Video: Prime Bikepacking in New Zealand in 'Moving Mountains'

Nov 9, 2021
by Kona Bikes  


The 56.2km (32.5 mile) Paparoa Track is Aotearoa/ New Zealand’s latest mixed-use backcountry ride. It joins the already extremely popular Heaphy Track and Old Ghost Road as prime bike packing trip destinations. Its point-to-point route is what bike packing dreams are made of: the perfect gradients, insane views, epically-located backcountry huts, and some of the most beautiful bush New Zealand has to offer. The track crosses the Paparoa Range, taking riders through alpine peaks, limestone karst landscapes, and thriving rainforests. While it can be ridden in a day, the route is dotted with three backcountry Department of Conservation (DOC) huts to encourage people to take in an overnight or multi-day experience. Each hut provides track users with bunk beds and mattresses, running water and gas cookers. Track users need to carry all their own food, sleeping bags and clothing—especially wet weather gear. The Paparoa range is situated on New Zealand’s West Coast where it rains 195 days a year on average, with 3,000 mm (118 inches) of rainfall annually.

The Paparoa Track and the rugged West Coast of Aotearoa/New Zealand seemed like the perfect fit for the Kona Unit X. Much like the extreme West Coast landscape, our bikepacking-ready fully-rigid steel Unit X can handle it all.


Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track
Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track
Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track
Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track
Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track
Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track
Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track
Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track
Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track
Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track
Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track

Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track
Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu ride the Paparoa Track


The Kona Unit X has become a cult favorite among die-hard Kona fans. Maybe it’s the Cromoly frame. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s a bikepacking monster, or its well-geared 12-speed drivetrain, or modular dropouts which give you the ability to run it as a single speed if that’s your thing. Maybe it’s because the rigid fork makes it that much more of a classic. We may never know why the Unit X is such a popular bike, but we can only guess it’s because it is one of the most practical machines in our lineup

Video: Ross Mackay
Riders: Khulan Tumen and Viet Tieu


31 Comments

  • 33 1
 FYI Kona - It's definitely not SRAM's SX Eagle Drivetrain that is making this bike a cult favorite
  • 3 0
 Seriously. I read that and laughed!
  • 4 0
 Ha - They edited the text and looking at the website it's sporting deore 12 speed now. Spot on mates. Now we just have to have a talk with Chad in marketing...
  • 23 0
 It's almost like there's more to biking than slaying loamers and greasing slabs.
  • 6 0
 it's one of the rad things about biking - it's a lot of different things to a lot of different people. That, and as we age, riding can shift with us, so riding can be different things to the same people over time... damn, got all philosophical there... I love riding.
  • 14 0
 Awesome video and pictures. I feel every MTBer should try Bikepacking. It doesn't need to be an epic week long adventure. Even just a local overnight trip is awesome. Bikepacking opens up a whole new world of biking and you get to see so many cool sights and rides that you wouldn't normally on regular singletrack.
  • 4 0
 I did this trip two weeks ago and can highly recommend it. We did one night on the trail. The gear in the huts means you can pack very light and enjoy the riding. We just had a 15L pack each and a couple of very small frame bags. It would be doable in a day but better to stop and take in the views... when you can see them that is.
  • 4 0
 How long do you think it would take to ride in a day?
  • 2 0
 @Corbanblamp: total riding time for us (with no breaks) was about 6 hours but it really depends how much you want to push on the ups
  • 5 0
 Nice showcase team - really enjoyed that eh. Paparoa to Ghosty to Heaphy actually looks possible with a bit of missioning...
  • 4 0
 It’s very possible, couple of friends have done it. Riding from Nelson.
  • 1 0
 @bonfire: Emma and Cati are superhuman!
  • 1 0
 Better to start with the Heaphy, otherwise it's a bit too boring after doing the other more epic ones!
  • 5 0
 Coool vid and pics! Nice trip.
  • 3 0
 super well put together video and looks like an amazing route. NZ has everything!
  • 4 0
 Looks so good! All booked for a trip next year, can't wait!
  • 2 0
 What a delightful little video, and great photos. Have already got the Paparoa on my to-do list, and this serves to motivate me even more to get it done :-)
  • 2 0
 Aaaaaaaand now I'm in love
  • 2 0
 This makes me miss NZ so much
  • 1 0
 New York ain't that bad...
  • 1 0
 Take that clot shot VAX or no ride
  • 2 0
 Play on Players !
  • 2 0
 Cool
  • 1 0
 That photo at 2:49 is spectacular. Had to do a screengrab.
  • 1 0
 Take that clot shot or no ride fellas!!!!
  • 1 0
 Finally an edit without some stupid raging song playing. Love it!
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