Nobody needs more than one bike, realistically. Get one that can handle the worst stuff you ride over and use it for everything. In practice, this isn’t always super fun. 

I did buy and rebuild this bike to be able to handle the worst stuff I ride over, but I don’t plan on selling my other rigs any time soon. That being said, I might be riding this one a solid majority of the time from here on out. It’s hard to pick anything else when I’m heading out the door. 

I built this bike for an event I was calling the “Rustbucket Rodeo.” Just a rip off of an old top gear-type challenge where everybody gets a $250 budget to buy and build a bike that they think can get them over a 4-day, 130-mile, 25k feet of vert route on single track and questionably maintained forest roads through the mountains of the Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California.

The trip ended up falling through, but I’m thrilled to have the rig anyway. It began life as a made-in-Hungary Schwinn Woodlands. I was drawn to the color and paid a woman who lives in a local suburb $75 for it. 

Fresh off the lot. Terrible canti brakes, a 1-piece Biopace crankset, and a kickstand to complete the look.

Usually all it takes to make an old bike look better is a quick wipe down and removing a kickstand and some gross reflectors.

See? Much better.

Further exciting specs:

  • Sensah 1×11 group
  • 11-50t cassette in the rear, for climbing big hills while carrying too much stuff
  • 34t, narrow-wide front ring with purple bolts to match the decals
  • White cables for mean style points
  • 26×2.1 Panaracer Gravelking SK tires. I’ve used the 700c version of these tires on a huge number of mixed-surface rides here in Minnesota, and they’ve performed admirably. These wider ones roll fast and grip decently well on the looser stuff.
  • On a recent bikepacking trip, I threw a sunlite knockoff wald basket on the front and rode 120 miles north to volunteer at a “local” trail 50k. It was a blast, but my bum got pretty sore.

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