Best bikepacking bikes

Are you looking for an off-road rig to take on overnight trips? This selection of gravel grinders, solid rigids, and hardcore hardtails should suffice. 

There are many types of bikes these days: hybrids, gravel bikes, mountain bikes, 'cross and hybrids. It can get confusing. Where does  fit in all Best bikepacking bikes this?

Multi-day riding rigs can be as varied as riders who choose them. They can range from light and slim drop-bar whippets to heavy rubber and suspension cross-country mountain bikes.

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Bikepacking can be described as backpacking on a bicycle. You will need some gear with you, whether it's camping gear or a small backpack for overnighting at a hostel. You can use any bike, but the following are the best for off-road riding. The selection includes a variety of prices and covers many possible scenarios, from light gravel to very technical terrain.

What are the key factors to consider when choosing a bikepacking bicycle?

Clearance of tyres

Make sure the fork and frame are able to hold the amount of rubber you need (c) Brother

When choosing a bike, the first thing to consider is your preferred terrain and what type of tyres will you use. The rule of thumb is that the wider the tire, the better it will handle mud and the less resistance you'll have on the road. Clearance is essential for the width of your chosen tyre, so make sure the fork and rear triangle are large enough to hold the amount of rubber you need.

Material for frames

Multi-day rigs can generally withstand more than other setups. You'll need something sturdy and durable for the combination of heavy loads and rough terrain. Many frame builders use titanium and steel, but you can also find many aluminium bikes within the budget range. Steel bikes are heavier but can be repaired more quickly if something happens on long-haul trips. This is why they are often the preferred choice for round-the-world riders.

Potential storage

Trekking with mounts

You should think about how you want to transport your kit. Traditional pannier racks require mounting points on the frame. Modern cycling luggage can be strapped onto your bike without them. Remember to keep water bottles hydrated, especially when you are traveling to remote areas. Wider bars are better for handlebar rolls.

These are the top 10 best bikepacking bikes that you can purchase in 2020

1. Kona Rove

The Rove is the best budget model. (c) Kona

Prices: Builds starting at PS759

Frame sizes: 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58

Material for the frame: Aluminium

Size of the wheel: 700c

Travel by suspension in NA

Best bikepacking bikes

Cyclist on a touring bicycle with panniers traveling on an old road through a forest. The sun is shining through light fog.

The Rove by Kona, a Canadian bike brand, is a great choice for riders who want to mix dirt and asphalt. With the momentum of narrower tires and a more aerodynamic position at the drops, the Rove makes those connecting road sections as fun as the off-road.

The Rove, one of the smallest tyres in the line-up, is fitted with 37mm WTB Riddlers. These are excellent for dry conditions.

The Rove is a budget model that's hard to beat. It also features a double chainring, giving you ample gearing to conquer any hills.

Get more information here

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2. Sonder Frontier Rigid

The Frontier shows that more mounts can equal more fun (c)

Prices starting at PS849

Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL

Material for the frame: Aluminium

Size of the wheel: 650b

Travel by suspension in NA

Best bikepacking bikes

A fatbike set up with panniers is leaning against a picnic table while the suns shines through the trees.

Sonder's Frontier Rigid mountain bike is one of the most affordable in this range. It measures 27.5" or 29", and comes with a 12-speed SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed gear set. There are plenty of mounting points available for bottles, cages, racks, and guards. The rigid forks can also be mounted.

You can also choose from a range of hardtail builds with the Frontier range, which include a groupset that gives you more bounce.

You can enjoy your first adventure with these great WTB Ranger intermediate tyres. Sonder's brand Love Mud wheels are also included.

Get more information here

3. Brother Kepler Disc

Do you want to go on a longer expedition? It's possible for the Kepler to handle it (c) Brother

Prices: Builds starting at PS1,675

Frame sizes: 52, 54, 56, 58, 60

Material for the frame: Steel

Size of the wheel: 700c

Travel by suspension in NA

Best bikepacking bikes

fat bike and rustic mountain cabin in northern Colorado, late fall or winter scenery

Brother Kepler was designed to be a bike you can both ride cyclocross and tour with. The original canti brake model has seen improvements over the years. Now the steel drop-bar frame is equipped with hydraulic disc brakes that are more suitable for long-distance exploring.

You can choose from a wide range of rubbers thanks to the increased clearance. Panniers can be fitted to the front or rear of the steel fork via multiple mounting points.

The drop bar bike is versatile and sturdy, and it's great for those who like to combine off-road adventures with back roads and smoother tarmac.

Get more information here

4. Bombtrack Beyond+

Bombtrack began with track bikes, but is now well-known for its adventure rigs (c) Bombtrack

Prices: Builds starting at PS1,750

Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL

Material for the frame: Steel

Size of the wheel: 27.5" or 28.5"

Travel by suspension in NA

Bombtrack, a German bike brand, started out with stunning track bikes and became a well-known name in the gravel scene. You'll find a range of rigid mountain bikes that are perfect for bikepacking, including the Beyond+ range. They come with either a carbon or steel fork.

Both of these options have mounts that allow for additional storage on the fork leg. This is a new trend, which is growing in popularity. Dropper posts and other features restrict storage elsewhere.

You can choose between the 27.5"x2.8", straight bars model and a steel fork, or the ADV model with 29.5"x3" wheels and Jones bars. You can tackle any task with this rubber and the SRAM 12-speed NX Eagle gearing.

Best bikepacking bikes

Get more information here

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5. Specialized Epic Hardtail

Epic by name, epic in nature (c) Specialized

Prices: Builds starting at PS2,249

Frame sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL

Carbon fiber is the frame material

Size of the wheel: 29 inches

Suspension travel: 100mm

Best bikepacking bikes

Lael Wilcox is the bikepacking legend who chose the Specialized Epic Hardtail. This hardtail is great for races or routes that are more mountain biking than gravel. The RockShox fork's 100mm travel takes the hassle out of testing trails and the chunky rocks.

For those who want to travel light and fast, the Epic Hardtail bike is for you. There will be fewer mounting points than with other bikepacking-specific gears. This means that you will need to use modern bicycle bags, which are strap-on and not bolt-on.

The build includes a standard seatpost, making fitting seatpost bags easy. However, there is nothing stopping you from swapping for a dropper to take this bike on a day at the trails in the off-season.

Get more information here

6. Salsa Fargo

This MTB with rigid drop bars will let you test your limits (c) Salsa

Prices: Builds starting at PS2,250

Frame sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL

Material for the frame: Steel

Size of the wheel: 29 inches

Travel by suspension in NA

Best bikepacking bikes

The Fargo is a MTB drop-bar bike that looks great on paper. There's enough space to fit tyres up to 2.6 inches at 700c (29") wheels, so you can take on more challenging trails.

The Salsa Firecrest 110 carbon fork is available in both the Shimano Tiagra models and the SRAM Apex models. It can be mounted on both the fork legs to hold extra water, or Salsa's "Anything cages".

American brands have a strong reputation for their pioneering builds. The Fargo is one of many models that can be used depending on the terrain and conditions.

Get more information here

7. Trek 1120

This Trek bike is made by American brand Trek and is designed to be used for bikepacking (c) Trek

Price: PS2,400

Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL

Material for the frame: Aluminium

Size of the wheel: 29 inches

Travel by suspension in NA

Best bikepacking bikes

Trek's 1120 is one of few bikes you can argue was made specifically for bikepacking. One of the most distinctive features is the contrast orange integrated racks at the front and rear. This allows you to carry more gear than other mountain bikes, without worrying about tyre wear. The 1120 is a great choice for people who want to travel further or longer distances and need more supplies.

You'll also find ample storage space and a Shimano 1x Shimano drivetrain. It has a 30T chainring with an 11-46T cassette. Dropper posts make it easy to load your bike and ride down steeper descents. With three inches of rubber, you won't find any places you can't go.

Get more information here

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8. Niner Air 9 RDO

This bag has serious credentials (c) Niner, with the Atlas Mountain Race in it.

Prices: Builds starting at PS2,700

Frame sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL

Frame material: Carbon fiber

Size of the wheel: 29 inches

Suspension travel: 100mm

Best bikepacking bikes

Sofiane Sehili won the inaugural Atlas Mountain Race 2020. The Niner Air 9 RDO is a serious horse for serious off-road riding. Both the 100mm travel fork and the rigid alternative, as Sofiane did it, are designed to withstand the demands of extreme off-road riding.

You'll need modern velcro-on bags just like the carbon-framed Specialized Epic. There are no mounting points for water bottles, so you will need to get a handlebar roll or seatpost pack.

Clip-on aerobars or bar ends are a good option if you plan to ride a long distance. They offer greater comfort and hand position for longer rides.

Get more information here

9. Mason ISO

Independent British brands prove that steel is real in bikepacking (c) Mason

Prices starting at PS3,140

Frame sizes: 42, 46, 50, 54, 58

Material for the frame: Steel

Size(s) of wheels: 27.5", 29".

Travel by suspension in NA

Best bikepacking bikes

Mason, a British brand, created the InSearchOf (or ISO) as a response to Josh Ibbett's ambassador. It took its beloved Bokeh gravel bike, the Bokeh, over more and more challenging terrain. The brand and the rider had a Tour Divide racing goal and collaborated to design the ISO.

This resulted in a steel frameset that can fit 700x 2.4" or650bx2.8" tyres. The frame's main feature is the integrated front mudguard, which can hold up to 2kg of extra luggage. The carbon fork has many mounting points and internal routing for dynamos lights.

Get more information here

10. Shand Bahookie

You can use it with an internal Rohloff hub, or as a single-speed belt-drive (c) Shand.

Prices: Builds starting at PS3,395

Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL, Custom

Material for the frame: Steel

Size(s) of the wheels: 27.5" or 28.5"

Suspension travel: Available in 120mm fork

Best bikepacking bikes

Shand Cycles, a British independent brand, is located just outside Edinburgh. It makes steel bikes in-house. Bahookie is the brand's "do-it all mountain bike", which can be used with either 29" or 27.5" tires and a rigid carbon fork or 120mm.

The flat-bar Bahookie is the bike you should consider if you prefer more technical routes. There are three sets of bottle cage mounts as well as rack mounts at the rear. Jones Loop H-bars can be added to your build for long-distance mountain biking because of their ergonomic design and multiple hand positions.

You can run the Bahookie with an external Rohloff hub for maximum reliability and ease of maintenance or as a single-speed belt-drive build.