The Bike


my tool of choice is my Stooge hardtail, its a 29+ bike, well it can take a + up front but can only take a 2.85 inch tyre on the back. its a great compremise i think over a fat bike, given the mixture of technical and dirt road riding I undertake.

I have done many miles on the stooge over all sorts of terrain in all sorts of conditions and found it a more than capable bike. I used it as a trail bike prior to using it as my primary bikepacking bike and it’s was a fast machine.

I kitted it out with xt group set and brakes. the front wheel is a stans Hugo 52 mm rim on a Chris king hub and a 3 inch max is chronicle tyre.

on the back it’s a 3 noobley nic with a stans flow rim and hope hub, this wheel combo rocks and has been so good to me.

I ran a surly ecr folk for the extra cage mounts etc. I used stooge bars everywhere, they are ace, though I am looking forward to trying some h bars soon.

I used a hope headset but found the star replacement no good in this frame for some reason.

My seat is a Charge spoon which I find comfortable enough for full multi days so it must be pretty good. I have no intention of changing it.
seat post as it was a 18 frame I used a Thompson lay back post which wasn’t idea.


I built the bike myself, choosing components tried and tested, it weighs in as is at 13.5kgs, which isnt bad.


Component Cost £
Stooge frame and forks £375
Stooge bars £45
Hope headset £74
Hope skewers £30
Hope seat post clamp £26
Full xt double ten groupset inc
Bottom bracket
Xt brakes calipers
Xt brake levers
Xt rear mech
Xt crank, double
Xt shifters
Xt rear disc
Shimano 10 spd chain
Deore side pull front mech £23
Superstar components front disc £30
Superstar nano pedals £40
Front wheel 29 + consists of,
chris king ISO hub
stans hugo rim 29 rim
Wheel buildtubeless maxis chronicle
Rear wheel, 29 stans no tubes flow ex with hope pro two hub, just been rebuilt with new bearings by swinnerton cycles
Nobly nic tubeless
Thompson layback seat post £51
Charge spoon seat £27
total £1711

Alterations to current bike

I plan on swapping my brakes out to mechanical Avid BB7 ones, this should reduce the things that could go wrong with the more complex hydraulic xt brakes currently running.

I am also considering swapping the charge spoon seat for a brooks B17 saddle.


looking at the geometry it is very similar to surlys capable bikepacker the ECR, (see table below), in fact i wil be swapping the stock stooge forks for some surly ECR forks to take avantage of the storage facilities on them.

Bike Stooge Surely ecr
Effective Top Tube Length
597 595.0
Head Tube Length 127 100
Chainstay Length 436 – 449 451.0
Seat tube length c-c 457.2 457.2
Head Tube Angle 69 69.5
Seat Tube Angle 72 72.5
BB Drop 60 80
Reach 427 416.1
Stack 584 605.5

Adaptions necessary for increased storage

As mentioned earlier I am swapping out the standard forks for Surly ECR ones with extra bootle cage facilities on each fork side, which I plan to utilise with anything cages, they also have the ability to take the surely 24 rack which I plan to utilise.

left: Surly ECR forks, Middle surely 24 rack , Right; salsa anything cages

Equipment Storage

bikepacking bags

I use a wildcat frame bag specific to the frame and me. it was robust and well made, did exactly what it was meant to do, well.

I use a revealed designs seat bag, stem bag again amazing gear, well made and very robust. no problems with it whatsoever, I would highly recommend.

I have up front a revealed designs harness and Sweetwater bag. I love the harness but find it does drop, I have tried passing the rubbers out, to no avail. But I have found strapping it up helps loads.

on the forks I have 2 Salsa anything cages and alpkit bags, all great gear but have found the plastic connector plate that holds the bolts wears out pretty quickly, I find using some big washers helps but shouldn’t be necessary if this plastic was beefed up.

I have chossen to use a surly 24 cage and 42 litre Porteur bag up front over a bar bag as it will distribute the weight better and give me a larger facility for storing and transporting the kit securely. Also on longer more remote sections I can top the bag with additional bags for extra water, food etc.

For othe rbike staorage I plan to use wildcat bike bags, who are a Welsh Company who have a really good reputaion in the bike packing world.

For a frame bag I use a wildcat amur leopard


Right;  Porteur bag, Top Right; Wildcat Dover seat bag system Bottom Right ; wildcat amur leopard frame bag