Black Sheep Finally Together

The only purpose-built mountain bike I’ve ever bought was a GT triple-triangle something-or-another in 1992. I should probably have a nice, light, modern hard-tail, but in the mean time, I’ve replaced my dirt-worth Rawland with a swiss-army bike I bought from my friend Dustin – almost a year ago!

I’ve finally put it together and can’t wait to take it all over the place – terrain be damned. The idea was to build it up as Dustin had it – with most of the parts from him too. So there’s nothing new here. I did want a drop-bar mountain bike kinda thing, like a Salsa Fargo. But I didn’t want dirt-specific drop bars, as the bike is meant to do everything from a tour, to a century to commuting, to hammering – so an always-pleasing Noodle got the call. I wanted to set the bars up high enough so that riding in the hooks wouldn’t be that far off my normal road-bike position on the hoods. So, here it is. Time will tell, but so far it fits like a glove. Now that the trails are plenty dry, time for some trips up and down some hills!



  1. Randal Putnam

    That’s a fine looking machine! You are going to have mad fun on it, I am sure. Not nitpicking–genuinely curious–why is your front quick release pointing down and a bit forward? That’s the kind of thing that bugs me. My sincerest hope is that you put it that way just to out the OCD bicyclers out here! Anyway, enjoy it!

    • Esteban

      The dropouts are forward and hooded, meaning a quick-release must fit in this manner. Sorry if its annoying. Doesn’t bother me much.

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  3. oj

    your bike looks awesome, i’m hoping to build something similar next month for the same uses. there seems to be a beautiful overlap between touring, commuting, off road, and utility that this sort of rig can smash.

  4. Doug Peterson


    What tires are those? They look larger than the 40s I’ve been using (also courtesy Dustin’s collection). Are those V-brakes? I’m curious because after using a rental bike in Portugal with V-brakes, I’m seriously considering changine the cantis on my Atlantis.


    • Esteban

      Hey, Doug! These are Nanoraptors – 2.1 — and yes, Cane Creek V-brakes. I’m having some trouble getting them dialed in. I have no problem with cantis, but its true that the extra firmness of v-brakes do have advantages off-road. But they’re more complicated to set up if you use interruptor levers.

      • Doug Peterson

        I’ve learned that V-brakes come in a variety of dimensions from pivot to cable attachment, 80 mm to 102 mm. I picked up a cheapie ($15 fuggly black thing) at a BMX shop with 85 mm arm length, and installed on the rear, using my standard brake levers. Even though the levers don’t pull enough cable, the braking improvement is substantial over the Tektro 720s. Just to keep it a true experiment, I used the same cable, housing, pads, etc. This weekend I’ll fit up the proper levers.

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