Rider and Rig: Zach Shriver’s Trek Stache + CT packlist

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We take a look at Zach Shriver’s all carbon, 29+ trail slayer, the Trek Stache 9.8. We also hear about how it was set up for bikepacking the Colorado Trail, as well as exactly what gear Zach carried. It’s a great checklist for anyone planning to undertake this beautiful, challenging journey.

Jackson-born Zach Shriver is a firefighter who works in Los Alamos, Santa Fe. In a former life, Zach was a pro mtb racer based in Durango. Over the years, he’s represented the Rockshox Devo Team and been a member of the US National MTB team, racing internationally. These days, Zach gravites towards the adventurous side of mountain biking, where he puts his skillset as both an incredibly strong rider and his mountain experience to great use; along the way, he also spent a couple of years fighting wildfires with the Hotshots, so is no stranger to minimal camping and spending time in remote areas. In fact, Zach grew up backpacking with his family since the tender age of three!

When it comes to mountain biking, Zach is a precision instrument. His cadence never fluctuates and fitness and his bike handling skills never fail to humble and inspire me – he regularly cleans sections of trails that I didn’t imagine could be ridden, with or without bikepacking gear. Having recently moved from a full suspension rig to a more bikepacking-friendly hardtail, his choice of bike is a clue to his racing background – a full carbon, lightweight setup – and his considered gearlist is well honed from years of backpacking. It makes a great template for what to carry on the Colorado Trail, a balance that reflects his desire to enjoy its incredible, technical trails to the maximum, while still carrying everything required for a complete, relaxing, backcountry experience.

  • Trek Stache carbon 29+
  • Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig
  • Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig
  • Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig

Trek Stache 9.8

The 9.8 is Trek’s top level Stache and comes with all the carbon trimmings. It features a revised geometry for 2017 with even shorter chainstays than before, thanks to both Boost spacing and its now classic elevated driveside chainstay.The stock bike is built with 29+ tires and a carbon wheelset, but you can also fit 27.5+ and 29er tires; the Stranglehold adjustable thru axle allows chainstay length to be adjusted.

For the Colorado Trail, Zach swapped out the Bontrager Drop Line 125 for a rigid carbon one, in the interests of reliability and so a standard seat pack could be used. The 30T chainring was also swapped out for a 28T, given the load carried, the distance covered, and Colorado’s unforgiving topography. In hindsight, Zach says he’d definitely have preferred a 26T chainring to help tackle some of the trail’s steeper climbs, as well as allowing for some respite during the inevitable afternoon fatigue. At the other end of the scale, spinning out in the high gears was rarely an issue. For this trip, Zach kept to the stock tires as they’re grippy and fast rolling. They held out well during the course of the ride.

Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig

  • Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig
  • Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig
  • Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig
  • Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig
  • Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig

Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig

Bike Build

  • Frame: OCLV Mountain Carbon
  • Fork: RockShox Pike RC, 120mm travel
  • Headset: Integrated, cartridge bearing, sealed, 1-1/8″ top, 1.5″ bottom
  • Handlebar: Bontrager Line Pro, OCLV Carbon, 35mm, 15mm rise, 750mm width
  • Stem: Bontrager Line Pro, 35mm, 0 degree
  • Seatpost: Bontrager carbon
  • Saddle: Bontrager Montrose Elite, hollow titanium rails
  • Grips: Bontrager Race Lite, lock-on
  • Crank: Race Face Next SL Cinch Fatbike
  • Crank Arm Set: SRAM X1 Carbon, Direct Mount X-Sync
  • Pedals: Enduro-type XT (large platform)
  • Bottom Bracket: PF92
  • Chainring: 28T (though next time, a 26T)
  • Chain: SRAM PC-1110
  • Cassette: SRAM XG-1175, 10-42, 11 speed
  • Shifter: SRAM X1, 11 speed
  • Rear Derailleur: SRAM X01, Roller Bearing Clutch
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide RS hydraulic disc
  • Brake Levers: SRAM Guide
  • Rear Wheel: Bontrager Line Pro 40, OCLV Carbon
  • Front Wheel: Bontrager Line Pro 40, OCLV Carbon
  • Tires: Bontrager Chupacabra, 29×3
  • Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig
  • Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig
  • Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig
  • Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig
  • Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig

Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig

Bikepacking Bags & Packing

Zach invested in a full compliment of Revelate bags before the trip. As an experienced backcountry backpacker, we’ve listed the gear he carried and where he carried it. It makes a useful checklist for anyone aspiring to ride the Colorado Trail, or something similar. Zach carried a large, minimal, Black Diamond shelter in case of monsoon storms, which shared with another rider on the trip. But he generally slept out under the stars. Note that the flag was an addition for July 4th celebrations!

Revelate Egress Pocket

  • Cache battery
  • Cell phone cord
  • Suncreen
  • Electrolyte tabs
  • Spare standard 29er tube
  • Toiletries: Ibuprofen, Aspirin, multi vitamins, toothbrush, toothpaste, moleskin and duct tape (in case of blisters from hike-a-bikes/wet feet)
  • Various snacks eg Lara and Cliff Bars
  • Emergency iodine tabs in case Steripen fails
  • Bontrager shock pump

Revelate Sweetroll (medium)

  • Big Agnes Zirkel (20 degree bag, great design but overkill for the ride!)
  • Riding tights
  • Patagonia down puff jacket with hood
  • Bontrager warm gloves (windshell/waterproof)
  • Biemme light, thin warm hat (windstopper and warm)
  • Darn Tough wool socks (kept dry for camp)
  • Smartwool longsleeve zip top (for round camp, in case other gets wet)
  • Smartwool boxer brief
  • 2 x lighters in ziplock

Between Sweetroll and Egress Pocket

  • Patagonia shell
  • Tent pole wrapped in Tyvek ground sheet

Revelate Ranger framebag

  • Tools: chain lube, dynaplug, brake pads x1 set, SRAM quick link, spare cleat and bolts, spare derailleur cable, 3 end caps, 2 ferrel caps, tire boot, patch kit, small Stans sealant, Park multi tool, extra tire lever, mini channel lock, spare seat binder bolt
  • USB-rechargeable Steripen– NB, make sure this is the rechargeable model
  • Bontrager mini pump
  • 2nd small fuel canister
  • general heavy food
  • Sog multitool/knife (in mesh pocket)
  • ti spork (in mesh pocket)

Revelate Ranger Viscacha

  • BD Megalight tarp with stakes
  • Neo Air Thermarest
  • Patagonia lightweight rain pants
  • Jetboil pot with stove, one small small gas canister inside
  • extra food (lighterweight)
  • paracord for hanging food or emergency repairs


  • 2 x King Cage Manything Cages on fork legs with 2x 1L Nalgene bottles (small top, so they are compatible with the Steripen). These were only filled when necessary, with a further drinking bottle stored in Zach’s Rapid Pack (see below). One bottle nests around metal canteen cup, which is used for morning coffee and boiling water on fires to save fuel.
  • Mini bungee around handlebars for easy access to long-sleeve layer.

Gear worn

  • Bontrager baggy shorts and separate chamois
  • Bontrager carbon race shoes (note that a shoe or boot with a more flexible sold would have been better)
  • Darn Tough wool cycling socks
  • Bontrager full finger gloves
  • Sleeveless cotton t shirt for comfort (changed out for lightweight layer if raining
  • Bontrager road helmet (more vents and lighter)
  • Oakley glasses

Bontrager Rapid Pack (instead of backpack)

  • large water bottle used as primary drinking bottle
  • gel packs and bars in the pockets (quick food)
  • drivers license
  • credit card
  • cash
  • cell phone
  • Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig
  • Trek Stache Zach Shriver Rider Rig

Top tip for the CT – water management

Going light makes all the difference to how rideable the trail will be, how manageable the many hike-a-bikes will feel, and how much you’ll enjoy its incredible, manic descents! On the whole the route is well watered, so to save weight during the day, carry a rechargeable Steripen. This will allow you to quickly clean clear creek water along the way. Drink a bottle at each stop and refill immediately, tiding you through to the next creek. Adding some Nuun rehydration tabs occasionally really helps too. There are some sections of the ride where you’ll need more than 1-2 bottles at a time, but for the most part, this is sufficient.

  • Steripen Colorado Trail
  • Steripen Colorado Trail
  • Brian Kennelly

    Typo? No gear listed for seatbag. Was that the 2nd framebag list?

  • Cass Gilbert

    Thanks, it’s now corrected.

  • Country Above Self

    No XS option. Good thing Niner has one.

  • Cass Gilbert

    As a bikepacking rig, I think XS frames and 29+ tires tend to have clearance issues between the bags and tires. Seems it’s better to drop down to a 27.5+ wheel size to create some more space.

  • Jeremy Franz

    Good tip on the water management. For the most part, I agree, at least for ‘normal years. There are a few stretches where it would be wise to fill more than one bottle – like Taylor Lake to Straight Creek (Segments 26-27) and Baldy Lake to Marshall Pass (Segments 16-17). Definitely worth the $15 for the CT Databook.

  • Country Above Self

    Smaller bags are the solution. Never had a problem with my 29er. :)

  • Cass Gilbert

    Yes, 29ers are a bit better. 29+ starts to be a bit of a squish. There’s some small, slim bags on the market, but sometimes you need to carry a bit more gear. Personally, I think 27+ is an awesome wheel size and makes a lot of sense for bikepacking with smaller frames.

  • Cass Gilbert

    Yes, we generally carried 1-2 bottles for most stretches, and sometimes a third for drier areas. Rehydrating really well in the morning and evening makes a big difference too. The Steripen works really well for this kind of water strategy, as it’s so quick and easy compared to unpacking a squeeze/pump filter and setting it up.

  • Country Above Self

    Does a 29+ have an advantage over a 29er? Doesn’t the extra thick tires have a weight penalty? It looks effective on mud, snow and sand but does it work better on hard compact soil? Thanks.

  • Cass Gilbert

    In my experience, it’s a very different experience. Although certainly a good deal heavier, 29+ is fantastic for rolling over chunky terrain, offers superb cornering grip, and despite the extra weight, is great for climbing. 27+ has a lot of these advantages, for less of a weight penalty. It depends on the kind of riding you do – we found a hardtail setup with Plus tires ideal for the mixed terrain of the Colorado Trail. Plus wheels are pretty good for sand/arroyo riding but I actually think they’re worse in mud, as they plane over the surface rather than digging in.

  • Country Above Self

    Thanks for the tip. 27+ rides well. However, it is still slower than a 29er. And for bikepacking, I suppose one needs to cover more ground in less time?

  • Cass Gilbert

    I guess that depends on the individual! Speed isn’t my primary motivation when I’m bikepacking. I like a fun, comfortable ride, and the ability to roam across areas where smaller volume tires might struggle, or not be so enjoyable. Not to say 29in tires aren’t good too… I just prefer a larger, lower volume tire, even if it ends up being a little slower across some kinds of terrain.

  • Jeremy Franz

    I haven’t tried the Steripen – it looks like I should. The other advantage is has is working in winter when my Sawyer Squeeze would be vulnerable to freeze damage. I have seen the Steripen Ultra on Massdrop in the past… Here’s a link: http://www.massdrop.com/buy/steripen-ultrar/NNGLMU If we get enough people to request it, maybe they’ll do another group buy! Cheers!

  • Deanna Reiber

    Thanks for the gear list! I took my Trek Stache on Baja Divide in Feb-Mar, and am currently setting it up to bikepack from Tulum, Mexico through Central & South America. The Stache 29+ has been a terrific rig for riding through all variety of dirt, rocks, and sand.

  • multisportscott

    Hi, great article, thanks Cass (and Zach)!
    One question, what makes the narrow Nalgene bottles compatible with the Steripen as opposed to the wide top bottles?

  • disqus_09Ddq9XPZL
  • multisportscott

    Do you mean larger volume, lower pressure tyre Cass? Not being pedantic, just enjoying the advice so wanted to be sure of the info I’m taking in.
    Thanks, Scott

  • Cass Gilbert

    If you tip the water bottle upside down, it makes a seal around the Steripen. The widemouths work too, but you have to make sure the pen is in at the required depth.

  • Cass Gilbert

    You have a wonderful journey ahead! Enjoy!

  • Cass Gilbert

    Good point. I have a Sawyer and I always worry about that. You need to be a little careful with the Steripen, given that it’s electronic, but I’ve not had one fail so far.

    I’d recommend the USB-powered one, as they tend to burn through batteries. I borrowed a friend’s Ultra for this trip, and it worked great. In any case, always worth carrying some iodine or chlorine tabs as a backup.

  • Cass Gilbert

    Yes, thanks! (corrected)

  • Cass Gilbert

    Looks like a nice and minimal setup. You’re in for a wonderful time!

  • disqus_09Ddq9XPZL

    Yessir! I have a Stache and a Big Honzo, so it’s been difficult which hike to ride on the CT. I choose the Honzo.

  • Mark

    I spy a pair of lightweight New Balance trail shoes in the gear spread picture, did those not make the final cut?

  • Cass Gilbert

    Spotted! Indeed, they didn’t make the cut…

  • Ales

    I own a Trek Stache (size L) for my bikepacking trips. But finding a suitable size framebag has been a challenge.
    Is the Revelate ranger Framebag a standard or custom made? What size is it?
    Thanks, it would make my life a lot easier :)

  • multisportscott

    That’s an awesome tip, thanks! I’m assuming that’s the SteriPEN Ultra?

    Hi to you from the team at Ground Effect too ;-) Cheers, Scott

  • Cass Gilbert

    Yep, that’s the one. it works with the battery version too, but I much prefer the rechargeable model.

    Hi back! My trusty Tardis is returning to Peru shortly!

  • Cass Gilbert

    It’s a standard Range bag, and fits great. The sizing details are all on the Revelate site:

    Oh, and they’re on sale at the moment (-:

  • multisportscott

    Nice one, enjoy ;-)

  • Ales

    Thanks! it’s good to know the fit before ordering ;-)

  • Mike Rutledge

    Hi Guys, thanks for the review. I quite like the idea of 29+ for me at 6′ tall but wondering how they would go for my wife at 5’3? Guessing she would be on a 15.5 Stache. Your thoughts on how small frames and people go on 29+. Big plan is 5 or 6 weeks in Madagascar next year.Thanks.

  • Chris

    I’m about 5′ 7″ and ride a 15.5 Stache. She’ll probably fit but will have trouble with tire clearance for a saddlebag. Maybe look into a 27.5+ bike instead.

  • Susannah Cadwalader

    Hey Mike,
    I’m about 5’6″ and have the 17.5″ Stache. LOVE IT – it’s the most phenomenal bike and I’ve found that those huge tires are incredibly maneuverable. Have cleared sections of trail that I’d never dreamed of doing on my (now sold since didn’t ride it after buying the Stache) full suspension. It’s my everything bike: bikepacking (phenomenal), general trail riding, racing, gravel grinds. It aces it all. However, I agree with Chris that for someone shorter a 27.5+ might be a more comfortable option. That being said (and it was mentioned in this article), the Stache can also work with 27.5+ and regular old 29ers, so if versatility is of interest….

  • Mike Rutledge

    Thanks for the feedback!

  • Brianne Bernal

    I am 5’3 1/2″ and rip it on my 15.5 stache 9.6. Sweetest bike! I came from a 26″ full suspension long travel bike. I thought the giant tires would take more getting used to and I was really torn between the salsa woodsmoke 27+ and the stache. But this bike doesn’t feel huge and it easily flicks around. Now I just need to load it up and go for a bikepacking trip like I’ve been saying since I got it.

  • Nathan Johnson

    Trek sizing is hard to figure out. The carbon Stache is only made in limited sizes and the geometry is different from the aluminum version. I am curious how tall Zach is and which size he went with.

    I’m 178cm and Trek talked me out of the size 19.5 Stache 9.6. I ordered a 18.5 Stache 7 instead.

  • jdawgnoonan

    Hello, I enjoyed reading this. What size is your Stache and which size Ranger bag did you buy?

  • mebaru

    I am 176cm with regular lags (32″ inseam) ordered first 18.5 Stache and it was way too high for me, literally my balls were sitting on the frame.

  • Tuglatonic

    The 29+ platform is ideal for bikepacking. Point and shoot riding…most obstacles can be ignored and simply rolled over. See is my Stache on a recent trip into the Kopuwai high country west of Alexandra, NZ. Lot’s of rocky ground, grip hard to find.


  • Matt Crowther

    Great looking rig and excellent write up, thank you. I just bought a 2018 9.6 and am looking at putting some Race Face Next SL G4’s on it. I noticed you have the SL’s, Did you have to do anything special to get them to fit?


  • Jeff Adema

    I’m 6’1″ and got the 21.5″. Very happy with the size.

  • Alan Smith

    I bought a 2017 Stache 9.8 6 months ago. Put a Syntace P6 Hi Flex carbon seat post on it to take out a bit of the harshness from the hardtail. The slight harshness seemed like it came from the plus tires naturally being a bit bouncy and the subsequent bounce on the saddle. Worked well. Then I added a Selle Anatomica X2 saddle and both additions hit the sweet spot! Super comfortable for me and can really throw the thing around with more comfort. Rolls over anything with ease. Can’t wait to do some long distance travel with it. Fantastic bike so far! Oh, and just got an eThirteen 9-46 cassette to increase my range. My bike came setup with SRAM which the eThirteen cassette if for. I understand most Stache 9.8 come with Shimano though. Haven’t put the cassette on yet, but will update….

  • Alan Smith

    After many thorn punctures here in Africa (Botswana) – we are famous for thorns on just about all our flora it seems, I put the Maxxis Chronicles on. Fantastic! No issues with thorn penetration yet like the Chupacabras. You could look at a thorn with the thin Chupas and hear air escaping!