Words and photos by Mark Owen
Hello, I’m Mark. I grew up in rural Western Pennsylvania in the 1980s. Like a lot of kids during that time, I discovered MX and BMX, and that led to a lifelong love of everything with two wheels. I was lucky to be able to race all over the country and eventually get my first job in a bike shop. I bought my first MTB in the first week working there and have followed the N+1 mantra ever since. I moved to Los Angeles immediately after high school as much to ride and race my bikes and to attain a couple of architectural degrees.
For my day jobs, I work in an architectural firm in Los Angeles and teach architecture and interior design at two local Universities. For most of the past 30+ years, I have been racing DH or Enduro and riding dual-sport motorcycles. The past five years, I suffered some big injuries, and I really wanted to try some other disciplines. I started coaching a NICA XC team and getting into bikepacking, and I was able to make my first three trips in 2020. The BCT in AZ was one of the best cycling experiences I have ever had, and I also attempted the Stagecoach 400 that year. I did the first 140 miles in 2 days before figuring out I would not make it in my allotted time. I’m really looking forward to meeting more people in the bikepacking world and doing events or just creating my own adventures.
My current bikepacking rig is a 2017 Intense Primer. It’s a bit of an obscure choice, but I’ve always been a fan of Jeff Steber’s design process and aesthetic, and it’s the only bike I own with under 165 mm of travel. Although I described my obsession with building the quiver above, if I were going to own only one bike, this would be it. I have used this bike to race enduro, coach XC, do long singletrack epics, and finally got all the bags made and outfitted it for multi-day adventures as well.
- Frame 2017 Intense Primer
- Fork RockShox Pike 140mm w/ Push Industries internals
- Rims Industry 9 Trail 245
- Hubs Industry 9
- Tires Maxxis DHF 2.3″ (front) / Maxxis Agressor 2.3″ (rear)
- Handlebars Easton Havoc Carbon 760 mm
- Headset Cane Creek
- Crankset Truvativ Descendant Carbon 170mm/28T
- Pedals Shimano XTR Trail
- Cassette e*thirteen 12-speed 9-50
- Derailleur SRAM GX
- Brakes Shimano Saint 4 piston
- Shifter(s) SRAM Gripshift GX
- Saddle SDG Formula FXR
- Seatpost Rock Shox reverb Stealth 150mm
- Stem Race Face Atlas 50mm
- Front bags Rockgeist Barjam
- Frame bags Rockgeist custom frame bag, Medic, and top tube bags
- Accessory bags Race Face stash wrap for extra CO2s and tube
- Electronics Exposure Six Pack light, Rylo handlebar-mounted 360 camera
- Other accessories Topeak Modula Java cages and Versa Mounts on fork
So far, I prefer bikepacking on technical singletrack, and this bike climbs like a billy goat and descends almost as well loaded as it does bare. I spent a lot of time getting it pared down to the minimum and run a medium CamelBak to allow me to bikepack without a seat bag so I can drop the seat the whole way down for technical descents. That said, on this last big trip, I managed to carry a chair on the fork leg and will not go without one in the future. I’m really looking forward to meeting more bikepacking enthusiasts and doing events and creating extended adventures.
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.
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