Enter the monster. What I’m riding: Medium 2016 Salsa Deadwood What’s on it: Revelate Salsa Frame Bag Revelate Handlebar Harness / Ortlieb 3L Dry Bag Revelate Handlebar Pocket Revelate Gas Tank Revelate Mountain Feed Bag Revelate Viscacha Seat Bag (2) Salsa Anything Cages HD (2) Salsa Anything Bags I’m pretty new to this whole idea of strapping what you need on a bike and up and leaving civilization. All I know is hating steep uphills and loving rough and rocky downhills. The closest I’ve gotten to bikepacking is my puny commute just a couple blocks to the shop with my lunch on my back. So when Kurt asks me to throw all these bags on a Deadwood, ride out to Forest Park in the blistering hot sun, and see what this bike is made of, what do I do? Say hell yeah, of course. I mean just look at the thing. Tell me you don’t want to drop everything and become a creature in the wood. Tell me you don’t want to strap an axe somewhere on this bike so you can chop wood to feed your beastly fire at camp 100 miles away from the nearest city. Tell me you don’t want to ride this machine through the depths of mud hell. Unfortunately, I did none of those things as I’m sure the people of Forest Park would question my intentions. But even our mellow lunch trip through the city has made me a believer. Coming from someone who has never ridden a bike with anything more than a seat post bag, it was way easier ridding a fully-loaded Deadwood than I thought. I was expecting the Ortlieb 3L Dry Bag to catch on my brakes or the Revelate Salsa Frame bag to rub my legs raw. To my surprise, Revelate has fine tuned their designs to create a tight nit and comfortable fit. Even while making sharp turns, the bags did not fuss or catch.
Sure, on mellow roads almost any bag can stay put and carry your underwear, so I was curious to how these would perform on rough terrain. Pavement, sure. Gravel roads, no problem. Uneven trail, still going. But what about the steep stuff? The stuff I crave. So can the bags hold up when the bike is really getting rocked? We didn’t have much terrain to choose from out at Forest Park, but we did our best. Even getting a tiny rowdy, the bags stayed put. Really, they didn’t make much of a difference. It rode just like a bare Deadwood should. Granted, I didn’t have my bags loaded down with the gear for the Great Divide, but hey, it’s the thought that counts. And what can I say about the bike. Salsa has hit the nail on the head with this drop bar mountain bike. I’ve never ridden a drop bar mountain bike before and I was definitely worried about the bars compromising the control. The only thing the bars did was give me more options for hand positions. I felt stable on any uneven trail and comfortable on the climbs. This bike was made for the rough long haul. Overall, Revelate has crafted a seriously functional collection of bags. If I had to choose a favorite, I just love the Mountain Feed Bag. It makes it so easy to access snacks, phones, or any small what-nots while still cruising. Definitely a must on those long rides I hear so much about. And the Deadwood… It’s a pure ripping machine ready to haul all your outdoor living needs. But seriously, look at how cool this thing is.