Warrior's Wheels: Mick Sudano's Salsa Blackborow



For off-grid, multi-day bikepacking expedition rides I deploy a Salsa Blackborow GX Eagle in a burnt orange color that fellow Texan's will either love or hate. After a few trips to Big Bend on other bikes I gained a deep appreciation for stability, traction, and the capability to carry massive amounts of gear (water). It has the stock Maxxis Minion tires in a 27.5 x 3.8 shoe size that are set up tubeless. I typically run it rackless unless I'm deliberately trying to carry a suitcase of brew. The main thing that attracted me to this rarely seen wildebeest is the extra storage options. I was tired of spending hours trying different configurations of gear and bags, then moving the gear, or the bags, due to them not fitting where I was hoping they would. Since I do most of my bikepacking in Southwest Texas and New Mexico, I have to battle sand and dehydration as the typical 2 biggest nemesis. This bike seemed to be a solution for both.


Most of it is the stock setup with the exception of the Surly Moloko bar, Ergon cork grips, and the Selle Anatomica X saddle.

The stock drivetrain is incredibly capable with a 10-50t rear and a single 30t in the front. It's not a speed machine. It's more like that jacked up Hummer with a bed full camping gear. At first glance it would seem heavy but with an aluminum frame and carbon fork, it actually weighs in at 30 lbs without the rack and setup tubeless. Compare that to a Trek Stache or a Specialized Fuze both coming at 29 lbs each.


As shown - the bags and basic gear I run are as follows...

Revelate Designs Ranger Frame Bag

Revelate Designs Mag Tank and Jerrycan

Revelate Designs Terrapin System Seat bag

Salsa EXP Series Cradle, Dry Bag, and Front Pouch

2 cheap online military style water bottle bags (on front forks)

2 KleanKanteen 64 oz. Stainless bottles + 2 standard water bottles and a Nalgene

2 Salsa Anything Cages

2 Blackburn Outpost Cargo Cages


I have been putting the tent in the EXP drybag on the bars. My sleeping bag is pretty light so that goes (usually the only thing ) in my backpack - although I can fit it behind the seat in a compression sack if I don't want to carry anything on my back. The seat bag holds the sleeping pad and clothing. Spare tube goes in the jerrycan and misc small items in the magtank.

The green military bags on the front forks hold a 1 liter Nalgene in one and a Jetboil in the other. I like these particular bags since they have an additional small pouch on the outside just big enough for the repair kit on one side and the first aid kit on the other. The Moloko bar gives me tons of options for hand positions, GPS, SPOT Beacon, and a light. That leaves the entire frame bag open for food and other small items not mentioned.


This setup was the result of many trips, trial and error, and a constant obsession with tweaking the gear but it seems to finally be dialed in.






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