Bikes of GBDURO23
19 October, 2023
GBDURO is one of the premier mixed-terrain races in Europe with a few exciting twists. Organisers, The Racing Collective, have stayed true to its low-impact high-social ethos since its first edition in 2019; it implemented a #noflyride in 2020, has minimised the use of vehicles for media and now penalises riders for dropping any litter which is outkeeping with its leave no trace principle.
The route is unchanged since the event’s inception and riders continue to traverse many of the UK’s well-known and lesser known paths, tracks, bridleways and ancient routes sewn together with a healthy dose of tarmac to smooth the ride and toughen the bike choice!
The inclusion of three checkpoints en route influences riders’ packing lists as they need to equip themselves to be comfortable and dry at the outdoor checkpoints. The very fastest riders can spend more time stationary at the CPs than riding which means GBDURO may pose the ultimate packing conundrum: pack light to go fast but spend longer waiting. Kit lists have been designed accordingly with more robust sleep setups and luxuries rarely seen at other races. Look out for pyjamas, sandals and other home comforts.
Don't miss any of the action (and inaction at the CPs) with our commentary from veteran podium finisher, Bryn Davies.
Name: Nils Opgenorth
Location: Stuttgart, Germany
Bike: I will be riding the GBDURO23 with my beloved Kona Sutra LTD. Even though the steel frame is not the lightest, it has demonstrated its robustness in many other journeys, and my familiarity with the frame should hopefully allow me to perform some repairs on the way if necessary. A 34T chainring in the front and a 10-42T cassette should hopefully do the trick to get me through the hilly parts of the UK. For tires I went with 45mm Schwalbe G-One R.
Key items of kit: I spent some time organising the front of the bike and ended up with a DIY aero bag, which combines a simple drybag, straps and some 3d printed parts. In a burrito format, it holds a bivy and my sleeping kit, waiting to be rolled out at night :)
Name: Tom Hall
Location: Sussex, UK
Bike: Mason Bokeh mk.1 with Hunt 650b dynamo wheel set.
Key items of kit: Apidura rig, 7l seat pack, frame pack, long top tube pack, snack pouches and bar roll. Also taking an Apidura hydration pack for extra water security and to carry all my waste to the checkpoints (new rule for this year). Taking a very light 6 moons design solo tent and an MSR E-bivi giving the most flexible sleep options. K-lite Dynamo light and usb charger set up run off the Hunt x Mason Dynamo wheel.
Name: Jordan Matthews
Location: Sunderland, UK
Bike: Fairlight Secan, GRX X2, Hunt Dynamo Wheelset with Panaracer Gravelking SK+ tyres.
Key items of kit: Alpkit, Ortlieb and Straight Cut bags. Tent, sleeping bag and mat, Exposure Dynamo front and rear lights, waterproofs, spares.
Name: Chris Ellison
Location: Austwick, Yorkshire Dales
Bike: I’ll be riding the GBDuro23 on my Salsa Cutthroat 2019 because it’s the only Bikepacking bike I own, all built up second hand over the past 4 years. My drivetrain is 12sp Eagle XX1 with Sram Force controls paired with RatioTechnology.com 12sp conversion. The wheels are Enve with DT Swiss rear and SON28 front hubs built by DCRWheels.com and with Teravail Spawood 2.2 tyres as much for comfort as for speed. My seatpost is a Canyon VCLS 2.0 with flex for comfort too. My bags are a mixture of Spoked-UK, Wildcat.cc and Alpkit but the majority made bespoke by WldSkyGear.co.uk from dynema-DCF for weight saving. I run the dynamo hub through a Sinewave Beacon light that charges stuff and runs my eTrex GPS along with an Exposure Joystick for when it’s dark but too slow to produce much light. Much of my bike setup is held together by cable ties and sticky tape!
Key items of kit: Much of my cold weather down and sleep gear is PHDesigns.co.uk – also from Yorkshire with a Teranova Ultra One tent and NeoAir pad if weather gets rough. Most of the time with my shorts and jersey I’ve only leg warmers, a few wool base layers and a Gore shakedry running top along with my famous two DalesDivide.co.uk buffs. My “must have” gear is my MP3 player, so essential that I carry a spare one. My biggest fear is the crocodiles sneaking out of Scottish lochs and picking off the slow old bloke at the back!
Name: Tim Taylor
Cap number: (Will be sporting a Zwift cap)
Location: Warwickshire, UK
Bike: Kinesis GTD v2 (aka 'Goat HeaD'), mostly Shimano Ultegra throughout and Thomson seat post and stem. Retro Easton bars (with Profile Design aero bars) and Hunt Superdura dynamo wheelset.
Key items of kit: Re-strap and Apidura bags. Exposure lights. Sleep system consists of AlpKit's Pipedream 200 bag and inflatable pillow, silk liner and Therm-a-Rest NeoAir mat. Luxury items include merino pj's and the inflatable pillow. Decided to take a tent (MSR), oh and some sandals too.
Name: Bryce Jersing
Location: Oxfordshire/Uni of Bath
Bike: Riding to raise money for Movember on my trusty Vitus Energie GRX400 cyclocross bike aka 'Vicky', Specialized Pathfinder Pro 42mm tyres with Muc-Off sealant, 46-30 chainset with 12-36t 10spd cassette and waxed chain, my dad's Eggbeater pedals. Profile Design T3 clip-on bars with 3D-printed ergo grips, Redshift stem to save my wrists (broken scaphoids are never 100% again...) and reflective tape all over to stay visible at night.
Key items of kit: Tailfin AeroPack: Alpkit/Decathlon-based sleep system (hooped bivvy, sleeping bag, pillow and mat) and spare clothes Apidura full-frame bag: spares and toolkit, medical/hygiene kit, filter, food, bivvy poles. Top-tube bag: cables, powerbank, midgenet and Smidge (I'm sadly a big midge magnet) 2x Decathlon stem bags: food/packaging Decathlon backpack: 2L bladder, chain lube, suncream, waterproofs. Lezyne 1000XL and StripDrive200 to see and be seen, Garmin Edge 130 to navigate (also borrowed my brother's Edge 520 for emergencies), many hours of Hamish&Andy podcasts to keep me smiling even in the tough times and of course, my trademark - lucky pink socks!
Name: Cristian Batista
Location: Oxford, UK
Bike: Surly Midnight Special and a brother's fork using a 38t chainring and 42-11t cassette. A mix of SRAM Force and GX groupset. Profile design aerobars for more positions, a Redshift stem for comfort and DT swiss wheels with 350 hubs.
Key items of kit: A range of Alpkit, Restrap and Topeak bags. A lightweight tent and a summer sleeping bag + map. Plenty of battery powered lights, 30kmAh of energy storage and a running specific rucksack for hydration and extra storage.
Name: Pete McNeil
Location: Highlands, Scotland
Bike: Sonder Broken Road, SID Ultimate SL fork, Sonder Alpha XC 29 wheelset, Schwalbe G-One 2.25 tyres, Cane Creek Thudbuster ST seaport, Brooks B17 saddle, SRAM GX AXS, Aero Spider rack system, Alpkit bags & luggage.
Key items of kit: Addition of a stove & coffee setup sort of set my intention for this ride... Accomodation-wise, (& in line with the no indoor sleeping rule!) I've opted for the luxuriously spacious Alpkit Tarpstar 1 tent. I've also added a couple of extra bags for non-compostable waste & stashed a handful of Outdoor Provisions plastic-free snackage. I'll be taking along my Zoom Hn1 audio recorder to capture thoughts and moments for the #bikepackingvoices project.
Name: Laurens Dingenen
Location: Borgerhout, Belgium
Bike: Salsa Warbird with GRX Di2 groupset, Roval Terra CL wheels, Vittoria Mezcal 44mm tires, Specialized Power Comp saddle, Redshift Shockstop stem and Ritchey Butano 42cm handlebar. This is my full "treat yourself" bike.
Key items of kit: For bags I'm using a merry mix of Ortlieb, Agu and Restrap. I recently swapped my Seat Pack for the Tailfin alu setup for easier entrance and packability. I'm carrying water in a Camelbak Chase bike vest (1,5l). The downtube bidon holds most of my tools. My sleeping system is a Decathlon 1 person tent, Sea To Summit Ultralight pad, STS Spark SPII sleeping bag and a Decathlon silk liner. Shifting is GRX Di2 48-31t with an 11-40 cassette (gradients please be kind). Rubber-wise I chose durability and grip over rolling resistance with the Mezcals. The Wahoo Elemnt Bolt V2 is my navigation device. No dynamo hub, but 20000mah worth of power banks, a head torch and a set of Lezyne LED lights.
Pictured, the setup weighs in at 17.2kg. I tend to carry a lot of food (and my hydration vest) so total weight will end up around 20kg. GBDURO is my first ultra of this scale, but all the gear has been thoroughly tested and overthought. Hoping for the best here!
Name: John Hale
Location: Oxford, UK
Bike: Bike: Charge Plug 5 Ti (2016) - this bike has done more than 70,000km! Groupset: Sram Rival 1x, 38T front chainring and 11-46 at the rear. Wheels: Hunt Superdura Disc with Son Dynamo. Tyres: Pirelli Cinturato M. Not the best tyre clearance, so running 45mm front, 40mm rear. Cockpit: Redshift ShockStop stem, Deda TT bars.
Key items of kit: Bags: Restrap saddle pack & top tube bag and Ortlieb frame bag.
Electrical: Edelux II front light and Cateye Volt extra front light.
Sleep: OMM Mountain Raid sleeping bag, Alpkit Numo mat and Big Agnes Fly Creek tent.
Name: Cameron Duffield
Location: Mold, Wales
Bike: Sonder Camino Al with a Calibri fork. 2×11 drivetrain using a mix of GRX and 105; 11-42 cassette and a 50/34 crankset.
Sonder Alpha back wheel and a Sonder dynamo/ DT Swiss rim on the front. 45mm Schwalbe G-one tyres, with the Ultrabite on the front and the Bite on the back.
Orange Hope brakes give a bit of bling.
Key items of kit: Mainly Alpkit bags with DIY frame and stem bags.
B&M dynamo lights, supplemented with an Exposure Maxx-D and a Silva helmet light for the off-road. Navigation is done with a Wahoo Element Roam, and a DIY USB converter to helps keep things charged using the dynamo.
For sleeping kit I've got an Alpkit Ultra 80 sleeping bag, mat and bivi bag, and a DIY tarp for a bit of extra shelter.
Lucky item? A little dragon. And a sewing needle.
Name: Alex Fthenakis
Bike: Albannach Torragar with Rodeo Spork Forks, a mostly GRX810 groupset (except for 46/30 chainrings and 11-40 XT cassette). LightBicycle WR45 wheels with 47c Pathfinders and tubolight inserts. Finishing kit from a mix of different brands.
Key items of kit: Cyclite aero bar bag mostly for jackets, gloves, etc; Apidura top tube bag for snacks and small bits; Alpkit frame bag for charging and routine maintenance items for bike and rider (sun cream, chain lube, etc).
Tailfin Aero Pack has spare clothing, toiletries, my Exped sleeping mat, Sea to Summit Spark SP1 sleeping bag, and my most irresponsible purchase of the year: a Nordisk Lofoten tent which packs smaller and weighs less than my bivi bag! The unique format of GBduro means a bivi is best during the racing but a tent is really preferable at the checkpoints (would you rather be able to move fast and light when the clock is running or to recover well when it’s stopped?) so I used it as an excuse to buy that fancy tent I’ve always admired 😁😬 I hope I ride well enough to do it justice!
Tool bottle had to be strapped to a cargo cage to make it fit low enough to clear the front tyre, so it includes all the spares I hope not to have to use but know better than to leave at home. Tubes, plugs, co2, emergency foil blanket, etc.
Cheap basic packable 10L backpack from Decathlon is strapped below the stem and will get used for shopping trips or any extra long gaps in resupply. It may also come in handy for the new rule about bringing rubbish to the checkpoints!
Midge net tucks in neatly between the aerobars for easy access (though I’ve never camped south of Kielder so no idea if I’ll need it in the first week or not 🤷♂️)
Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt for navigation and Exposure Strada & Sirius for lighting.
Will stop there to keep it “brief” but I’m sure it’s already pretty lengthy. I’m a total gear geek so feel free to message me if anyone wants more details!
Name: Donnie Campbell
Location: Inverness, Scotland
Bike: Cervelo Aspero. SRAM Force AXS Wide and Zolla Dnipro Wide Wheels.
Key items of kit: Mix of Apidura & Tailfin Bags. Exposure Lights. Hammerhead Karroo 2 / Suunto Vertical. Vango F10 Neon UL 1 Tent 445g!
Name: Hanif Meeran
Location: London, uk
Bike: Specialized Diverge. GRX 1 x 11 with XT rear mech to accommodate a 46t rear sprocket. Hopefully with a 36t front chainring I can get up the hills. Pirelli 45mm tyres. Hope brake calipers. Mix of Apidura and Orlieb bags plus a tailfin pack. Packed with extra capacity for recycling. SON 28 dynamo, sinewave for charging. Exposure dynamo front light. Moon rear lights. Garmin Edge 1030 plus.
Key items of kit: A big tub of chamois cream.
Sleep system is a hooped Alpkit bivvy which is , so far, waterproof. Sea to summit Spk 1 sleeping bag. Down shorts and jacket. Endura waterproofs. Spatz shorts and jersey.
Name: Adrian Reynolds
Location: Taunton, UK
Bike: Trek Checkpoint ALR Custom build. SRAM Red XPLR 1x38 10/44, Hunt 42 limitless gravel wheels, Vitoria Mezcal 44 tyres, Ergon Seatpost, Redshift stem Ritchey Venturemax WCS Bars and Specialized Power Elaston saddle.
Key items of kit: Bags are a mish mash of Apidura race and backcountry. Having a small frame 52cm, it a challenge to make the most of the space. The full frame allows me to use the 3l bladder and still have extra storage. More than water bottles where I’d be limited to 1750ml and have less storage and it be squashed. The rear Tailfin aeropack contains all my overnight kit. This one has completed 2xTCRs and many other off road and road trips.
Sleeping kit includes sea to summit sleeping bag and vango 3/4 length mat and NORDISK lofoten ULW one person tent 498g and very small poles easy to pack.
Name: Paulius Aluzas
Location: Sheffield, UK
Bike: 2023 Santa Cruz Stigmata CC X Large, full shimano GRX810 with a 2x Crankset and an 11-40 SLX cassette for the steep climbs,180mm/160mm rotors (couldn't quite cram in a 180mm rotor at the back). Rolling on 700c Roval Terra CLX Evo (30mm internal width while still being silly light) wheels shod with 45mm Pirelli Cinturato H tyres, with 100ml of Stan's sealant in each. Finishing off with a Hope bottom bracket, a Cane Creek hellbender headset and an Ergon SM pro saddle to keep me rolling comfortably and creak free.
Key items of kit: An Alloy Tailfin Aeropack with a single 10L pannier on one side and an extra bottle cage on the other side. Up front there's a small Alpkit frame bag, stem bag and the gravel handlebar bag. Finishing off with a tool cage underneath the bike for the spares that I hopefully won't need. For lighting duties it's a full Exposure set up with a Toro up front, a TraceR at the back and a Link on my helmet. The highlight of my kit is definitely the tailfin and my 2P Hornet Nemo osmo tent, which is super comfortable for the whole 6'5" of me to sleep in while somehow packing down to the size of my down jacket!!! (with the poles removed, but still!).
Name: Alan Colville
Location: Bristol, UK
Bike: Santa Cruz, Stigmata, with Reserve 25 GR wheels, Maxxis Rambler tyres, Shimano GRX groupset, Deda bars, and Redshift, Shockstop Suspension Steam.
Key items of kit: Mixture of bags from Restrap top tube and frame, Revelate Design front, and Ortlieb seat post. Sleeping kit is a Vango Project 10 Helium, with a Sea to Summit Spark sleeping bag and ground mat.
Name: Alex Boswell
Location: Truro, Cornwall
Bike: ORRO Terra C w/ ALT. Tor Wheels.
Key items of kit: ALT. Tor Gravel Wheels, Shimano GRX810 1x Groupset 44t x 11/42t. Rimpact Tubeless Tyre Inserts, Magicshine Monteer 3500s front light and a Panceltic x ReStrap Canister bag full of STYRKR to keep me going!
Name: José Crogiez
Location: Haute-Savoie, France
Bike: Cannondale Lefty
Key items of kit: Ma bonne humeur!
Name: Bart Pombreu
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Bike: Standard Canyon Grizl CF SL7 - nickname 'el Caballo Amarillo' only changes done: larger cassette 40t with road link for less hike-a-bike hopefully; double bartape Fizik to keep the blood flowing for longer in those fingers; other saddle for you know what; SPD/flat pedals, 45mm Pirelli Cinturato gravel RC front/back and dynamo hub in frontwheel to keep Garmin Edge 830 alive.
Key items of kit: Revelate Designs half frame bag and top tube bag. Restrap Race Aero Bar bag. Ortlieb seat pack QR. Decathlon Evadict ontrail 900 torch strapped on helmet (with spare battery). Nemo hornet Osmo 1P tent. Cumulus X-Lite 200 down sleeping bag. Anker Battery pack 20,000mAh.