Four 2017 DNFA/Bikepacking Bikes Shorties can be Excited About

Shorties tend to get a lot less bike love then the average height’d, even less when it comes to what I have termed a Does Not F*ck Around Bike. You know, what you can take down a shitty middle of nowhere fire road or bad/oh so good decision single track, carrying all the stuff you need to live, without aches, not having to constantly pray that your bike doesn’t explode, or screaming “OH MY GOD I AM GOING TO DIE WHAT HAVE I DONE!” while going down a mountain at high speeds, or even going up a mountain at slow speeds. I guess the boring terms are bikepacking or adventure bike.

BUT HOLY CRAP we are getting some great new options this season and an old classic got some really nice updates.

Requirements for a DNFA Shortie Bike

  • Standover of 29″ / 736mm or lower.
  • 2.3″ / 55mm or wider tires.
  • Ability to put on a rack. While my preferred set up is bags I still want the option to put on a rack if I need. A girl needs her options.
  • Steel

New Bikes

XS Elephant NFE

Standover: 27″ / 685mm
Effective Top Tube: 20″ / 510mm
$1550 for Frame & Fork


My XS Elephant NFE before final.

Just in concept phase at the moment but my home state favorites have drafted up the geometry of an XS sized version of the extremely popular National Forest Explorer (NFE) and plan to do a SUPER small test run with an estimated ship date of July 1st. I personally have an Elephant custom CX race bike and I can attest that it is a beautiful bike with amazeballs small bike geometry. I am really looking forward to this bike and am expecting it to be light, comfortable, and super responsive.

The Good:

  • 26×2.3” wheels… maybe a bit more, instead of the 650b that the standard sizes have.
  • Ultra-light tubing since anyone who fits this will tend to have less mass/weight.
  • Braze-on’s for front rack and rear rack.
  • Low trail fork to handle wonderfully with front weight and low riders
  • While not lugged in the strict sense, the sleeve on the seat tube, brazed rings on the head tube, and wishbone seat stays give the bike some lovely classic detailing.

The Bad:

  • Waiting for it.

XS Crust Evasion Step-Through

Standover: 25″ / 635mm
Effective Top Tube: 20.5″ / 520mm
$875 Frame & Fork for current sizes. XS unknown.

Crust Bikes recently shared a pic of an XS Evasion step-through prototype on Instagram and I immediately started harassing them for more information. Matt kindly obliged and sent me a couple more pics of their other prototype. He is expecting them to get into the real world in about 6 months. Unlike the pics of the prototype they will be the same color as the other Evasions. The Evasion is billed as a randonneur bike on steroids. A dirt tourer built around squishy tractiony roll over whatever 26+ wheels. I have always thought the Evasion’s I have seen in the real world looked super punk rock (that fork!) and god knows the owners love them.

The Good:
  • XS takes 2.8″ tires.
  • Braze-one for all the front racks, rear racks, fenders, and cage types your heart could desire.
  • 25″ stand over.
  • The tubing is 28.6 for the TT diameter .8/.6/.8 wall thickness so it should be nice and light.
  • Upright geometry for comfy long saddle days.
The Bad:
  • Sigh, waiting for it.


Standover: 28.4″ / 721mm
Effective TT: 21.3″ / 540mm
Pro: $2499 Complete     Sport: $1399 Complete

Jamis has had a good response to their Dragonslayer series so they decided to expand and make a woman’s version. It’s meant to be the ultimate small bike for heavy duty adventures. What’s great about this bike is the woman’s version has absolutely no skimping on hardcore-ness.

The Good:

  • 26×3″ mid fat tires. The men’s version has 27.5″ but going 26+ for the women’s gives the improved traction and ride of fatter tires without screwing up the geometry on smaller frames.
  • Rear rack eyelets in case you want to pannier it
  • Water cage mounts in center triangle and below down tube.
  • Full cable housing guides for smooth shifting when using a frame bag.
  • 1x set up so you don’t have to deal with any pesky front derailleur issues.
  • Suspension fork for mass bumpy funsies.

The bad:

  • I am not happy that the women’s version gets the name “Dragonfly”, while the men’s name is “DragonSLAYYYEEERRR!!!!!” (said in bad ass metal voice). Can’t they call it the “Dragonslayer Femme” like they do their other women’s versions or even better yet just call it the “XS Dragonslayer 26+”?  Does it even need to be gendered?
  • The weight listed is pretty heavy BUT all the reviews of the Dragonslayer say it rides like it is much lighter. There are no reviews of the Dragonfly from people who actually rode it so you would have to go by a wing and a prayer it’s the same. Jamis, if you ever want to change this I will be happy to ride a bike around and then type words.



Standover: 28.3″ / 720mm
Effective Top Tube: 21.5″ / 545mm
$1649 Complete

While I personally am not the biggest Surly fan, I am really stoked about the changes to the 2017 Troll. My beef with Surly is they tend use the same thick tubing in the small sizes as they do their large sizes. They are heavier then they need to be for a small person and you end up dragging around a larger percentage of your weight, but the new Troll, damn it’s got features.

The Good

  • They quit with the whole suspension corrected fork thing which makes for more frame bag space.
  • You can now fit 26+ tires on it. 26×3″!!! So squishy & so much traction for that single track.
  • Comes stock with Jones Loop bars which have the rep of being the end all be all touring bars. ALL the hand positions.
  • New drop outs that can pretty much fit any sort of hub you can pull out of your butt.
  • As with the previous years you can run disk or canti and so many braze-ons. Seriously, it’s like they were gremlins that got wet and multiplied all over this bike.

The bad

  • Tubing is still kinda heavy but, might be worth it for the do-it-all ability at the price point.

Honorable mention

XS Surly ECR

Standover: 29″ / 718mm
Effective Top Tube: 22″ / 560mm

This isn’t quite what I would classify as an extra small dude but when I rode one, even though it was too big, it was super fun. It is made with 29+ wheels but by some geometry magic voodoo I did not experience any toe overlap, though I didn’t ride it that long and only turned right (don’t ask). It bounded over bumps and did not feel sluggish. It’s nice and upright which is great for long days in the saddle and making you feel like a kid. If you have a standover of more than 29″ this might be your special snowflake. Crap, I might have to change my opinion of Surly small bikes.

Dishonorable Mention

XS Salsa Fargo Rival 27.5+

Standover: 27″ / 690mm
Effective Top Tube: 20.5″ / 520mm

The Fargo has been around forever and is thought of as the granddaddy of adventure bikes. I love that they have included an XS in the line up for many many years and the fact that they use tube sizes relative to the size of the bike is AHmazing. I really wanted to love this bike and was totally stoked to try the 1x set up that the new Rival has but alas when I took one for a spin I would turn a corner and my shoes would scrape the tire so bad I felt like I was playing a washboard in a real shitty un-rhythmic jug band. Not good for going down twisty turny sketchy things.

If you have a small DNFA Bike that you’re loving let us know what it is.


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