The newest addition to the pragmatic Bombtrack family is the Beyond+, featuring some 27.5”x2.8” tires, and some super clean welds. The older brother of this bike was a 29er that was taken across Europe and Asia. To add a little comfort and to make it more trail ready, they threw some wider tires on and gave it some flat bars. They’ve got some beautiful machine work on the brake caliper mounts and a big bag friendly frame. There’s definitely room for bigger tires than what was featured at Interbike. Of course, with any bike in this category, there are threaded holes filling the frame ready for rear racks, fork racks, fenders, everything but the kitchen sink. This build featured a SRAM 1×11 drivetrain and the option to add an internally routed dropper post. I like the nice, but not flashy paint job and how these bikes were clearly built for a job (to take you anywhere you want for days) and they look like they’d do a good job. I’d love to test one out on a big ride through the Sierras.
The introduction of the Co-Op brand has brought a few changes to REI. Their aging Novara fleet is no more. In it’s place, is a new fleet of bikes made for the recreational riders that might want to take their bikes camping. The new DRT family includes standard and plus size 27.5” aluminum mountain bikes. REI is offering a number of affordable builds like Shimano SLX with bikes prepped for whatever you feel like doing with them. There are front derailleur mounts, rear rack mounts, and a suspension fork for a little added comfort. I like how adaptable they’ve made their bikes and I think REI is heading in the right direction for entry-level bikepacking rigs.
The Rawland Ulv, pronounced ULF, is a drop bar, plus size, backcountry escape machine featuring Rawland’s very own fork rack made for their bikes. Some incredible engineering goes into the production of these bikes that feature quadruple butted frames for the best riding experience with a given frame alloy. I’ve been impressed by the metallurgical prowess that Rawland has shown in their bikes. They’ve got mounts in all the usual places including the fork, below the downtube, on the seatstays, and even room for fenders if you feel like it. Rawland really impressed me this year at Interbike. They’ve done their research, they know what’s important. By no means are these race bikes, but they are fun-mobiles that will keep a smile on your face.
The Jaroon+ is a beautifully crafted CroMo Steel, 29”x3” bike designed by some crafty Italians. Wilier, best known for their fancier road bikes, ventured into the world of adventure and bikepacking bikes and hit it out of the ball park. The internally welded frame is clean and beautiful with a raw finish, and even comes with rack mounts. The featured build comes with wide drop bars and a 1x11s SRAM Rival drivetrain. The Jaroon+ comes with a carbon thru-axle fork, and hydro disk brakes. The price point for this bike isn’t as terribly high as you might expect coming from Wilier at $2,849.00 US.
The new Seldom Seen is similar to the Hayduke made famous by Lael Wilcox after she rode it to build the Baja Divide route, however, this bike is not a standard plus size hardtail, but instead a rigid, plus size adventure machine. This bike is ready for bolt on frame bags, front and rear mounted racks, and comes with tons of tire clearance. The spec groupset for the Seldom Seen featured at Interbike included hydro disk brakes, and a 2x Shimano SLX drivetrain to keep a reasonable price point. The lower to mid-range drivetrains from all the major manufacturers seem to have gotten really good in the past few years so you can have good reliability and performance without breaking the bank. With all the room for storage on this bike, it should definitely be on your list for a Baja Divide bike.
The all new Baxter is made to be a Tour Divide, muddy mile-munching machine! This high-end titanium beast comes ready to run flat or drop bars, rigid or 100mm forks, and up to 29”x2.25” tires. The build featured at Interbike was set up with Shimano XT Di2 and hydro disk brakes. All of the Di2 wires are internally routed leaving the bike looking super clean. As usual there were some beautiful, clean welds, and thru axle front and rear. This bike is made to handle whatever you throw at it. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Tour Divide or exploring some sweet singletrack, this bike will take you where you need to go. That all being said, I am curious how the Di2 build would fare on the Divide. I can’t imagine you’d have any problems on trips shorter than 1,000 miles but I’m curious if you’d need a charger for something closer to 3,000 miles.
The NDVR Bravo is a high end, titanium, breakaway bike, built for traveling. A little something about NDVR? They donate a bike to a person in a developing country with the help of World Bicycle Relief for every bike purchased. The bike they brought to Interbike pulled out all the stops with SRAM Eagle 1×12, a Fox Factory 34 fork, and carbon plus size wheels. The shifter cable has a quickly detachable connection point to break apart when traveling without having to retune the derailleur. The frame breaks along the seat tube, between the top tube and seat stays, clamped together using the seat post. The downtube is fastened near the bottom bracket and the whole bike fits in a single airline checkable suitcase to avoid those extra fees. Fitting in with the adventure bike genre, they’ve outfitted the frame with rear rack mounts, hydro disk brakes, fender mounts, and a bag friendly frame. NDVR makes some beautiful, handmade bikes here in the States and they’ve got a solid mission I can get behind.