Words and photos by Sven Miroslav (@jasamtubiciklom)
Hi, my name is Sven, from Zagreb, Croatia. Being a mechanical engineer developing e-bikes and bike rider in my free time, bikes take most of my day-to-day life. I’ve started bikepacking recently, after realizing that day-long weekend rides are not long enough to fully experience all of the local natural beauties. After reading all of the 101 articles here on BIKEPACKING.com and watching tons of youtube videos (BIG thank you to Iohan Gueorguiev and Duzer for being huge inspirations), I took the leap.
My main adventure rig is Kona Unit X. I mostly ride on dirt and gravel forest roads mixed with some easy technical trails, and I find Unit X a perfect match for this kind of terrain. A fine blend of cromoly steel frame, large knobby tires, and relaxed geometry make long rides smooth and comfortable, while generous gearing range makes climbing easy, even when fully loaded. Rear rack mounts, two cargo cage mounts on the fork, and three bottle cage mounts round it as a perfect bikepacking bike. Most of the components are stock (with few exceptions: I replaced SRAM Level T brakes with Avid BB7, installed Xpedo Spry pedals, and Ergon GA3 grips), but custom equipment is what makes this rig unique.
Rear rack: I’ve tried a few saddlebags, but did not get along with any of them due to annoying sway and the fact that it makes a dropper post installation impossible. Regular rear racks weren’t an option either, because I’ve found them too robust and over-engineered for my needs. So, I designed the rack by myself and built it with help of my colleagues and friends. It fits a 13L Ortlieb drybag strapped with Sea to Summit StretchLoc straps, carrying sleeping gear. There is an additional cargo cage mount on each side of the rack because there is no such thing as too many mounting points. It is tilted forward to make as much space as possible for dropper post, which I plan to install in the future. Additionally, it doubles as a mudguard when the drybag is not strapped to it.
Frame bag: In order to utilize all available frame space, I decided to sew the custom frame bag. The sides are made of X-Pac VX21 and connected with Cordura fabric. It has two compartments, containing bike tools, spare parts, various camping gear, and some food. Daisy chain and double velcro straps keep it firmly attached to the bike. Thank you, Logan, for a great tutorial!
- Frame/Fork Kona Unit X
- Rims WTB ST i30 2.0 TCS
- Hubs Formula
- Tires WTB Ranger 29 x 2.6″
- Handlebars Kona XC/BC Riser
- Headset FSA No.10
- Crankset SRAM SX Eagle (32T)
- Pedals XPEDO Spry
- Cassette SRAM SX Eagle 11-50T 12-speed
- Derailleur SRAM SX Eagle
- Brakes Avid BB7 Mountain
- Shifter(s) SRAM SX Eagle
- Saddle WTB Volt
- Seatpost Kona Thumb
- Stem Kona XC/BC
- Front bags Topeak Frontloader and Barloader
- Frame bags Homemade
- Rear bags Ortlieb drybag 13L
- Accessory bags Topeak Toploader, Topeak Fueltank, 2 x AGU Snack-Pack
- Other accessories Custom DIY rear rack, Sea to Summit StretchLoc straps, Topeak bottle cages
The other bags are Topeak’s Frontloader and Barloader (carrying clothes, stove, and additional food), two AGU snack packs, and two top tube bags carrying my most frequently used small items. The complete setup has been tested recently, during a nine-day bikepacking trip along the Croatian mountain Velebit and the Adriatic islands… and it worked perfectly.
See more from Sven on Instagram @jasamtubiciklom.
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