Posted by Lucas Winzenburg
Words and photos by Scott Mattern (@scott_mattern)
Hi, my name’s Scott, and I’ve been on a bike in some way, shape, or form for as long as I can remember. Although not a true native (Originally born in South Africa), I have lived most of my life in Tasmania. I’m a professional chemist by trade but dabble a bit as a freelance journalist when the occasion arises.
Given the strong cultural affinity for just about any kind bike riding you can think of in Tassie (we still race Penny Farthings), I have quite an eclectic interest in bike riding styles. High-quality road, mountain, and gravel riding is abundantly available just beyond your doorstep on the Apple Isle and has helped shape my lifestyle, friendship groups, and experiences, developing me into the rider I am today. I’m not a racer. From day one, a bike for me was a machine for freedom, to get out the front door and find adventure. Not much has changed.
I’ve been watching the development of the modern hardtail geometry with keen interest for a while, waiting for the moment to dip my toe in the water. The release of the 2020 Fuse frame was the right moment and in I plunged. Just like Tassie’s icy coastal waters, it was refreshing, clean, and has the ability to get my heart racing every time.
I wanted what I describe as a rowdy bikepacking rig. For the moment, I have this bike set up for lightweight, cold overnight to three-day trips with a good dose of climbing and descending involved. I have opted to retain the dropper post and make up for the difference in carrying capacity of no seat pack by using a bumbag (as we call them down under) or a backpack.
This bike is an off-the-shelf model to which I’ll add and subtract as I develop it. My inspiration for the kit came from the nature in the regions I most like to explore. The yellow-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus) is a large cockatoo native to the south-east of Australia, measuring 55–65 cm (22–26”) in length. It has a short crest on the top of its head. Its plumage is mostly brownish black and it has prominent yellow cheek patches and a yellow tail band. In flight, yellow-tailed black cockatoos flap deeply and slowly, with a peculiar, heavy fluid motion. Their loud wailing calls carry over great distances. Often seen in either pairs or a family group of three, it’s said that their arrival in the lowlands is an indication of wet and wild weather in the Highlands. This bike is kitted out with preexisting black bags I have used on other bikepacking rigs. I wanted to add a few yellow highlights to channel these majestic birds. I spoke to my local bike shop, Roll Tasmania, who sourced what I was looking for through the bag producer Hungry to make up these few highlights.
- Frame2020 Specialized Fuse, aluminum
- Fork RockShox Recon RL (130mm travel)
- Wheels Specialized (24h front, 28h rear)
- Tires Specialized Butcher 29 x 2.6″ (front), Purgatory 29 x 2.6″ (rear)
- Handlebars Specialized Stout Riser
- Crankset SRAM Eagle
- Pedals Crankbrothers Candy 2
- Cassette SRAM PG-1210 Eagle, 11-50
- Derailleur SRAM SX Eagle, 12-speed
- Brakes SRAM Level
- Shifter(s) SRAM SX Eagle
- Saddle Specialized Bridge Comp
- Seatpost TranzX dropper (150mm travel)
- Stem Specialized Stout
- Front bags Specialized Handlebar Stabilizer Harness/Burra Burra Drypack 23
- Frame bags Specialized Burra Burra Framepack 5
- Accessory bags Hungry Muncher, Hungry Big Lunch v2.0, Specialized Top Tube Pac
The bike and I already have a few overnighters under our belts. The build’s rowdy format was quite at home as we kept it east coast style on the formed trails of Blue Derby and St Helens MTB parks. Longer trips are on the horizon of a more west coast flavour. I think I will switch in a seat pack, adding and subtracting to the build and kit as I grow into this versatile rig. Who knows, this shred sled could just as likely be seen whipping local loops unencumbered, but isn’t that part of the fun of this riding format of bike?
You can keep up with Scott on Instagram @scott_mattern.
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