Since we started our first bike packing events I’ve been researching every now and then about bike options. And over the past 2 years there has always been one bike to tick all the boxes. The Ridley Kanzo Adventure. There is barely any additional information or videos around about it. I guess it’s not wide spread or widely known? Or maybe they don’t invest heavily in marketing spend? But it has all key features I wanted:
- Light: 9.3kg (incl. pedals)
- mounting points on the fork
- mounting points for a rack (if an even longer tour requires it)
- actually mounting points all over the place
Our company offers a leasing program for bikes. You can then usually purchase them at the end. The way it is set up you can save on taxes. Some companies also support with some extra from their side. All in all it will save a few hundred euros. Not bad 🙂 I put both requirements together and identified a bike store in Karlsruhe which supported the jobrad program and had the Ridley in stock.
I called the shop and he had one in XS in the store which was too small, but had another one coming in S in March. I immediately opted to take it. After all papers were organized and signed the worst phase started: Waiting 😖
After 2 months of waiting I finally received the e-mail. The bike was ready to be picked up. I am not good in waiting, so I took the train to Karlsruhe during lunch break and took it back to the office. A few meetings later I packed my stuff and enjoyed a nice 1 hour gravel ride home.
The ride: Since then I have taken it on several rides and deeply enjoy it. The 45mm tires, tubeless allow for great grip and comfort on uneven trails. The lightness of the bike adds to the fun. The geometry feels stable yet more race oriented than others. Just perfect. Usually the Ridleys come with Forza, but they did not have any in stock. Actually I am very happy about the C1800 rims from DT Swiss. Suits my preference. According to the description they are very sturdy rims which should hold up against the stress of trails. Even with 13kg of luggage extra loaded to the bike.
Gearing: Originally I had wanted a 2-by setup for a wider range. But it’s not a time where you can choose much. If a bike is available: Take it or leave it… Yet I have not been missing gears so far. I chose the gearing based on my experience with the Stevens. At a cadence around 90 the range went from 10 km/h to 53.8 km/h on 43-622 wheels. Effectively a 538% range. (I love this calculator here). Looking specifically at the smaller gears I got two chain rings for the Ridley: a 38 tooth for bike packing, a 40 for regular gravel rides. The range is significantly less and the steps are wider.
But to be honest: When do I really want to pedal above 40 km/h during a bike packing or on a trail? The higher jumps between the lower gears don’t matter at all in rough terrain. I always read about it. Now I can confirm. You really don’t miss anything. I love the fine steps and wide range for my commuting though. E.g. when riding against a headwind I appreciate the perfect cadence. And there also the almost vintage 3-by setup. But for bike packing I think it has all you need. And you can be damn lazy just shifting the back.
After 2 weeks of brilliant weather April is living up to it’s reputation. Weather can vary from – 3 °C to 26°C and from snow to sun. Really unpredictable. We are hoping that we can catch a sunny window next weekend for an early start into bike packing season *fingers crossed*. Therefore I started preparing the bike with some transparent protective foil. The rougher the ride, the more the bags will rub on the paint. Leaving ugly marks that I want to prevent.
I hope I can post another video & blog post soon about the bike packing trip. And I’ll add another one how I now converted the Stevens. I definitely had an epic last gravel adventure with it. If you are interested you can watch it here on YouTube.
Stay safe, stay happy.