Posted in Cycle and tagged team-wiggle, dirty-reiver, kona bikes
Dirty Reiver 2017

200 kilometres of gravel racing poses a unique challenge for kit choice. Staff rider Tim Wiggins provides his kit insights, after placing 4th in the second edition of the Dirty Reiver.

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Months, weeks, hours and minutes before the start of the Dirty Reiver, the discussions on kit selection ran strong. What bike? What clothing? What tyres?

After much debate, tinkering and testing, the choices below are what I finally set on for the 200 kilometre gravel race.

 

 

The bike - Kona Rove Ti

Having ridden 13,000 fun and fast kilometres on my Kona Private Jake last year, I decided my bike for the Reiver had to also come from the American brand.

The criteria for selection centred largely on long distance comfort and tyre clearance, which led me to Kona's range of Rove road/gravel bikes.

The majority of the Rove range uses a steel frameset and fork, which delivers superb comfort and durability. I made the decision to go a bit more custom though; using a Kona Rove Ti (titanium) frame, and building the bike up from scratch.

With clearance for 42c tyres, a Lauf suspension fork, USE carbon handlebars, and some super-cushioned Lizard Skins bar tape; this is a bike build that delivers comfort and flair in equal measure. It was the perfect choice for the Dirty Reiver.

 

 

Tyre choice

Your tyre choice for off-road riding makes an incredible difference to handling, comfort and performance. The tyre debate ahead of the Dirty Reiver was an enthusiastic discussion: What volume and tread pattern is best; what tyre sealant should you run?

My initial choice was a set of Schwalbe G-One tyres, which by their name sounded perfect for a 'Gravel Race'. However, having ridden some of the trails the day before the event, I decided that the 'Gravel' in the Scottish Borders was probably more sizable than the 35c G-One tyres were designed for…

I made the switch to the new Panaracer Gravel King 40c tyres. The difference was phenomenal. Dialled in perfectly to 37psi with a Lezyne Digital Hand Drive Pump, they had enough volume and bounce to roll over rocks, grip on the gravel ascents, and corner well on the dusty dry trails.

Panaracer Gravel King

 

 

The clothing

The weather in Northumberland, in April, is a lottery. Luckily this year's Dirty Reiver weather came up trumps, and was perfect for a long day in the saddle.

A cool breeze, warm sunshine, and an air temperature around 10 degrees Celsius, meant waterproofs were tucked safely away, and knee warmers even made an appearance.

This was my kit list:

kit choice for the dirty reiver gravel race

 

 

The accessories

The kit list for Dirty Reiver includes a few safety essentials, like a space blanket and a whistle. In addition to these, I took the following spares and accessories:

 

 

Ride it

The Dirty Reiver was an incredible ride. 200 kilometres of gravel tracks, rocky descents and dusty trails. 

After all the deliberation and discussion ahead of the event, I was very satisfied with the kit selection that I ended up riding with; the 8 hours of gravel grinding were comfortable, fast and fun.

This is a great event. Ride it! (dirtyreiver.co.uk)

About the author

Tim Wiggins
Published on: 24 Apr 2017

Tim Wiggins is an avid cyclist, involved in all aspects of the sport. Whether it is mountain bike marathons, or 500km road rides... he loves life on two wheels. He is also a keen trail runner in the off-season!