The Torino-Nice Rally isn’t really just a race, but more of an adventure with friends. It takes in 700km across old military mountain passes and historic trade routes from the western Italian Alps down to southern coastal France. Last year, Bombtrack ambassador Joachim Rosenlund rode the rally on a steel Hook EXT for some picturesque, unsupported bikepacking. With Europe’s highest mountains as a backdrop, Joachim couldn’t soak up enough and is signed up to do it again this year. Get a closer look at the bike setup that got him over the Alps, plus a really beautiful taste of the scenic nature of the trail.

The Norwegian rider took 4 1/2 days to complete the more than 18000m of climbing  and more than 700km with about half on gravel roads.

Joachim gave us a recap of the ride last fall, and talked about how surprisingly technically difficult some of the sections were. Calling them gravel roads was sometimes a stretch, as segments of the route were more big loose rock than what he expected for gravel, and required several hike-a-bikes. He said he suffered of some of the many extended climbs, especially mentally, but being so isolated in the beautiful nature and many national parks kept him going.

The bike he rode is Bombtrack’s Hook EXT, a fat plus-sized double-butted steel gravel touring bike that takes advantage of 650B mountain bike tires to get the float to handle the roughest tracks imaginable. It essentially is just a modern fat tire gravel road bike, something of the recent trend to build a mini monstercross for off-road adventure touring, with 2.2″ tire clearance and the ability to run a double chainring.

Joachim’s Hook EXT was decked out in Apidura bikepacking bags to haul his gear. Out back he their fully waterproof rubberized Saddle Pack Dry, matched to a Handlebar Pack Dry up front. Then add on the lighter weight fabric for the Mountain Frame Pack inside the main triangle, the front Accessory Pocket, and a Top Tube Pack. All it he gets a max of about 39 liters of  storage strapped securely to the bike, plus two full sized bottles.

Long, sketchy alpine descents. What better on-the-bike meditation could you ask for?!

Joachim plans to return in 2017, but will probably take more like 10 days so he can ride less each day, stay in some high mountain lodges along the way, and just take the time to enjoy the mountains even more.

Bombtrack.com

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Veertower
Veertower
4 years ago

Ok so beside bars where is the difference between this bike and a mountainbike ? The gravel /adventure marketing hypo has gone way to far,really

someguy
someguy
4 years ago
Reply to  Veertower

Thing is, It’s a god send for short people who want a drop-bar mountain bike. Taking an XS mountain frame and putting drop bars on it, gives you something in the S or M territory.

Also there are some other differences in geo and sometimes things like a 3rd set of bottle holder bosses.

There is nothing too far about it. If you find these bikes to be too similar to your mountain bike, by all means, don’t get one. For some people who just want one decent drop bar bike to cover a lot of ground, they’re friggin great.

Marc L
4 years ago
Reply to  Veertower

The big differences would be top tube length and axle-crown measurements. The large Bombtrack has a 575mm top tube (which will play well with drop bars) while a mountain bike for the same size rider would have a 25-50mm (or more) longer top tube for flat bars. You could size down, but that’s not ideal in terms of bottle cage or frame bag capability. Mountain bikes also typically have a head tube far enough from the axle enough to accommodate a suspension fork- whereas a CX/Gravel/Monstercross bike wouldn’t be built with a suspension fork in mind.

Greg
Greg
4 years ago

Cool

thedailygomez
thedailygomez
4 years ago

I test rode this at my local shop (Sunset Cycles in Claremont). They threw some slicks on it and I was able to ride the paved roads fast and hit the trail with no issues. By far one of the most well rounded bikes out there right now IMO.

Bigschill
Bigschill
4 years ago

this is such an awesome bike. And the route they did looks fantastic too.

I find these type of bike can handle
fairly technical terrain under a skilled rider and yet roll fast on pave when conditions arise.