Lachlan Morton's Cannondale Scalpel HT Hi-MOD Ultimate

The bike that hopes to set the Great Divide fastest known time, carrying Morton from Banff to New Mexico

Clock12:00, Saturday 2nd September 2023
Packed up and ready to take on the tour divide with an eye on the FKT

© Sean Greene/EF Pro Cycling

Packed up and ready to take on the tour divide with an eye on the FKT

Lachlan Morton is currently underway in an attempt to set the fastest known time (FKT) for the Great Divide that runs from Banff, Alberta, Canada along the Continental Divide of North America. The route covers 2,696 miles (4,339 km) and ends in Antelope Wells, New Mexico, USA on the USA/Mexico border.

The current FKT for the Great Divide route is held by Mike Hall who set a time of 13 days, 22 hours and 51 minutes back in 2016. For such a unique challenge that is unsupported and often a long way from any civilisation, a very specific set-up is needed, including luggage and repair kit.

For an attempt that will see Morton ride for nearly two weeks with minimal rest and time off the bike, comfort is at the top of the list for considerations when selecting the right bike and the kit for the job. Throughout the alternative calendar, Lachlan Morton has tried and tested multiple set-ups and configurations, finally settling with the Scalpel HT Hi-MOD Ultimate from Cannondale as the correct tool.

The Great Divide travels along the Rocky Mountains and Lachlan Morton will find himself needing to stop and rest at times in the higher alpine regions. However, there is a fine balancing act between carrying too much that slows you down and not enough that you suffer to the detriment of performance. Morton will be making sure that this does not become an exercise in sleep deprivation, self-imposing rest breaks on himself, and so a well-insulated sleeping bag and bivy will be carried on the bike.

As far as spares and repairs are concerned, Morton is taking a rather minimal approach to considerations for a ride of this magnitude. He has chosen to carry: CO2 cartridges, a multitool, a pump, tyre patches, a spoke key, a spare derailleur hanger, as well as three quick links and four links of chain. The decision has also been made to run foam inserts in both tyres as another line of defence against an untimely puncture.

Speed is ultimately what an FKT attempt revolves around, maximising moving time and keeping stopped time as low as possible. When Morton is on his bike the component choices make his intentions clear. Even though there is almost 61,000m of climbing along the route, a 38-tooth chainring is spec'd along with a 10-52 tooth SRAM XX1 cassette. This is a large gear to have considering the duration and elevation gain on technical terrain (for reference, a typical cross-country pro would run a 34 or 36-tooth chainring as standard) especially with a loaded bike with all the kit he will be carrying.

Along with the bike set-up that is listed below, Morton will also be taking two pairs of Rapha Pro Team bib shorts, one Rapha Pro Team aero jersey and two pairs of socks. He will also be carrying two 1,600-lumen bike lights for the early starts and late finishes and to keep everything running he will carry two 20,000mAh power banks.

To keep up with Lachlan Morton's progress as he attempts to set a new FKT along the route you can become a ‘dot watcher’ on the EF Pro Cycling website to see how Morton is tracking compared to Mike Hall's current FKT.

Bike Specification
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    Scalpel HT Hi-MOD Ultimate

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