The basis for the bike is the Giant XTC which is their carbon cross country mountain bike which I’ve been riding for the past year set up as a more traditional XC bike. The amazing crew at Saint Cloud and Giant have got me set up on a new bike for the new year and my Divide run.
From the stock set up I’ve made quite a few changes to get it Divide ready. I’ve kept the frame and the bomber SLX group set. SLX is nothing flashy but is a workhorse groupo that gets the job done! The brakes were upgraded to XT and I’ve swapped the stock wheels out for my Curve 30×30 to Son dynamo wheels, a custom painted Niner RDO fork, Profile Design Aerobars and a few other adjustments based on my preference and fit!
The setup weighed in at 17.1kg which was a little heavier than I had hoped for but also there wasn’t anywhere else I could really shave weight and there wasn’t anything else to be left behind. Everything I took I used, and was pretty essential.
Frame: Giant XTC
Fork: Niner RDO
Front Wheel: Curve 30×30 to Son 28 dynamo hub
Rear Wheel: Curve 30×30 to DT Swiss 350
Tyres: Maxxis 2.2” Ardent Race front and Ikon Rear set up tubeless with Stan’s sealant
Post: Giant Connect SL
Saddle: Specialized Power 145mm w/steel rails
Stem: Thomson X4 90mm, 10’
Handlebars: Niner RDO carbon cut to 690mm (originally I had mounted some alloy bars for durability/reliability but they were way too harsh and swapped back to carbon for their ability to absorb vibrations better)
Grips: Ergon GS3
Aerobar: Profile Design T4+
Light: Sinewave Beacon
Aerobridge/light mount: diy plastic tube
Shifters: Shimano SLX
Rear mech: Shimano SLX
Cranks: SLX w/ 32t ring
Cassette: XT 11-46
Brakes: Shimano XT
Pedals: Shimano XT
Bar Roll: Revelate Sweetroll (small)
Mat: Torso sized piece of EVA foam
Sleeping Bag: Cumulus X-Lite 200
Bivy: Borah Snowyside
Feedbag: Revelate Mountain Feedbag x 2 (one not pictured)
Top Tube Bag: Bike Bag Dude Top Tube Garage
Top Tube Bag: Revelate Jerrycan (not pictured)
Saddle Bag: Revelate Viscacha
Dry Bags: Sea to Summit 2L x 2
Puffer Jacket: Cumulus Climashield
Wind Jacket: Cumulus Windy Wendy
Waterproof Socks: Gore Bike Wear
Gloves: Giro Blaze 2
Rain Gloves: Borah Gear eVent Rain Mitts
Rain Pants: Montane Featherlite
Rain Jacket: Outdoor Research Helium
Arm Warmers: MAAP
Knee Warmers: MAAP
Neck Warmer: Buff
Water Filter: Ketadyn BeFree
Repair Kit: Tube x 2, patches, Park tyre boot x 2, patches, Dynaplug, quick link x 2, spare metallic pads x 2, Squirt lube, Crank Bros multitool, rag, Fibre Fix spoke, electrical tape, zip ties, sewing needles and fishing line taped on tyre lever
Tracker: Spot Gen 3 (ended up mounting this on my bar roll not saddle bag)
Navigation: Garmin eTrex (the Edge 520 pictured was for training and didn’t come to Banff with me)
Headlight: Exposure Axis w/bar and helmet mounts
Post Divide notes:
I ran the same chain/cassette and tyres the length of the race. The rear tyre is pretty toast but it went the distance. Similarly my shifting was a bit sloppy for the final days as the chain wore beyond an acceptable level but there was no skipping or anything and I’d run the same strategy again. The tyre combo I ran was good but not perfect. A lot of other riders ran Vittoria Mezcals with success. I will likely try those soon for comparison.
I chose to go with metallic brake pads for their longevity despite my preference for resin pads. They too went the distance despite some pretty horrible conditions in the first week of the race.
My choice of rain pants wasn’t good. The Montane Featherlites weren’t up to the task. Despite testing them extensively in the Australian high country they just weren’t up to the rigours of the Divide. They left me wet and dangerously cold a couple of times and I could feel the heat being stripped from my legs and core descending off passes in poor conditions. For ~30-40g I could have taken a much more substantial and properly waterproof pair of pants. Lesson learned.
The Borah rain mitts were amazing. So good that I’d choose to take a less substantial pair of under-gloves in the future.
I chose to take a heavier bivy; around 350g. There are some sub-200g options out there with less features but the zip, bug mesh and roominess of the Borah bag were worth the extra weight to me.
I left Banff with 3 pairs of socks; winter weight, medium and super thin. I used the winter weight ones a few times on the wettest and coldest days in the first week and ditched them once I was out of Montana. The medium weight socks were in the rotation until that point and then were worn exclusively until I reached Pinedale, WY and things started to get warmer and dryer. They met with the trash there and the summer socks were worn exclusively from there to the finish. Having a few options for socks and always being able to have a dry pair to put on was a successful strategy and my one real luxury item I carried.
Finally I will be changing my dynamo light and charging to a K-Lite set up. The Sinewave Beacon wasn’t bright enough, was a bit finicky with charging and gave me some issues. I chose it because it was such a clean and simple solution to have the charging integrated. I trained with and tested the light thoroughly and was confident enough in it to decide to run it for the race but it simply wasn’t good enough.