Ben's Adventure-Ready Piolet Ripper

2 comments by Igor Shteynbuk

"The Dark Divide route is about to get a lot more rowdy." - tallestryan on IG

ben everett riding his green velo orange piolet on single track in washington

Ben is the founder of Evergreen Gravel Racing and sets up the annual Dark Divide and Evergreen Gravel Grinder races in Washington. Summed up in the race packet, "The Dark Divide 300 is a challenging mixed-terrain cycling route that traverses the expansive ancestral lands of the Squaxin Island Tribe, Nisqually Tribe of Indians, Cowlitz Indian Tribe, and Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, through what is known commonly as southern Cascade Mountain Range in Washington State, which is encapsulated in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest."

Racers are required to be completely self-supported and any FKT (fastest known time) attempts are to be done without outside help. Needless to say, the Dark Divide is not for the faint of heart. By the way, if you're interested in this race, registration begins to open up March 15th. It fills up fast, so don't hit snooze!

ben everett evergreen gravel grinder dark divide riding velo orange pass hunter on dirt trail

For the past 2 years, he has been using his Pass Hunter to design and pre-ride the course before going into its Grand Depart. The PH is designed to be a speedy gravel grinder, and he has been ripping in on rough single and double track mixed with a bit of gravel and bike pushing.

We were talking a bit ago, and we decided that he needs to step up the bike to handle this rough terrain and reduce the sketch factor a bit. He's a father now, afterall! And also, to make subsequent years' routes even harder 😈. So presenting Ben's Adventure-Ready Piolet!

velo orange piolet in snow with tan bikepacking bags

For optimal clearance, grip, and body position, Ben opted for the Piolet frameset. It's sturdy, has big clearances and features all the braze-ons and mounts he'd need for anything. 

growtac post mount mechanical disc brake for velo orange

Overall, he wanted it to be fully mechanical. He didn't want to worry about leaky calipers or dead/exposed batteries, so shifting is taken care of by a simple 1x12 Sram GX Eagle drivetrain and braking by Growtac Post-Mount Brakes.

velo orange piolet with sram SX and Sram NX eagle

Lighting is essential as the race spans 2 days, and while the rules require you to carry battery operated lights as a backup, dynamo lighting is awesome for long events. We custom built a set of wheels featuring a Son dynamo hub and Rear Disc Hub laced to DT Swiss rims.

velo orange piolet with son dynamo hub silver

The front hub powers a Son Edelux II mounted to the fork crown. This placement makes sure the light is secure and out of the way. 

son edelux ii on velo orange piolet bikepacking bike

Handles are our Riser Utility Bars with a Utility Rack. The bars are 780mm in width, so loads of leverage to climb any rooty and and rocky terrain.

velo orange utility bars on piolet bikepacking bike

The Utility Rack is perfect for this sort of stuff. All of the luggage can be strapped down and secured and the light is safe for the bag drooping. 

velo orange piolet with utility bars and rack riser chromoly steel for bikepacking and commuting

And finally, the pièce de résistance, the grippy Ultradynamico Mars 29x2.2 tires. We've used these and similar permutations on a bunch of different builds and they are great. They tubeless up quick and look nice.

ultradynamico mars 29" tire

 I can't wait to see the courses Ben puts together for the future with his new build! If you want a comprehensive build list, you can find it right here!


  • Peter

    Really nice build there. Great choice of components. That handlebar mounted rack is genius.

  • Robert DePaolis

    Beautiful build!

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