This week’s Reader’s Rig comes from Kyle Hughes, who has been pedaling around the Americas for nearly two years, and recently started riding a Tout Terrain Outback Xplore 275. Learn more about Kyle and his colorful Outback here…

Posted by Lucas Winzenburg

Words and photos by Kyle Hughes (@kylehughesphoto)

I’m Kyle Hughes and I’m an ex-explosives engineer, current bikepacker, and striving to be a future adventure photographer/videographer. Being raised in Africa and South America, I have always been interested in different cultures and the outdoors. My father is an avid fisherman and I’ve joined him on many adventures throughout the world. We fished for tigerfish in Africa, grayling in the tundra of northern Finland, and monster trout in the southern parts of Patagonia.

Tout Terrain Xplore 275, Kyle Hughes

When I quit my job in 2017, I wanted to find a way to venture out into the world and discover new places like the ones he showed me. After half a year of backpacking I realised I was lacking freedom to move where I wanted to go. I honestly hadn’t ridden a bike since I was 12 years old but the freedom I was search for only seemed attainable with a bike. After a few days hatching a plan, I bought myself a tourer from Tout Terrain and decided to head to the Americas and start cycling. That was almost two years ago now, and I still feel like I’m barely scraping the surface of this adventure. I first started road touring, like most of us do, but after countless close encounters with cars and the lack of solitude I searched for, all my riding is now done off-road. That’s why I opted for this new bikepacking setup.

  • Tout Terrain Xplore 275, Kyle Hughes
  • Tout Terrain Xplore 275, Kyle Hughes

My Tout Terrain Outback 275 is quite new to me. I used to ride their Tanami, which is a great bike for a mix of road and gravel touring. However, I needed to move onto something with a wider tyre width and a balanced riding position for more technical riding. The Outback 275 seemed like the best fit for my touring needs through South America. Included in the build is also the Pinion system with the Gates Carbon drive, which I opted for as it’s basically maintenance free and completely weather sealed. I believe these types of systems are the future of touring due to their inherent simplicity and ease of use. I’ve been finding out what the system is capable of and so far it has exceeded my expectations. The shift from a gravel tourer to this bike has been quite monumental. Dirt touring to singletrack riding is no longer something I dither on; it is something I willingly approach. If you are thinking about making the change to a bike specific to your needs, I would highly recommend it.

  • Tout Terrain Xplore 275, Kyle Hughes
  • Tout Terrain Xplore 275, Kyle Hughes
  • Tout Terrain Xplore 275, Kyle Hughes

You’ll notice my bike is quite colourful. This is mainly because of my African up-bringing. Orange is my favourite colour and my homemade items are partially made with Chitenge, a Zambian material typically used for household needs. This particular material belonged to my father for many years, so I felt like it was perfect to take it with me as I toured around the world. My mother and I put together the rolltop framebag so now every day as I tour I carry a bit of my mother’s work and my father’s history.

  • Frame/Fork Tout Terrain Outback Xplore 275 (Large)
  • Rims Ryde Edge M30
  • Hubs Tout Terrain Black Label
  • Tires 27.5 x 2.8 Schwalbe Rocket Ron
  • Handlebars Tout Terrain Black Label Ergo Sport 760
  • Headset Cane Creek 40
  • Crankset Pinion 32T
  • Cassette 32T Gates Carbon
  • Gearbox Pinion C1.12
  • Brakes Shimano SLX
  • Shifter(s) Cinq Shift:R Tour
  • Saddle Selle Royal Dardo
  • Seatpost Tout Terrain Black Label SP1-20
  • Stem Tout Terrain Black Label
  • Front bags Revelate Designs Front Harness + Egress, Homemade double roll bag
  • Frame bags Homemade roll top
  • Rear bags Revelate Designs Terrapin 14L
  • Accessory bags Revelate Designs Mag Tank, Halawa Snack Packs
  • Other accessories Wahoo Rear Bag Stabiliser, Peak Design Field Pouch, Voile Straps

You can keep up with Kyle on Instagram @kylehughesphoto, and be sure to check out his powerful film Over The Edge, which received an honorable mention in our 2019 Bikepacking Awards.

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