Josh Kato’s 2016 Tour Divide Rig: A Cutthroat Gear List

Last year, Josh Kato hauled 48 pounds (21.8kg) worth of kit on his record breaking Tour Divide. This year, he dropped the total gear weight by 11 pounds (5kg). Will it help him break last year’s record? We’ll have to wait until Friday to follow along. Here’s Josh’s full kit, down to the sawed off toothbrush.

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Words and photos by Josh Kato

As I prepare for the 2016 Tour Divide I recall my previous kits. My kit from 2015 has been out there for others to see. It’s a kit that works for racing the Divide… but ultra-light it isn’t. Not by bikepack ultra racing standards anyhow. Some might even consider it closer to a full dirt touring kit. I am a tourer at heart after all. In 2014 my kit was even heavier. I don’t have a full list of that gear online… it would require too much server space to be listed out fully. My 2015 kit was around 48 pounds with no food or water. In my ill fated 2014 Tour Divide attempt, my titanium Fargo was northward of 50 pounds sans water and food.

Regardless, both years I felt very strong. Did the heavy kits slow me down at all? That is a debatable subject. Piece of mind goes a long ways on the Divide. I do believe we all spend a whole lot of time and money trying to shave ounces here and there. We perseverate on every little decision—but that is part of the journey that is the Tour Divide. However, I can assure you that it is possible to do well in the Divide with a rather portly setup.

Josh Kato's Tour Divide Salsa Cutthroat and gear list

For 2016 I wanted to change things up. Not that my kit from 2015 didn’t work. It is the kit that I took to Antelope Wells and I was happy to have every piece with me. But I’m not getting any younger, my knees don’t ache any less, and my achilles aren’t getting any stronger. For 2016 I wanted light yet comfortable. I hoped to shave at least 5 pounds from last year.

Below is a quickly compiled list of my current kit. My bike and all gear weighs in right about 37 pounds without food or water (also excluding what I will wear consistently: jersey, shorts, shoes, riding socks, helmet and sunglasses). This time I have a fair amount of extra space to stuff items as needed. Namely donuts, gummy bears, pie and gargantuan cinnamon rolls.

Will this new, leaner kit make me faster? No way! A bike cannot ride itself. The rider must be ready and willing. Fitness, psychology, planning, weather and luck all play much larger rolls in finishing the Divide than the lightest, leanest most aero kit. I suppose we shall soon see if my body and mind are ready for the task. I’m still not out there to beat anyone or to prove anything. I’ll still be out there trying to go from point A to point B as fast as possible and still have fun. Perhaps I’m willing to travel lighter, maybe riskier, than previous years because I’ve finished this beast of a race. That was always the goal. To finish. Now I just get to try and go fast!

Josh Kato's Tour Divide Salsa Cutthroat and gear list

  • Josh Kato's Tour Divide Salsa Cutthroat
  • Josh Kato's Tour Divide Salsa Cutthroat

The New 2016 Salsa Cutthroat

The Salsa Cutthroat is a superb bikepack race rig. It is indeed a wholly different bike than the Fargo. Of course moving from the Fargo to the Cutty was a fluid transition as both are built around drop bars and an ever so familiar and comfy cockpit geometry. I liken my Fargo to a turbocharged diesel pick-up truck while the Cutty is a turbocharged rally car. Nimble, fast and fully capable. The VRS (Vibration Reduction System) seat stays on the Cutthroat tame rough roads quite nicely. Dare I say even better than my ti frame. The main triangle of my small Cutty frame also holds a bigger frame bag that would fit in a medium sized Fargo frame. More room! A great benefit for us shorter riders. However, the downtube bottle cage mount does not provide as much clearance. My Fargo will take a liter bottle whereas to fit a 24oz bottle on my Cutthroat I had to modify a bottle cage with additional mounting holes for the bottle to clear the front tire. Especially important when using a suspension fork.

  • FRAME: Salsa Cutthroat size small
  • FORK: Lauf Trail Racer Boost
  • HEADSET: Chris King Inset
  • HANDLEBAR: Salsa Woodchipper – 46cm wide model
  • BAR TAPE: Salsa Gel Cork Tape with Fizik Under Tape Gel pads
  • STEM: Thomson X4 10 degree/70mm
  • BRAKES: TRP Spyre
  • BRAKE ROTORS: Avid Centerline 180mm front, 160mm rear
  • SHIFT LEVERS: 10 speed Microsoft BS-M10 bar-end
  • AERO BARS: Syntace C3
  • AERO BAR ACCESSORY: Profile Designs UCM computer mount
  • CABLES/HOUSING: Jagwire Road
  • CABLE ACCESSORY: SRAM Rocket barrel adjust at each derailleur
  • FRONT DERAILLEUR: Shimano XTR FD-M986 direct mount
  • CRANKSET: Shimano XTR Trail FC-M980 – double 26/38 rings
  • BOTTOM BRACKET: Hope Press Fit
  • CASSETTE: Shimano XTR 10 speed 11-36
  • CHAIN: KMC X10 Gold
  • PEDALS: Speedplay Frog – titanium axles
  • SEATPOST: Syntax P6 Hiflex Carbon
  • SADDLE: WTB Pure V – cro-mo rails
  • SEATPOST BINDER: Salsa Lip-Lock
  • HUBS: SRAM X0 rear Schmidt SON 110 front (32 hole)
  • RIMS: WTB KOM i23
  • SPOKES: Sapim CX-Ray bladed
  • NIPPLES: DT alloy
  • RIM STRIPS: WTB TCS covered with 1″ Gorrilla Tape
  • SEALANT: Stand Race Sealant- about 100ml per tire
  • TIRES: Vittoria Mezcal G+ 2.1
  • VALVE STEMS: WTB TCS aluminum
  • WATER BOTTLE CAGE: Portland Design Works the Bird cage*
  • WATER BOTTLE: Salsa 24 oz
  • ACCESSORY: Rubber Ducky (named Hank) zipped tied to my aero bar
  • ACCESSORY: MTB Cast sticker on my aero bar

*Modified with new bolt holes to mount lower on underside of downtube to accommodate Lauf suspension fork.

Josh Kato's Tour Divide Salsa Cutthroat and gear list

The Lauf Trail Racer Suspension Fork

Last year I was pretty danged comfy with my drop bars outfitted with gel inserts under plush bar tape. However, my pinkies were numb 5 months post-Divide and I now occasionally get some arm numbness when the going gets rough.

Enter the Lauf Fork. I wanted some extra cush to the front. I’ve always felt traditional suspension forks aren’t well suited for gravel roads. They just don’t react to washboards very well. I had heard of Lauf forks and thought they might be perfect for the Divide. They were kind enough to provide me with a fork for this year’s Divide.

The Lauf Trail Racer has completely changed how I feel (and what I feel) about washboarded roads. The fork is super supple over Divide-like terrain. I don’t cringe at washboard. My arms don’t go numb on rough sections. My hands are happier and I notice significantly less fatigue in my upper body over the course of a day on rough roads. The Lauf fork complements the vibration reduction system of the Cutthroat frame superbly. Moreover, it’s not much heavier than the stock Cutthroat carbon fork and requires zero maintenance like a standard suspension fork.

Josh Kato's Tour Divide Salsa Cutthroat

Bag system

  • Frame Pack Salsa branded Revelate made Frame bag
  • Seat Pack Ortlieb Seat Pack
  • Top Tube Bag JPaks Farva pack top tube bag
  • Stem Bag Revelate Mountain Feed Bag x2
  • Handlebar Pack A simple dry bag held in place with 2 straps wrapped around the bar
  • Accessory Revelate Pocket (small) strapped to front of dry bag
  • Backpack Mammut MTR 201 10+2 backpack (likely to be stowed in my seat bag until needed)

Josh Kato's Tour Divide Salsa Cutthroat and gear list

Sleep system

  • Sleeping Bag Western Mountaineering HiLite 35 degree
  • Sleeping Pad Klymit X-Frame sleeping pad (I may substitute with small piece of foam)
  • Shelter Montbell Breeze Dry-Tec U.L. Sleeping Bag Cover
  • Additional Space Blanket for ground sheet/extra weather protection


  • Rain Jacket Outdoor Research Helium 2
  • Rain Pants Outdoor Research Helium
  • Vest Pearl Izumi Pro Barrier Lite Vest
  • Gloves Pearl Izumi Pro Softshell Lite gloves
  • Gloves Pearl Izumi Divide gloves
  • Gloves OutDoor Research Revel Shell Mitts
  • Arm & Leg Warmers Pearl Izumi Pro Barrier
  • Hat Arcteryx Phase AR Beanie
  • Extra Buff
  • Extra Pearl Izumi Sun Sleeves
  • Shoes Pearl Izumi X-Project 1.0 Shoes
  • Socks Swiftwick Aspire 7 socks
  • Socks Drymax Cold Weather running socks
  • Socks NRS HydroSkin 0.5 Wetsocks
  • Shorts Sugoi RS Pro Shorts
  • Shirt Novara Jersey
  • Helmet Bell Star Pro Helmet
  • Shades Julbo Zebra Race 2.0 glasses
  • Down Jacket Montbell Ex-Light Down Anorak
  • Accessory Timex wrist watch
  • Josh Kato's Tour Divide Salsa Cutthroat and gear list
  • Josh Kato's Tour Divide Salsa Cutthroat and gear list

Kit Gear

  • Light K-Lite Bikepacker PRO front light
  • Charger Sinewave Revolution Charger
  • Wiring K-Lite simple bar switch wired for light and charger
  • Headlamp Black Diamond ReVolt headlamp
  • Taillight Blackburn Mars 4.0 taillight
  • SPOT SPOT Tracker Gen3
  • GPS Garmin eTrex 30 GPS
  • Water Purification Sawyer Mini water filter / MSR aquatabs
  • Camera Canon G9X camera
  • Tunes iPod Shuffle
  • Security Bike lock
  • Batteries AAA batteries x6 (for SPOT & taillight); AA batteries x6 (for GPS)
  • Phone iPhone 5s
  • Toiletry Kit Toothbrush (cut down), Wet wipes, Hand sanitizer, etc.
  • Butt kit Clotrimazole cream, A&D ointment, benzoyl peroxide cream
  • Josh Kato's Tour Divide Salsa Cutthroat and gear list
  • Josh Kato's Tour Divide Salsa Cutthroat and gear list

Maintenance, Tools, and Repair Kit

  • Lube ProGold Xtreme chain lube (3oz)
  • Chain Park GSC-1 cleaning brush
  • Chain Fleece chain rag
  • Chain KMC quick links x3
  • Tire Repair Glue patches
  • Tire Repair Park sidewall boots
  • Tire Repair Hutchison tubeless tire repair kit
  • Tire Repair Stans sealant (30ml)
  • Tire Repair Dental Floss and needle
  • Tire Repair Schwalbe SV19a tubes x2
  • Parts Brake pads x2
  • Parts Derailleur hanger
  • Parts Homemade bladed spoke holder (to true/replace spokes)
  • Bottom Bracket Tool Shimano TLFC16
  • Multi-tool Crank brothers M17 multi-tool (8mm hex and Phillips head tools removed)
  • Tool Leatherman Squirt PS4
  • Parts Sapim CX-Ray spare spoke
  • Parts DT alloy nipple
  • Josh Kato's Tour Divide Salsa Cutthroat and gear list
  • Josh Kato's Tour Divide Salsa Cutthroat and gear list

Full disclosure. The Ortlieb seatbag, Salsa Cutthroat, Lauf fork and K-Lite dynamo system were provided at no charge.

  • Josh is a nurse. Great to see that he does not use the Neosporin antibiotic in his kit, given the problems out there now with resistance. That’s a light rig. 21.8kgs is where I always end up too! Its gonna be one hell of an event this year. Cant wait.

  • Yeah, Gin is as well. Note what she noted on this post she put together last year: … I should probably have her readdress that.

  • Killian

    That’s a big old tob tube bag. Damn!

  • Smithhammer

    “A simple dry bag held in place with 2 straps wrapped around the bar

    This. For all the fancy handlebar systems out there, I still find that keeping my handlebar minimal, and using a dry bag with a couple Titan straps is the way to go. Simple, cheap and just as stable as anything else.

  • Wow, you are right. Did you notice that “Microsoft” are now into bar-end shifters ; )

  • Twice as aero as what he had last year as well.

  • Peter

    Thanks for the great write up and all the best this year

  • mikeetheviking

    What’s up with the no neosporin?

  • mikeetheviking

    Perfect fork choice Josh! GO GET EM!

  • Antibiotic resistance has been in the news alot recently. “Concern exists that the use of Neosporin contributes to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In the US, the only large market for Neosporin, the ointment may promote the prevalence of MRSA bacteria,[8] specifically the highly lethal ST8:USA300 strain.[9] Neosporin has been shown to cause contact dermatitis[10] in some cases, and may contribute to antibiotic resistance.[11][12]”

  • mikeetheviking

    Learned something new today… Thanks Jeff!

  • Bahama Longbottom

    What about food? No stove setup?

  • Sean Parchem

    Bahama, I have never personally done “the Divide” but know many who have and one that is doing her first this year (GO Jan!) My impression is there are multiple points along the route to grab “snaks/cinnamon rolls/cheese burgers” if you need 3 or 4 of them. I don’t think many carry a stove…… And carrying said food items for a few days isn’t uncommon.

  • No duct tape?

  • So, do we no use it and also not use any replacement for it? How do we combat infection? Really asking.

  • Prevention. Personally, I take two pair of lightweight shorts with differing chamois profiles, spend 10 mins a day washing them. Strap to outside of bag to dry the next day. Clean up at night with antibacterial soap and or baby wipes. Take anti-biotic cream if you must, but don’t use it as a preventitive. You cant even buy it without a prescription in many countries, for good reason. Everyone has a different regime.

  • Mike Tatreau

    Awesome setup. I can’t wait to hear how the fork performed after the race.

  • Tyler Curtis

    What Ortlieb bar bag is featured in some of these pictures?

  • Bill Shockley

    Being a nurse myself I’d recommend Iodine.

    If that fails and you get a bone infection consider a hot poker with a Clorox cleanup followed by sunshine and outside air.

    You think I’m kidding but I absolutely am not.

  • disqus_cA1AFdaZOS

    Seems like there’s no time for cooking.

  • JKato

    Mike, the fork was AWESOME! I had been quite impressed with it during my training but having it out on the Divide really allowed me to compare it to my previous fork (Niner Carbon). The Lauf was fabulous! Really added a degree of comfort and control to the bike that I will likely not trade out on future Divide runs. I only wish I could have taken it all the way to the Mexican border.

  • JKato

    That is the Ortlieb accessory pack

  • Greg

    Hey Josh, how did you like the gearing? I’m building up a Fargo Ti now for the TD next year. I am agonizing over the drivetrain. 3 x9, 2 x 10, or 2 x 11, any advice?

  • Mike Tatreau

    I would have loved for you to have taken it to the Mexican border as well. I have to admit that I was a bit shocked, and a little heartbroken when I saw that you had scratched. But I’m sure it was a lot harder on you. I hope you’re doing well.

  • J Kato

    Greg, I have extensively used 3×9, 2×10 and 1×11. For bikepacking I do prefer the 2×10 or 3×9. I have yet to use 2×11 as I have a stockpile of 2×10 and 3×9 to go through. I’m sure the 2×11 stuff is great but it is more expensive than 2×10. For that simple reason I’d suggest 2×10. It’s cheaper than 2×11 and currently easier to find than good 3×9. All three systems you are contemplating have great gearing range abilities and don’t think you could go wrong with any of them.

  • Kevin Betters

    I’ll be picking up a Cutthroat this winter and at 5’8″ I could go with a small or medium. I’m curious what made you drop to a small Cutthroat since you rode a medium Fargo? Geo difference, different fit … or did you simply want a smaller bike? Thanks for any feedback!

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