In Search of Singletrack in the Alps

In the summer 2000 we bet on mountain biking in the European Alps and found that there was little information available in English. The information we could find was in local languages, German, Italian and French. Our notes here are far from a MTB-guide for the Alps but will at least provide some of the answers we would have liked to have had before we set out.

We flew from Stockholm to Geneva. Then we biked along the southern shore of Lac Leman, crossed Pass des Morgines, headed up the Rhone valley, and made a side trip to Zermatt. Then, we continued to Brigg, Davos, St Moritz, Livigno, Canazei, and Cortina. From Cortina we headed south to Lago di Garda. Reaching the Plains of Po approaching Milan we spontaneously decided to take a train to San Reno, and continue from there to Monaco, Nice and up through the mountains to Chamonix, ultimately heading back to Geneva for our return flight to Sweden. There are plenty of excellent reports on cycling along these roads, particularly on the Trento Bike Pages, and we feel we have little to contribute. Instead these pages are focused on the possibilities of single track riding.

As on our journey through Himalachal Pradesh and Ladakh we used our Crescent Ultima bikes, though we changed quite a few components. The bikes had the following setup: Headset FSA Orbit Xtreme, stems and bars were Kore items, bar ends Profile, saddles Avocet Air Titanium, and the drive train a mix of XT and XTR components. Front deraileur XT, 22,32,44, back deraileur XTR, cassette XT 11-34, Sachs power chain, bottom bracket UN72. Shocks were Manitou SXRs with lock out option. Back wheels were Mavic 517 ceramic rims, 32 h, DT spokes, and XTR hubs, front wheels Bontrager Race Lite ceramic rims 24 h, and Chris King Hubs. Tyres were Geax for a start but we also used IRC, and a WTB on one the back wheel of one of the bikes, and can report that the knobs fell off the IRC breaking down the gnarly trails around Lago di Garda.

Our panniers were Karrimore‘s largest in the back, and one for the front hanging on the steering bar. The Karrimore panniers did not hold out well due to faulty design. Although they were never used on single track critical carrying elements slowly came apart. They were held by tubus chromoly steel pannier racks, about which we only can say good things. They are durable, take incredibly heavy loads if need be, and are so light that single track riding is not hampered at all.


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This page was mounted by Per Löwdin 2001-06-19 and last updated 2003-11-07.