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Old 08-28-17, 08:28 PM   #1
lmike6453
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Bikepacking Bike: Spend $400 or <$4,000? Goals listed inside

I am just getting into bikepacking as an avid hiker and backpacker and feel that I will like this more. I just bought a $700 Diamondback Trace Sport on sale for $400 2 weeks ago and am thinking that I might regret keeping it:
(please google the link because I cannot paste urls yet)

- 700c 28&quot; tires, 45mm
- 3x8 gearing which is really clunky and annoying
- Cheapo Front suspension fork with lockout
- 32 lbs


I have 2 weeks to return it and the decision making is driving me crazy! It works for paved surfaces ok but one limitation so far is the gear shift cables are exposed on the downtube, preventing mounting a downtube bag to hold water. No real budget, just trying to be smart with money...

Goals:

- To be able to ride on paved surface trails at a good speed / low rolling resistance (80% of riding)
- Handle gravel and dirt roads, and single track rough terrain like roots / logs / rocks / mud (20% of riding)
- Open to the idea of no front suspension fork
- Something to take on 3 day bikepacking adventures
- 30-50 mile day trips
- 29 inch wheels? you tell me, idk if it's worth it
- No pannier setup in favor of bikepacking bags

So should I keep it for paved trails and roads, and buy a second dedicated bike for rougher terrain? Or get one really nice bike that can dabble in both?

TIA!
Mike

Last edited by lmike6453; 08-28-17 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 08-28-17, 08:59 PM   #2
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I ride a year 2000 Giant Yukon SE hardtail with 26" rims hardtail with a remote lockout.
I DIYed a handle bar harness which carries my shelter (Snugpak AWS, Hennessy Hammock and a ground sheet) out of Kydex Plastic, and straps. Costs me Ringgit 40.00
I also DIYed a frame bag costing me Ringgit 50.00. This carries my bike tools, FIREBOX stove, dehydrated rice, flour for bannocks, salt, sugar, cooking oil and coffee.
My tail bag is China made with a DIYed Seat Bag (Ringgit 50) anti sway seat stay Ringit 10).
The bag allows me to carry my Trangia cookset, a pair of T's and pants and a pair of cycling clothes.

Total cost is Ringgit 150 (less tha USD40).
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Old 08-28-17, 09:02 PM   #3
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I prefer a 26" because:
1. Easier to get spare tires and tubes. Other sizes are a tough unless you go to major cities.
2. I ride about 25km to trail heads and then to where I wanna camp..usually about 10 to 15km in the Equatorial Jungle.

I refer a MTB because the trails are tough. I do have a hybrid, with a rear rack system, but I keep this mainly for road touring or bike packing. Both bikes give me a better upright seating position, with the MTB in a bit more attacking position. Bot are with SPDs. The MTB allows me to ride the roads with no problem and proved to be a good choice when tackling the offroad section.
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Old 08-28-17, 09:06 PM   #4
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So, my advice....if you are not much into long distance road cycling, get a MTB.
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Old 08-28-17, 09:15 PM   #5
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The crankset maybe a little too highly geared to use on the steeper sections loaded, I calculated around 27.7 (correction 24) gear inches with the lowest gear. If you're mechanically inclined, you could find a mountain triple and front derailleur and fit them. The shifter is an Acera model, so hopefully it will be compatible with the new derailleur.
32 pounds is fairly chunky, as mentioned you could drop some of that weight by going to a solid fork, which may need to be suspension corrected, and again, would require some mechanical aptitude.

Bottom line, $400 is a good price, if you can find parts to customise to your use cheaply, otherwise maybe it isn't a great deal.
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Old 08-28-17, 09:24 PM   #6
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45mm-wide tires with suspension fork seems like it would ride smooth over most stuff. While Trace Sport has lower-end components I'm not sure why the 3x8 gears would be clunky & annoying, even cheaper derailleurs usually shift fine. $4K bikes not necessarily that much better, there's always some compromises.
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Old 08-29-17, 06:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmike6453 View Post
I am just getting into bikepacking as an avid hiker and backpacker and feel that I will like this more. I just bought a $700 Diamondback Trace Sport on sale for $400 2 weeks ago and am thinking that I might regret keeping it:
(please google the link because I cannot paste urls yet)

- 700c 28&quot; tires, 45mm
- 3x8 gearing which is really clunky and annoying
- Cheapo Front suspension fork with lockout
- 32 lbs


I have 2 weeks to return it and the decision making is driving me crazy! It works for paved surfaces ok but one limitation so far is the gear shift cables are exposed on the downtube, preventing mounting a downtube bag to hold water. No real budget, just trying to be smart with money...

Goals:



- To be able to ride on paved surface trails at a good speed / low rolling resistance (80% of riding)
- Handle gravel and dirt roads, and single track rough terrain like roots / logs / rocks / mud (20% of riding)
- Open to the idea of no front suspension fork
- Something to take on 3 day bikepacking adventures
- 30-50 mile day trips
- 29 inch wheels? you tell me, idk if it's worth it
- No pannier setup in favor of bikepacking bags

So should I keep it for paved trails and roads, and buy a second dedicated bike for rougher terrain? Or get one really nice bike that can dabble in both?

TIA!
Mike
Welcome to BF and btw, please fill out your location info. It helps us give better advice based on where you are located.

FWIW, I'd always recommend 29" wheels for bikepacking, but I have not done much of it yet - only a few short trips so far to shake down my bike and gear in prep for the Great Divide next year. I ride 29+, and its very stable and capable of rolling over anything. Fairly fast for a 3"-wide tire, rolling on Bontrager Chupacabras.

If it were me, I'd ditch the Diamondback and get one of these:

29er Mountain Bikes Up to 60% Off - MTB - Motobecane 529HT

As far as quality and components between the two bikes, I'm of the opinion that they are about the same. I have a Motobecane Boris fatbike, and I'll have to say that its a lot of bang for the buck.
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Old 08-29-17, 07:58 AM   #8
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As soon as the 2018 Trek 920's hit the market I am getting one for Bike Packing.
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Old 08-29-17, 08:15 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by lmike6453 View Post
i am just getting into bikepacking as an avid hiker and backpacker and feel that i will like this more. I just bought a $700 diamondback trace sport on sale for $400 2 weeks ago and am thinking that i might regret keeping it:
(please google the link because i cannot paste urls yet)

- 700c 28&quot; tires, 45mm
- 3x8 gearing which is really clunky and annoying
- cheapo front suspension fork with lockout
- 32 lbs


i have 2 weeks to return it and the decision making is driving me crazy! It works for paved surfaces ok but one limitation so far is the gear shift cables are exposed on the downtube, preventing mounting a downtube bag to hold water. No real budget, just trying to be smart with money...

goals:

- to be able to ride on paved surface trails at a good speed / low rolling resistance (80% of riding)
- handle gravel and dirt roads, and single track rough terrain like roots / logs / rocks / mud (20% of riding)
- open to the idea of no front suspension fork
- something to take on 3 day bikepacking adventures
- 30-50 mile day trips
- 29 inch wheels? You tell me, idk if it's worth it
- no pannier setup in favor of bikepacking bags

so should i keep it for paved trails and roads, and buy a second dedicated bike for rougher terrain? Or get one really nice bike that can dabble in both?

Tia!
Mike
fiy-700c = 29"
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Old 08-29-17, 08:46 AM   #10
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Welcome to BF and btw, please fill out your location info. It helps us give better advice based on where you are located.

FWIW, I'd always recommend 29" wheels for bikepacking, but I have not done much of it yet - only a few short trips so far to shake down my bike and gear in prep for the Great Divide next year. I ride 29+, and its very stable and capable of rolling over anything. Fairly fast for a 3"-wide tire, rolling on Bontrager Chupacabras.

If it were me, I'd ditch the Diamondback and get one of these:


As far as quality and components between the two bikes, I'm of the opinion that they are about the same. I have a Motobecane Boris fatbike, and I'll have to say that its a lot of bang for the buck.
Sorry about that, I live in PA.

Thanks for the suggestion, I need bike suggestions like that and prefer to buy from REI for their amazing 1 year return policy.
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Old 08-29-17, 08:46 AM   #11
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Link help: https://www.diamondback.com/trace-sport

There is a big difference in a $400 and $4000 bike. Try to narrow your range a bit more, what would you realistically spend? FWIW, that isn't really a $700 bike marked down to $400, something similar from Trek or Specialized would cost you in the $500-550 range.

As far as your goals,
- To be able to ride on paved surface trails at a good speed / low rolling resistance (80% of riding): This bike is fine for that
- Handle gravel and dirt roads, and single track rough terrain like roots / logs / rocks / mud (20% of riding) If you really want to handle single track and obstacles, you need to look at a MTB with a real front suspension, not a hybrid with suspension that is never meant to leave the ground
- Open to the idea of no front suspension fork If you are doing single track and obstacles, you want suspension. You need to evaluate what the real uses of this bike are going to be
- Something to take on 3 day bikepacking adventures Pretty much anything you are comfortable on will handle this
- 30-50 mile day trips Pretty much anything you are comfortable on will handle this
- 29 inch wheels? you tell me, idk if it's worth it For tire availability, I'd stick with 29/700 (same diameter, someone decided fatter tires need to be called 29 instead of 700). 27.5 is fine on availability if you are strictly staying on the dirt, it gets lacking in a hurry for on-road use. 26 is also fine, but not much new that is decent comes equipped anymore.
- No pannier setup in favor of bikepacking bags You can add bikepacking bags to most bikes. Even on yours, you can likely get straps under the exposed cables, unless they run real tight to frame.

Quote:
So should I keep it for paved trails and roads, and buy a second dedicated bike for rougher terrain? Or get one really nice bike that can dabble in both?
If you are truly looking to do single track, it is worth considering a separate bike for that. For just rough road bike packing, any decent no suspension bike that can fit wider tires will suit you just fine. It probably isn't the most suited if I were buying a bike specifically for bikepacking, but no reason it can't be made to work if you want to keep it.
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Old 08-29-17, 08:58 AM   #12
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The difference between 29er bikes and 700c bikes is with the width of the tires they can run. A bike specifically built for 700c wheels/tires can usually only fit a tire no more than 35mm, right?

I like 29er and 29+ simply because that gives me more of an mtb frame - which seems to fit MY geometry better.

Also, my opinion is that REI is a great store, and they get loads of my cash, but they charge full msrp for bikes and gear (sales and discounts excepted here), and if I have to pay msrp, its going to an LBS.
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Old 08-29-17, 09:26 AM   #13
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Sorry about that, I live in PA.

Thanks for the suggestion, I need bike suggestions like that and prefer to buy from REI for their amazing 1 year return policy.
Novara Mazama.
COOP adv3.1

Same bike.

For what you want to do- 80% pavement and 20% unpaved with some singletrack- this wpuld be the bike i would hone in on if i were wanting to also buy from REI.

Solid components, solid frame to mount all the bags needed for bikepacking, and you can fit up to 50mm tires to help make the offroad riding more comfortable.

I personally wouldnt buy something with the 20% of riding in mind that would be a slug on the other 80% of your time on the saddle.
I would focus on a bike that can be great on the 80% of riding while still handling the 20% of dirt trail riding.

Ive taken my gravel bike, with 40mm tires, on singletrack a handful of times and its fine. Its bumpier than my mtb, but its still fun.
I wouldnt want to have my mtb on the road for hpurs at a time.
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Old 08-29-17, 09:46 AM   #14
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There is a big difference in a $400 and $4000 bike. Try to narrow your range a bit more, what would you realistically spend?
Thank you for your detailed reply. I realistically wouldn't mind spending $3000 for a bike that can do it all, or $1500-2000ish for a bike that can do most of it all so it leaves room to buy a dedicated MTB also.

Like a Salsa (Fargo or Cutthroat) or Surly (Karate Monkey or Krampus) bike? Are they good for being able to roll well on paved roads and also tackle dirt touring with some tough stuff?

It seems like all the bikepackers have a Salsa or a Surly, and my ignorance to the subject is what I'm trying to understand...
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Old 08-29-17, 09:53 AM   #15
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Thank you for your detailed reply. I realistically wouldn't mind spending $3000 for a bike that can do it all.
Any bike can "do it all", just that there isn't any bike that's going to do everything particularly well if you try to go that route.

My suggestion would be not to over think things and find a bike (any bike) that fits well, with clearance for wider tires that you enjoy riding...and just stick bikepacking bags on it. If I had to call any of my bikes a "bikepacking" bicycle it'd probably be one of my CX bikes, just with fatter knobby tires slapped on.
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Old 08-29-17, 09:54 AM   #16
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Novara Mazama.
COOP adv3.1

Same bike.

For what you want to do- 80% pavement and 20% unpaved with some singletrack- this wpuld be the bike i would hone in on if i were wanting to also buy from REI.

Solid components, solid frame to mount all the bags needed for bikepacking, and you can fit up to 50mm tires to help make the offroad riding more comfortable.

I personally wouldnt buy something with the 20% of riding in mind that would be a slug on the other 80% of your time on the saddle.
I would focus on a bike that can be great on the 80% of riding while still handling the 20% of dirt trail riding.

Ive taken my gravel bike, with 40mm tires, on singletrack a handful of times and its fine. Its bumpier than my mtb, but its still fun.
I wouldnt want to have my mtb on the road for hpurs at a time.
This is relieving to hear and has me currently thinking...return my diamondback for this bike as a road / gravel terrain bike and buy a separate MTB if needed?
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Old 08-29-17, 10:00 AM   #17
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This is relieving to hear and has me currently thinking...return my diamondback for this bike as a road / gravel terrain bike and buy a separate MTB if needed?
I just bought last year's version of that bike (Coop ADV 3.1), and it is indeed a fine road/gravel option. On sale for $933 right now, too. Seriously considering giving the bikepacking thing a go with it, instead of just tossing racks and panniers on it.

I guess I should ask you to clarify, what exactly do you mean by single track? I took it to mean more MTB style trails, was that your intent? You certainly don't want to be jumping that bike, but I guess I am unsure what your definition of single track is.

Last edited by jefnvk; 08-29-17 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 08-29-17, 10:27 AM   #18
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I have 2 weeks to return it and the decision making is driving me crazy!
Return it and get this:

https://www.rei.com/product/109339/c...es-adv-31-bike

It's hard to get the "right" bike on the first pick, but this is a all-around multi-purpose bike that will last a long time, and it's closer aligned with your stated goals. The lack of front suspension might be an issue - if the terrain is fairly rough then you'd want a front suspension, but not a cheap one. I'd start off without front suspension and prove to yourself you really need it before investing the money, weight and more moving parts of a front suspension.
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Old 08-29-17, 10:38 AM   #19
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IMHO, if you're doing 80-90% paved and graded dirt/gravel roads, I'd go with a drop-bar gravel/adventure bike like the Salsas you mentioned. Then swap in wider knobs or thinner road tires to suit a particular tour. For longer rides, I really appreciate having the varied grip positions and lean angles drop bars offer, not to mention best brake/shift access from multiple grip positions (incl cross/interrupter levers), and a low aero position for efficiency and riding into headwinds.

I'm thinking of rigging my Tricross for similar use as you. I'm into ultra-light/ultra-compact camping and so am sub- 15lb/25L BPW.. Love bikepacking frame bags, but not crazy about the seat packs or handlebar bags. I think I'll load a frame bag with the heavy stuff (lock, tools, water, hydrated food) and then a ~15lb/20L drybag backpack strapped on top of a rear rack for the rest. The drybag backpack would go on my back for knarly single track (better bike handling, save bike/rack from unsprung pounding), and also for off-bike tourist/pedestrian duty (my pricey, hard to replace camping gear comes with me, while frame bag stuff is cheap/easily replaced stuff that I normally leave locked on bike anyway).
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Old 08-29-17, 10:41 AM   #20
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Even though he's extremely worried right now about Daenerys Targaryen getting porked by her nephew (unbeknownst to her), @tyrion is right. That does look like a good bike.
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Old 08-29-17, 10:46 AM   #21
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This is relieving to hear and has me currently thinking...return my diamondback for this bike as a road / gravel terrain bike and buy a separate MTB if needed?
Well that is what I would do, though when it comes to touring- it seems we all do things a bit differently from one another.
There is no definitive right way to tour.

When I mention ive ridden singletrack with by gravel bike(that could easily be a bikepacking setup with a few changes), i should clarify that it is flowing forest paths near rivers/creeks so its more flow and quick elevation changes with tree roots and rock croppings. It isnt epic MOAB singletrack.

A solid bikepacking setup could be had for $1500 or less, just depends on what components and frame logo you want.
If you are looking to spend up to $3k, then yeah you could dedicate the remaining money to a mountain bike.


And here is the time where i mention Raleigh and Diamondback's corporate discount sites. Both have solid adventure bike options and Dback has some legitimately solid MTBs too.
you cant just go to their main sites.
https://www.raleighusa.com/partner
https://www.diamondback.com/customer/account/login/

- enter an email address.
- TYPE(dont copy/paste) CYCLE4PERK as the discount code.

Raleigh Stuntman is $1300 - monstercross with great components!
Raleigh Tamland 1 is $1140 - quality tubing mixed use bike and solid drivetrain
DBack Haanjo EXP Carbon is $1610 - full carbon frame and fork, 3x gearing, mount points all over.
DBack Haanjo Trail is $1455 - great drivetrain and brakes.

There are obviously a ton more options (like the COOP ADV 1.3) and some lean more MTB style while others lean more road style.


If it can fit 40 or 45mm tires, it will more than likely be a good option.
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Old 08-29-17, 01:04 PM   #22
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Niner RLT 9 3 Star
Niner RLT 9 Steel 3 Star Rival Bike | Jenson USA
It is going to be more of a mainstream road bike for the 80% paved riding the OP does and will be very capable on gravel and smooth singletrack. Rocky, rooted and muddy trails might require a more aggressive tire.

With specific drills one can learn to ride rougher trails with relative ease. Trails I could not ride on my gravel bike at first are now easily rideable after six months of practice.


-Tim-

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Old 08-29-17, 03:16 PM   #23
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Any bike can do almost anything based on your ability, experience and some common sense. For me the separation of "do it all" mainly come down to a drop bar or flat bar. I prefer drop bar on anything but rough rooted, large uneven surfaces (wet rocks), or steep descent on unstable ground. Basically a typical single track. I ride my gravel bike on single track in those conditions but at a much slower pace and not with the control I'd have even on a cheap heavy flat bar. I just can't get back far enough or low enough to transfer the weigh from front to back on a properly fitted drop bar, it requires too much effort to make the front light enough fast enough, and still be in a good gripped position to manage the braking to truly feel comfortable have the fun I think single tracking brings. For me it is two bikes minimum, everything else (gravel bike) and a bike for single track (a hybrid with a crappy suspension fork). Either fine for the in between stuff and I do ride them both in a lot of the same places. Both were a lot cheaper then most people pay for one bike.

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Old 08-29-17, 04:03 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
Even though he's extremely worried right now about Daenerys Targaryen getting porked by her nephew (unbeknownst to her), @tyrion is right. That does look like a good bike.
Let's keep the politics out of this. (But can you believe, after all that Jorah Mormont has done for her, Daenerys just jumps right in the sack with Jon Snow?)
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Old 08-29-17, 10:18 PM   #25
MarcusT
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I have a similar spec'd MTB I transformed to touring. Smooth tires, fenders, trekking bars and a brooks B17. I have not found any negatives. It's comfortable, the gearing (Deore) shifts well. I only do about 2,000 km touring a year, and I don't see the need for anything else.
I am frugal when it comes to bikes, I get the most for the least. No regrets so far
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