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Bikepacking In Patagonia | GCN’s South American Gravel Adventure

Bikepacking In Patagonia | GCN’s South American Gravel Adventure

(upbeat music) – What bike and equipment do you take when you’re bikepacking in Patagonia? Well, let me tell you. (graphics whoosh) Hopefully you’ve seen Mark
Beaumont’s and my video where we tackle dirt and a gravel loop in the Patagonian lake district by now. But if you haven’t make sure you check it out over on GCN. There was a little bit of everything thrown into the mix, and
certainly no shortage of amazing views, amazing
food, and amazing people. But in addition to that I also wanted to be able to talk to you through all that super
cool tech we had with us. This was our top-end bikepacking setup. Let’s start off with the bike. This is BMC’s new gravel
bike, the BMC URS. URS is short for unrestricted. Which pretty much sums up where Mark and I have been riding. But you probably don’t want to see it with fully kitted up, you want to see the bike, don’t you. So I guess I should
get all these bags off. (Velcro scratching) So now I’ve taken all the kit off, you can really see this beautiful bike, but I’m sorry, it is covered in dust, and it’s pretty, well,
dusty here in Patagonia, but to be honest, I think it adds to it. Now, on the gravel spectrum, this leads more towards the off-road rather than the on-road,
not because it’s heavy, or it’s slow, quite the opposite actually. BMC says this bike comes
in at 8.3 kilograms, which is pretty light, and added to that, this bike’s got some really cool features that lean more towards the
adventure gravel rider. Geometry-wise, this bike more leads towards the modern mountain bike. It’s got that long
frame, or long tops tube, with a really short stem on the top. It’s also got quite a slack head tube, so when we’re looking at a gravel frame, tire clearance is absolutely crucial. BMC say you could run 45 mil wide tires on this URS frame. I’m running 42s meaning I’ve got that little bit of extra space, or a little bit of extra wiggle room. So I can run slightly less tire pressure, but also this URS frame has another trick up its sleeve. This is known as the MTT, the micro travel technology, that BMC have integrated
into this URS frame. BMC first introduced this technology on the Teamelite XC mountain bike, and it adds an additional layer of comfort to the bike. It gives you just 10 millimeters of suspension travel, but it’s significant enough to take that edge off bumps, and is also designed to help with traction on rough and loose trails. Now, adding to that MTT a little bit of suspension there, we’ve got some comfort added by this D shaped seat post, and that’s taken inspiration through a lot of other of the BMC frames. Up front we got Easton’s carbon fiber bar, and attached to that, we’ve
got a very short stem there. What allows you to have
that really short stem is the longer top tube, so you
can really get away with it. On a road bike, you wouldn’t be able to. Now, Shimano has also helped us out on this trip of a lifetime
here in Patagonia, and they’ve also got us
their new GRX group set, so I’m using the RX 800
electronic Di2 version. Now, a lot of you bike packers out there will be shaking your heads at the thought of me taking electronic
gears out on an adventure, but, to be honest, with the tech proven over the last 10 years,
I am not concerned. And Mark Beaumont has told me that he rode the length of Africa using Di2. So, this group set is
very like the BMC frame, it kind of merges roads and off-road with a couple of really cool features. So on the back there, you got shadow, plus a clutch system rear mech, and then on the front you got the narrow, wide chain ring at the front there. That’s all to help keep the chain on, and that chain tight
through rough terrain. In fact, on the URS, you have to run it 1x, as with the tire clearance and nice short chain stays, you actually can’t fit
a front derailleur in. Now you’re probably wondering what gears I’m riding. Up-front I’ve got a 40 tooth chain ring, and on the back I’ve got 11/40. That rear mech also
helps with the quietness of your ride, so it stops any chain slap, which is really helpful. But also, in an added thing, Shimano have worked on looking at people’s riding through gravel, and where people ride, and what position they ride in, and they’ve found that a lot of people ride gravel in their hood. So they’ve actually
changed the pivot point, meaning it’s far easier to
brake when you’re in hoods, and you’ve got better leverage. Now no bikepacking check video can finish without showing you some of my bags. Luckily Shimano have sorted
me out with them too. This is my seat post
bag, so in there I’ve got my Vango tent, which
is the world’s lightest tent, coming in at 700 grams. I’ve also got some cooking equipment, some food, I’ve got one
of my thermal layers there from Altura also. Then if I lead onto my top tube bag, so this is a really important one. So I’ve got my wallet, my phone, a battery pack just in case I lose battery in the Wahoo, or my phone. And I’ve also got my passport, because we went through the Argentinian boarder just a moment ago, so that’s really useful, and easy accessible. And I’ve got my frame bag, in there I packed some food, maybe a map, if I’m getting lost, or tools, anything I want in quite quick, without unraveling anything too big. So, anything I need on the day I’ll put in there. And then, my bar bag. In my bar bag I’ve got my sleeping bag, my roll mat, a few extra layers, I’ve got trousers in
there, and a pair of shoes. So that’s going to go on my bike in a moment, because I’m headed to the other side of the lake, where that’s where we’re
going to be camping. Mark Beaumont’s obviously with me on this trip, he’s taken a larger bike with the same frame, but he’s also got some different components on there, so I reckon we should take a look at what he’s bringing. – Well my steed for the
Patagonian adventure is pretty similar to James’, the BMC URS, obviously a bit bigger, I’m 6’3″, and the geometry
for me is fascinating, just to see the evolution of bikes built for bikepacking and
gravel over the years. Gone are the days, I remember being in southern Ethiopia with the spoon, trying to clear the mud out so I could carry on and
not have to push the bike. You know, I’m riding 42s at the back, similar at the front, they might be slightly narrower. And let a little bit
of air out of the tires as soon as we went from the tarmac, onto the gravel, and that
made all the difference. But what I really like, which I’ve not come across before, is
that dampening in the rear, which is meant to give you about 10mm, and it just does, as
well as getting the tire pressure right, just smoothing out the ride on these sort of constantly rough, loose roads. In-terms of group set, I’ve gone for almost exactly the same as James’, except for traditional
as opposed to electronic. So it’s the GRX 1x very much inspired by you know, the single chairing at the front there, the cross country setup, and what looks like quite
a big dish at the back, you know, with all your sprocket choices. But you need them, and
we’ve felt that already in Patagonia, with the big hills, we’ve both been in the granny gear at points, but also there’s times where we’re fleeing along at 20 plus miles an hour, and it’s quite nice to have that top end range as well. What I’ve not ridden before on the Shimano group set, is this clutch system. And what I’ve noticed on the sort of corrugated roads that you’re not getting any of that sort of chain jump. You’re not getting any
of the rattling around you quite often get if
you’re taking a road bike into the gravel, or a more
old fashioned gravel bike. The frame bag setup that I’ve gone with is different to James’, I’ve gone with the new Altura bags, and that’s sort of about an 18 liter setup at the back. I’ve got really, spare clothes, things I don’t need to
access during the day, pots, pans, cook setup. In the front, this is what I always call my house, so that is basically in, I don’t need that until
the end of the day. It’s quite often the heavier bag on the bike as well, and having that weight up-front, you know, can quite often help. But you know, the overall setup in terms of the look and
the shape of the bike, pretty similar, chosen
some different componentry, and well, we’ve got a long way to go yet, and some more technical
terrain ahead of us. But so far, really enjoying it. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tech video by James and myself, all about the BMC Shimano setup her in Patagonia. If you actually want
to watch the adventure itself, click down here for the link. Don’t forget to subscribe,
click on the globe.

Reader Comments

  1. Nice-ish. Hardly an accessible trip though – relied on unseen car journeys and a bloke who is your mate. Would have enjoyed more a trip that I feel I could have repeated myself.

  2. I’am Chilean (from Pucon a town near were you rode) and today literaly I rode my bike on some of those roads! Happy you came down here and you like it. Tell GMBN we also have some nice mtb and freeride routes.

  3. Too much focus on stuff other than the actual trip. The quality of the filming is as always, second to none, but it just felt like a 20 minute advert due to the lack of focus on the riding and actual location itself.

  4. I‘m sure this was an amazing trip, but the video can‘t compete with the Scottland trip! I‘m a little disappointed!

  5. Love GCN. Great bikepacking adventure but I think you should have bunny hopped the log at 12:36 instead of dismounting and climbing over it. Just imagine the thumbs up you would get if you did! Obviously, I'm joking (clarifying, just in case someone thinks I'm serious).

  6. From a marketing perspective, IMHO it would be better to integrate the product promotion into the the narrative in a way that feels natural. At present it feels like an ad in the middle of the video. Of course the demographic is spot on but it breaks the immersion. I don't want to know about the product per sé, I want to know about the experience the product will bring me. Just a few GRX logo shots or BMC UNRESTRICTED logo shots would have done the job, and let you get on with the adventure. Subtle but effective.

  7. A long way for 3 days in Patagonia and the posh boy says that in the last 20 years or so the glacier has retreated by 40% due to climate change?! The irony in that statement ?

  8. Agree with others, can we get a Part 2 video with the rest of the ride and scenery?. Also, so jealous of getting to do these trips with a legend like Beaumont!!

  9. Hello GCN friends, I'm glad you enjoyed our southern landscape. I'm a Chilean guy and I've been watching your videos since a couple of years now. I've learnt a lot of cycling stuff through the language I'm learning.. You do a great job!!.

  10. Really enjoyed watching. To much product placement, but then again there would be no video if there was no sponsers. It could have been longer though.

  11. Nice video. Thank you for visiting South America. Big thanks to BMC and Shimano. And I agree with starting in Patagonia, one of the areas with most infrastructure.
    Don't sell it as your ultimate trip of a lifetime. Going to Patagonia is like going to Heathrow and Westminster and calling it an incredible adventure to the most remote corners in the British Isles.
    Please call it what it is – a really nice intro-tour to a very big continent. Good video and hopefully the first of more to come.

  12. Just a little technical thing, if you make a video in a wider aspect ratio, actually export the video in that wider ratio instead of putting it inside a 16:9 one, you get black bars on all sides when watching on a non-16:9 display.

  13. I volunteer to be the guy off camera who carries or does the stuff you don’t want…just let me tag along on these amazing adventures, PLEASE!!!!!

  14. Really great video, but I must say that it’s the Lake District, Patagonia actually began like 500 km south from panguipulli, I’m from chile , so you never actually ride in Patagonia guys, sorry

  15. Pretty spectacular scenery! And I love the fact that they have to eat those bananas before they cross the border. Ha!

  16. Pablo gave James his own beer. What a nice dude! The difficulty of James with the hug vs Hi5 just goes to show how warmer and much more welcoming South Americans are in comparison to Europeans.

  17. Bike: Crescent Worldchamp 307, grand tourer, 10 speed, dropbar… probably 20 kg+ bike.

    I once tried to go ~150km's on my own with no gear, food or anything, at best I might have had a little bit of cash on my person, I was maybe 12 – 14 years old… I got mad at my sister being an * as she tended to be when she was younger, she was mean, anyway, I got about 30 – 40 km's and I made some proper time too, I was passing so many people and even cars at times, pretty nuts… as it was getting late in the day I figured people would be worried and before they call the police out to look for me I stopped at a house where an elderly couple lived and asked to borrow the phone, this was pre-everyone-has-a-phone-in-pocket days… there where mobile phones but think it was just before they had gotten small and affordable enough for everyone to have them. And especially someone my age at the time. In those days I lived on my bike, I honestly think with some better planning and something to eat and drink with me, might have made it… I probably did 30 – 70 km a day all year back then, I practically lived on that bike as a kid going around the neighborhood. Anyway, I made the call, my grandparents came and picked me up and it was all good. They did not even get mad at me, think they where just glad I got back home. This was over ~20 years ago now.

    I have a dilemma now tho… I'm looking to get a new bike in the 1000€ bracket, its that or new PC parts that I badly need as well. My fear is I'll get a bike and it gets stolen and I will have wasted it all. I got a good lock, its a bit old but its one of the big brands and expensive model so it should be okey even if its probably 15 years old now or close atleast. Think it cost ~120€ when I got it back in the day. Reason I want a bike is, well, I love bikes, but also I really need to get fit again or I'll be undone literally… 😐 I'm not 14 anymore… lol

  18. Love your trip, looked and sounded absolutely great ?

    Do you think a more roadie type of bike (cyclocross or light gravel bikes, not these almost mtb you guys have) would’ve survived the trip as well?

  19. I dig the BMC. I’m in the market for a new bike, i kinda wish BMC had a compact crank but might give it a go. 3 days of riding and 18mins of vid isn’t all that much i would agree. I think maybe GCN made video length based on avg watch time i assume or got caught up riding in beautiful country and forgot to pull the camera out. Lol anyways good video would of been nice if it was maybe a 2 part 30min each for a 3 day trip.

  20. This is the kind of content that makes this one of my favourite YouTube channels. Great hosts at the moment, and Marc is always a welcome guest host!

  21. URS might stand for UnReStricted but it is also a very common first name in Switzerland and is derived from the Latin word "ursus" which means "bear".

  22. You mentioned using inner tubes. So I’m assuming you were using clinchers and tubes rather than tubeless? I’m guessing that’s better for endurance distances? (I’m a rooky, so apologies in advance for the basic question. I’ve just bought a gravel bike (Giant Revolt Advanced 2, 2020) equipped with tubeless which flatted with a small side wall rip (circa 3mm) on the first ride, and I remember inner tubes which seem like a more sensible, and easier to fix option!). What are your thoughts? Cheers 🙂

  23. Nice Video. Patagonia has been on my bucket list for a while. Look forward to more footage from your South American Adventures….

  24. Is it only me, or this bike packing mini trip feels (a lot) less exciting than Morocco and Iceland? Next you guys have to ride in Namibia for a week… Breath-taking landscape, never-ending tracks and amazing wilderness.

  25. Agree with everyone saying it could be longer. The north coast 500 got around 35 minutes. I think this has so much more to offer. Liked it but just not as much as I wanted after seeing everything hyped for so long.

  26. Great video! I've built a risk management consulting business based on expeditionary methodology and have been trying to figure out how to translate those theories to a cycling platform — maybe this is it!

  27. there is a race in October that goes from Panguipulli tipo Puerto Fuy (so basically day one) and back, raced it last year and it has the most beautiful scenery you can get and a fantastic tarmac.

    Bad news for Hank, Patagonia stars way further south, even fake Patagonia starts about 250kms south.

  28. Brings back both pleasant and sad memories of several fishing trips to Chilean side of Patagonia. Great video. Thanks

  29. Awesome video
    Would love to see gcn do Lejog in the future, Britain’s most famous ride and some beautiful scenery close to home along the way

  30. So the mighty Mark Beaumont leaves Hank to walk a 'long way' with his fully loaded bike as he has the tubes (bit rude really, to leave your 'mate' without help on a long bike packing trip) and then we see poor Hank clearly looking knackered and not happy, with his sarnie in bits, poor JLW.
    Why do I get the feeling this wasn't a 'Happy and fun trip' portrayed in the video?!

  31. at 64 years old I'm doing my first adventure bike ride from Nebraska to Detroit. It's a start! This was an awesome video.

  32. 3 days!!!! What’s the point. 3 days does not make an adventure. If you are going to go all the way there please do it properly and thereby you might actually create some meaningful and interesting content. Opportunity missed.

  33. What… that was it!? The end came totally from the bushes! Obviously You didn't have a camera with You… or some weird reason made to forget filming. :/

  34. Hats off to Mark for putting up with James' half-wheeling the entire way around…probably why he kept it to just 3 days! lol!

  35. lot of potential this video, not sure it really worked! Not every video can be a blinder though, just shows how high the usual standard is

  36. Enjoyed the vid but it felt a little flat in comparison to the nc500 and Morocco bikepacking vids. Shame really as the gcn bikepacking vids are some of the channel’s best content.
    Take more time with these epics gcn… Slow down the edits and give more time for the footage to convey the majesty of the terrain and the challenges of bikepacking. I’ve had the good fortune to backpack around Patagonia and it really is breathtaking in its scale, culture and beauty. Somehow you didn’t manage to capture the character of the location as well as you did on the nc 500 and Morocco vids.
    Lastly, in my limited experience, bikepacking is rarely straight forward so it would be good to focus a bit more on the reality and practicalities of bikepacking rather than just the ride experience.
    Still the best cycling channel out there though. Keep up the good work and thanks for all the brilliant content.

  37. I could’ve watched this for an hour. It’s like the grand tour production wise. Could’ve shown so much more!! Excellent video.

  38. Mark and John, Just found your great video today and amazingly we are in Puerto Varas and about to start our two week trip north which includes part of your route. Can't wait…

  39. There is a lot of places to ride and get beautiful views. So comeback to Chile and make more video. Also you can come to try Farellones climb road. It’s hard. Thanks to come.

  40. This one didn't do it for me….I already know I'd love cycling round Patagonia, so it somehow this missed the point. Focus on the amazing place to ride maybe?

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