Bombtrack Bicycle Co. was founded in 2011 in Cologne, Germany. Driven by their passion for steel frames, they make a whole range of innovative bikes. The Beyond Plus is the plus-sized 27.5+ rigid steel sibling of their Beyond Dropbar expedition bike. Designed for bikepacking and a little singletrack on backcountry adventures off the beaten path, we rode the Beyond Plus on the Baja Divide in Mexico and here are our thoughts.
We took the Beyond Plus on a few unloaded rides on trails in the Flagstaff area before continuing our loaded journey on the Baja Divide. Being a rugged 1,700 mile off-pavement bikepacking route down the length of the Baja California peninsula, the route took us through sandy, rocky, challenging terrain.
To cut it short the Beyond Plus is great fun to ride and being loaded with ridiculous amounts of water, at times, the bike was still agile and responsive.
Built on the 27.5+ platform, the bike comes with WTB “Trailblazer” 2.8” tires on tubeless compatible WTB “Scraper” i40 pinned rims, but will fit tires up to 3”. We tested the Specialized Groundcontrol 3” with no problem. But as real widths vary between manufacturers, chain clearances should be checked beforehand.
We set up the tires tubeless for the Baja Divide and the ‘Scrapers’ spread the tires nicely which gave us the traction needed on the very sandy roads in Baja, as well as the widely discussed cushion when riding rockier sections with plus-sized tires.
I would like to mention though, that the Trailblazers would not have been our tire of choice for a desert ride like this. The light sidewalls suffered a lot and needed some attention every now and then, but eventually got us to La Paz.
The frame is built to last with 4130 double butted chromoly steel with an added gusset at the head tube for increased strength. The chainstay is also reinforced to take the force of the disc brakes.
The Beyond Plus comes with plenty of braze-ons for 3 bottle/Anything Cages on the frame and 2 on the fork, as well as rack mounts on both. As this would be more than enough for most, we added another two cages to the fork with hose-clamps. Two extra braze-on spots on the fork would be a nice addition for future versions of the bike, especially for longer trips.
The derailleur hanger is replaceable which we like in case we run into issues in remote areas.
The bike uses Boost thru-axles (15x110mm front, 12 x 148mm rear) and the suspension corrected geometry gives you the option to swap the rigid fork (a-c 483 mm) for a suited suspension fork if you’d like.
As an additional option the frame is ready for internal dropper post routing.
Being 5′ 11” I was very pleased to see how much room the M sized frame provides for a large seatpack to carry all the extra gear we need on a long distance trip. Combined with a set of bikepacking bags and the accessory cages, it gave us enough room to carry all our gear, electronics, plus enough food and water for the more remote stretches in Baja.
The 1 x 11 SRAM NX drivetrain with a 30t chainring and a 11-42t cassette provides a backcountry-specific lower speed gear range. This covered all our gearing needs, allowing us to tackle the steep climbs in Baja on the one hand, but also moving faster on the rare flat portions of the route with a loaded bike. In our opinion the 1x drivetrain is a simple, reliable and efficient way to go.
We never used the SRAM “Level TL” hydraulic disc brakes (180 mm F, 160 mm R) though, as we are continuing our journey to South America we swapped them right away to mechanical BB7’s due to the ease of maintenance.
Talking about modifications the Beyond Plus complete bike is spec’d to be loaded and ridden on several week bikepacking trips or some trail riding out of the box.
But in our case, being on a longer journey on some harsh terrain, we modified the bike a little to our needs. This obviously varies from rider to rider and the intended use, but it might be interesting for folks planning a longer ride. I will quickly go through the changes.
We swapped the straight handlebar to a Jones Loop H-Bar and replaced the hydraulic brakes with mechanical BB7’s. While the WTB ‘Scraper’ TCS i40 pinned rims, which come with the bike, will be strong enough for most uses, we replaced them with the stronger ‘Scraper’ sleeve welded i40 rim version with 4D drilled spoke holes and added a SON dynamo Hub in the front wheel as well.
After the Baja Divide we also changed our tires and are using Maxxis Minion DHF Plus 2.8” in the front combined with WTB Ranger tough 2.8” in the rear, this combo works great.
To wrap it up, if you’re planning a longer journey which requires special components or just have other specs in mind, the bike is also available as a frameset, which might be an option worth checking out.
Before we got the Beyond Plus we were looking for a reliable rigid steel bike which could handle the extreme challenges of a long-term bikepacking trip. Daily used in sometimes tough conditions, able to take an occasional beating on a truck and still ‘easy’ to maintain in remote areas. After the Baja Divide we can say we found the bike we were looking for and are now excited to explore the Andes of South America.
Additionally Bombtrack announced that they have a 29+ version and two differently spec’d new Beyond Plus versions in the pipeline which might be released by the end of the 2017. To purchase your Beyond Plus, head over to the Bombtrack distributor page.
Franzi and Jona (Tales On Tyres) have been traveling by way of foot and bike since 2012 after quitting their jobs in Germany. Since then traveling has been their life goal. They have traversed numerous countries, and are currently zig zagging their way down the Americas. Franzi and Jona are supported by Bombtrack Cycles, Sinewave Cycles and Katabatic Gear. Make sure you spend some time flipping though their Lookbook, its a beautiful compilation of photos and words from their journey traveling down the Baja divide.
They also captured plenty of video in this beautiful film which was put together by OSM Films