Bikes and gear of the 2017 Indian Pacific Wheel Race

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When you set out to race 5,500km across Australia, you want to make sure you’ve got the right tool for the job. From the dead flat roads and headwinds of the Nullarbor Plain, to the long climbs of the Great Dividing Range, the riders of the Indian Pacific Wheel Race face challenges of all different kinds. And it’s not just a rider’s bike choice that matters — frame bags, dynamo hubs and superpowered lights are all important when you’re riding around the clock and carrying everything you need.

In the following post, endurance rider Jack Thompson takes a look at some of the gear being used by the riders of the inaugural Indian Pacific Wheel Race.

Kristof Allegaert

The Belgian powerhouse’s Indy Pac setup is relatively ‘light on’ and remains largely unchanged from both his Red Bull Trans Siberian Extreme win in 2015 and, more recently, his win at the 2016 Transcontinental Race. Allegaert is a big believer in “If it aint broke, don’t fix it” and his setup reflects this.

He’s riding a custom-built steel Jaegher Interceptor frameset paired with a mechanical, 11-speed Campagnolo Record groupset and traditional rim brakes. When questioned about the traditional red colouring of the bike, Kristof responded that the bright red stands out in a crowd and always goes that little bit faster (followed by a wink).

Storage is taken care of by Apidura’s half-frame bag with an additional Apidura bag fixed below the aero bars for extra storage. All components, including the carbon aero bars, are supplied by Deda and the 30mm custom built alloy clinchers are manufactured in Belgium by Kris Seminck.

Allegaert is a big fan of the Continental GP4000 tyres having ridden these to victory in previous races. A Supernova dynamo hub powers both front and rear supernova lights meaning there is no need for Kristof to stop and charge these for extended periods. The most individual component of the bike, the saddle, is taken care of by Selle Italia with Kristof choosing to ride a titanium-railed SLR.

One quirk, and a genuine sign of Allegaert’s love for his family, is the lucky charm gifted to him by his daughter prior to departure. A small knitted figurine depicting a superman of sorts, sits either tucked into one of the aero bar extensions, or firmly beneath his saddle, safe from the elements.

Mike Hall

Similar to Allegaert, Mike Hall chooses to steer clear of carbon, instead opting for a metal frameset — in this case titanium. Hall’s bike of choice is the Raleigh Kinesis GF-TI with conventional TRP rim brakes and the newly released Shimano R9150 Di2 groupset. For the Indy Pac, Hall has chosen to ride a bike one size smaller than normal so as to bring his elbows closer to his midsection and position himself in the most aerodynamic position possible.

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Hall’s wheelset is straight off the Reynolds production line and at 65mm in depth, these wheels are not yet readily available to the general public. It would appear Hall is testing the wheels’ aerodynamic capabilities across the Nullarbor in order to provide Reynolds with ‘real world’ feedback prior to production on a larger scale.

Like Allegaert, Hall chooses Apidura bags for storage of food and equipment along with 3 x 1 litre bidons. Two bidons are mounted to the frame in a conventional position with the third bottle mounted between the aero bars with a camel back hose attachment for ease of use.

Componentry, including saddle, is provided by PRO while navigation is taken care of by Garmin in the form of an Etrex 30. The front light is powered by a Shutter Precision dynamo hub, nicely finished off with Hall’s name engraved on the surface. The choice in tyres between Hall and Allegaert differs slightly with Hall choosing to run with Panaracer tyres in a more modern ‘tubeless’ setup.

Jesse Carlsson (RETIRED)

Jesse Carlsson, co-founder of Curve Cycling and instigator of the Indy Pac, chooses to ride one of his own machines: a Curve CXR Frameset (a cyclocross frameset) mated with a 1 x SRAM Force hydraulic brake setup. Carlsson’s setup differs quite drastically from both Allegaert and Hall in that Carlsson’s cassette looks to be a mammoth MTB specific cassette with a huge 44-tooth capacity.

Carlsson’s choice in wheels is also catered for by Curve Cycling with a 55mm depth G4 rim at the front and a 70mm G4 rim at the rear.

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Carlsson’s lighting is supplied by and is powered by a Shutter Precision dynamo hub. Carlsson has strong ties to the mountain bike scene and his WTB mountain bike saddle reflects this, perched high and forward of his 0 offset seat post. Apidura bags, a Garmin Etrex 30, SIS 1L bidons and Continental Grand Prix Tyres finish of this beautiful build.

Carlsson unfortunately had to abandon the race a couple days in.

Sarah Hammond

Hammond, also known as ‘The Purple Dot’ by dot-watchers around the globe, is also on a Curve frameset. Hammond prefers the Belgie frame, the same bike she rode across the USA for the 2016 Trans Am. This year however, Hammond’s Belgie has been given a facelift with fresh purple stickers and a new set of Curve G4 55mm wheels.

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Hammond’s Belgie is kitted out with Ultegra’s 6800 mechanical groupset and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. Similar to Carlsson, Hammond is using Apidura bags and Continental Grand Prix tyres. One thing to note on the smaller riders’ frames is the lack of additional frame space and therefore room for frame bags. With 2 x 1L SiS bottles mounted conventionally on the frame, there is no room for a frame bag. As such, Hammond has made the most of other storage options.

Finishing off Hammond’s titanium overlander is a set of Zipp aero bars, a Specialized Power saddle, a Garmin Etrex 30 and cleverly wrapped reflective bands which she’s wearing around her ankles during the night for added visibility.

Harley “Durian Rider” Johnstone (RETIRED)

Durian Rider’s bike setup is an interesting one, and with a personality as extravagant as Johnstone’s this comes as no surprise. The frameset is a disc-specific Webworks bamboo frame paired with a non-branded steel fork. The H Plus Son wheels were handbuilt by Johnstone himself and are shod with Continental’s GP4000s.

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Johnstone’s bag set-up is a little more traditional with a touring style rack over the rear wheel and fold down panniers to carry additional food/fluid along the uninhabited stretched of the Nullarbor. With a front light powered by a Shutter Precision Dynamo Hub, a Stages power meter, clip-on mudguard and Specialized Toupe saddle, Johnstone’s setup is adequate for varying road and weather conditions.

It was unfortunate to see Johnstone exit from the race after only one day on the bike.

James Raison

James Raison is another Australian rider who has chosen to race on a Curve frameset. Raison is using the slightly less aggressive Belgie Spirit which has a marginally taller headtube and greater tyre clearance than Curve’s standard Belgie frame.

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Raison has taken advantage of the additional tyre clearance and decided to use Schwalbe’s Evolution TLE Tyres, a more touring-specific choice which may pay dividends in a race as long (and with such varying road conditions) as the Indy Pac.

Raison has a combination of Apidura/Bike Bag Dude bags and a Sea to Summit dry bag fixed beneath his aero extensions. Knog lights, a Specialized Power saddle and 3 x frame-mounted bidons finish off the build.

Matthijs Ligt

Ligt has chosen the proven Jaegher Interceptor as the skeleton for his Trans-Australian expedition. He is drawing on his experience of racing the Transcontinental race three times and uses a standard SRAM Force groupset with traditional rim brakes, Apidura frame bags and H Plus Son custom wheels.

In addition to the steel frame, Ligt has chosen various ‘comfort’-enhancing components, including a Gilles Berthoud Galibier leather saddle, and a Specialized Carbon CG-R seatpost. A Supernova front light provides adequate visibility for riding throughout the night and Continental GP4000 tyres and Zipp Aero bars finish off the bike.

Mark “Cycling Maven” Ferguson

Ferguson is riding a relatively aggressive Canyon Ultimate CF SLX paired with the new Shimano Dura Ace 9150 groupset. Traditional rim brakes provide the stopping power on Curve’s G4 carbon rims. Rim depth looks to be approximately 55mm and the tyres are the new Vittoria Rubino Pros.

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Given Ferguson’s background in all things photography and videography, it makes sense that the amount of luggage he is carrying is more than most other riders. Bags are a combination of Revelate Designs and Bike Bag Dude.

A Shutter Precision dynamo hub powers what looks to be a Busch and Muller front light. The rear light is the tried and tested Exposure Blaze which lasts for approximately 48 hours at low burn. Ferguson is perched comfortably upon a Fizik Aliante Saddle.

Jan-Willem Bobbink

Jan-Willem Bobbink has chosen to ride a Mason Definition alloy frameset paired with an Ultegra 6800 mechanical groupset and hydraulic disc brakes. An exotic Pacenti Sl25 wheelset is covered in ever-popular Continental GP4000 rubber.

Apidura bags store Bobbink’s equipment while a Busch and Muller front light powered by a dynamo hub is fixed to the aero bars. Syntace C3 aero bars, a Specialized Toupe saddle and Wahoo Element GPS round out the British build.

Claire Stevens

Stevens is onboard Specialized’s new Ruby Expert with an integrated front-end shock-dampening system below the stem. For a race such as this, the extra comfort is likely to work in Stevens’ favour. Her Ruby has the ever-trustworthy Ultegra 6800 Di2 groupset with hydraulic disc brakes.

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Stevens has also chosen the popular Curve Cycling G4 wheelset and grip is provided by Continental in the form of GP4000 tyres. An SMP Dynamic saddle paired with the Specialized GC-R seat post will further aid in rider comfort throughout the coming weeks. Apidura Bags are used for on-bike storage and Exposure lights provide visibility both front and rear.

What other bike setups have you seen from the Indy Pac competitors? Let us know in the comments below.

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