Check out the bikes, gearing, and equipment Shimano athletes and ambassadors will use at UNBOUND Gravel

Bike of Unbound

Gravel’s marquee event of the year brings thousands of top professionals and everyday athletes to Emporia, Kansas to take on grueling roads and unpredictable conditions of UNBOUND Gravel. Whether racing for Gravel King and Queen status at the 200-mile event, going long for the 350-mile unsupported UNBOUND XL adventure, or sharing the gravel experience and community on the 100, 50, or 25-mile courses, the weekend of racing offers something for everyone.

Lining up for UNBOUND of any distance requires planning and preparation on many levels, but none more so than for your bike and gear. Deciding on what gearing to use, what width of tires and pressure to run, how to carry enough food and water, and what tools you’ll need in case the sharp flint rocks snag your tire, it’s all part of the planning process.

With such diverse conditions, ever-changing terrain, and unexpected weather all thrown into the mix, every rider is different in their choices and gear selections. We caught up with some of Shimano’s athletes before hitting the start line at UNBOUND to talk about their gear and how they made these tough race-day decisions.

Whitney Allison – UNBOUND 200

Fort Collins, CO

Whitney Allison 2022 Bikes of Unbound

Bike: Ibis Hakka MX

Gearing: 50/34t chainrings with an 11-32 cassette

Tires: WTB Resolute 700x42c with SG2 protection

Pressure: 28 psi front, 30 psi rear

Bike setup priority: Tire choice and contact point comforts (saddle, bars, bar tape, bike fit)

Special checkpoint snacks: A Payday or two! Salty, sweet, and can't melt

Any special equipment: Chapstick with sunscreen

Post-Race Food: A Fat Tire! One and done. Good night! 

What are you most excited about for UNBOUND: Last year, I had a bunch of flats but still managed to end up fourth. I'm looking for some redemption with hopefully fewer mechanicals. 

Peter Stetina – UNBOUND 200

Northern California

Pete Stetina 2022 bikes of unbound gravel

Bike: Canyon Grizl

Gearing: 50/34t chainrings and an 11-30t cassette

Tires: IRC Boken Doublecross 700x42c 

Pressure: 30 psi

Bike setup priority: storage options and tire choice

Special checkpoint snacks: Guayaki Yerba Mate, fresh hydration packs, PBJ sandwich

Any special equipment: Nothing. As minimalist as possible while carrying enough to cover all my bases

Post-Race Food: An Athletic beer immediately at the finish line, then a traditional beer and tacos

What are you most excited about for UNBOUND: The hype of it all. The big show of gravel. 

Marley Blonsky – UNBOUND 100

Bentonville, AR

Marley Blonsky 2022 bikes of Unbound

Bike: Cannondale Topstone

Gearing: 1x11 with a 40t chainring  

Tires: Panaracer Gravel Kings 700x43c 

Pressure: 45-50 psi

Bike setup priority: Comfort over the long miles 

Special checkpoint snacks: Pickle juice and a Dr. Pepper

Any special equipment: My “With These Thighs” sticker. Reminds me that I’m capable of hard things 

Post-Race Food: Chocolate milk

What are you most excited about for UNBOUND: The start line and pushing myself both mentally and physically for 100 gravel miles

Heather Jackson – UNBOUND 200

Tucson and Bend

Heather Jackson's 2022 Bikes of Unbound

Bike: Waterfall Bank

Tires: Still deciding.

Bike setup priority: How it fits and how comfortable it is for 200 miles. Also gearing, weight, and hydration options.

Special checkpoint snacks: Pickles

Post-Race Food: Pizza and beer

What are you most excited about for UNBOUND: I'm most excited to have absolutely no pressure going into a race and to have fun and just enjoy what will be an epic adventure

Lissa Muhammad – UNBOUND 100

Lancaster, CA

2022 bikes of unbound

Bike: Cervelo Aspero 5

Gearing: 48/31t chainrings

Tires: WTB Resolute 700x42c 

Pressure: 30-35 psi

Bike setup priority: Tire size

Special checkpoint snacks: My favorite JoJe bars (white chocolate coconut blondie, espresso chocolate almond, and peanut butter chocolate chip), dried mango, and trail mix

Post-Race Food: Any and everything so long as it's vegetarian

What are you most excited about for UNBOUND: Getting back together with the Shimano Gravel Alliance crew. This will be my first Unbound so sharing the experience with them is going to be super exciting!