Whatever your reason for upgrading the components of your bike — wear and tear, increasing comfort, saving weight — there’s always something that can be swapped out to improve your experience.
Here I run through just five things that will transform your ride into the ultimate bikepacking machine.
1. Sonder Broken Road titanium frame
Sonder Broken Road titanium frame – a great balance of fun and comfortable geometry Matt Orton
To the uninitiated, a frame may seem like a strange upgrade. However, Sonder’s keenly priced titanium Broken Road is a great option if you’re looking to transfer your current bike’s components onto a new chassis.
Strong, light and extremely versatile, the Broken Road is happy running 29er, 650b or 650b+ wheels. At only 1,950g (Large) for the frame, a sub-20kg, fully loaded adventure setup is achievable.
Designed with bikepacking in mind, the Broken Road achieves a great balance of fun and comfortable geometry, making this ideal for hauling kit on long days in the saddle.
2. Lauf Trail Racer fork
The strong yet light monocoque fork delivers 60mm of travel Matt Orton
With its unique leaf suspension design, the carbon Lauf is a real head-turner. If you can get past its quirky looks you will find a strong yet light monocoque fork that delivers 60mm of travel.
This may not sound like much, but when most long-distance bikepacking routes follow bridleways and permissive paths, the Lauf’s small bump compliance is more than enough to smooth out your ride without the hefty weight penalty of traditional suspension.
Its one-piece design also offers maintenance-free peace of mind when a backcountry malfunction could leave you stranded miles from civilisation.
3. Surly Moloko handlebar
The upswept prongs offer great alternative hand positions Matt Orton
When riding for multiple days, the variety of positions your hands go through can mean the difference between trapped nerves, sore wrists and a multitude of back and neck problems. Surly’s Moloko handlebar offers a generous 34-degree sweep, setting your hands at a more natural position to regular bars.
At 735mm wide you are free to cut to your preferred length. The upswept prongs at the front and additional crossbar may look odd but they offer great alternative hand positions, as well as extra space to mount lights, GPSs, handlebar rolls and anything else you may need when out in the wilderness.
4. Bodyfloat Kinekt 2.0 Aluminium seatpost
The Kinekt gives you ample ‘cushy for your tushie’ Matt Orton
The suspension seatpost is often an overlooked accessory for long-distance cycling. As with the Lauf suspension fork above, the requirements for travel are significantly lower than needed in a trail-centre-ready full-suspension bike.
At only 515g for the 27.2 aluminium or 453g for the 27.2 carbon-fibre version there are some considerable weight savings to be made over all the necessary shocks, linkages and swingarms needed for a full-sus bike.
The seatpost gives you ample ‘cushy for your tushie’ while leaving the main frame triangle free from suspension gubbins for a full-size frame bag. Weight-specific springs allow a high level of precision tuning to suit rider weight, desired comfort and factor in any additional load from a seat pack.
5. ISM PM 2.0 saddle
This noseless saddle reduces pressure Matt Orton
Possibly the most important contact point of all for the long-distance cyclist.
This ‘noseless’ saddle from ISM reduces pressure from sensitive soft tissue in your nether regions, which increases blood flow and reduces numbness.
Over several days of riding the benefits begin to add up, including the obvious comfier riding experience and faster recovery when not in the saddle.