Our Reader’s Rig of the week comes from our friend Jay Ritchey, founder of Bags by Bird and Jay Bird Films, who shares his custom Hoefer Cycles “Chilleur,” which he had built with flat bars in mind to help alleviate his carpal tunnel syndrome. Find build details and more about Jay here…

Words by Jay Ritchey, photos by Jay Ritchey and Chris Smith

Hi, I’m Jay. For the last couple years I’ve been running Bags By Bird, a one-person sewing shop here in Atlanta, GA. Cycling and touring have been my sanity for a long time and bike bags just make the bike that much more useful. Back in 2016, a friend showed me the basics of sewing and I bought a cheap $100 “heavy duty” sewing machine online to make a bikepacking bag to carry camera equipment for an upcoming film project with Tumbleweed Bicycles, El Silencio – Cycling the Peru Divide. The bag held up great over the two months we toured in Peru and later Ecuador, and I just wanted to keep designing and sewing bags.

  • Hoefer Cycles, Bags by Bird, Jay Ritchey
  • Hoefer Cycles, Bags by Bird, Jay Ritchey

I’ve started to develop carpal tunnel issues over the last six months, which originated while bikepacking with drop bars on the notoriously rough Colorado Trail. My hand nerves were thrashed afterward, and exacerbated with a heavy bag sewing schedule, so I had to take a break from sewing and to convert all my bikes to flat handlebars bars with Ergon grips. Converting my drop bar bikes, like my much loved Kona Sutra LTD, to flat bar bikes wasn’t working because the reach/top-tube was too short due to them being designed around drop bars.

  • Hoefer Cycles, Bags by Bird, Jay Ritchey
  • Hoefer Cycles, Bags by Bird, Jay Ritchey

I couldn’t find a longer Kona Sutra LTD equivalent, so I had my friend Donald Hoefer build me this bike, what I’ve come to call the Chilleur. It rolls on 29 x 2.35” slicks that suck up all the chatter from busted up Atlanta streets. It’s a massive 64cm frame with a 64cm top tube to have plenty of room for flat bars, and a lighter weight tube set makes the bike lively to ride. Donald’s bikes come with a Cerakote finish of your choice and my “midnight bronze” has been super durable and has a pretty, subdued look.

Hoefer Cycles, Bags by Bird, Jay Ritchey
  • Hoefer Cycles, Bags by Bird, Jay Ritchey
  • Hoefer Cycles, Bags by Bird, Jay Ritchey
  • Hoefer Cycles, Bags by Bird, Jay Ritchey
  • Frame Hoefer Cycles custom
  • Fork Kona Sutra LTD
  • Rims Spank Oozy Trail 345 29er
  • Hubs Shutter Precision (front) / Hope Pro 4 (rear)
  • Tires Schwalbe G-One Speed 29 x 2.35″
  • Handlebars Crust Cut-Loose
  • Headset Cane Creek 40
  • Crankset Shimano XTR FC-M980
  • Cassette Microshift 11-46T 11-speed
  • Derailleur Shimano XT 11-speed
  • Brakes TRP Spyre
  • Shifter(s) Shimano XT 11-speed
  • Saddle Brooks Cambium C17
  • Seatpost Thomson Elite
  • Stem Nitto UI-22EX
  • Front bags BXB Custom Extra Tall
  • Frame bags BXB Better Half Large
  • Other accessories SKS 65mm Fenders, Simworks Obento Front Rack

You can find more from Jay on Instagram at @bagsxbird and @jay_bird_films.

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