Rebecca Rusch attempts to be the first to ride the Arkansas High Country Route. Day 03 - Queen Wilhelmina State Park To Dardanelle
© Bligh Gillies / Red Bull Content Pool
Cycling

9 of the best bikepacking bikes you can buy in 2022

Looking for a rig for your overnight off-road jaunts? This collection of gravel grinders, reliable rigids and hardcore hardtails should do the trick.
Written by Katherine Moore
7 min readUpdated on
What’s the best bikepacking bike? The one you already own, according to a popular saying. However, if you don’t already have an off-road worthy steed, or are looking for something better tailored to the kind of terrain that you’d like to tackle, here are a few of our stand-out picks.
But how to choose? Consider the following when it comes to choosing what will be the best bikepacking bike for you.
Drop bar or flat bar?
Are you looking for a rigid drop bar gravel bike or a flat bar MTB, perhaps even with some suspension for more technical terrain? Drop handlebars allow a more aerodynamic position for road sections and more hand positions, whereas flat bars are often favoured for rougher trails.
Tyre clearance
What width of tyres would you like to run? Wider rubber will allow you to run lower pressures (especially when set up tubeless) for greater comfort and grip on the trails, although may compromise your speed on stretches of tarmac. Where clearance is limited, a smaller 650b wheel size can help you run a bigger tyre.
Mounting options
How will you stow your kit? If you prefer a lightweight bikepacking bag approach, this will be less important. However, if your bikepacking escapades demand more gear, then look for extra mounts on the fork legs and top tube, or perhaps even rack mounts for the front and rear.
Gearing
When you load up with bikepacking gear, you need a lower gear than usual to offset the extra weight on the uphills, or you’ll find yourself grinding to a halt pretty quick! Look for wide gear ranges, especially if you’d also like to ride steeper off-road trails too.
New to bikepacking? The more adventurous side of cycle touring is growing in popularity and at its most basic sees riders combine cycling and camping. One of the most iconic bikepackers is Rebecca Rusch, whose award-winning film Blood Road (below) sees her ride Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh Trail

1 h 32 min

Blood Road

A Daughter’s Search. A Trail To Discovery.

French +8

Here are nine of the best bikepacking bikes you can buy in 2022

1. Brother Big Bro

Brother Cycles Big Bro 2022
The frameset-only Big Bro can be built up to your own custom spec

Price: Framesets from £675

Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL

Frame material: Steel

Wheel size: 27.5" or 29”

Suspension travel: NA

Available as a frameset only for 2022, Brother Cycles’ Big Bro is its wilderness-ready rigid MTB offering, built up for big days and ridden over some of the world’s toughest bikepacking routes, including the Tour Divide and the Silk Road Mountain Race.
With a rigid steel fork and plenty of mounts for racks, guards and luggage, this is one really versatile frame that can be built up exactly to suit your preferences. Wider tyre clearance means that you’ll be able to travel in a bit more comfort over rougher terrain.

2. Sonder Frontier Deore Rigid

Sonder Frontier Deore Rigid
The Sonder Frontier is a great entry-level bikepacking rig

Price: Builds from £949

Frame sizes: S,M,L,XL

Frame material: Aluminium alloy

Wheel size: 29” (27.5” also compatible)

Suspension travel: NA

Combine efficiency, carrying capacity and great value with the Sonder Frontier Deore Rigid, the first bike brand to achieve B Corp status. With a great range of gearing thanks to Shimano’s 12-speed MTB groupset, complemented by wide 2.8” WTB Ranger tyres, this bike really excels when you take it off the beaten track.
There are certainly parts of the Frontier build that you could upgrade at a later date, but as a first off-road bikepacking bike, the value here is hard to beat.

3. Kona Rove

Kona Rove 2022
The Rove is a drop bar do-it-all – from commuting to multi-day adventures

Price: Builds from £1,299

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

Frame material: Steel

Wheel size: 650b

Suspension travel: NA

Expect great value and well-considered builds from Canadian off-road specialist Kona. The Rove is its Swiss Army Knife of drop bar bikes, that’ll take you from the commute to the distant mountains.
For just £1,299, you get a quality triple butted steel frame and fork with plenty of cargo mounts, a 650b wheelset shod with WTB Venture tyres in a generous 47mm width, and an entry-level Shimano Sora double chainset with Tektro cable disc brakes.
You can upgrade elements of this build later on if you like, but for a budget-friendly drop bar adventure steed, the Kona Rove takes some beating.

4. Marin Pine Mountain 2

Marin Pine Mountain 2 2022
Adding a fork with travel opens up even more off-road routes

Price: Builds from £2,065

Frame sizes: S, M, L, XL

Frame material: Steel

Wheel size: 29”

Suspension travel: RockShox FS 35 120mm fork

Equipped with a 120mm fork, dropper post and 2.6” wide knobbly tyres, this steel 29er from Marin is a tried and tested off-road machine. Winch up the steepest rocky inclines using the Shimano SLX 12-speed drivetrain, and use the many frame mounts to secure your kit neatly without interfering with the ride.
Generous backsweep on the Marin Bedroll bar should help to keep your wrists happy over longer days in the saddle, too.
After a budget-friendly alternative? Check out the Marin Pine Mountain 1.

5. Fairlight Faran 2.0

Fairlight Faran 2.0 2022
The Faran 2.0 comes in both regular and tall builds

Price: Builds from £2,099

Frame sizes: 51,54,56,58,61 (regular or tall)

Frame material: Steel

Wheel size: 700c or 650b

Suspension travel: NA

Designed and built in Europe, the Faran 2.0 is Fairlight’s front rack-friendly bikepacking rig that offers a multitude of set up options. Whether you want to fit fat slicks and panniers for a comfy road tour or chunky knobblies with bikepacking and fork cargo bags, the Faran can do it all.
This second generation is made with lightweight Reynolds 631 steel tubing and a steel fork that can take heavier loads for more remote or longer trips.
You get a lot of choice with the Faran too, from the groupset to wheels (including a full dynamo set up) and finishing touches when you order.

6. Stayer Groadinger UG

Stayer Groadinger UG frameset 2022
The Groadinger frame is hand-built in London

Price: Framesets from £2,450

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

Frame material: Steel frame, carbon fork

Wheel size: 700c or 650b

Suspension travel: NA

A more bikepacking-orientated take on the East London-based workshop’s Groadinger OG (Original Grav), the UG – or Ultra Grav – features a more relaxed geometry and plenty of mounts for stashing your camping gear.
Stayer’s handbuilt bikes are available as frame-only so you can choose your own spec, but don’t overlook a pair of Stayer’s gorgeous handbuilt wheels. If you’re in the market for big rubber, consider the mega Groadinger OG+, with clearance for 29” by 2.4” tyres.

7. Liv Devote Advanced

Liv Devote Advanced Pro 2021
Rebecca Rusch uses the Devote Advanced for multi-day gravel adventures

Price: from £2,399

Frame sizes: XS, S, M, L

Frame material: Carbon fibre

Wheel size: 700c

Suspension travel: NA

If it's trusted by multi-day bikepacking royalty Rebecca Rusch, then it's got to be good, right? The Devote Advanced is Liv's gravel offering, but it's got some touring-focused tech up its sleeves. Fork mounts, three bottle cage mounts and space for 45c-wide tubeless tyres on 700c wheels mean this bike can handle anything you throw at it; all while being packed to the gills. The carbon-framed steed comes in three build options, and the Advanced Pro iteration is the one to opt for if you want to channel your inner Queen of Pain.

8. Salsa Fargo Apex 1

Salsa Fargo Apex 1 2022
The Fargo is essentially a dropbar mountain bike

Price: £2,750

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

Frame material: Steel

Wheel size: 29”, also compatible with 27.5”

Suspension travel: NA

With a stellar reputation for off-road drop bar bikes, no list of bikepacking rigs would be complete without the inclusion of the Salsa Fargo. With huge tyre clearance and slack geometry, the Fargo is essentially a drop-bar mountain bike. On fast-rolling doubletrack or technical trails, this is a real enabler.
The 2.2” durable Teravail Sparwood tyres – a quality fast-rolling bikepacking tyre – are fitted as standard. Mounts both on the frame and fork means that you’ll have plenty of set up options for your gear, including compatibility with Salsa’s Anything Cages.

9. Shand Bahookie

Shand Bahookie flat bar 2022
One upgrade allows you to split the Bahookie in two for easier transport

Price: Builds from £3,995

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

Frame material: Steel

Wheel size: 29” or 650b

Suspension travel: 120mm fork (rigid steel fork also available)

Choose from a rigid steel fork or a 120mm suspension fork with the Shand Bahookie, the brand’s Edinburgh-built mountain bike. For more demanding off-road bikepacking routes featuring technical singletrack along the way, the option of the Cane Creek Helm WS fork will come in very handy. Alternatively, opt for the steel fork option if additional cargo cage mounts and more kit carrying capacity is a must.
Shand gives you the opportunity to customise your build too – from geometry to dynamo lights and USB charging. If you’re planning on travelling a lot, consider the S&S travel couplers which allow you to split the frame in two to pack it down smaller.

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Blood Road

A Daughter’s Search. A Trail To Discovery.

1 h 32 min
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