonia store. Then we give you credit to use on something you actually need. Gear stays in play and out of the landfill. High five.”
Attaquer Out of Office Project
Through May 3rd, Australia’s Attaquer is offering $3,000 AUD cash and $5,000 AUD worth of kit to whoever proposes the most interesting trip for them to help support through their ATQ Out of Office Project. Plus, if the winning trip is bikepacking-focused, Ortlieb will chip in a bikepacking kit as well. Attaquer is looking for “original, creative thinking that pushes the boundaries of what cycling can be,” and entry is open to anyone worldwide. If you have a wild idea for a bicycle adventure that you’d like help funding, you can submit a quick proposal at AttaquerCycling.com
Duzer on the Congo Nile Trail
Our friend Ryan Duzer headed to Rwanda as part of a cycling tourism promotion project. While there, he tackled the beautiful Congo Nile Trail. Stay tuned for more from Ryan on that trip.
Events Starting Soon
What to watch this weekend and bikepacking events starting soon…
The RockStar Challenge is a 270-mile MTB race from Rocktown (Harrisonburg) to the Star City (Roanoke). The grand depart takes off from Black Sheep Coffee on April 22nd at 4 a.m., and there are currently more than 60 registered riders to follow live on Trackleaders. Check them out here.
Tour De Los Padres
Tour De Los Padres is a challenging 300-mile bikepacking route that traverses some of the most scenic areas of the Southern Los Padres National forest. The grand depart took off from Cuddy Valley, California, yesterday morning with nearly 30 riders registered for tracking. You can follow their progress live here.
Wish We Were Here
Shedding a little light on a route one of us is dreaming about riding at the moment…
Tristan Bogaard: The Wolf’s Layer
If there’s one bikepacking route I could ride again and again, it would be the Wolf’s Lair in Italy. I first discovered this route at the closing moments of autumn, riding the hills of Abruzzo while the grass turned a pastel brown, the leaves slowly turned a dark red, and the weather announced the first signs of a frigid winter. The experience of riding in Mediterranean Europe but feeling as though you’re somewhere in Central Asia due to high peaks and empty valleys, shepherds with their flocks, and truly remote scenery is an element that’s hard to achieve anywhere else on the continent. My heart beats for this route, and I can’t wait for my next chance to ride it—eventually, in all four seasons.
Some things we found around the ‘gram and elsewhere. This week, selection of mesmerizing videos from Rhode Island-based frame builder Brian Chapman of Chapman Cycles…
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