Ever thought of bikepacking on Electric Gravel Bike? We couldn’t get the thought out of mind after we first through our legs over an electric gravel bike. With many, many miles pedaling an analog bike with all our camping gear, the thought of having some assist made this very appealing. Lucky for us, we got two Niner RLT e9 RDO electric gravel bikes to take on an overnight trip.

The Bikes

The electric gravel bikes we rode on this trip at the Niner RLT e9 RDO. These e-gravel bikes are equipped with a 500wh battery that power the Bosch Mid drive performance speed line motor. The bikes have bosses built onto the frame to add some accessory bags or whatever accessory you think you will need. We had two different size bikes. The 56cm was completely stock as it comes from the factory with Schwalbe G-One Speed tires. The 53cm had some upgrades, most notably to Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite tires with more aggressive tread then the stock tires.

Each rider had different bike bags to use as well. The set of bags on the 53cm bike with the Ortlieb Seat-Pack and the Handlebar-Pack along with Niner bolt-on bags. The 56cm bike was outfitted with Blackburn Outpost Seat Pack, Outpost Frame Bag, Outpost Cary-all bags. Since we knew we were going to be camping somewhere with trees we opted to bring hammocks instead of tents to sleep in. This saves space and weight as tents can be bulky. Each of these bag set ups held all the camping gear and food that we needed for an overnight trip with ease.

Dusten’s Kit

Samson’s Kit

The Route

The route we chose for this electric gravel bikepacking trip was through some National Forest land to an area with a few lakes. We pre-routed the directions and loaded them to a Garmin Edge computer. This way we could a good idea of the mileage we would be covering and estimate what our range of the batteries would be.

The ride started with 8 miles of road riding before getting to the gravel road. This was helpful so we could get used to the handling of the bike with the added weight. With the bike off, you noticed the weight right away. Just having the bike in Eco mode gave some sweet relief and we could average around 15mph with ease. From past experienced on an analog bike with similar grade, our speed would have been closer to 12mph.

When we hit the gravel is when the fun started. At this point we were a little under halfway to our predesignated destination and used little battery as we kept it in Eco mode on the way out. Our pace on the gravel was slower then it was on the road as it was much bumpier and looser. There was a bit more elevation to deal with as well, and in these situations we put the bikes in Tour mode to keep our pace up and get to camp before dark. At this point our bikes battery meter had dropped one bar out of five. On the bigger downhills we could turn our bikes off and cruise down with ease.

Since I had not ridden this exact bike before I had a bit of range anxiety going into this route. I was definitely a bit more conscious of when I would go into Tour mode and would turn off the bike when possible. Dusten on the other hand did not feel the range anxiety and put the bike in Tour a little more often. The bikes handled well on the gravel road. The 53cm bike I was riding with the knobbier tires definitely had some more grip on the looser stuff compared to the stock tires on the 56cm Dusten was riding.

At about mile 19 we arrived in the area as the sun was touching the mountains and it was time to look for a spot to camp. A few of the spots we rode by were occupied so we had a little searching to do before finding a place of our own. After our third attempt we got lucky with a beautiful spot right next to a lake with plenty of trees for us to hang our hammocks up on.

After a nice refreshing swim in the lake we made our camp dinners and enjoyed a very clear night under the stars. It always feels good eating dinner out in nature, even if it is just some dehydrated food. After a “grueling” ride out it still felt great to get into our hammocks and get some sleep in the cool of the night.

The morning came quickly and we were happy to see our bikes weren’t ridden away by any raccoons. Coffee was had and breakfast was made and we packed up our bikes to get ready to do the 20 mile ride back to town. Unfortunately my bike did not magically get charged overnight and we were at three out of 5 bars on the battery read out. That didn’t help my range anxiety, but Dusten was not phased. Both of our computers read over 25 miles on range estimation in Eco so if we took it mellow it would be good.

Our ride back was more downhill than uphill as well. It also also helped that we knew the terrain going back. On the downhills we could turn our bikes off and still be cruising at a nice pace. The bikes did really well on the flatter gravel roads and rolled nicely with the weight. The added weight from the bags was mostly felt on the uphill portions or when the road got really loose.

When we arrived where the gravel meets the road we had plenty of battery left for the concrete road back into town. This brought me plenty of relief and excitement. Riding on the concrete compared to the gravel road really was like riding on a cloud. The bumps of the gravel do take a toll after a while and the concrete was fast and smooth. With the added weight of the bikes these downhills on the concrete enabled us to cruise with the bikes off over 20 mph, and when a rolling hill came we could put the bikes in Sport mode and stay over 20mph with ease.

In the end we road 40 miles fully loaded with gear for a bikepacking trip. We still had one bar left on the battery read out so we could have easily gone a bit further if we were more conservative in the end. As we waited for our nice warm, fresh made food not from a bag, we debriefed on an awesome trip and are scheming new areas to go explore with these electric gravel bikes. First electric grave bikepacking trip was a success, and now we know it is totally possible and totally fun.