Our Reader’s Rig of the week comes from Alder Threlkeld in Seattle, Washington, who shares the third iteration of his custom Rodriguez Bandito. Reader Alder’s story of breaking nearly every component on his journey toward building the perfect all-rounder frame for commuting, bikepacking, and more here…

Words and photos by Alder Threlkeld

Hi, my name is Alder or Mr. Holes. I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. I am the master mechanic and one of the owners at Rodriguez Bikes. I commute on my bike year-round and try to hit as many gravel roads, game trails, and sections of singletrack as I can on the weekends.

  • Rodriguez Bikes, Rodriguez Bandito
  • Rodriguez Bikes, Rodriguez Bandito

My Mother, Machiko, loves making adventure routes, and I love riding them with her and my friends. My favorite kind of gravel ride involves at least one washout, hike-a-bike, bushwhack, and maybe one hesitant backtrack. While some may consider the rides type 2 fun, if you’re with the right people, it’ll always be type 1 fun.

Rodriguez Bikes, Rodriguez Bandito
  • Rodriguez Bikes, Rodriguez Bandito
  • Rodriguez Bikes, Rodriguez Bandito
  • Rodriguez Bikes, Rodriguez BanditoE

I made this cow bike after I cracked my pink ultralight Bandito too many times. After a certain point, it was just easier to make a new frame. The old frame was just too light for the type of riding I was doing. The cow bike MK III has some redesigned features to make it more “Road Hole Proof.” We beefed up and stiffened up the lower half of the frame (down tube and chainstays) to prevent bottom bracket sway. The Dedacciai down tube is about 55mm in diameter and goes from a pear shape at the head tube to a roughly 60mm hexagon at the bottom bracket shell. This makes the frame quite stiff, which is great for hard efforts and sprints. Instead of the frame moving two inches to the left before the bike actually moves forward, this just goes. It also has an octagonal top tube because life is too short to use round tubes.

  • Frame: Custom Rodriguez Bandito
  • Fork: Bearclaw Ti
  • Rims: Astral Outbacks 700c 32h
  • Hubs: Kasai FS Dynamo (front) / i9 Hyrdra 12×142 (rear)
  • Tires: Rene Herse Oracle Ridge 700x48mm or Manastash Ridge 700×44
  • Handlebars: Custom Mone Low Riser
  • Grips: Vans x ODI grips with racing checkers
  • Headset: Cane Creek Hellbender
  • Crankset: White Ind. R30 with a Wolf Tooth CAMO spider, 34T
  • Pedals: Shimano XT
  • Cassette: Some off-brand called Bolani
  • Derailleur(s): SRAM Apex with an Eagle derailleur cage hot swapped on
  • Brakes: 2015 Shimano XTR
  • Shifter(s): SRAM Apex
  • Saddle: Forte Endure Air – Ti rails
  • Seatpost: Thomson Elite 27.2 zero setback
  • Stem: Thomson X4 stem, 90mm/-10 degrees
  • Front bags: Outer Shell cow bag
  • Frame bags: Outer Shell large cow bag
  • Rear bags: Outer Shell small roll top saddle bag
  • Lights: Sinewave Beacon dynamo (front) / Koma (rear)
  • Other accessories: Wide Foot cages, fork-mounted knife, Mone brass spaces

Along with the frame cracking, I have also broken just about every part of the bike. I’ve cracked cranks, snapped BBs off in the BB shell of the frame, cracked the Ti fork, snapped axles, etc. As those have broken, I have continuously replaced them with stronger parts. This, of course, means the bike slowly gets heavier, but that just means I get stronger, too. The MKI started at 20 pounds, and the MKIII is about 30 pounds.

  • Rodriguez Bikes, Rodriguez Bandito
  • Rodriguez Bikes, Rodriguez Bandito

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