I've always been a stock bike kind of 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 - the mother of all internal geared hubs - was introduced to my limited bike lexicon.  Suddenly the stock fatbike I was eyeing transitioned to contacting Cycle Monkey and going down a custom build route.  At the end of the day, I decided I 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.



•   Ventana el Gordo Frame (L) - carbon black.  

•   Salsa Enabler 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 - 113T, 12mm

•   Chris King Bottom Bracket - Mountain

•   Race Face Ride Cranks

•   Race Face Atlas Pedals



•   Surly Marge Lite Rims

•   Schmidt Son28 Dynamo front -  135mm, black

•   Hope Fastano Skewer - front

•   OMM Skewer - back

•   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 -back

•   203mm rotor-front 


•   Bush &Mueller Lumotec Luxos - U model


•   Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion seat pack

•   Porcelain Rocket frame pack - single compartment

•   Porcelain Rocket Mission Control handlebar pack with 12l Sea to Summit dry bag

•   Salsa Anything Cages with two 5l Sea to Summit dry bags

•   OMM Phat Sherpa rack with Jandd front panniers from a previous tour

•   Revelate Gas Tank and two Mountain Feed Bags



I didn't think I'd be as stoked on the Paul levers but they are easily my favorite component - beautifully machined. Every time I grab them I thank TC for giving me the final hard sell.

The Rohloff is legit - getting used to the cement grinder feel of 1-7 took some time but its internal magic and German precision makes me smile. 

In hindsight, I wish I had upsized the frame to an XL to get a touch more room in the frame bag and taken up any slack in the stem.  

The OMM rack negotiates having to ride with a backpack day in and day out. For a shorter tour, I'd likely have opted for the pack to save on weight but the rack gives me more flexibility over the long haul.