bags bike build bikepacking custom bike luggage pass hunter randonneur road runner sport touring touring bike
As we near the launch of the new Pass Hunter, we have received a number of questions from customers interested in racks and bags to pair with the frame. We envision the Pass Hunter as an ideal "sport touring" bike, well-suited for a spirited weekend jaunt unencumbered by heavily loaded front and rear panniers. Pushing the concept a bit further, I wanted to see how the frame could perform as a pseudo-bikpacking rig. With a weekend gravel tour as the test, I dreamed up my minimalist gravelpacking (is this a thing or did I just make that up?) setup.
I primarily am a road cyclist, and so my original Pass Hunter build was designed around Shimano's Ultegra R8000 drivetrain and a set of 700c wheels with TRP Spyre brakes. I went with the widest Ultegra cassette offered and paired with our compact Drillium crank. I wanted a build geared for road climbing--this is a Pass Hunter, after all. And that noir Drillium crank just looks sweet, doesn't it?
For bars I went with our Nouveau Randonneur drops mounted to our Tall Stack stem. A 0 Setback Seatpost and Brooks C15 saddle round out the cockpit. The Cambium saddles can be a bit divisive, but I've had mine for years and tend to swap it around between my touring setups. Our noir Moderniste bottle cages complete the black and blue look, with a gold seat collar and brass stem cap (a close enough color match) providing a dab of glitz.
When preparing the bike for gravelpacking, I swapped out the 700c wheels for a set of Shimano GRX 650b wheels. These were ready to go with a set of Teravail Rampart tires (tubeless) in 47 mm. For me, this was a major jump from the 32 mm max I am used to. I've never claimed to be down with the #supplelife, but I have to admit the supple lifers might be onto something.
After a weekend in the mountain backcountry (read my ride report here), I at times found the road groupset to be a bit outmatched. A gravel-centric 1x system might ultimately be the only change I'd make for a similar tour in the future. Otherwise, I was quite pleased. I don't see myself going back to a rack and pannier system anytime soon. Check out the complete build list under our Bike Build Ideas page.
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