16 January of 2020 I’m going to Chile for my next solo bicycle expedition. My main goal is to break the world record of the highest altitude reached on a bicycle. Currently it is 6233 m reached by Guido Kunze, an ultra athlete from Mühlhausen in central Germany. I am planning to ride 2000 km by Atacama desert in Chile and climb several volcanos on my bicycle. I am going to start at the sea level, and my minimum plan is to reach 6000m by bicycle. It will be difficult because of the altitude sickness, rough terrain and the possibility of snow.
For a long time I wondered what bike to choose for Kross The Record expedition. In addition to the problem of a small amount of air at an altitude of 6000 m, the biggest problem will be tire grip. In my opinion, this is the key to trying to drive on a desert and volcanic steep terrain. The wider tire I have, the better my chances will be.
The choice fell on the Smooth Trail polish manufacturer Kross. This bicycle has 27.5″ wheels and 3″ tires. This is a compromise – between the widest tire needed for the final climb and a narrower tire giving less resistance during the remaining nearly 2,000 km on the gravel and asphalt roads in Chile.
Kross became the main sponsor of the Kross The Record expedition.
Another argument in favour of that choice was my previous experience with the Kross company (I used this brand’s bikes in the Danakil desert in Ethiopia and on the high Himalayan roads in India).
A very important thing is the presence of mounting holes in the frame, thanks to which I can attach the rear rack.
The frame of this bike is also interesting – steel with classic Reynolds 853 tubes.
As standard, the bicycle is equipped with two SRAM Level hydraulic disc brakes. I will replace the front with the iconic SRAM mechanical Avid BB7. Why? It is certainly worse than hydraulic one, but thanks to the simplicity of its construction it is more reliable and easier to repair in field conditions.
When it comes to pedals – I usually take wide studded platforms to the desert. Clipless pedals do not work in such conditions.
As standard, the Kross Smooth Trail is equipped with a 1×11 SRAM drive. The front sprocket has 32 teeth which, in combination with 42 teeth of the rear cassette, gives me a gear ratio of 0.76. I bought a 28T sprocket which will increase the gear ratio to 0.67.
Support and sponsors
- Kross – Polish bicycle manufacturer – main sponsor. I am going to ride on a Kross Smooth Trail bicycle.
- Mole HVAC Equipment Ltd manufacturer of HVAC equipment for the Oil and Gas industry
- Skalnik – outdoor gear store
- Cumulus – manufacturer of down sleeping bags and outdoor accessories
- SPOT X™ – 2-way satellite messenger with Bluetooth
- Insurance „Bezpieczny Powrót”
- Hama – manufacturer of electronic accessories
- ZadbanyRower.pl – bicycle inspections for company employees
- Media patronage: National Geographic Traveler