In this edition of Reader’s Rig, we peek at Pat Valade’s 2017 Kona Unit, which he lovingly refers to as the “Garbage Sled” and built up to reliably take on a bit of everything at a reasonable price. Read on for more about Pat and his bike…

Welcome to the seventh installment of our weekly Dispatch series, Reader’s Rig. Each week, we’ll select a bikepacking rig from our reader community to feature on the site. To learn how to submit yours for possible inclusion, check out the form at the bottom of the page. Words and photos here by Pat Valade.

I’m Pat Valade, a 27-year-old arts grad and I work in the outdoor industry and live in Squamish, British Columbia. I’ve been riding bikes and getting outside since I was five years old. There are an infinite amount of riding styles here on the West Coast, and I like to dabble a bit in all of them (except for road touring, because drivers are just too scary). When it comes to bikepacking, I love to explore the far reaches of our countless logging roads, occasionally launching on a longer epic, farther away. I love to put in long days, but also enjoy nature and the places I get to ride. Lots of coffee breaks and lots of photos. The bikepacking communities have been so friendly and accepting everywhere I’ve traveled, and online, and it’s something I hope to grow and emulate here in Squamish.

Pat Valade, Kona Unit, Reader's Rig

I lovingly refer to this rig as the “Garbage Sled,” “Junk Show,” or “Party Sled.” It’s built up from a single speed 2017 Kona Unit that I managed to buy out of Kona’s demo fleet. I was in the market for a plus bike, but I was also on a budget! I have a huge appreciation for the beautiful handmade rigs out there, but I seem to have a lot of relatively expensive hobbies, so I couldn’t put all my dollars into two wheels.

After riding it with no gears for a while, I decided I wasn’t hardcore enough and went for all the gears I could get my hands on (before Eagle came out, okay?). Again, cash was king here, and I wasn’t looking to build this into a NAHBS showpiece. I just wanted reliability at a good price.

  • Pat Valade, Kona Unit, Reader's Rig
  • Pat Valade, Kona Unit, Reader's Rig
  • Pat Valade, Kona Unit, Reader's Rig
  • Frame/Fork 2017 Kona Unit
  • Front Wheel Alex MD40 with Shimano XT hub
  • Rear Wheel Alex MD35 with Shimano XT hub
  • Tires WTB Ranger 3.0 or Specialized Purgatory 3.0 front, Schwalbe Rocket Ron rear
  • Handlebar Chromag OSX Fubars
  • Stem Thompson Elite
  • Seatpost Thompson Setback
  • Crankset Shimano XT 170mm
  • Cassette Shimano 11-46
  • Derailleur(s) Shimano XT
  • Brakes TRP Spyke
  • Shifter(s) Shimano XT
  • Saddle Brooks B17
  • Front Bag(s) Porcelain Rocket
  • Rear Bag(s) Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion
  • Accessory Bag(s) HMPL Designs Camera Bag, Wizard Works Bar Bags, random drybags on fork
Pat Valade, Kona Unit, Reader's Rig

Everything is basically Shimano, with a few exceptions. If I get really picky, there are things I’d love to change on this ride. All in all, the steel, big tires, and mechanical parts have never let me down. Bit by bit I can add a nicer part here or there, but I love the simplicity of it. It’s handled fully loaded desert expeditions and completely rowdy singletrack MTB extravaganzas. I’ve put it through more than it was designed for, and it’s still asking for more.

You can find Pat on Instagram @bikestachevalade and @patvalade, or via his photography portfolio at

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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Reader's Rig


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