The Breadwinner Goodwater in Big Country – Gabe Tiller

The Breadwinner Goodwater in Big Country
Photos and words by Gabe Tiller

Some friends and I had been scheming and dreaming up our Oregon Big Country route for an entire year, and this spring right as we were finalizing details Breadwinner Cycles launched their new Goodwater 27.5+ trail bike. I’ve known Tony since he moved to Portland from Salt Lake and watch him build bike after bike, each more lustworthy than the last. And they’ve pulled home award after award from NAHBS and the Oregon Manifest too. His meticulous craft building bicycles has become impeccably tuned, and the few times I’ve had the opportunity to ride bikes with him he’s whooped me soundly on the trail as well.

Picked up some furry hitchhikers on the way to the hot springs

A few years ago when Surly launched their plus platform I took my first ride on the Krampus and instantly knew mountain bikes would be forever changed. Wider rims, more volume, and less pressure allowed me to clean technical lines I’d never come close to before. Rim, tire, and tubeless technology had brought high volume and large contact patches to the table without the weighing anywhere near as much as the motocross wheels they looked like. I was sold and thrashed my Krampus for a year before upgrading to a Ti Gnarvester. And now I really wanted to steal away on Tony’s fat-tired trail bike for our eight-day overland adventure through Oregon’s Big Country. Surprisingly when I asked, he agreed: “Sure, and ride it like I would—hard.”

Tony outlining the features of the Goodwater

He and Ira are often heard saying “We build the bikes we ride” and it shows in the Goodwater. Tony spends a fair amount of our rainy winter sessioning The Lumberyard and while the Goodwater is designed for an entirely different riding environment, he has maintained that nimble playfulness that make park bikes so fun. Giddily riding it home I could feel it begging to be flicked up curb banks and manualed through puddles. It’s got the shortest rear end (440mm) of any plus bikes I’ve ridden, and paired with the Fox Float 34 it cruises over rough terrain and still easily wheelies through desert stream crossings. At least the ones not filled with axle deep mud.

This electronic cockpit goes to 11

With internal routing, Shimano’s XTR Di2 1×11 drivetrain, Enve HV hoops, and a Thompson dropper it’s an incredibly clean build. It loaded up super well with my Porcelain Rocket Mr Fusion dropper hack, a Revelate framebag, and Limberlost’s DIY Handlebar Roll. It tackled the steep climbs and rocky descents over the Steens with ease, and the 2.8″ Schwalbe Nobby Nics held up well being pushed hard in loose corners or slogging through the Big Sand Gap on our way to Willow Hot Springs.

Stream crossings on the way down Stonehouse Road. Photo: Kyle Heddy, Treading Light Photography: www.treadinglight.com

My only regret is that I didn’t get the chance to drop all the bags and really let this shreddy trail bike shine on some local singletrack before wearily giving Tony back his baby. I’m excited to see so many mountain bike builders embracing fatter tires, and Breadwinner is pushing the momentum of this movement with their Goodwater.

Follow along with the rest of our adventures at Limberlost.co.

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  • CruisinE2W

    Been drooling over this bike since I first saw the NAHBS coverage. This article didn’t help…at all.

  • Ham Sandwich

    my oddity has 430mm chainstays and its 29+. kindly get on my oddity level. i bite my thumb at your 650b+ long haul trucker.

    • spencer harding

      yaaaaaas

    • White Mike

      RIght? Where the tucked wheel at Tony? #gettucked

    • While I like short stays and a slack head angle, I can understand that it doesn’t need to be the norm. It drastically changes a bike’s handling and maybe people prefer a slightly longer rear end for a more predictable / less twitchy ride.

      • Ham Sandwich

        oh im just bein a dildo. my bike is twitchy as fuck and i can see how someone else might hate it. but this high-BB-tucked-wheel life is my new life and i choose to accept it.

  • dc

    As a luddite, I’m unclear why you would do a long-form trip on a bicycle with electric shifting. How long are those batteries good for?

    • Kerry Nordstrom

      It depends entirely on how much you shift as the battery only drains when used. I’d say that a fully charged Di2 battery would last for far fewer miles on a road bike if, for example, you’re shifting more often to keep pace with a group.

      When the battery is critically low, you enter into a reserve mode which disables the front der (not an issue with this bike, obvs) which then gives the rear der an additional 50 or so shifts.

      Also, you could certainly bring an extra battery along with you…they weigh all of 49g for an internal and 107g for an external.

      • JScriv

        I did that on a big bike tour last summer – felt a little funny bringing an extra battery but definitely had a piece of mind from it!

    • If I was out for a long long haul it might be an issue but this was just borrowing Tony’s personal MTB for a week. Didn’t even lose one bar till that last day, the electronic shifting was really nice overall.

    • Tony Pereira

      So far I have charged the battery once–in March when I got back from NAHBS. I have about 1000 off-road miles on it and the battery indicator is still showing 3 of 5 “bars.” I don’t anticipate having to charge it until fall. Di2 does it’s job incredibly well. It applies the exact amount of pressure on the chain to make it shift and never misses. I love it. That said, it is expensive and un-necessary. Just another fun bike gadget to play with. That’s part of the hobby for lots of people isn’t it?

    • AaronBenjamin

      On a full 2×11 drivetrain, you can expect an average 3-4 month battery life with normal 4-8ish hours a week of riding. On a 1x only, that life is even better since the rear derailleur uses considerably less juice than the front. I have the XTR Di2 1×11 on my bike and it’s pretty insane how long the battery lasts… Might be able to go 5 months. That’s a long bike trip!

  • geoff.tewierik

    Rogue Panda tank bag? Only found out about them yesterday. Good product choices, great prices.

    • DamagedSurfer

      Rogue Panda makes great stuff! I’m not affiliated with Nick, just a satisfied customer. I’ve purchased an Alamo top tube bag, custom framebag (since sold with that bike), and a seatbag. He’s another great indie maker in a growing field of options.

    • Yes, the quality of that bag is super top notch.

  • All this bike talk and all I want to know about is what noodle you are using on that dropper post routing?

    • Also yes this bike is killer

    • Tony Pereira

      It’s from a 20+ year old tioga stem. Just something I had in the parts bin.

  • DamagedSurfer

    Sweet rig! I’m curious to know more about your hack for a dropper compatible seatbag. I’ve recently come to realize the great benefits of a dropper on my hardtail 29er bikepacking rig and I really want to still be able to use a seatbag.

    • Everyone’s asking! It’s a great hack but I wish someone would make a pro solution.

  • Matt Parker

    Interesting hack on the seat bag. Is that a chopped off seat post attached to the rear of the saddle to make it work with the dropper? I am a huge Breadwinner fan. So much so that I bought a frame to give away. If you would like the possibility of winning a Breadwinner frame, just donate to 24 Hours of Booty, a charity supporting cancer survivorship. Details at http://bike.teamplusone.org. Right now your chances of wining are very, very good. Sorry if this is the wrong place for this. John, please delete this if inappropriate.

    • Yep, just a Mr Fusion attached to a chopped seat post.

    • Chris W

      Just donated $25. Great cause, I hope I (Bread)win!

      • Matt Parker

        Thanks Chris! Good luck!

  • Johnny Burrell

    I’ve seen Tony on this bike first hand at Sandy Ridge. Not sure if folks are aware just how strong of a mountain biker he is. He’s clearly made the bike he wants to ride and I’d be willing to bet this is one of the best hard-tail MTB’s out there right now.

    • He’s a shredder for sure!

    • Tony Pereira

      Thanks Johnny! Best bike I’ve ever ridden, if I do say so my damn self.

    • Having ridden with Tony, I will agree!

  • Tony Pereira

    Thanks Gabe. Glad you liked it!

  • helga thorne

    that crooked saddle is very distracting …

  • Scott Sattler

    Anyone know if Di2 is USB rechargble ?

    • I think it uses a different charge signal. Not sure. Those batteries last for months though.

    • AaronBenjamin

      Yes, but you can’t connect it directly, as in junction box to wall. You will need the SM-BCR2 charger/PC interface that acts as a charge regulator, which has a USB plug for connection to a PC or USB power plug.