Frames rugged enough for bikepacking
I'm wanting to buy my first FS, 29er mountain bike that will see double duty for day riding trails and also mounting panniers to for multiday rides on terrain no harder than say, the easier portions of the Colorado Trail.
I rode a buddies 29er with panniers on a ride last year and quickly realized how the panniers affect handling and I know they have to have an effect on the frames structural longevity, as well as bearings, sleeves, rims and spokes.
I'm a 56 yo guy that won't be doing any jumping or aggressive riding.
I'm looking for opinions on bike brands with frames built robust enough to handle such use. I know bearings and such are consumable items.
I'm seeing most wheel spokes are 14/15 guage. Stout enough for bikepacking?
I'd like suspension with around 5" of travel. $2500 price range.
I'm open to suggestions on specific bikes if you have any ideas.
I've been looking at the 2014 Diamondback Sortie 1. It would probably be fine for casual trail riding but don't know how it would last with the pounding of multiday bikepacking.
If there is a thread around here already discussing my questions, please link it.