Great Divide Bikes: 5 to Consider for the Trail

Great divide bike recommendations
New! Listen to This Blog Post: 5 Great Divide Bikes

It’s funny. If you complete the Great Divide, people start to think, “You must be a pretty big bike guy.”

Spoiler alert: I’m not.

There are some real gearheads out there and I definitely recommend going to your local bike shop if you want any advice on how to fix your bike. If you’ve read my exploits, you know bike repair isn’t my forte.

But, if you’re looking to buy a bike to take down the Great Divide, this post will walk you through my recommendations for this year.

The ultimate bikepacking checklist

5 Great Divide Bikes to Ride the Trail

This list mostly includes bikes that I saw on the trail and that other riders stood by. I tried to offer a range of prices as well as the pros and cons of each bike. I wish I could say these were all sponsored ads, but unfortunately, this is all just my unpaid, honest opinion.

1. Salsa Cutthroat


Call me biased, but I can only say good things about this bike. Top to bottom, it overcame every challenge this trail threw at it and I still love riding it as much as I can. It’s lightweight, moves fast, and has plenty of spots to hang gear from. Salsa designed this bike specifically for the Great Divide and I can attest it did not disappoint.


  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Super durable frame
  • Intended for bikepacking the Great Divide


  • Tough to find online or in bike shops
  • Expensive

Estimate Price: ~$3,000

2. Enigma Escape

enigma - great divide bike

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My buddy, Clemens, rode this bike and he swore by its durability and balance. He said it was his preferred bike for cruising around roads and trails in Austria and he wouldn’t have done the Great Divide without it. As far as I can see, this bike has all the bells and whistles and is a fine option if it’s within your budget.


  • Top-of-the-line bikepacking bike
  • Suitable for all terrains
  • Ideal bike for off-road racing


  • Very expensive bike
  • May take extra time to ship to U.S. customers

Estimate Price: ~$5,000

3. Salsa Fargo

salsa fargo great divide bike

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The Salsa Fargo was another fan favorite and I must have seen at least one Salsa bike each day on the trail. It’s comparable to the Cutthroat in size and durability, and its drop bars and mountain bike features make it an excellent choice for self-supported trips. If I wasn’t able to get a Cutthroat, the Fargo would have been my next option.


  • Cheaper alternative to the Cutthroat
  • Massive tire clearance
  • Alternator dropouts for adjusting drivetrain options


  • Tough to find online or in bike shops
  • Doesn’t have the cool Great Divide graphics that the Cutthroat has

Estimate Price: ~$2,600

4. BMC Twostroke 01 One

BMC - great divide bike

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This is the latest bike to win the Tour Divide race (in 2023). If you’re thinking of racing this trail, you might want to look at this bike because it is highly customizable. I’m no bike whizz but if you are, this is the perfect built-it-yourself frame for the Great Divide.


  • Highly Customizable
  • Durable, but lightweight and fast
  • Designed for steep and loose terrain


  • May not be ideal for beginner bikepackers
  • Very expensive bike

Estimate Price: ~$5000

5. Surly Bridge Club

surly bridge - great divide bike

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I don’t know much about this bike, but I wanted to put it on our list to show you that you can get a bike for cheaper than the cost of a used car. I’ve read all the reviews and this bike checks all the boxes for what you’re looking for on the Great Divide. It’s light, durable, and plenty of places to hang your gear.


  • Affordable bikepacking bike
  • Designed for simplicity – it offers only the most essential features


  • Not the most premier bike
  • Not very customizable

Estimate Price: ~$1500

What to Look for in a Great Divide Bike

These are just a few examples of bikes that you should consider for the trail – but they are by no means an exhaustive list. Feel free to deviate from these options and find a bike that suits your specific needs.

Overall, I would say a good Great Divide bike should offer the following:

  • Durable, lightweight frame that’s easy to carry uphill
  • Plenty of space and notches to hold gear
  • Disc brakes that are reliable and well-tuned
  • A very comfortable bike seat
  • Mountain-bike tires that are designed for gravel and loose-terrain
  • Drop bars for resting your arms on long trips

Aside from that, pick one that’s in your budget. Try not skimp because your bike will be your only lifeline when you’re 100 miles from civilization in all directions.

Other than that, treat it like a trusty steed, and it’ll carry you the distance.

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