When someone says “that is a great bikepacking bike,” I think about my first experience bikepacking. It was on a 26” Trek Fuel EX. It was easily the best bikepacking bike for me at the time, mainly because it was the only bike I had. In the end, it turned out to be great for it’s application. The trip was on the Colorado Trail, where ‘rough’ was typically the word of the day. My point is, a bike should not be chosen for it’s bikepacking ability, but rather the terrain. While the Tour Divide and the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route season is a distant memory, it is hard not to think about how popular this route is, and how long the planning and preparations take to get to Antelope Wells, let alone up to Banff. Two years ago in April, Jefe Branham and I were driving down to 12 Hours of Mesa Verde, typically one of the first mountain bike races of the year in Colorado. Jefe was about to take on the divide and I was in the beginning stages of planning for the race a year later. We spoke a lot about the Tour Divide on the 4 hour drive. I asked him if he could choose one bike to ride on the Tour Divide, what would it be? He said “it would be made of titanium.” I tend to listen to a lot of what Jefe has to say, and I took that piece of advice and started to research. A year later I had landed on the Chumba Stella Ti, a new bike Chumba had been developing over the winter. Chumba is an adventure-forward, race-ready boutique bike brand. Based out of Austin Texas, Chumba Cycles builds innovative mountain bikes that transcend geographical boundaries; they are built to last and built in the United States. Call me a sucker for American made products, especially bike products.Unlike their older steel Stella, the bike does come with an oversized head tube to accommodate all types of forks. A feature that was overdue in my opinion and makes the rider experience so much better. As for the bottom bracket, Chumba went with a press fit cup. While we could dwell on the proper bottom brackets for bikepacking, I would rather state that I had no issues with mine for roughly 3,000 miles, other than a small amount of creeking. I did need to replace the drive side of the bottom bracket, a typical flaw with the PF30 design. I would prefer to see a GXP bottom bracket any day of the week. What makes this frame so versatile is the Paragon droppers. Not only are they versatile in the drivetrain you select; be it SS,1x, 2x, 3x or Rohloff, but also in the way the bike performs with the sliders placed in different positions to shorten or lengthen the wheelbase. I messed around with this a lot, and at times I felt like I was on a completely different bike. The Stella Ti frame is rounded out with 3 bottle cage mounts(M/L/XL), two eyelets on the seatstays for racks (if you use those) some sleek cable guides, and a slick mill finish, one that showcases the natural beauty that titanium offers.The parts you use on your bike can make for an extremely different ride. One part that can completely transform your bike is the wheelset, mainly the rims. I purchased some Enve M60 Forty rims, not only for the Tour Divide, but for a solid trail rim. While they were not the lightest or the widest rims, they proved to be a perfect complement to a titanium frame. The 23mm internal width rim gave me more confidence on the corners, and helped me accelerate the Ti frame with ease. While these were great on day rides, it is certainly not a bikepacking friendly rim. But I did say I am a sucker for American made products. Another major part that can transform your ride is the fork. I started to ride the bike with the stiff Whisky No. 9 Carbon fork before moving onto a Fox Float Factory 100mm travel fork after the Tour Divide. It was incredible what the bike turned into when I took one of the most stiff carbon forks on the market off for a suspension fork. The rest of the bike has a Shimano driver with Race Face Next cranks and chainring, XT brakes and Thompson post, stem and Ti Bar.