Well, the new very orange bikepacking bike now rolls ... as you can see. I'm still waiting on various bits and pieces but I thought I'd give you a quick run down of what's there at present and the thinking behind the choices.
Lets start with the frame. It's a 16" On One Inbred in 29 inch wheel flavour. I've played around with 29ers for a while and once I found a frame that fitted (it isn't easy being a person of restricted growth) I started to feel and appreciate the benefits big wheels offer. I also find that they can cover ground easier than their 26" counterparts ... especially if the ground in question is non technical, fire road, bridleways and gravel tracks, etc. The Inbred offered me everything I was looking for, other frames came close but not just close enough. I needed / wanted:
*Steel - I like steel frames would be enough here but I also like the fact they're easy to repair should the need arise.
*Rack mounts - Just in case.
*Easy to convert to single speed - Slot drop outs on this, so no worries there.
* Cost - Some of the other stuff I looked at cost nearly 3 times more.
So, the Inbred ticked all the boxes and we now had a frame sorted. Next on the list were the forks. For some folk, rigid forks wouldn't be a consideration but for me, putting suspension forks on never entered my head ... I'd seen the forks I wanted, all I had to do was wait until they came in to the country. The forks in question are Salsa Enablers. There were a number of reasons for choosing them above anything else.
*135mm spacing - This means I run a rear wheel in the front, the front wheel has a single speed specific rear hub. The idea is that if something happened to my rear mech' or freehub I can just switch wheels and we're still rolling (hence the need for a single speedable frame). Another bonus is the ability to fit a Surly Larry or Endomorph 3.8" tyre in the front when the snow returns.
*Carrying - Salsa designed the fork to work with various 'bolt ons'. The first is their Anything cage. Think of it as an oversize waterbottle cage but it's not designed for water bottles ... it's designed to carry Anything (that'll be where the name comes from then), sleeping bag, tarp, food, spare clothes or whatever else you like. Stick it in a dry bag, strap it in the cage and off you go! There's mounts for 2 cages, one on each fork leg. Salsa have also added rack mounts but not just any rack mounts, they've produced a
minimalist rack that isn't designed to carry panniers but dry bags ... a bikepacking dream.
135mm fork spacing ... rear hub in front
That covers what I'd consider to be the 2 most important bits ... I'll stick more bits on as and when they arrive and report back.