Our latest Reader’s Rig comes from Liam Yates, whose Specialized S-Works Diverge has opened up the world of bikepacking to him after years of racing on the road and the track. Most recently, that meant participating in the second edition of the Silk Road Mountain Race. Learn more about Liam and his rig here…

Posted by Lucas Winzenburg

Words and photos by Liam Yates (@liamyates)

My name is Liam Yates and I’m from East Sussex in the south of England. I’ve always loved bikes and cycling. Starting when I was young, I would often ride my mountain bike around the Ashdown Forest where I grew up. In my teenage years became obsessed with BMX freestyle, riding in the streets, down at the local skatepark, and even building our own jumps in the woods.

Liam Yates, S-Works, Specialized, Diverge

Later, after leaving school I got a job at a local bike shop. They mainly dealt in high-end road bikes, so after a few year there I was well on my way to becoming a road cyclist. My father, Sean Yates, was a professional cyclist himself, so when I finally got into road cycling he was quick to help get me on to a team.

I raced at a local and then national level for a number of year before getting into fixed gear racing in events such as the Red Hook Crit for a number of seasons.

  • Liam Yates, S-Works, Specialized, Diverge
  • Liam Yates, S-Works, Specialized, Diverge

I’ve have found great joy in adventure riding and bikepacking with more gravel and off-road bikes. This year, I took part in my first bikepacking race, the 2nd Edition of the Silk Road Mountain Race. It proved to be a massive challenge mentally and physically and I’m looking for to learning more about this discipline in the world of cycling!

My Bike is a Specialized S-Works Diverge. I’ve had it for about six months and it hasn’t skipped a beat so far. It’s decked out with Dura-Ace / XTR Di2 groupset and Roval Carbon wheels – you can’t get much better.

  • Liam Yates, S-Works, Specialized, Diverge
  • Liam Yates, S-Works, Specialized, Diverge
  • Liam Yates, S-Works, Specialized, Diverge
  • Frame/Fork Specialized S-Works Diverge
  • Rims Roval 650B Carbon
  • Hubs Roval
  • Tires Panaracer GravelKing SK 650B x 48mm
  • Handlebars Ritchey
  • Headset Integrated Specialized FutureShock
  • Crankset Easton EC90SL 38T
  • Cassette Shimano XT 11-speed 11-42
  • Derailleur Shimano XTR Di2
  • Brakes Shimano Dura-Ace Hydro
  • Shifter(s) Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 Hydro
  • Saddle Specialized Power
  • Seatpost Pro Vibe
  • Stem Specialized S-Works 100mm
  • Front bag Apidura Expedition 9L
  • Frame bags Apidura Expedition 7.5L
  • Rear bags Apidura Expedition 14L
  • Light Exposure Six Pack front light
  • Computers Wahoo Roam and Bolt

I’ve been incredibly impressed with the weight of the bike and particularly how fast it feels on the road, even with 48mm tyres. For bags, I use a full suite the Apidura Expedition packs to carry all my sleeping gear and clothes. Other bits worth mentioning are Wahoo computers for navigation and an Exposure 6 pack for riding when the sun goes down.

You can keep up with Liam on Instagram @liamyates.

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