From race-worthy carbon road machines to old straight-straight gauge steel frames that I found in a dumpster, I love them all!
Bike #23 – Is that a dent?
1997 Trek 930shx
Bought used for $80 – currently my winter commuter
How do you feel about me going from a $2,000 carbon road bike to an old steel 26er? When I first met the seller of this bike I just needed to confirm that the bike had a 1 1/8 steerer so I could replace the old suspension fork. Damn do I hate myself for not checking the frame better! Turns out the chain stay has not one but TWO big dents in it. AHHH! It hurts me so much. On top of that, the bike definitely sat outside for years because the bottom bracket that I pulled out of it was entirely orange with rust and everything is pitted. But the worst part!? The whole rear triangle was shifted to the non drive side so I took it to the shop I work at where me and the head mechanic pushed and pulled it back into line. Holy shit… So I decided I’m going to love it. I’m gonna love it like a neglected foster child and give it the tools it needs to thrive! (but i’m going to still whine about overpaying for this bike) I started with a Surly Troll fork and a 1×9 microshift setup. Stay tuned as I put on the miles and build stories with this bike!
After spending about a month riding (and loving!) this bike with the Spank Spoon flat bars and midline bar extensions I decided to cave in and put drop bars on it (2/15/23). I spent almost all of my time on the extensions and only moved to the wide grip position for using the brakes. So… aero wins again. The bike now weighs 34lbs with studded tires, metal fenders, and full panniers.
February 20th, 2023: Let the stories begin! I went down hard on an icy downhill after my studs broke loose cuz I was riding too fast. I think I hit a pole? Smashed my thumb into three pieces.
#22 – A 40 year old bike with a story.
1980s Kuahara Lynx
Bought on Craigslist for $40 – currently my winter commuter
Here is a fun story: I had just pulled into work at the bike shop and hung my bike behind the desk so the snow would melt off. A customer walks in and says to me “I used to own a bike that looked just like that.” I asked, “What happened to it?” He replied “I sold it to a guy on 33rd.” I BOUGHT THIS FROM A GUY ON 33rd!!! Haha, we had a good laugh and found out that he also had an old Surly Karate Monkey AND also loved bikepacking just as much as me. What a fun world we live in. When I bought this bike I wanted to keep the color-matched stem/bars for retro points (and to save money). I kitted it out with a 1×9 clutched groupset, studded tires, and a beautiful old set of fenders that my neighbor two blocks away had sitting next to a garbage can. Damn to I love free bike parts. I added “mid-bars” which are bar ends used on the inside for a more aero position. Usually I yearn for drop bars but I’m digging this setup…. I have had a few conversations now with some old cyclists and they said Kuahara was a boutique brand that focused on high end bmx bikes. Couldn’t find much of anything online about this brand.
#21 – Mmm, finally a worthy machine.
2001 Jamis Nova
Bought on Craigslist for $200! – Currently my roadbike and summer commuter
The former owner kept this thing in MINT condition. I feel bad for low-balling him but this is South Dakota. Not many farmers racing cyclocross or looking for all-season road bikes. After a season of gravel riding (and a run-in with a farmer that almost murdered me) I stripped the frame of paint and rattle-canned it black. Currently setup with a 1×8. Humble brag (jk, it is just a pure brag): I showed up at a group ride where both the leader and his friend told me how I’d have a hard time keeping up with my “under-geared” bike. Just to rub it in I was first to the top of all the big climbs. Don’t worry though, they got the last laugh when I dropped my chain on the decent and everyone had to stop for me. The geometry is a great mixture of racing cx/endurance road with room for 35mm tires and it fits great. I don’t see myself wanting a different road bike for a long time.
#20 – Back to the vintage MTBs…
1989 Giant Chinook
Found for free! – Currently used as the “Dadmobile” for hauling kids.
I found this sitting on the side of a road with a “FREE” sign next to a pile of other very old and rusty bikes. Prior to finding this bike I was living in some dark times. I was commuting 3 hours a day in my car and my life had no time for pedaling. I didn’t even have a bike in my garage until I borrowed (forever) my dad’s old and unused specialized city cruiser which was the wrong size for both of us. I ended up swapping all the parts from the specialized bike to the Giant frame after rattlecanning it black in the garage. In 2022 I decided to convert it into the dadmobile by building a kid seat on back with handlebars. We slay the sidewalks during the summer now.
#19 – LOW TRAIL!!!
2018 Rawland xSogn
Bought new – 100% regret selling. I’m an idiot.
I went to Walmart.com (stick with me!!!) to look for a cheap bike part when “Rawland” popped up on my screen. I knew this name as a super kick-ass niche company making fat-tired low-trail ATB’s. I had been enamored with the idea of 650b low trail bikes after reading a Rene Herse article. I mean seriously, a bike with big gravel tires that handles like a road bike? Suddenly, in front of me was a niche bike brand with a modern low-trail bike for 50% off asking price!!!?!?!?! WTF!?!?! I told my wife I wouldn’t take no for an answer. This was the ULTIMATE n=1 bike. And so it was. I sold ALL of my other bikes and frames. The Rawland was great for most types of riding. Road rides? Yes. Gravel rides? 100% Easy double track? Yup. Bikepacking? Yup? Commuting? YUP! So why did I sell it? I learned first hand that the one downfall of low trail bikes is the squirrely handling when towing a trailer. And since I had to frequently tow my oldest in the Burly (and from my wife asking me to sell EVERYTHING in preparation for buying a real home) I sold the frame on ebay with all of my custom bags attached. Speaking of which, Zepto Gear was a small side business that I had started during this time. You can see some of my creations here: https://zeptogear.com/
#18 – A fast commuter for my 18 mile daily commute.
2016 Raleigh Revenio
Bought used – stripped and repainted – parted out on ebay
I keep coming back to my road cycling roots. My daily commute in the twin cities was getting tough with my oldest kid at home taking up all my time so I wanted a faster way to get to work than my drop bar Surly Karate monkey with 45mm ebike tires. I sanded the frame down to raw aluminum and repainted the carbon fork blossom purple! After we moved to South Dakota I sold my Raleigh because we were poor as hell due to quitting our jobs and traveling the country. Haha. Worth it.
#17 – A beautiful old road bike.
1990 Trek 420
Traveled far to buy this off craigslist – Sold for triple what I paid
This bike had some unique features and I had planned to keep it but after my VERY FIRST RIDE to work I learned that the former owner didn’t put on any rim strips so I got two flat tires and had to run 7 miles home. I’m not a runner. It did not make me happy. I guess I sold it because I just preferred riding my Surly Karate Monkey (bike #13 below) and I made some good money off the frame.
#16 – Folding bike…
1980s Dahon Mariner
Bought used – no idea what happened to it!?
This popped up on my local craigslist for $40!!! I thought it would be a great bike for traveling since it easily folds up. I used it a few times and then… I don’t know what happened to it?
#15 – The bike that never was.
2015 Surly Straggler
Bought new frameset – traded for parts
I was very excited to build up this beautiful purple frameset but I decided that I could only ride one bike at a time and traded it for extra commuting parts like fenders, etc. I owned the frame but never put any parts on it 😦
#14 – Bikeshop perks…
2015 Giant Defy
Bought new – stripped/rebuilt – Sold to a local cyclist for his kid
I was working at Bokoo Bikes in the Twin Cities when I purchased this bike at a steep discount. It was the lowest level road-bike offered (and the beginning of my FUCK CAPITALISM mentality). Everyone at the shop couldn’t believe that I bought such a “crappy bike” and yet I was stealing KOM’s like… a guy who steals candy from a baby? I stripped the frame of paint, because I’m not gonna advertise for a company that I just paid money to! First ride out on my hyper expensive 30mm Challenge tires and I ripped an enormous hole in it! It was a good reminder of function > fashion. Haha. I even took this bike on ultra light bikepacking trips and it was just a simple fast bike for commuting!
#13 – The One Bike Quiver
2015 Surly Karate Monkey Ops
Built From New Parts – I hate myself for parting it out.
I have never had a bike that did EVERYTHING as good as my Surly Karate Monkey. This frame was build before Surly decided to make the Karate Monkey a dedicated 650b hardtail. Let’s see how I used it: flat bar mtb, drop bar commuter, winter commuter, electric bike (yup!), ultra durable bikepacking rig, long distance road bike, and finally I used it to explore the gravel roads after moving to South Dakota. And this is why I decided to sell it. The huge tires, heavy frame, and wide drop bars were horrible for the insane headwinds here in SD. I couldn’t keep up with the CPC gravel club so I sold it. Turns out, it wasn’t the bike… it was my lack of miles relative to the Central Plains Cycling guys. Either way, this was the closest I have ever come to being able to properly own just one bike that does everything well. But I’m happy that I now own a separate road bike and mountain bike. It means I get to have more fun in both disciplines!
#12 – ABSOLUTELY YES.
2012 Specialized Crux
Bought used – regrettably sold only to fund my monster-cross bike
This was a beautiful machine. The geometry was perfect and I rode SOOO many miles on it! Because of this bike I learned how to build wheels, almost podiumed at a cx race (even raced road!), rode my first gravel century, learned to love getting lost, and DAMN did I love this bike. For some weird reason I found myself riding or carrying this bike through deep water on multiple different occasions, haha. I sold it after reading about the guy who placed 1st at the Dirty Kanza 100 on a Niner with drop bars and MTB tires. I HAD to know what this kind of monster-cross bike was like.
#11 – Cyclocross.
2013 Nashbar Steel
Bought new – sold after a year to upgrade to a race-worthy cx bike
This bike allowed me to test the waters of cyclocross and I LOVED IT. I raced for one season on this bike before selling it to buy a used Specialized Crux.
#10 – Bike commuting during over-night shifts? Nope.
1980’s Miyata One Ten
Bought used – quickly sold
I bought this bike for my 24mile round trip commute on a busy highway. I worked a lot of overnight shifts and, well, it was just a stupid idea. Not the commuting! But the working overnights and random day shifts. Holy crap is that horrible for any human! Either way, this bike was sold quickly after I realized I couldn’t handle biking that many miles working a flex schedule.
#9 – It’s the miles on the legs NOT the price of the bike.
2013 Specialized Tarmac
Bought brand new – sold to a newbie cyclist
Ahhh yes. With this new steed I would surely crush the other racers in my local crit! Coming from a hefty steel road bike (see bike #3 below) to this feather-light beast meant VICTORY WAS MINE!… And then reality hit and I got dropped from the pack on my first race with this bike. My wife bought it for me as my college graduation present (she is bad-ass isn’t she?) and I rode the fuck out of it. I’d guess I had over 15,000 miles on it during the couple of years that I owned it. I’m actually surprised that I don’t have more photos??? I was probably too busy riding.
#8 – WHY did I sell this frame!?
198X Schwinn KOM
Bought bike in almost mint condition – sold it like an idiot
The worst part is that I sold it to some dude smoking cigarettes as he told me he lost his license due to another DUI and was going to weld a motor onto this bike. Damn. This frame may have been old be the geometry and tubeset were ahead of the times. When I eventually converted this to a SS city slayer I had some very good times on it. It served as my winter commuter for a few years.
#7 – I hate that I loved it
2011 Spicer Pursuit
Bought frameset and built bike – sold all the parts on craigslist
Try #2 at building myself a fixed gear bike. This thing looks like a torture device (and my saddle angle is still horrendous) but I really liked riding this bike… until it almost killed me. I was riding about 25mph down a hill and wanted to practice my high-speed skids when the lockring blew the threads and I cruised through a stop sign without brakes.
#6 – It could have been worse…
198X Maruishi Road Ace 4
Bought used – converted to fixed gear – sold the frameset?
Apparently, I hadn’t yet learned how to set my saddle angle. Yikes. This was my first attempt at building a fixy and it just didn’t have the vibes that I imagined. This was not ridden much.
#5 – Winter commuting begins
1994 Diamond Back Sorento
Bought used – sold after lots of love!
This was the first bike that I used for winter commuting. I don’t know what is going on with my handlebars or my seat in the above left photo but I assure you this was one of my most comfortable bikes. She rode like a cushioned tank and always got me to work. I did take it on one bikepacking trip where I spent a night of misery getting eaten alive by mosquitoes through my too-small bivy net.
#4 – Slaying trails
2011 Trek Gary Fisher Marlin
Bought new – Sold after lots of love
After my local bike shop mechanics kept telling me about MTBing I decided to visit a different store (like an asshole) and buy a new 29er. This was at a time when the debate between 26 and 29 was still happening. I stripped the frame of paint, took off all the gears with the help of my LBS mechanics, and rode the hell out of it. Bike King in Saint Paul, if you are still there, THANK YOU! We had some fucking gnarly rides after dark at Lebanon and I rode the hell out of this bike. I eventually sold it since I stopped MTBing and was more focused on road riding.
#3 – Let the miles begin!
Bought used – Sold after many many miles
One day on my Specialized Tricross I saw a guy climbing an insanely steep hill in Duluth, MN with some skinny tires and thought, “He looks so fast and bad-ass”. At that moment I decided I needed to begin roadbiking. I used this bike to do my 36 mile commute four times a week, my first triathlon, and my first road race. I bought it used from a mechanic in the cities who had the frame powder coated. I put a LOT of miles on this machine.
#2 – I don’t know what I’m doing.
197X Schwinn Continental
Bought used – Thankfully sold
I saw this old-ass bike with a $50 price tag on it near my house. I bought it thinking, WHAT A DEAL FOR A ROAD BIKE! I was wrong. I still feel bad for making fun of my wife when she was riding this and couldn’t keep up with me on my Tricross (see below). Yikes did this bike suck in every way.
#1 – The bike that started it all.
2008 Specialized Tricross
Bought new – Sold
I sold my Kawasaki 600R Ninja to pay for this bike. One week later I decided I had enough experience to bike 80 miles up the North Shore of Minnesota while carrying my camping gear on a poorly DIY-ed rack and two lunchbox containers bolted to the fork. I didn’t even have a spare tube to fix any flats that luckily never happened. My body was completely destroyed by the end of those 160 miles but I was hooked!