This week’s Reader’s Rig comes from retired photographer Curt Door in Colorado, who shares his unusual Slingshot Ripper 29. Get to know more about Curt, his downtube-less bike, and those lovely homemade bags here…

Words and photos by Curt Door

Hi, my name is Curt. I spent my career in the field of photography on the payroll of corporations, as well as doing some freelance work along the way. As a 67-year-old retiree, bikes are my preferred form of outdoor entertainment, although hiking is a close second.

Slingshot Ripper 29

I’m originally from West Michigan, now living in Southwest Colorado, and like most people, I started riding bicycles at an early age—that some might even call the dark ages. For bikes, it was that, compared to where we are today. My first job, at age 16 in 1971, was selling bikes, and I bought my first 10-speed from that shop. I liked bikes then, but my real interest didn’t pique until 1986 when I bought my first mountain bike, a Schwinn Sierra.

Riding off-road… now this will be fun! There wasn’t really much in the way of singletrack in those days, but I did live close enough to the then-new North Country Trail, which I would ride occasionally. That same year, I was approached by a co-worker about doing some photography for her friend who built mountain bikes in Grand Rapids. That friend was Mark Groendal, the inventor of Slingshot bikes.

  • Slingshot Ripper 29
  • Slingshot Ripper 29

I did a few jobs for Mark, trading out my work for Slingshot frames. They are unique for sure and are somewhat polarizing because of their design, which many people just don’t get, thinking they will somehow fly apart or snap in two—neither of which I’ve ever heard of happening. Those who get it love to ride them. They’re comfortable, like a soft-tail frame. Since ’86, I’ve always had at least one Slingshot in my garage and currently have two, the bike here and a 1993.

This is my 2012 Slingshot Ripper. I’ve actually raced this bike a few times, even podiumed a couple of times. Truth be told, though, at my age there aren’t many who were racing in my class. After my retirement from a job in Nebraska and a move to Colorado, I found that I would probably enjoy riding a full-suspension trail rig on our often rough local singletrack a lot more than this bike. And so, the Ripper languished in the corner of the garage much of the time. That is until I started to take an interest in bikepacking. This, I thought, would make an excellent bikepacking rig.

  • Slingshot Ripper 29
  • Slingshot Ripper 29
  • Slingshot Ripper 29
  • Frame Slingshot Ripper 29 (18″)
  • Fork 80mm Manitou Minute 29
  • Rims Easton EA90XC
  • Hubs Easton EA90XC
  • Tires Vittoria Mezcal 2.1, tubeless
  • Handlebars Bontrager Crivitz
  • Headset Chris King
  • Crankset Truvativ Noir carbon
  • Pedals Time Atac
  • Cassette Microshift 11×48 10-speed
  • Derailleur Microshift AdventX
  • Brakes SRAM Guide G2rs
  • Shifter(s) Microshift AdventX
  • Saddle WTB Volt
  • Seatpost PNW Pine dropper w/Bontrager lever
  • Stem 70mm x 25 degree Amazon find
  • Front bags Topeak Frontloader with Topeak drybag
  • Frame bags Homemade X-Pac
  • Rear bags Arkel Tailrider
  • Accessory bags Topeak Toploader
  • Other accessories Tailfin Alloy rack w/ Cargo Cages

The compliant frame and the 80mm Manitou fork have been great for tearing down forest service roads, so it should be great for this too. The first thing tackled was the frame bag. My wife is a very accomplished seamstress, and after much prodding, she made this amazing bag, unique to the “down-tubeless” needs of the frame. A removable Velcro cover or the Velcroed fly rod/tent pole bag is used to cover the cable. She also made the matching stem bags.

Slingshot Ripper 29

I opted for a Tailfin rack that my old Arkel bag attaches nicely to. A Topeak Frontloader handles things out front. Originally, the bike was built up 3×9, which I switched to 1×9 and then to 1×10 to use a 11-48 Microshift cassette in conjunction with a Raceface 30T chainring. Four-pot SRAM Guide G2rs brakes supply the power to bring all that rolling weight to a stop, which we need in the mountains. The PNW Pine dropper post has been a nice addition too.

  • Slingshot Ripper 29
  • Slingshot Ripper 29

So far, it’s been overnighter trips to shake down everything with hopes of doing multi-night outings in the future. It’s good to be in the great outdoors, and there is a lot of it right in my backyard. It’s good too, to keep moving. I don’t want to rust!

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