Kyle From Outer Shell’s 160mm Travel Falconer Hardtail MTB Ultra Light Loaded for the CDT

Northern New Mexico’s section of the Continental Divide Trail is quite the experience and with its popularity, more and more cyclists are coming to New Mexico to ride 70 miles of singletrack over a 90-mile route. One of my friends, Kyle from Outer Shell, recently came through town with his Falconer hardtail to take on the CDT, so I shuttled him to Cumbres Pass and bid adieu. After his trip, I linked back up with him and shot his wild Falconer hardtail, “loaded” for his time on the trail…

Now, Kyle, much like Bailey, packed über light for this trip but unlike our tour of the CDT, Kyle pushed through, riding it in mostly one sitting. After I dropped him at Cumbres, he rode in about 20 miles or so, set up camp, and woke up the next morning, finishing the route by sundown that day. He packed a bedroll within containing a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, a Tyvek tarp for a small ground cover, and the rest of his gear is food and warm clothes.

About the Frame

This Falconer used to be Cameron Falconer’s personal bike and he built it up as a 160mm 27.5×2.8″ trail bike, prompting the following angles and dimensions:

650mm effective top tube
65º head angle
72.5º seat angle
440mm stays
320mm bottom bracket height

That Rack

What really drew me to want to shoot this bike is the rear rack, which is a real gem of design and implementation. Sure, you could just add rack mounts to the seat stays but where’s the fun in that? Cameron machined a custom end-cap for the thru-axle that supports one side of the rack, with the other bolting to the disc brake tab. Then, a clamp holds tightly to the seat post. The coolest thing about the setup is Kyle can still use his dropper, which, on this route, makes it all the more fun.

While shooting the bike, I chatted with Kyle about the experience and when I asked how he felt after pushing through 70 miles the second day, he said he “was shelled” and understandably so. That’s a real feat out in the high country, especially with all the downed trees this late in the season. With snow hitting the high country last night and this morning, he might have been one of the last to ride the CDT this season.

Outer Shell products used on this build: Handlebar Bag, Mini Saddlebag, and a custom frame bag.

What about you? When touring singletrack on bikepacking trips, are you an ultralight packer or do you tend to carry more than you need? There’s an old saying that the traveler with the most experience carries the least on their back…

I should also note that Kyle got tested for Covid-19 the day he left to come here and because of his negative result, he felt it was safe to travel to New Mexico, in compliance with state laws. Please, be mindful of the pandemic and read the state’s current travel restrictions before visiting.