I've always been stock bike guy.  As long as the derailleur worked smoothly I was fine with everything else and wasn't prone to scouring the web looking at headsets and bottom brackets. That all changed once the mighty Rohloff was introduced to my limited bike lexicon.  The Rohloff - the mother of all internal geared hubs - engineered, machined and assembled by clean shaven Germans with epic levels of precision.  Suddenly the stock fatbike I was eyeing transitioned to contacting Cycle Monkey and going down the route of a custom bike build. I'm no ace bike mechanic but after many Louie's consultations with TC and pouring through Cass' blog, deciding to lighten my wallet with a Rolloff seemed like a worthy investment.  At the end of the day, I just wanted to start my trip with a bike I felt confident would be durable and reliable for long stretches of remote dirt roads where bike shops are few and very far between.

Special thanks to Neil and Tyler at Cycle Monkey, TC for mentoring me, Cass Gilbert, Mike Howarth, Dirt Dot Kurt, Logan Watts and Joe Cruz for all of the knowledge gleaned through their respective blogs.

Current build: 


  • Ventana el Gordo Frame (L) with vertical drop-outs - carbon black.  The vertical drop-outs will probably be standard in short order, but this was a big selling point for me over other other frames. 
  • 9:zero:7 fork - carbon black


  • Jeff Jones Loop H-bar handlebars - black
  • Ergon bio-cork grips
  • Chris King Headset - Sotto Voce, silver
  • Thomson X4 stem - 120mm, silver
  • Lizard Skins DSP 2.5 mm tape - black


  • Rohloff Spedhub 500/14  -  42T up front, 20T in back
  • Gates Carbon Belt Drive - 113 T, 12mm
  • Chris King Bottom Bracket - Mountain
  • Race Face Ride Cranks
  • Race Face Atlas Pedals


  • Surly Marge Lite Rims
  • Schmidt Son28 Dynamo hub up front -  135mm, black
  • Hope Fastano Skewers - front and back, silver
  • Surly Knard 26x 3.8" tires
  • Sapim race double butted spokes - black
  • Tubeless set up 


  • Thomson elite seatpost - layback, silver
  • WTB Pure V saddle
  • Salsa Rack Lock seat collar, silver


  • Paul Love Levers - silver
  • BB7 mechanical disk brakes
  • 180mm rotor in back
  • 203 mm rotor up front 


  • Bush & Mueller Lumotec Luxos  - u-model

Notes after initial shakeout:

Everything is really running well and I'm happy with all of the components.  I didn't think I'd be as stoked on the Paul levers but they are my favorite component - beautifully machined and they feel awesome.

In hindsight, I wish I had upsized the frame to an XL and taken up any slack in the stem.  I set up the build around a large and I wish I had just a touch more room in my frame bag.