There are as many options of bikes that you can use for bikepacking as the market itself offers. You can choose between a fully rigid bike, a hardtail with a front suspension, or a full suspension.

We set the limits. With each of the three options, it would be possible to enjoy a full-fledged backpack-era outing. However, one of them, in particular, will be more suited to the needs demanded by both the rider and the environment where you are going to ride, among others. The final decision will depend on where, for how long, what type of adventure, and the season or seasons of the year in which we will use the bike more.

Bikepacking with fully rigid bikes
A bike with a rigid fork is often the preferred choice of many people looking for a bike for their bikepacking adventures. One of the main reasons is that they tend to have a higher load capacity and are generally the lighter alternative.

As we talked about in the article on how to choose a bikepacking bike, bikes specially designed for adventure are made of resistant materials that absorb vibrations and impact the road very well.

Also, their forks come standard with eyelets for mounting accessories such as cargo cages to place watertight bags, hold water bottles, or anything we need like the tent or mat, among others.

If you are one of those who are going to ride on various types of terrain, whether dirt, asphalt, gravel, mud without much technical complication, the fully rigid bike is a good choice. It will serve you to enjoy bikepacking from a weekend to a long trip.

If the road is busy there is always the possibility of using larger tires. In my experience, adding tires larger than 2.5" provides enough ballast and absorbs terrain impacts very well.

Another advantage of using a rigid fork is that you save the possible mechanical problems and maintenance of the suspension. In addition, the bike is relatively cheaper and lighter than its suspension counterpart.

On the other hand, using a fully rigid bike penalizes performance on technical trails. Moreover, under certain conditions, daily use during a long trip could cause wrist, hand or back pain.

Advantages and disadvantages of rigid bikes for bikepacking


Rigid bikepacking forks include eyelets for mounting accessories.
Are usually lighter than suspension bikes
Require less maintenance
Are more economical
They usually have a higher load capacity
It is possible to add rear and/or front racks

Poor performance on more technical trails
The bike suffers all the impacts when descending
Vibrations from the terrain can affect our back or wrists
Less comfortable when descending steep trails

Fully rigid bikes are ideal for trips where you will face mixed terrain, ranging from paved roads, gravel roads, and moderately technical trails.

Bikepacking with hardtail bikes
In this case, we refer to bikes that have a rigid frame with front suspension. When it comes to bikepacking, the front suspension is a safe hybrid option for all types of adventures in general. From paved sections to gravel trails, to more technical sections, it will allow us to continue to enjoy every ride, uphill and downhill.

Most of today's suspension forks offer the possibility of a lockout. So, depending on the trail conditions, we can opt for a rigid fork or a suspension fork. For example, uphill you can lock it out and unlock it on an off-road descent for greater enjoyment.

In more technical sections such as narrow trails or steep forests, it will behave well and make you enjoy every moment. As with rigid forks, it is possible to use wider tires to improve traction in loose or technical terrain.

Keep in mind that the suspension will add - depending on the model - up to a little more than a kilo of weight to the bike. In addition, this type of fork does not have eyelets for attaching accessories to it, as is the case with rigid forks. Of course, it will still be possible to mount accessories using clamps or some specialized attachment.

Finally, a little more attention should be paid to the maintenance of the fork: air pressure (if it is pneumatic), interior cleaning... which will require more frequent visits to the workshop, thus adding an additional cost in the revision of the fork.

Advantages and disadvantages of bikepacking hardtail bikes

Performs well on gravel and more technical trails
Absorbs shocks better, especially on downhills
Has a suspension lockout system
Cheaper than full suspension

Generally heavier than a fully rigid bike
Climbs can become heavier
More maintenance
Generally more expensive than a rigid suspension bike
More difficult to add cages and/or a front rack
They are ideal for bikepacking outings with a focus on touring remote places where technical trails predominate.

Bikepacking with a full-suspension bike
A full-suspension bikepacking bike is the least used among adventurers on wheels, although in certain situations it makes a lot of sense.

If you are looking for very technical trails and routes, full suspension is a very good option. However, you will have to take into account two very important determinants: the difficulty of adding a frame bag and, in some cases, not even a water bottle. This could be compensated by carrying a backpack distributing the weight of our luggage in an equal way so as not to suffer more than necessary, especially when climbing.

On the other hand, the additional weight of both suspensions would make the bike weigh a little more than you would like. In case you want to enjoy a few nights of adventure with a full suspension, it is possible to get rid of the tent and bivouac or sleep in a free shelter, for example.

This way you will compensate the weight and give priority to the enjoyment of good off-road descent. Remember also that it is heavier than the previous options and that it requires mechanical maintenance every so often.

Advantages and disadvantages of full-suspension bikes for bikepacking

The locking system of both suspensions for climbs.
Performs very well on downhills and technical terrain
Maximum shock absorption


High price
Difficult to add a water bottle and frame bag
It is the heaviest of the three options
Greater effort on asphalt
Frequent maintenance

They are ideal for short bikepacking adventures, very light, and focused on descents on technical and remote terrain. Perhaps it is the least chosen option, but on certain occasions, it could make a lot of sense.

Which option is best for you
Now that we have the main advantages and disadvantages of each of the alternatives for a bikepacking trip, it is time to be realistic and objective.

There is no such thing as the perfect bike or the perfect suspension for bikepacking. And, once again, we have to be creative and think about what kind of terrain we are going to prioritize and what kind of adventure we want to enjoy. The terrain will be one of the most important factors to take into account for your choice.

Secondly, the characteristics of your next trip will determine the camping equipment you will need, the type of clothing, and even the photographic equipment you will want to bring. All these decisions are directly related to the volume and weight you will need to pack.

Now you should know which is the best type of bike for you, now all you have to do is choose best spin bike under 500 so that you achieve enough resistance before venturing out on a long bike trip

Author's Bio: