With the sale of my old hardtail and the thinning of the herd of bikes, I’m left thinking and planning how to re-sort the collection to provide the most use while keeping expenses reasonable. I bike a lot so it’s a bit complicated - bear with me. I swear I don’t have a problem. Shut up.

Road - Niner RLT9 Steel (acceptable fit)
Gravel - Niner RLT9 Steel (w/gravel tires) (ideal)
Cyclocross - Niner RLT9 Steel (w/cross tires) (acceptable, too heavy)
Commuting - Niner RLT9 Steel (acceptable)
MTB, Severe - Revel Rascal (ideal)
MTB, Mild - Revel Rascal (sub-optimal, too much bike)
Bikepacking - (blank, intended RLT9 Steel but sub-optimal due to terrain)
Errands/Groceries - Breezer Doppler Pro (ideal)
Winter Commuting - Breezer Doppler Pro (ideal)

As you can see, the RLT9 Steel sees a LOT of use. Of the 3500mi biked last year, it saw the vast majority, around 3000mi. The remaining 500 were biked on various bikes- the hardtail or a previous errand/grocery bike of which both have been sold. This isn’t bad as I purchased the RLT9 Steel because it’s useful and flexible, but it’s not filling the expected needs for bikepacking and it’s a sub-optimal cyclocross and road/race bike. However, it’ll do just fine for a while longer.

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This post is focusing on the two bold line items: bikepacking and MTB Mild. These two categories can likely be filled with a single good hardtail MTB which is what I was hoping the Spot Rocker SS Ti could be, but it’s proving to be not the case. The Rocker would be great for mild MTB trails, but its lack of cable guides and bosses means it’s not really suitable for bikepacking which would almost necessitate a rear derailleur. Additionally, based on my build spreadsheet, building this to a spec I’d feel good about is borderline cost for a new bike I’d consider. And with that, it’s back to the drawing board. This time, focusing on a hardtail (possibly rigid) MTB frame that would also be a great fit for bikepacking.


CurrentConsiderations: Salsa Fargo, Why Wayward, Alchemy Ark Ti, Chumba Stella Ti or Steel, Santa Cruz Chameleon Carbon, and a few others. Looking for: 29" wheels, hardtail or rigid, bikepacking versatility, yet still good to pull the packs off and shred lightly!

What say you? Am I overlooking something? I know I’m overthinking it- that much is obvious.

Rattler on a trail for your time: