Words and photos by Nick Brown (@nickbroon)
Hello, I’m Nick, and I live in Edinburgh, Scotland. While Scotland may be small, it’s rightly known for its dramatically varied wild landscapes (and its equally varied weather).
I love spending time exploring the multitude of estate, forest, and coastal tracks crisscrossing the country that our public responsible access laws open up to us. While the pandemic lockdown has somewhat restricted these adventures recently, there has still been plenty of scope to get out in the local hills and tracks just a few miles from Edinburgh. There is always something new to see and an overnight camp spot to be discovered!
I’m using a modified Trek 920. While originally sold as a relatively traditional touring bike with racks, it makes a capable bikepacking setup. It’s evolved from its stock setup over a couple of iterations to deal better with venturing onto rougher trails. Fitting wider 29×2.4 tubeless MTB tyres, when combined with its longer/lower wheelbase, makes it very sure-footed.
From its stock 42/28 11-36T gearing, I changed the cassette to an 11-42T and added a couple of chain links to increase its range, but eventually settled on replacing the crankset with a 38/24 and returning to an 11-36T cassette, which seems smoother changing and doesn’t stretching the rear derailleur too far. It’s pretty low-end for easy spinning on steep, rough climbs with loaded packs, but that suits my riding style.
- Frame/Fork Trek 920 (61cm)
- Rims Bontrager Duster Elite TLR 29
- Hubs Shimano
- Tires Bontrager XR3 29 x 2.4″
- Handlebars Easton EC70 AX (46cm)
- Headset Bontrager
- Crankset SRAM GX-1000 GXP 38/24T 10S 175mm
- Pedals Shimano PD-T8000 Deore XT
- Cassette SRAM PG-1030 11-36 10-speed
- Derailleur SRAM X5 (front) / SRAM GX long cage (rear)
- Brakes SRAM S700 hydraulic
- Shifter(s) SRAM S700
- Saddle Bontrager Evoke 1.5
- Seatpost Bontrager
- Stem Bontrager Elite
- Front bags Ortlieb Handlebar-Pack 9L
- Frame bags Ortlieb Frame-Pack TopTube 4L
- Rear bags Ortlieb Seat-Pack 16L
- Accessory bags Apidura Racing Top Tube Pack, Apidura Backcountry Food Pouch
- Other accessories Zefal Z Box, 3D printed Garmin eTrex to Edge mount converter
Adding some wider flared bars has increased control and allowed for easier use of a front pack. Using a 3D printed Garmin Etrex to Edge converter combined with Bontrager’s Blendr stem system keeps the cockpit from getting too crowded. It’s now something of a Monstercross drop bar mountain bike that copes well with pootling along miles of rough tracks.
You can find Nick on Instagram @nickbroon.
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