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1  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: Wheel Size Help--Plus or 29 on: January 18, 2019, 06:47:04 AM
I have both a 29er and 27.5 plus wheelset for my bike (rigid). I like the 29er for trips that have less gnar - forest or jeep road tracks or where one cranks out long miles on flatter terrain. The bike really moves in those situations. I like the B+ wheelset for more technical riding. With the extra weight, the tires provide just a little more cush and the smaller diameter gives more control in technical situations.

All that being said, these differences are pretty subtle. Both setups are just fantastic for most any journey. What the 29er wheels lack in cush, they make up for with the increased diameter and reduced angle of attack. 29er plus won't fit in my bike, but I would expect that would be the supreme bikepacking setup.
2  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: Grips for Jones bars-- finger numbness issues on: January 17, 2019, 03:57:43 PM
One thing Jones does not discuss much in their materials is the proper angle for the bars when installing. They should be 8-10 degrees, sloping toward the back of the bike. I use my phone which has a built in level. This makes a huge difference in handling and comfort. Otherwise, I use the ESI extra chunkies as well. I need my bars level with or a little higher than my saddle to be comfortable on really long rides. But with the kind of mileage you are talking about there is going to be some pain. That's some serious distance!
3  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: best seat pack sub $100 on: October 25, 2018, 03:31:25 PM
I have a seatpack I got from "Mike" with Uraltours for about $50 or less, including shipping (from Russia). I forget the actual amount but it was inexpensive. It is not the best quality and I did need to upgrade the buckles with fastex. But I have run this bag on about a dozen overnighters and it is still in fine shape. Stitching seems very strong. No bells and whistles and it is not waterproof (comes with a cover that *might* be waterproof). I use a backpack cover from a now-defunct pack and that I know is waterproof and that works fine.

It isn't the best piece of engineering you will find, but the price was right and I haven't seen the need to replace or upgrade yet. I would call it "serviceable." I am not sure the volume. I found "Mike" on ebay under Uraltours.

Good luck!
4  Forums / Bikepacking / Re: Hitch Mount Bike Racks on: June 29, 2018, 12:27:43 PM
I recently got a Yakima Twotimer at an REI garage sale for $160 (normally about $360). Had not even been completely unpacked by the original purchaser. I am quite happy with it. The stabilizing arms push down on the frame instead of the tires, which is a bit unusual, but it is super solid once loaded. For reasons that are hard to explain in writing, there can be a little bit of bike shuffling depending on the difference in top tube heights if carrying two bikes (shorter top tubes need to go on first). And I had to buy the fat straps separately (about $12).

I got it because it fits all wheel sizes, including fatties. Plus it was on a serious discount. It replaced a hitch mounted Thule rack where the bikes hang from two arms. This is far superior (especially with FS bikes).
5  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: Tool roll on: June 29, 2018, 12:20:09 PM
I see the OP already got a tool roll, but wanted to chime in. I use my father's old field surgery kit as a tool roll. You can get them on ebay for about $30 (including surgical tools). I kept some of the surgery items like a hemostat and some poker-type tools since they seemed useful. Otherwise, I stuffed a good deal of my bike-specific tools in there, too.
6  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: Any advantage of 27.5+ over 29 for Bikepacking? on: March 17, 2018, 10:41:27 AM
To be clear on the El Mariachi conversion, 2.8 is the biggest you can fit in the rear. I originally had a WTB Trailblazer back there and could run with the dropouts all the way in. I now have a Specialized Slaughter 2.8 which is a little wider (front is a WTB Bridger 3.0 on a steel Firestarter fork). Now the dropouts are all the way back, but clearance is good (yes, it is tight, but I have never had issues, though I do live in a dry climate). It is slightly less nimble but not overly noticeable. This is my bikepacking and commuter rig so I am not so concerned. It still performs wonderfully on a day ride, though it doesn't see as much of that kind of action since I have other bikes as well.

Wheelset = Velocity Blunt35s. The rim width will have some impact on ultimate tire width, FYI.
7  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: Any advantage of 27.5+ over 29 for Bikepacking? on: March 16, 2018, 10:29:29 PM
Definitely slower on pavement, but my 27.5+ has great traction and the bump compliance makes a difference over long distances (my ride is rigid). I converted an El Mariachi from 29 to 27.5+ which lowered the BB a little. It isn't a problem, but makes the bike much more stable which is a bonus when loaded down. Hard to tell if it is the tire width or the lower center of gravity, but it is a really great bikepacker now (was already a champ)
8  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: Frame Reccomendations on: March 16, 2018, 10:24:57 PM
Salsa Woodsmoke and Timberjack will both take 29 and 27.5+ (Woodsmoke will also take 29+). Pretty sure these can run a belt drive with the Alternator dropouts, but you might want to verify. Otherwise, I think it ticks all your boxes.

I have an El Mariachi which I run both 29er and 27.5+ with a rigid fork. I love it!

9  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: Water consumption? on: March 16, 2018, 10:12:18 PM
I typically plan for about 9 litres over a 24 hour period. I carry as much as 6 litres at a time as I live in NM which is especially dry and fairly hot. Typical scenario is starting out with 3litres on the back and then refill that plus another 3 litre bladder I keep in my frame bag before camp. That will usually get my through until about noon the next day for another refill. If pressed, I could do with less, but this is how I tend to plan it out for best case scenario. This includes drinking and cooking.

The temp ranges you mention will help, but a "few" days without water may mean carrying a pretty hefty amount for two people. Are there no potential water sources to filter from along the way?
10  Forums / Bikepacking / Re: POST UP YOUR RIGS on: February 11, 2018, 03:43:43 PM

Salsa El Mariachi and Mukluk
11  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: Frame rub from bags? on: December 29, 2017, 10:28:09 AM
Electrical tape (the black stuff) does not leave residue and is readily available. It is also not very expensive. I have used it to protect against rub from my frame bag and also to attach water bottles where there are no mounts. Can't recall where I first saw the idea, but it was on a bikepacking forum or blog somewhere. It'a great stuff!
12  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: Most waterproof "jerry can" bag on: December 22, 2017, 02:37:37 PM
I put my first aid in a little silnylon drybag, then I can stuff it wherever. This was a carryover from river trips.

In general, I don't count on my bike bags to be waterproof. I either use a waterproof cover to put over top, or put the contents inside something waterproof (for larger bags, trash compactor bags are pretty bombproof). For small stuff, I use the heavy duty ziplocks and keep them somewhere they don't shift around a lot to minimize wear.
13  Forums / Routes / Re: Two big New Mexico Bikepacking Routes - wanna help me chart and ride them? on: December 17, 2017, 09:26:53 AM
Bumping this thread. I have been fiddling with variations on this ride for some time now, but finally sat down and created a complete, 750 mile route that begins and ends in Albuquerque. The route follows a verified alignment based on posted tracks by other riders. I have attached it as a .gpx and .kmz file.

I cobbled this mainly from:
Continental Divide Trail (Scott Morris and Eszter Horanyi's 2014 through ride)
Grand Enchantment Trail (Scott Morris and Lee Blackwell’s through ride)
Valles Caldera Supervolcano Explorer (ride contributed to by Cass Gilbert)

The ride traverses a range of volcanic landscapes: through the Valles Caldera super volcano, over Mount Taylor, alongside El Malpais lava flows and across the vast Mogollon-Datil volcanic field. In Socorro, the route crosses east of the Rio Grande and wends its way back to Albuquerque via the fault-block range of the Sandia-Manzano mountains. That’s if you run it counter clockwise.

The ride (again, running it counter clockwise) begins by taking the Railrunner train north from Albuquerque to the Kewa Station at Santo Domingo Pueblo. It concludes by riding back into the Sandia foothills through Tijeras pass east of Albuquerque.

Sources and links:
Scott Morris CDT 2014 Journal:
Ezster Horanyi’s CDT New Mexico ride profiled by Salsa Cycles:
Grand Enchantment Trail:
Valles Caldera Explorer:

14  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: What is everyone using for GPS file editing on Macbook? on: April 22, 2017, 11:18:20 AM
I use Gaia GPS and think it's a pretty great web based product. Good selection of layers, can import or export kmz, kml, gpx and maybe some other file types, I forget.

My only complaint is the resolution of the aerial layer is not as good as Earth. So I often work between these programs as I refine a route in an area with no other data.

It is also my navigation app and has the ability to preload maps of any layer type into the phone. I run my iPhone in airplane mode which still allows for GPS satellite connection but doesn't need to use the cell network, so I barely use any battery. I get up to a day and a half of tracking time per phone charge. Seeing detail on the screen in the sun sucks though. Still, it's cheaper than buying a separate GPS device.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
15  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: How many of you use a backpack on: November 30, 2016, 02:44:31 PM
I usually wear a hydration pack on day rides so I am used to riding with that much weight. I always wear one bikepacking mainly because water is scarce around here and I really need that storage space. So I will carry 3l on the back and load most everything else on the bike. The ability to stash smaller items (raingear and such) is also nice. Typically I need to carry up to 6-8 liters at a time so including the pack in the equation means I can spread that weight/pain around. 

In the past I have overloaded the pack and it sucked - energy draining and it made me sore. Strangely, I do find wearing a reasonably weighted pack gives me a sense of comfort and security.
16  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: Bags for Anything Cage on: November 14, 2016, 10:00:10 PM

I use these 6l dry bags from NRS (Northwest River Supply). The Salsa bags are 4.5l so that's a good 3l increase overall. They were something like $25-30/ea. I got them for boating but also because they were a slightly better deal than the Salsa ones. They are extremely durable - NRS makes a quality product.

Dimensions for the bag are: 6.5" Dia x 12.5" H
17  Forums / Bikepacking / Jones bar... on: June 04, 2016, 09:27:16 AM
The design is such that you shouldn't need to swap the stem though I did shorten mine by 10mm. The main thing to be aware of is that the Jones Loop H-bar has no rise (the version w/o the loop has a low rise). A long steerer tube and spacers is ideal but u can also use a high rise stem (harder to find) or a steerer tube extender (looks clunky but works ok)

You can see how many spacers I have on mine below. This is pretty normal.

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18  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: Brake levers and shifters for Jones Bar on: June 03, 2016, 04:32:34 PM
I have a shimano xt 10 speed bar shifter and FR7 brake levers (with BB7s). Works great on my El Mariachi.

I have the 710mm Jones bars btw. The smaller version works better with thumbies as I understand it. Less room between bar end and cross bar for both brake lever and shifter.

2 years with the Jones bar and still loving it!

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19  Forums / Question and Answer / Bikepacking coffee? on: June 03, 2016, 04:19:25 PM
I use the Starbucks vias. Not a big Starbucks fan but these are the best tasting instant coffees I have found. I love a well made cuppa but it's hard to beat the no-fuss nature of these tiny packets. Plus, no additional gear needed.

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20  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: Camp pillow? on: June 03, 2016, 04:16:48 PM
I have a ~10 liter stuff sack that is lined with fleece. Works great for me, especially with a puffy jacket inside.

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