9 questions on finding your perfect bikepacking bike

As we recently tried to find the best bike for a friend of mine, we ran through a research that grew to the size of my master thesis. We were searching for a bike for some adventurecycling. In the end we established a questionnaire with topics that matter to us. This things should help you, to discover what’s best for you. Wether it is high speed bikepacking or some biketouring, gravel, roadbike or crossbike – this list hopefully helps to narrow your bicycle selection.

What are your thoughts on this? Is there a point missing?

1. tire sizes

Do you want to go offroad? Or being able for some high speed paved riding?
What are the biggest or smallest tires you can mount, depending on the rim size and the frame size?

My rims allow up to 40-622 tires. I chose some Clement X’Plor USH that have 35-622 and cost about 35€. They have a nice flat profile in the center, but offer enough grip for some steep gravel. Currently I think about getting some bigger “gravel only” tires, for the days I wont do to many kilometers on paved roads. I´m thinking about the Maxxis Rambler or a Panaracer Gravelking.

2. group set

1/11; 2/10; 3/10 – I´m riding a SRAM 1/11 Force groupset and don`t want to change again. Maybe sometimes there is a gear missing but the simplicity of the systems overweights.
We decided to go with a SRAM Apex 1/11.

3. Rear- / Front Rack mounting system

Is there the possibility to mount a rear or front rack for some larger bags than your usual bikepacking saddle or handlebar bag? 

4. mounting additional cages

Using a frame bag limits the access to the bidons. There are often possibilities to mount a additonal cage on the downside of the down tube or on the fork.

5. cable routing

Should the cables be inside or outside? Outside means you can service and especially fix them by your own, when touring. Inside they are protected.

6. brake system

Hydraulic or mechanical. Servicing hydraulics by yourself will be very hard when touring. Depending on where you are.
I have the hydraulic version and will be lost if something happens. But it is super smooth to brake, especially when going down on gravel for some long segments.

7. handlebar

Maybe a handlebar with some degree flare to mount a bag in there and for better control. Easy rule: flare congruent coolness
Some handlebars:
Salsa Woodchipper – 26° flare / 38° drop – ca. 85 €
Salsa Cowchipper – 24° – ca. 80 €
Salsa Cowbell 3 – 12° – ca. 50 €
Easton EA70 – 16° – ca. 90 €
Ritchey WCS VentureMax Gravel – 24° – ca. 90 €
Soma Junebug – ca. 60€

8. frame material

alloy, steel or titanium. each has its own benefits.
For more information head over to roadcyclinguk

9. light System

Being independent of electricity on a tour is great, and a good light systems pays off very fast.
That means you most likely need a custom wheelset with a hub-dynamo.
Most people will suggest you: SON, which is high class or a Shutter Precision, which cost about the half of a SON.


Maybe you have a good bike dealer nearby that you can ask for a proposal, after you have finished your wishlist. Support your local bike shop, as you need somebody you can blame when something doesn’t work. Think about where you want to go with your bike and what you need it for – there will always be away to work around things.