THE BIKEPACK

Hit­ting the (dirt) road? Gear Edi­tor MATTHEW STERNE did just that with his friends, and took two spe­cially made gravel bi­cy­cles as well as light­weight bags that are com­pat­i­ble with most bikes

Getaway (South Africa) - - GEAR -

LEZYNE XL CADDY SEAT­POST TUBBY BAG R1 095, twowheel­strad­ing.co.za This eas­ily at­tach­able sad­dle bag (42x17x14cm) is de­signed to carry light­weight items such as clothes. It has a 7,5L car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity with a max­i­mum load of 5kg, and ex­ter­nal draw­strings for hold­ing ex­tra gear.

LEZYNE BAR CADDY TUBBY BAG R765, twowheel­strad­ing.co.za

This wa­ter-re­sis­tant han­dle­bar bag (8x6x11,5cm) holds 7L and has roll-type en­clo­sures on both ends for easy ac­cess (it’s where I kept my phone). The vel­cro mount­ing sys­tem is in­tu­itive and there are ex­ter­nal draw­strings for ad­di­tional stor­age.

MOM­SEN GP300

R17 500, mom­sen­bikes.com

On a bikepack­ing trip in the Over­berg (see page 24) the Mom­sen bikes com­fort­ably out­stripped the clas­sic moun­tain bikes. The rea­son? These are gravel bikes, made for long-dis­tance gravel rid­ing (they look like a road and moun­tain bike com­bined). The GP300 is com­pat­i­ble with a va­ri­ety of tyres, from thin road tyres to thicker moun­tain-bike ones. It has 11 gear ra­tios and no sus­pen­sion on its fork. The SRAM Apex driv­e­train is cost-ef­fec­tive but doesn’t seem to com­pro­mise on per­for­mance. An im­pres­sive bi­cy­cle, weigh­ing 10,2kg, the GP300 is the bud­get friendly al­loy ver­sion of the R355 Car­bon (see over­leaf). TOPTUBE BAG DUAL COM­PART­MENT

R650, ride­farr.com

This long bag (45x6x13cm) fits un­der the top frame bar and has dual com­part­ments with an ad­justable di­vider. A strap down the mid­dle makes it tricky to insert large items, although there is enough space for two large wa­ter bot­tles and some snacks. The long vel­cro straps en­sure the bag sits well on the bike.

XCOWL BIKEPACK­ING FRAME BAG

R1 090, bikepack­ing.africa This frame bag is big (43x30x7cm) and use­ful for car­ry­ing heav­ier items and toi­letries. Made from wa­ter­re­sis­tant ma­te­ri­als, the bag is durable and has strong ny­lon straps to se­cure it. BURRA BURRA STA­BI­LIZER SEAT­PACK 20

R2 400, spe­cial­ized.com

This is the largest bag (55x19x10cm) in the Spe­cial­ized line and one of the big­gest I tested – the 20L com­part­ment is im­pres­sively deep. It con­nects to the sad­dle pole with an alu­minium sta­bi­lizer arm that min­imises sway­ing and is made of a polyurethane-coated ny­lon with re­flec­tive ac­cents to in­crease your vis­i­bil­ity. MOM­SEN R355 CAR­BON R47 995, mom­sen­bikes.com

The R355 Car­bon (named af­ter the long­est gravel road in South Africa, which runs for 257km be­tween Ceres and Calvinia) has a full car­bon frame and weighs 8,5kg. The re­sult is that it can re­ally move on gravel. It has all the lat­est moun­tain-bike tech and drop han­dle­bars for ex­tra com­fort. Like the GP300 (pre­vi­ous page), it has 11 gear ra­tios and is com­pat­i­ble with dif­fer­ent tyres but also has im­proved fea­tures. It has a bet­ter-per­form­ing driv­e­train, hy­draulic brakes in­stead of me­chan­i­cal, and is able to con­vert to a tube­less wheel set which helps avoid punc­tures. The cherry on top? The seat­post is also made of car­bon, which ab­sorbs vi­bra­tion to make those bumpy rides that lit­tle bit smoother.

KNOG PWR TRAIL 1000 R1 899, ad­ven­tureinc.co.za

Light up your trail or charge your phone with this high-pow­ered bike light from Knog. With a bright­ness of 1 000 lu­mens, it also dou­bles as a pow­erbank with 5 000 mAh of juice. The light can run for two hours at its bright­est or up to 300 hours on Eco Flash mode, and can be pro­grammed with the ModeMaker app. XCOWL HAN­DLE­BAR BAG

R1 090, bikepack­ing.africa This thick han­dle­bar bag is made by bikepack­ing en­thu­si­asts in South Africa and best fits moun­tain-bike han­dle­bars wider than 75cm. It has two small, zip­pered com­part­ments for easy-to-reach valu­ables and snacks, as well as a larger 10L con­tainer for a small tent or sleep­ing bag.

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