Author Topic: Has anyone 'modified' a 'Gravel Bike' to a Bikepacking / Touring rig?  (Read 579 times)

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Offline BikePacker

Has anyone 'modified' a 'Gravel Bike' to a Bikepacking / Touring rig?
If yes, what pro and cons were learned in your process of doing so.
Thank you.

Offline Iowagriz

Re: Has anyone 'modified' a 'Gravel Bike' to a Bikepacking / Touring rig?
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2020, 12:08:55 pm »
It probably depends more on what gravel bike you have, and what type of touring.

If one of the current and popular bikes like the Warbird, and touring via the same gravel roads, then yes - very possible.  No rack eyelets on many of those bikes, so a typical bikepacking soft bag setup should work just fine.  No fork eyelets, so that will leave you with the typical framebag, seatbag, handlebar bags and toptube bags. 

I'm finding that I can bikepack on most any bike, it just depends on my expectations of comfort and speed.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Has anyone 'modified' a 'Gravel Bike' to a Bikepacking / Touring rig?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2020, 12:25:15 pm »
I am not sure that this is an either or thing.

First of all, bikepacking is a commitment to a lighter kit.  You are rewarded with a bike that will probably be a more livelier ride. 

I have a Waterford Adventure Cycler, which is a classic heavy touring  bike.  It was designed to take panniers, and if I was going to ride to the tip of South America, that is what I would take.  It does not have the three holes on the fork legs, so it is not set up take the plastic radar dishes and small round gear bags.  The bike is not a lively ride, but it will take an 80 pound kit.  You would have to get a custom frame bag, and i really would not bother with trying to bike pack on it.

I also have a Salsa Cutthroat.  It does have holes for a rear rack, but I think hanging panniers back there would be a disaster.  The fork is not drilled for a front rack, but it is drilled for the plastic radar dishes.  There is also a stock frame bag for the bike.  The bike should be used in a bike packing mode.  My kit comes in at 30 pounds, and unless you try to lift the bike, you really don't know the kit is there.

So I think a lot will depend on what bike you are using.  Probably, you will want to go the bike packing route, since you have ID'ed a gravel bike. 
« Last Edit: October 28, 2020, 12:42:53 pm by paddleboy17 »
Danno

Offline aggie

Re: Has anyone 'modified' a 'Gravel Bike' to a Bikepacking / Touring rig?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2020, 04:50:58 pm »
I recently bought a "gravel" bike and I had the dealer use a Niner fork that has holes for the rack/pack most people think of for light bikepacking.  I used it last year for my trip from New Orleans to St. Augustine.  It also has 3 spots for water bottles on the frame so you could use a frame bag and still have room for at least 1 water bottle.  If you want to carry more stuff or if you can't modify your bike you could be outfitted with a single wheeled trailer.  It will make your total load heavier but might be worth taking a look at if you have problems modifying your bike.

Offline BikePacker

Re: Has anyone 'modified' a 'Gravel Bike' to a Bikepacking / Touring rig?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2020, 07:50:29 am »
Many thanks.

Offline TCS

Re: Has anyone 'modified' a 'Gravel Bike' to a Bikepacking / Touring rig?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2020, 05:20:23 pm »
Okay, I admit I don't understand the difference between gravel, bikepacking, all road, adventure, rough stuff, cyclocross, randonneuring and touring bikes.  Don't get me wrong - I understand wheelbase, bottom bracket drop, tire pressure, diameter, width and clearance, rake, trail, slope, stiffness & flexibility of individual frame members and of the frame as a whole, attachment points, spoke counts, OLDs, 1x 2x 3x IGH, drop out/thru axle, etc.  But the model descriptors are neither universally applied by industry nor over time.

Yes, we have learned and continue to learn how to optimize bicycles for specific use.  But I bet I could grab any of those bikes, attach my dunnage in some secure way and go on a pretty good tour.
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Has anyone 'modified' a 'Gravel Bike' to a Bikepacking / Touring rig?
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2020, 10:00:47 am »
If your bike has no rack eyelets, it is not a problem. There are clamps for about $1.50 each that will allow you to fasten racks. Just google this----How to mount  racks on a bicycle that has no eyelets. You will see there are many devices for doing that. They also sell racks that do not need eyelets.

Offline Figaro

Re: Has anyone 'modified' a 'Gravel Bike' to a Bikepacking / Touring rig?
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2020, 12:07:38 pm »
I did the TansAm with a Trek 520 touring bike and the traditional pannier and handlebar bag set-up. It was ok. This year I bought a Cutthroat gravel bike and have set it up with what I would call a cross between the traditional touring set-up and bikepacking set-up. I like this much better and plan to use it on the Great Divide Route, but if I do the TransAm again, or another road tour, I would still prefer this set-up vs the touring bike/pannier set-up.

The basics of this set-up is BarYak on the front as the foundation of what you see there. Tailfin on the back for the rack--it also has mounts for panniers, but I don't plan to use them. In fact, I've recently used those mounts with some custom made brackets to mount water bottles, small dry bags, etc, like you would traditionally see on the front fork of a gravel bike. With this set-up, everything feels like it's part of the bike--it's very solid.


Offline DaveB

Re: Has anyone 'modified' a 'Gravel Bike' to a Bikepacking / Touring rig?
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2020, 09:24:16 am »
I recently built up a Surly "Midnight Special" mostly for the fun of having another, different, more versatile bike. All my others are pure road bikes. 

It would make a great gravel and touring bike as it has relatively long chainstays, accepts up to 700-41 tires and has mounting points for front and rear racks, fenders and 3 water bottles.  It also has disc brakes, thru axles and a standard English threaded bottom bracket so it will take a wide range of drivetrains and gearing.  It's not a heavy or purpose built as the Disc Trucker but is an excellent all-around road/gravel/touring frame.