The Apocalypse Machine (29+)


The apocalypse machine

A friend of mine lovingly refers to my expedition touring rig as 'The Apocalypse Machine'. It's a reasonable name for this big-wheeled titanium 29+ monster set up for the back end of beyond. The frame is a Muru Cycles Mungo with a titanium thru-axle fork. Shifting is handled inside an internally-geared Rohloff Speedhub (since I'm rubbish at fixing things), and the tyres are 29 x 3.0 rubber set up tubeless (because I like being able to monster truck over basically anything). 

Cycle touring of course, brings a lot of orthodoxy with it: 26-inch wheels are best; you should have rim brakes; you need a Rohloff; you absolutely do NOT want a Rohloff; steel is real; etc. But like anything else, all these choices are a matter of personal preference. Sure, a transcontinental route means inevitable long stretches of pavement, and monster truck tyres are indeed slower than skinny ones. I'm totally uninterested in setting world speed records, though, or smashing out 200km days. What's important to me is having a ride that's both very comfortable and very capable. I might be a tiny bit slower on the roads, sure, but what I love is that the Apocalypse Machine takes rough tracks that are a terrible slog on other bikes and makes them fun, and takes gnarly tracks that are impossible on other bikes and makes them possible. Going off-piste is where all the memorable stuff happens anyway.

So: this is my idiosyncratic setup. Feel free to use it as a starting point for thinking about your own bikepacking / dirt road / expedition touring machine. Or don't. Bike activity X doesn't *have* to look like anything. It can look however you want it to look. My handlebars, for example, look like a candelabra. I am totally okay with this.


Mungo Ti Trail 29+


Mungo Ti Trail 15mm Thru-Axle


Jones Loop 710 (aluminium)


Muru Telegraph Post Ti (31.6mm)

Bar Ends

Profile Briefs




WTB Scraper i45, 29”, 32 hole

Front hub

SP PD8X dynamo

Spokes / Nipples

DT Competition / brass nipples


Maxxis Chronicle 29x3.0 TR/EXO (run tubeless)

Rear derailleur / hub

Rohloff 500/14 Speedhub disc 32h (external mech)

Bottom Bracket

Chris King Outboard 24 threaded - stainless bearings


Izumi Singlespeed

Crankset / Chainring

Shimano Zee 36t


Truvativ Stylo T20

Grips / Shifter

Ergon GP1 / Rohloff shifter


Cane Creek 40


DMR V12 platform

Brakes / levers

Avid BB7 Mechanical Disc / Avid Speed Dial 7 levers

Brake rotors

Avid Cleansweep 180mm front / Rohloff 160mm rear


Selle Anatomica Watershed X

Rear Rack

Surly Rear Rack

Front Light

Supernova E3 Pro 2 (dynamo)

Rear Light

Supernova E3 Tail Light 2

USB Charger

Sinewave Revolution