Words and photos by Cody Siler (@cody.pics)
My name is Cody. I live in Oakland, California, and work for a bike tour company. I used to guide for the same company in Iceland, Spain, and Costa Rica, but these days I work in the office as a marketing writer, so my life is a little less nomadic and more boring than it used to be. To compensate, this past summer, I built up a bike designed around my world-touring dreams: a Hog’s Back from Bassi Bikes in Montreal.
I found the frame after it was featured here on BIKEPACKING.com, and it checked all the boxes. I spent my first stimulus check on it and had it shipped out here to California and ready to ride by June. I called it the Hog of the South in honor of its Argentinean ambitions and as a nod to one of my favorite writers, Charles Portis.
It hasn’t traveled around the world yet, but it’s taken me to out of state twice, once on an epic backcountry dirt route around the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon and Washington and most recently on a nine-day road tour from Port Orford to Berkeley. It’s also been ridden on plenty of gravel rides around Berkeley, Oakland, and Marin, as well as a bunch of dirty overnighters here in Northern California, where it’s put up uncomplainingly with being chucked over gates, dropped into barbed wire, etc.
I built it up with a mix of garage parts and new bits. It originally had a stock 3×10 Tiagra group, but that rear derailleur met its match on a rocky climb up my local mountain on a birthday ride last summer, and the gearing wasn’t low enough anyway. Doing some poking around on the internet, I realized the weird gear ratio of Tiagra 4703 is the same as the 10-speed GRX group. I kept my levers, swapped out RD and crank, and now I have a low of 30 teeth up front and 40 in back—enough to keep me seated on everything I’ve dragged it up since.
The bike is pleasantly burly—stiff but not too stiff, light enough that it’s fun to ride unloaded, and sturdy enough that it can take a beating out on tour. I was nervous about the Hunt wheels’ spoke count, but they’ve performed well out there and are still true despite a few thrashings with heavy loads on bumpy roads (though a big old dent did just appear in the rear rim last week). I got a cheap custom bag made by a guy in Seattle and it’s been good too. And last week, I put some bigger, slicker tires in anticipation of a summer of fire-road touring.
- Frame/Fork Bassi Hog’s Back (54cm)
- Rims Mason x Hunt 4-Season Disc 700c
- Hubs Mason x Hunt 4-Season Disc
- Tires 44mm WTB Byways
- Handlebars Salsa Cowchipper
- Headset FSA
- Crankset Shimano GRX RX600 10 speed, 46-30
- Cassette Sunrace 10-speed 11-40
- Derailleur Shimano Tiagra FD-4703 (front) / GRX RD400 (rear)
- Brakes TRP Spyre
- Shifter(s) Shimano Tiagra 4703
- Saddle Brooks Cambium C17
- Seatpost Thomson 0 setback
- Stem FSA (60mm)
- Front bags Made by Yugo in Bogotá, Colombia
- Frame bags Made by High Mountain Gear in Seattle, WA
- Rear bags Large olive Fab’s Chest
- Accessory bags Revelate Mag-Tank, Decathlon bottle bag, Revelate feedbag
- Other accessories Tumbleweed T-Rack
At this point, I wouldn’t change a thing about it, and there’s nothing left to do but ride it till the wheels fall off. Hopefully, once this COVID thing ends we’ll be able to consummate our relationship with the international trips it was built for, but for now, we’re doing fine here in California.
You can follow along with Cody on Instagram @cody.pics
Send Us Your Bikepacking Rig
Use the form below to submit your bikepacking rig. We’ll choose one per week to feature in a Reader’s Rig Dispatch and on Instagram. To enter, email us your best photo of the bike (preferably at a 90° angle), your Instagram username (optional), and a short description of you and your rig. If your bike is selected, we’ll need a total of five photos and a little bit more info.
Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.