This is a gear review about the Best Bikepacking bikes 2023.
Bikepacking bikes are for those that want a lighter weight and more compact option of traveling by bicycle, in comparison to traditional bike touring.
With the widespread use of bike frame bags, handlebar bags, seat post bags, MTB Backpacks, and more it needed a different style of bicycle allows you to travel the backroads and trails. That is where a Bikepacking bike comes in.
I’ve cycled thousands of miles on single trail, unmaintained roads, backroads, and remote areas and have a good idea of what makes the best bike for Bikepacking.
In this article, we have put together the Best Bike for Bikepacking that you can get your hands on right now.
Best Bikes for Bikepacking 2023
The Best Bikepacking Bikes 2023 are:
Best Front Suspension Bikepacking Bike
> Solid aluminum frame
> Lots of sizes and adjustability to suit anyone
> Front suspension works well
> There isn’t the possibility to add racks to this bike, so its seat bags, frame bags, and handlebar bags
The Salsa Timberjack contains a wide range of bikes in this collection. Yet, all the bikes have similar features, that make these bikes such a good choice for Bikepacking.
You can just buy the Salsa Timberjack frame and personalize the bike to suit you. However, the Salsa Timberjack XT 29 is a very popular choice among Bikepackers.
The frame of this bike allows you to attach your belongings with ease. This is a type of hardtail bike, which means it only has front suspension.
However, Salsa has given you adjustable dropouts, which allows you to fine-tune your ride to your liking.
Overall, if you are looking for a Bikepacking bike with front suspension then this is one of the best options for 2023.
Best Drop Bar Bikepacking Bike
> Solid frame
> Lots of mounting options for your gear
> Reasonably priced
> As this bike uses larger wheels, these are therefore heavier
The Salsa Fargo is a great Bikepacking bike that also works well as a gravel bike that gives its rider a balance of bump absorption and traction. You can take this bike on any terrain or surface, and it won’t let you down.
This bike has a triple-butted Chromoly steel frame, with large tire clearance, which will give you a cushioned ride on uneven roads and trails.
It also has a super-sloping top tube, which allows you to mount and dismount easily, even when your bike is heavily packed up with all your gear.
This bike comes equipped with cargo mounts that allow you to carry enough equipment for days on end without the need to get more supplies along the way.
Overall, the Salsa Fargo is a reliable Bikepacking bike with dropbars for those who prefer this riding style option.
More Bikes for Bikepacking
> The Trek 1120 is supplied with front and rear racks
> 29+ wheels work well
> Heavy-duty aluminum frame.
> Not cheap
Trek has a longstanding tradition of making bikes that are ideal for touring and Bikepacking. This bike is made from heavy-duty aluminum with 29+ wheels that have become a staple in Bikepacking bikes.
Once everything is attached, this feels like a very solid and sturdy bike. The forks on this bike don’t absorb all the shocks that you may encounter, but it deals with the majority of them nicely.
The bike comes with an included front and rear rack system. By the time you add the rest of your bags to this bike it rides quite well and is a good option for extended Bikepacking trips.
Overall, the the Trek 1120 Bikepacking Bike is a good option that rides well and has multiple options for how you want to carry all your gear.
> Performs well on rough terrain, paved roads and everything in between
> The price is quite reasonable.
> Lots of gear can be attached to this frame, and there is the option to add racks as well for even more gear
> Some customers have noted having a slight issue with the rear dropouts when it came to changing their rear wheel.
The Surly Ogre bike is tough competition for the other bikes in this review. It can be ridden as a commuting bike to work, but then it can be ridden on entirely different terrain on the weekend.
This bike will handle and carry a lot of gear on the frame. The idea of adding racks to this bike is a possibility, so then you can carry even more gear with you. For those of you who enjoy long Bikepacking trips, more comfortable handlebars are recommended.
Overall, The Surly Ogre is a comfortable and versatile bike, that you can use on your long Bikepacking journeys and as a bike to travel to work on.
Tout Terrain Outback Xplore
> High build quality
> Comfortable on and off road
> There are plenty of options on this bike to attach your gear.
> Very expensive
Tout Terrain has gained a lot of popularity with tourers for the quality of their steel bikes. They have always created bikes that have thought about the tiniest details, which has then caused the high price tag.
The Outback Xplore is a high-end Bikepacking bike from this luxurious brand.
On the Tout Terrain website, I found that you will use the online configurator that will make a couple of changes to the build of the bike that will suit you. This is a customizable bike that is built with a steel frame and large wheels.
This allows the Outback Xplore that can be ridden on any kind of terrain. You can pack light on this bike, or there is the option to add additional racks for longer journeys.
There is great attention to detail on this bike, as it is made for a very comfortable ride. Yet the price tag can be very off-putting, and the belt is known to squeak once it has gotten dusty.
Overall, this is a worthy option but that comes at a price.
> The ECR is made from Chromoly Steel, which makes this bike very strong and durable
> this bike features various eyelets for you to choose from to attach all your gear
> The Surly ECR bike can withstand and ride through more difficult and rough terrain
> Unfortunately this model is discontinued so you will need to look second hand!
The Surly ECR bike was a popular touring and Bikepacking bike but is no longer in production, which is a shame as this was one of the best Bikepacking bikes on the market.
It is suited for all kinds of surfaces. However, it particularly enjoys routes that require much less pavement and a lot more trail.
The ECR is ideal for more uneven terrain and some more technical biking. This bike is adaptable to all types of frame bags, for those of you who are only going on short trips or enjoying a more minimal trip.
While there are options for racks and bigger bags thanks to the various eyelets. This will allow you to carry a lot more gear wherever you are going. The frame is made from Chromoly Steel, with an ED coating.
Overall, the Surly ECR is no longer made which is a shame. I have left it on this review as you may find a good one second-hand.
> The Surly Troll comes supplied with numerous attachments that allow you to add more gear to your bike
> This bike performs well on all surfaces
> Comes with Surly ExtraTerrestrial 26 x 3-inch tires
> No longer in production so you will need to find it second hand
The Surly Troll Bike is another awesome Bikepacking bike that has been discontinued but remains on the list in the hope that you may find one second-hand.
The Troll has a very lightweight frame. It is still very strong and durable to hold large amounts of weight.
Alongside this, the Troll model comes with various attachments that allow you to expand your carrying capacity with a bike rack. This bike originally came out in 2011, but it has been through several upgrades since then.
It is a versatile bike that performs well on muddy or rocky trails and smooth town or city roads. Hence, this bike can navigate different types of terrain well and carry vast amounts of equipment.
Other Bikes for Bikepacking
Here are some bikes for Bikepacking that have yet to be reviewed and assessed, they may make the list in the future:
Bikepacking has become a lot more popular over the years, thus more bikes are being designed to accommodate this.
Chrome Moly Steel, Aluminum and Carbon are the options for frames but due to the setup of these bikes Carbon is the least popular or common. Both Aluminum and Steel and good option but those travel overseas may want to stay away from aluminum as if it cracks it will be more difficult to repair.
Gear Mount Options
A bikepacking bike will usually feature some kind of mount, either eyelets or bosses on the frame or fork. This allows for you to attach bags, bottles, and cages.
Most people will set up their Bikepacking bike with a frame bag, handlebar bag and saddle bag to start with. Other popular ways of carrying their gear such adding cages to the frame and forks to carry water or dry bags.
If you are going for a weekend trip, then it doesn’t matter how much your bike can carry. Although, if you are going for a much longer trip, then the amount your bike can hold is very important.
These bikes will also typically have large tires. These tires will help give you a smooth and comfortable ride, while also being sturdy to support the extra weight that you are adding to the bike. Most Bikepacking bikes use wider tires that vary between 2-3 inches, with tubeless being the prefered setup method.
Manufacturers have also thought about the riding experience itself and normally there may be a suspension system to help absorb any bumps or shocks you could experience on rough and uneven terrain. Suspension is certainly not needed with a Bikepacking bicycle setup. My preference is to use wide tires and a suspension seat post to absorb the shock.
Bikepacking is a really enjoyable experience, and with the right bike, you can go to places that you thought you would never be able to. The right bike is really essential if you want an enjoyable riding experience.
Therefore, we have given you the best Bikepacking bikes that you can choose from. Each of these bikes will allow you to carry all the gear you need to and will offer you a comfortable ride.
Frequently Asked Questions
Essential, yes! Any bike could be used for bikepacking. However, normally bikepacking means that your bike will face various different terrains, like pavements and dirt tracks.
Therefore, your bike needs to be able to handle whatever it is presented with.
Having a suspension system will make your Bikepacking trip a lot more enjoyable. A full suspension setup is not really needed for Bikepacking and is not that common as it restricts how much gear you can carry. Not to mention you will not be riding fast enough to benefit from full suspension.
It does depend on how long the trip is. However, you will always need the basics:
– Bike gear – this includes your clothes, helmet, lights, and pads.
– Sleeping bag
– Cooking system
– First Aid Kit
Obviously, you can bring much more than this, but you will always need to make sure you have the basics to survive.
BikeHikeSafari Gear Review Process
The author, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small independent adventurer and outdoor gear tester who owns and runs BikeHikeSafari.com.
BikeHikeSafari is not part of a large blog network and is proudly independent. All reviews on this site are independent and honest gear reviews of outdoor products by the author.
The author, Brad McCartney is a very experienced triple crown thru-hiker, adventurer, and bike tourer having spent 1000s of nights sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag (Read more). He was a manager of an outdoor retail store and is very experienced in what is important when using and testing gear for reviews like this.
BikeHikeSafari will never receive any money for reviews and they do not accept sponsored reviews on this website. All the comments about the gear reviews are from the author based on his years of experience. Hope this independent review was helpful for you.