The Itasca Lakenights is a new bikepacking route in Minnesota. The Nxrth scouted it with some friends this summer and will be publishing it exclusively for Patrons. Here we're highlighting Jeff Sylvester's bike and gear setup to highlight some awesome gear that worked well on this route.
Jeff Sylvester's Framed Bike With DIY Mounts
BIKE: One of the early rigid Framed fat bikes with alternate 29 inch wheels and 2.10 inch mountain bike tires.
GEARING: 2x with 28x38 up front and 11x42 8-speed, mostly Sram X5 run by Microshift thumb shifter in friction mode.
RACKS: Axiom fat bike rack in the back, DIY fork mounts for two Nalgene water bottles, and a DIY handlebar rack.
BAGS: Serfas frame bag and Ortlieb waterproof panniers in the back.
For this ride I think I had a very good set up. I would have preferred to have 2.5 inch tires or larger for the sandy sections, but the 2.1 tires were perfectly adequate and there were only a few times I was stopped by the sand. My gearing was excellent. I have done a similar trip with an 11-36 cassette and felt I was under geared while fully loaded, but this time I felt I had all the gears I needed.
One issue I had: my Voile straps were a little long holding my Nalgene bottles on my fork and I spent a lot of time tucking in the slack so that the extra length wouldn't get into my front wheel. Next time I will have shorter straps or go with a bladder in my frame bag which has worked well for me in the past. Also, for my next trip I will invest in a handlebar bag that has easy entry for snacks while riding.