Our Reader’s Rig of the week comes from Ryan Duncan in California, who shares the Salsa Timberjack SLX 29 he built up to handle singletrack-heavy bikepacking trips and and day rides on technical trails. Get to know more about Ryan and his Timberjack here…

Words and photos by Ryan Duncan

Hi, I’m Ryan, and I’m a 32-year-old engineer and outdoor enthusiast who currently lives in Camarillo, California. I’ve always had an eye for the next adventure as an avid cyclist, alpine skier, hiker, and backcountry camper. Every outdoor hobby has been fueled by making do with less and enjoying pushing myself and my gear beyond the limits. My first MTB was a Giant Talon that I equipped with tires that cost more than the bike and took to the local Socal trails, bike park at Mammoth, and everywhere in between.

  • Salsa Timberjacker SLX 29
  • Salsa Timberjacker SLX 29

Later, I got heavily into road biking, picking up a cheap Schwinn Fastback from Craigslist. I was soon suffering through 100-mile rides and chasing elevation as a never-ending type 2 fun high (no pun intended). Naturally, the love for suffering turned me to bikepacking and the search for the right rig for the job.

Salsa Timberjacker SLX 29

Any time I decide to buy outdoor gear, I take a meticulous approach in researching the available options and getting exactly what I need to fulfill my interests. After a long search and many demos of bikes that cost more than my car, I narrowed my selection down to a Salsa Timberjack in SLX trim from my LBS, my first brand-new bike and an absolutely perfect choice to split time between epic singletrack-heavy bikepacking and rocky/technical day rides. My shop in Ojai is full of bikepacking nerds, and they helped me plan out the build ahead.

  • Salsa Timberjacker SLX 29
  • Salsa Timberjacker SLX 29
  • Frame 2021 Salsa Timberjack SLX 29 (Large)
  • Fork RockShox 35 Silver TK (130mm)
  • Rims WTB ST i30
  • Hubs Shimano MT400B (front), Shimano MT410B (rear)
  • Tires 29 x 2.6 Maxxis DHF (front), 29 x 2.6W Maxxis Agressor (rear)
  • Handlebars OneUp carbon
  • Headset FSA Orbit No.57E 1.5
  • Crankset Shimano MT510 (175mm)
  • Pedals Look X-Track (SPD)
  • Cassette Shimano Deore M6100 10-51t (12-speed)
  • Derailleur Shimano SLX M7100 (12-speed)
  • Brakes Shimano MT-410
  • Shifter(s) Shimano MT-401
  • Saddle WTB Volt Medium
  • Seatpost TranzX dropper, 170mm drop
  • Stem Salsa Guide Trail, 50mm
  • Front bags Aeroe Front Harness, Sea to Summit ultra-sil dry bag (13L)
  • Frame bags Salsa EXP Series Hardtail Size 2
  • Rear bags Aeroe Rear Rack + Aeroe Cradles, Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag, Hydrapak Hydrasleeve
  • Accessory bags Revelate Mag Tank Bolt-on (1L), Jerrycan Bent (0.5L), and Mountain Feedbag (1L)
  • Other accessories Problem Solvers Handlebar Accessory Mount, Tusita out front Garmin Mount
  • Light Olight RN1500

After a week of riding trails, I was absolutely in love with the bike and hooked on mountain biking. Then began the build with bags, racks, and gear. My setup revolves around the Aeroe racks front and rear, along with a few other key pieces of kit. It has taken me on quite a few epic adventures in the past year, and there are many more good ones to come.

Salsa Timberjacker SLX 29
  • Salsa Timberjacker SLX 29
  • Salsa Timberjacker SLX 29

Bikepacking with a dropper post was the primary motivation that drove most of my setup. I really love taking the rig down chunky singletrack. Also, being able to switch between bikepacking and day rides easily is very important to me. Carrying water has been the most significant challenge of living in the Southwestern US. I always utilize my Osprey Seral 4 hip pack with 1.5L water and can usually fit a couple of quick-access things in there as well. My spare tube is mounted in the free space on my seat post between the Revelate Jerrycan bag, which I bought at a massive discount due to its odd shape and camo paint job. Thankfully, it worked out perfectly!

You can keep up with Ryan on Instagram.

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