Your Bike

Bike Evolution

Winner 1987 - Peter Hansen
1987 Vintage – Peter Hansen(winner)

The Desert Challenge was first run in 1987 when mountain bikes were in their infancy. Rigid forks, toe clips (or not) and relatively narrow tyres were the order of the day.

MTBs and gear improved with suspension, clipless pedals,  better tyres and camelbaks. Riders developed new ‘sand riding’ skills and many were able to successfully cross the desert in front of the sweep.

The depth of sand on the track and dunes changes from year to year. A ‘bad’ year could see most of the field swept due to slow going in deep sand. Maximum flotation has always been the aim to enable greater sand riding capability.

A mountain bike with wider tyres is all that is required for the race. However, the Fat Bike has been a game changer with survival more likely (i.e finishing 100%) and the stronger riders being more competitive to the finish. Whilst the Fat Bike has an advantage in the dunes, a standard mountain bike is potentially faster on the gibber plains and the swales (flat tracks) between the dunes.

SDBC2021 introduced an E-Bike Category.

This category will not be entitled to win the overall event however it will give E-Bike riders an opportunity to participate in the Simpson Desert Bike Challenge.

As per the race rules, only 1 ‘frame’ is allowed per rider i.e. no swapping bikes however you may swap components to ensure your bike is ridable.

A few more E-Bike Rules:

No Generators allowed. This is a National Park rule and not a race rule. Please ensure you are able to charge the batteries via your vehicle i.e. with the use of a powerful inverter. Note: Your e-bike battery is power hungry and will require more than just a deep cycle vehicle battery to fully charge.

No Mechanical Doping. I.e no Modified E-Bikes – the motors must comply to AU standards and the motor must cut out at 25km/h.

You are allowed to use as many batteries as you can carry or drop off at the water points.

Stage Start Times: This is yet to be confirmed i.e. E-Bike Category starts with the main group or 30-min behind the group.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

SDBC2024: 1 October to 5 October 2024