Bikes of Istra Land 2023

Bikes of Istra Land 2023

2 October, 2023

From the team behind the Trans Balkan Race, Istra Land is their offering of a non-competitive adventure through Istria County. This event returns for its second year of delighting riders with some of Slovenia, Italy and Croatia’s finest riding on a 420km off-road route.

Follow along with commentary here as riders enjoy an almost end of season adventure.

Orestis Kapetanopoulos

Name: Orestis Kapetanopoulos

Age: 42

Location: Athens, Greece

Bike: I’ll be riding the Istra Land 2023 on a 2021 custom made Gravel Fidusa. The frame is built with Columbus steel tubes and a Columbus carbon fork. The wheels are DT Swiss R500 with 700X44 WTB Raddler Gravel tires. Shifting is a mix of Shimano GRX, Ultegra and 105 with 46-30 chainrings and 11-42 cassette, which works great with the Wolftooth Goatlink.

Key items of kit: BAGS: Apidura 14L saddle bag, Blackburn Outpost Frame Bag Large 5,25L (or 6,95L if expanded), Two Wheel Gear Commute Top Tube Bag 1L. On the handlebar I have 2 Blackburn Outpost Carryall bags and a drybag which includes a Columbus ILMB Mattress inflatable mat, a Ferrino Lightech 550 sleeping bag and a Karrimor X-Lite bivi bag. As a front light I use the powerful Fenix BC30 V2.0. I have 2 Camelbak Podium 700ml water bottles on the frame and a Zefal Z Box L tool bottle on the downtube.

Hugo Beckers

Name: Hugo Beckers

Age: 43

Location: Gent, Belgium

Bike: Isaac Torus

Key items of kit: Evoc 5L steerbag, Evoc framebag and Restrap Toptube bag. Sigma & Lezyne frontlights and Bryton Rider 800 Navigation.

Federico Bassis

Name: federico bassis

Age: 32

Location: Italy

Bike: Basso Palta Team Enough Cycling.

Key items of kit: Miss Grape packs.

Juliet Elliott

Name: Juliet Elliott

Age: 45

Location: Devon, England

Bike: Marin Headlands with a Lauf Grit SL Fork. Enve stem, seat post and G Series Handlebars. Enve AG 25 wheels. WTB Raddler 44c tyres.

Key items of kit: Restrap Race Top Tube bag and Tool Pouch. Exposure Strada SB front light and Reakt rear light.

Henning Roalkvam

Name: Henning Roalkvam

Age: 48

Location: Norway

Bike: Basso Palta. The bike is equipped with a SRAM Rival 1x11 groupset (38 t crankset and a 11-42 cassette). The wheels are home built with DT Swiss 350 and Son Nabendynamo hubs and H plus Son «The Hydra» rims. I´ll be riding tubeless with a Schwalbe G-One Allround 40 setup.

Key items of kit: Lights are Sinewave Beacon dynamo light.

Matei Tulban

Name: Matei Tulban

Age: 25

Location: Vienna, Austria

Bike: Canyon Grizl 8 with 1x Campagnolo Ekar.

Key items of kit: Rapha Cargo Bib Shorts, Rapha Trikot and Giro Savant Helmet.

Massimo Cecotto

Name: Massimo Cecotto

Age: 52

Location: Udine, Italy

Bike: Trek Supercaliber

Andrea / Bike like a couple

Name: Andrea / Bike like a couple

Age: 39

Location: Istraland

Bike: OPEN U.P Telaio, Campagnolo Ekar 13v.

Key items of kit: Ruote Hed Emporia, Sella Fizik Terra Argo, Portaborracce Elite and Borse Miss Grape.

Marco Frilli

Name: Marco Frilli

Age: 31

Location: Ferrara, Italy

Bike: Trek Superfly

Key items of kit: Essential bags for survival.

Szymon Wdowik

Name: Szymon Wdowik

Age: 42

Location: Ruda Slaska, Poland

Bike: Accent Ferral Carbon with TGR pro wheels. Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M 700x45 Tubeless. Crankset absoluteBLACK oval 38T chain ring, back 51T.

Key items of kit: Ortlieb saddlebag with Cumulus Magic100 sleeping bag and a FjordNansen inflatable mattress. Mat and a WilkwOwczej sweatshirt. Restrap undertube with Powerbank, arm warmers, wind/waterproof jacket from AM Cycling, and some food supplies. Toptube and grazers are JackPack. Inside pump, powerbank, spare Tubolito tube, Lednesder headlamp. Lights at back are knog, front is a Mactronic scream 3.1,

Dorian Vavti

Name: Dorian Vavti

Age: 28

Location: Vienna, Austria

Bike: Surly "Ghost" Grappler, 34 x 11-46t adventx. Front dynamo hub + stock wheels. 27,5" x 2,5" Teravail Ehline.

Key items of kit: Ortlieb bags, selfmade feedbag, Cranktank. Had to switch last minute to a small backpack because the dropper post (after 8k+ km) is refusing to lift a seat bag.

Leonardo Sartor

Name: Leonardo Sartor

Age: 37

Location: Udine, Italy

Bike: Custom gravel bike made by "su una ruota" shop located in Treviso (Italy)

Key items of kit: Ortlieb bikepacking bags.

Giampiero Monti

Name: Giampiero Monti

Age: 65

Location: Forli, Italy

Bike: Cannondale Topstone Carbon

Key items of kit: Mix di borse di varie marche.

Jon Hirons

Name: Jon Hirons

Age: 44

Location: Ferney Voltaire, France

Bike: Salsa Mamasita 2012, MRP Loop 120mm fork, Salsa Bend Deluxe bar, SQ Labs Inner Bar Ends, Berthoud Cycles Aspin saddle, XT/XTR drivetrain, flat pedals and brakes, Osymetric 38/28 rings and a hacked Ultegra front mech, Wolftooth goatlink and Sunrace 11-42 10 speed cassette, Spank 30mm rims on DT 350s, Sapim Laser/Race spokes, Mezcal 2.35 front, Rekon 2.25 rear.

Key items of kit: Tubus Disco QR rack, mounted to a chopped second seat clamp, Miss Grape Ilcoso handlebar harness, Ortlieb bags.

Raoul Wymann

Name: Raoul Wymann

Age: 46

Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Bike: On One Big Dog steel hardtail. Rockshox 35 Gold 130m. Wheels from AlpinsWheel, Grenoble (DT 350 hubs, 28 CX-RAY spokes, stand flow Mk4 rims). SRAM GX axs 1x12 with 28T x 10-52t. Reverb Dropper post. 3T tri bars with SRAM wireless blibs. Newmen stem and bars and Ergon grips.

Key items of kit: Custom bag set from SAN UTIL DESIGN, Colorado. I carry 95% of the food for 4 days, a hammock and tarp, sleeping bag, cloths for cold and rain.

3L water, Jetboil cooker, Garmin Edge 540 Solar with Edge remote, Ravenmen front light Cr700, it can be charged whilst in use, Knog rear light and 20,000 mAh powerbank and a 35w charger.

Nicolò Rebellato

Name: Nicolò Rebellato

Age: 39

Location: Bassano del Grappa

Bike: OPEN U.P. SRAM Force axs + Eagle X01. Garbaruk gravel crankset 40T and Garbaruk cassette 10-52t.

Key items of kit: Apidura saddle bag, 1/3 frame and top tube bag, Totka handlebar mini bag for bivy/snacks. Garmin Edge 1040 solar. Exposure Toro front light. Salomon vest (1,5L) + Elite 950ml.

Anton Westner

Name: Anton

Age: 34

Location: Bavaria, Germany

Bike: Rondo Ruut ST with Hunt 650B Carbon Wheelset, Vittoria 2.1 Mezcal tyres and SRAM Force AXS 1x12 Mullet.

Key items of kit: Miss Grape Bags. Bike weighs 18.5 kg w/o Water.

Filip Ludvik

Name: Filip Ludvik

Age: 41

Location: Praha, Czech republic

Bike: REPETE Verne (handmade steel frame), 2022, SRAM Force AXS 2023, Lightbicycle/DT Swiss 350 and Pirelli tyres 650B.

Key items of kit: Sleeping bag, jersey, bibs, charging cables and two power banks, Suunto Watch with map, 4 lights, spare parts for the bike (brake pads, tyre, pump, chain link, another battery for SRAM).

Alberto Dal Magro

Name: Alberto Dal Magro

Age: 46

Location: Sedico, Italy

Bike: Titanium Titus Slik Road (large) with carbon fork. Groupset based on Shimano SLX 12v - cassette Zitto 9-50t and crankset 32t. Wheels PMP Nitro 29 - tires Vittoria Barzo 29 TLR. Handlebars carbon clone Corner Bar. Brakes Shimano Deore M6100 XC Race. Saddle WTB Volt 135. Pedals Shimano 520 SPD.

Key items of kit: Rear bag Acepack, Top Tube bag Decathlon, Fork bags Geosmina 5l. GPS Device old Garmin Dakota 20. Sleep system for Istraland 2023 is simple bivy and mattress

Fynn Caspari

Name: Fynn Caspari

Age: 25

Location: Bochum

Bike: Specialized Epic Expert HT with Pirelli Scorpion XC Tires.

Key items of kit: Ortlieb Seat Pack.

David Kalla

Name: David Kalla

Age: 36

Location: Vienna, Austria

Bike: Standert Erdgeschoss '23. Shimano Grx 2x 48-31/11-40 with a 10s Goatlink Son Dynamo + Supernova M99. Some Mavic Wheels I had left over from my road bike, paired with Challenge Getaway HTLR 45mm. Tubeless of course.

Key items of kit: A mix of bags, with a custom Framebag by RideAndGetLost. All in all with everything I take with me, without water, it’s quite heavy: 15,5kg. I always take a mat, sleepingbag and most important for good sleep: an inflatable pillow!

Max Mill

Name: Max Mill

Age: 27

Bike: Cannondale Topstone 3

Key items of kit: Cyclite Framebag, Cyclite Foodpouch and Ortlieb Saddlebag.

Hannes Macherhammer

Name: Hannes Macherhammer

Age: 52

Location: Engerwitzdorf, Austria

Bike: BMC URS 01 THREE - GX Eagle AXS 10-52 & 36T Front, Schwalbe G One R 28" 45mm.Ride Farr Carbon Aero Bolt-On with Lezyne 1800i lamp Garmin 1030 ,

Key items of kit: Cyclite Handle Bar Aero Bag, Blackburn Food Pouch, Sks Handybag, and Topeak Frame and Top Bag.

Janik Jilg

Name: Janik Jilg

Age: 30

Location: Germany

Bike: Building up bikes is fun! Frame: Bombtrack Hook EXT Groupset: SRAM Rival, Red (mix) Brakes: TRP Spyre SLC Wheels: Hunt Aerodynamicist 44

Key items of kit: Bags: Ortlieb and Restrap. Sleeping: Therm-a-Rest space cowboy.

Vedran Gračan

Name: Vedran Gračan

Age: 41

Location: Zagreb, Croatia

Bike: Orbea OIZ M-PRO, all stock

Key items of kit: Easy setup for this one. Restrap top tube bag paired with Salomon ADV SKIN 12 vest. Sinewave Beacon run on power bank and as backup Zebralight. No aero bars this year but Ergo MyRide XC-M. Power 2 Max power meter and ELEMNT BOLT for navigation. Lots of Plazma keksi (biscuits) and gels.

Filipe Castanho

Name: Filipe Castanho

Age: 37

Location: Portugal/Luxembourg

Bike: Canyon Grizl CF SL7

Key items of kit: Handlebar bag Siroko, Down tube bag Topeak, Top tube bag Apidura and Saddle bag Riverside.

Paul Wilford

Name: Paul Wilford

Age: 55

Location: Sezana, Slovenia

Bike: Open Wide, 11-50t cassette.

Key items of kit: Custom paint job on frame.

Rufus Wenlock

Name: Rufus Wenlock

Age: 36

Location: NZ

Bike: SÜFUR Prototype.

29” MTB bikepacking specific bike (in gravel mode with the tiny tyres). 38t ring matched with 12spd 10-50t Sram. 120mm Rock Shox Sid Ultimate fork. Dynamo front hub and light.

Key items of kit: Huge bolt in frame bag, this will store all my gear and food for the whole ride so I’ll only need to stop for water. 2x750ml bottles and 2lt ultra vest taking care of the water.

Davor Remec

Name: Davor Remec

Age: 38

Location: Koper, Slovenia

Bike: Colnago G3-X

SRAM Rival XPLR AXS 40x44/10, Zipp 303s wheels, Vittoria terreno dry 700x47 front, 700x38 rear.

Key items of kit: Restrap frame bag (powerbank, cables, first aid, spare batteries,...). Restrap handlebar bag (food). Bontrager top tube bag (more food). Small saddle bag (Co2, tubeless repair kit).

950ml bottle, 400ml bottle and Evoc hydro vest (1,5l bladder) for water.

Sigma Buster 2000 main light, Sigma Buster 300 helmet light and Lezyne 800xl spare light.

Florian Mertens

Name: Florian Mertens

Age: 40

Location: Waldenbuch, Germany

Bike: Specialized Epic

Key items of kit: Capricorn frame bag, Apidura top tube bag, 1 can of Paulaner Spezi, no sleeping kit.

Albin Bronkhorst

Name: Albin Bronkhorst

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bike: RodeoLabs Flaanimal 5.0 #steelisreal

Key items of kit: Apidura fork bag w/mat, Apidura fork bag w/tent, Apidura front bag w/sleeping bag. Apidura saddle bag w/tools and Arcteryx down jacket for the night. Apidura half frame bag w/food and Maurten 320 sachets.

Žiga Marolt

Name: Žiga Marolt

Age: 30

Cap number: 42

Location: Slovenia

Bike: Frame: BH Gravel X 3, Wheels Fulcrum Rapid Red 900 Carbon, Tires Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H 700x45c and Groupset Shimano GRX 810.

Key items of kit: Bags: Restrap Toptube, Restrap Frame bag and Decathlon saddle bag.

Ian Carta

Name: Ian Carta

Age: 30

Location: Meran, Italy

Bike: 3T Exploro Ultra equipped with Shimano GRX Di2 40T and 11-50 Garbaruk cassette. DT Swiss GRC1400 650B with 50mm Schwalbe Bite on the rear and Ultrabite at the front (tubeless). I’ll be seating on a Selle Italia SLR gravel, and I’ll be cruising like a sailing ship on a really wide 46cm Easton ec70ax handlebar.

Key items of kit: Saddle (15lt) and top tube (0.7lt) bags are Pro Discovery. 3x water bidons elite fly 0.5lt. Rear light is an Infini (50lm) while front lights are a Magicshine Allty 800 (800lm) + decathlon Forclaz 500 headlight fixed on helmet (300lm). 10k powerbank. Wahoo Element. last but not least, the classic saddle-toolbag is fixed under the handlebar.

Enough with nerdy stuff, setup is readier than I am, let’s see some Istrian panoramas now!


Name: Tim

Age: 42

Location: Musberg, Germany

Bike: Salsa Warbird Costum Build

Key items of kit: Riverside Handelbar Roll, Riverside Seatpost Bag, Riverside Food Pouch, Restrap Toptube Bag and Restrap Triangle Frame Bag.

Christopher Herndler

Name: Christopher Herndler

Age: 35

Location: Vienna, Austria

Bike: Bombtrack Hook Ti with SRAM Shifters, Crank, Casette and GX AXS Derailleur, 650b Pancho Craze Wheelset and Specialized Pathfinder Pro 47mm Tubeless,

Key items of kit: Apidura Bags, BBB Lights, Hammerhead Karoo and Keego Bootles.

Maria Tulban

Name: Maria Tulban

Age: 23

Bike: Kona Rove 2020

Key items of kit: Saddlebag with clothes and tools. Handlebarbag with food, hammock and documents. Waterbottles.

Daniel Saurug

Name: Daniel Saurug

Age: 28

Location: Austria

Bike: Santa Cruz Highball AL with Shimano XT groupset.

Key items of kit: Bike Ahead BiTurbo wheels and Apidura bags.

Valentin Holtz

Name: Valentin Holtz

Age: 40

Location: Musberg, Germany

Bike: Specialized Epic HT Custom Dropbar

Key items of kit: SON Dynamo, Supernova Light, Sram AXS.

Bjarne Kopecny

Name: Bjarne Kopecny

Age: 23

Location: Bremen, Germany

Bike: Classic Rose Backroad with GRX600 Groupset

Key items of kit: Bags: Ortlieb Handlebar-Pack (9l) + Accessory-Pack, Frame-Pack RC Toptube (3l), Seat-Pack (16.5l) and Deuter Energy Bag; Bike Computer: Polar V650 with OH1; Lights: Nitecore NU35 + NU05; Sleeping-Setup: Amazonas Hammock + Tarp and Deuter Orbit +5° Sleeping Bag; Most Importantly: Dieter the Duck on my Handlebars

Marcel Hahn

Name: Marcel Hahn

Age: 22

Location: Vienna, Austria

Bike: Rose Backroad GRX 600 in the color blue haze

Key items of kit: Bags: Ortlieb Handlebar-Pack (9l) + Accessory-Pack, Frame-Pack Toptube (4l), Seat-Pack (16.5l) and Deuter Energy Bag; Bike Computer: Garmin Edge 530; Lights: SIGMA SPORT AURA 80 USB / BLAZE; Sleeping-Setup: Amazonas Hammock + Tarp and the Mammut Nordic Down 3-Season Sleeping Bag; Most Importantly: Hans the Duck on my Handlebars.

Vid Dolsak

Name: Vid Dolsak

Age: 28

Location: Slovenia

Bike: Bombtrack Hook EXT, 11-46T rear and 38 T front. Tires 2,1 Vittoria Mezcal. Charging battery lights on bike and head. Two water bottles on fork.

Key items of kit: In frame bag I have food, fleece, trouser, jersey, multitool, powerbank and cables. Top tube bag is for wallet, headphone, candy.


Name: Dimitrij

Age: 33

Location: Gradno, Slovenia

Bike: My bike's name is Škržad. It's a Canyon Grizl CF SLX 8, Shimano RX815 di2, 31/48 chainset and 34/11 casette. DT Swiss GRC1400 carbos wheels, Tire Maxxis Rumble 50mm. Canyon S14 VCLS 2.0 CF Seatpost.

Key items of kit: Toplak Midloader 5l and Jasmina top tube 0,5l 😉.

Pablo Villar Arribi

Name: Pablo Villar Arribi

Age: 33

Location: Trieste, Italy

Bike: Lauf Seigla Rigid. Groupset: SRAM XPLR Rival eTAP AXS. Gearing: 1x12 - 36T chainring - 9/45 cassette. Tires: Vittoria Mezcal TNT 29x2.1

Key items of kit: Apidura Expedition Top Tube Bag, Miss Grape Internode 4 Frame Bag and PRO Saddle Bag. Hammerhead Karoo 2 and Elite 750ml & 950ml Water Bottles.


Name: Chris

Age: 27

Location: Croatia

Bike: Giant Revolt 1

Key items of kit: Topeak backloader with Wishbone stabiliser. Topeak toploader Rockrider frame bag. 2.25l of water and no sleeping gear.

Martin Reinhardt

Name: Martin Reinhardt

Age: 41

Location: Kassel, Germany

Bike: Rose Backrod Carbon, Shimano GRX Di2 2x11, 11-42t on back. Rose GC with Continental Terra Trail 40/622. Aero bars.

Key items of kit: Ortlieb bags and Wahoo Element Roamv2.

Leon Weissmann

Name: Leon Weissmann

Age: 21

Location: Berlin, Germany

Bike: 8bar Teufelsberg rigid mtb/gravel bike, Shimano Grx 810. Dynamo/ Chris King Hubs + 2.1 Vittoria Mezcal Tires.

Key items of kit: Tailfin Aeropack and Aerobars.

Marti Damien

Name: Marti Damien

Age: 53

Location: Sezana, Slovenia

Bike: Scott Addict 20

Key items of kit: Everything

Cyrus Himmer

Name: Cyrus Himmer

Age: 53

Location: Sezana, Slovenia

Bike: Canyon Grizl

Key items of kit: Everything

Roveri Diego

Name: Roveri Diego

Age: 46

Location: Italy

Bike: Salsa Fargo, Garbaruk 11-52t cassette, RatioTechnology 12v upgrade, SRAM X0 Carbon crankset and Son28 dynamo hub.

Key items of kit: Supernova front and rear lights. Rusjan framebag, Alpkit feedbak and VapCycling saddle bag.

Thomas Spiegl

Name: Thomas Spiegl

Age: 53

Location: Vienna, Austria

Bike: Surly Karate Monkey, custom made, wheelset DT Suisse XM 1700 Spline, SRAM GX Eagle 1x12 10-52t.

Key items of kit: Framebag custom made of X-Pac and cordura. Saddlebag Revelate TERRAPIN 14L.

Franz Steininger

Name: Franz Steininger

Age: 61

Location: Wien, Austria

Bike: Cannondale (1997)

Key items of kit: Cannondale Hardtail, Headshock Fatty D, Shimano xtr 3x9, Riverside Saddlebag