Trip Gear: The Bike


Part of the fun of preparing for any big journey, is gathering and testing all the needed gear along the way. Blackburn has put together an all start team of sponsors for the Ranger program, and I'm stoked to be riding such rad gear on my bikefish trip. I love seeing other bike travelers' pack list; what they bring and what they can't live without. While I'm still compiling that list, the bike will likely be similar to its current build.

Frame: Niner RLT 9 Steel

Niner ponied up some sweet rides for us Rangers. Since my bike fish adventure down the coast will consist mostly of paved surfaces with small amounts of gravel and dirt thrown in the mix, the obvious bike choice was an adventure capable road bike. The RLT was built with an "all day adventure tuned" geometry consisting of longer chain stays, lower bottom bracket, and slackish head tube. This translates to a ride that is comfortable for the long haul, carries a load, accommodates wideish tires, and is capable both on and off road. While I rarely ride drop bar bikes, I have quickly learned to love this bike. Its quick, comfortable, and just seems to fit. My only complaint is the lack of threaded bosses on the seat-stays to secure the upper rack mounts, a problem easily fixed with a couple rack C clamps.

Components: Sram, Zipp, WTB, and Brooks

Since the introduction of 11 speed mountain bike drivetrains, I've been a firm supporter of Sram shifters and derailleurs. Add their excellent customer service and warranty department available to us mechanics, and I rarely opt for the other big S brand. This being my first real gravel bike, the Sram Rival 1 drive train was new to me as a consumer. It took a little getting used to the double tap shifting, but it's quickly become second nature. I love the simplicity of the 1x system, and I've yet to wish for more gears (may regret this once loaded and battling a Pacific head wind). The shifts are crisp, fast, and predictable. The hydraulic brakes are quiet and strong. Wheels are Zipp 30 Course, 28 hole, through axle. Haven't had to true them yet. Love the trough axles. Handlebars, stem, and seatpost are also Zipp Service Course 80. Light, comfortable, good looking. For rubber, I'm currently running WTB Nano 40s. I love the way these tire transition between pavement, gravel, dirt and back again. Many of my local rides consist of all of these surfaces, and the Nanos handle them all in stride.

  • Frame: Niner RLT 9 Steel
  • Wheels: Zipp 30 Course
  • Drivetrain: Sram Rival 1
  • 10-42 cassette, 40t chainring
  • Brakes: Sram Rival 1, 140mm rotors
  • Tires: WTB Nano 40 tubeless
  • Saddle: Brooks C-15 carved
  • Pedals: MKS Touring

Stay tuned for continued gear posts!