This week’s Reader’s Rig comes from Justin Enerson in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who shares a look at the stretched-out tall bike he built out of a mix of decommissioned Salsa and Surly frames. Get to know more about Justin and read the story behind the 11th tall bike he’s built to date here…
Words by Justin Enerson
Hi, I’m Justin. Having spent my younger years growing up in Belgium and then moving back to the States as a teen, I was exposed to all kinds of riding. Dense cities, country roads, daily errands, and occasional shenanigans were par for the course, but I had no idea how big of a part bikes would play in my life until I went to college.
At some point in my freshman year, circa 2006, I found a community of punks who enjoyed giving new life to discarded/damaged bikes in the form of tall and otherwise freakish rolling machines. I learned many things from that community, and I fell in love with fabrication and figuring out what makes machines work and how to make them work better. Since then, I have had the privilege to teach trade skills and lead development projects stateside and abroad within the bicycle industry, and I currently find myself in the position of lead technician for Quality Bicycle Products’ development lab.
At the end of the day, I’m an equal opportunity bicycle adventurer, from international tours to sub-24-hour campouts, I just love getting out there. In the immortal words of Miley Cyrus, “The journey is usually the part that you remember anyways.”
- Frame Thrashed Mystery Salsa (maybe mid-2000s Casseroll)
- Fork Stretched Surly Ogre (pre accessory barnacles)
- Rims Velocity Blunt SS
- Hubs Shimano Deore (front), Sram G8 IGH (rear)
- Tires Surly Extraterrestrial 29 x 2.5″ (tubeless)
- Handlebars My own Flying V bars (780mm wide, 20 degree sweep, 25mm rise)
- Headset Hodgepodge of Cane Creek bits
- Crankset Shimano Zee
- Pedals Stolen Throttle
- Derailleur Surly Singleator
- Brakes Avid BB-7
- Shifter(s) Sram G8 gripshift
- Saddle Brooks C17 Carved
- Seatpost Aluminium something or other
- Stem Mirraco BMX
- Front bags Revelate Designs Sweetroll
- Frame bags Hoot Ventures
- LightsKryptonite Alley F-650 & Avenue R-50
- Other accessories Outdoor Tech buckshot 2.0 speaker, Quad Lock phone mount, Crud Caps valve covers
Years ago, I had the idea to build this stretched-out (not so tall) bike for a Rat Patrol bike club event happening in Chicago over Saint Patrick’s Day weekend (the event was St Ratrick’s 2018). Two days before I was to drive from Minneapolis, this project was still just an idea. A lot needed to happen if I was to build it in time. I needed to build some wheels, source the parts, and also weld the frame. So, after work on the night before leaving, I came up with a plan and just started putting it together. The Frame of my 11th tall bike came together in a rush, but was able to get it rolling Justin Time. There have been some changes to this bike over the years, and it is far from perfect, but this bike has been a blast to have around, and I look forward to many more adventures to come.
The bags in the photos are packed with my kit for a sub-24-hour overnighter, which includes my Big Agnes Pluton UL 40°F Sleeping bag, Therm-a-Rest AirHead Pillow, Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Venture sleeping pad, Outdoor Research Foray rain jacket, Etowah outfiters Silnylon Tarp, Etowah ground cloth, unknown bug net, rope/stakes, and aqua socks/camp shoes.
Lastly, here’s my parting thought: If you ever find yourself indecisive on tour, flipping a coin will produce a good story at a minimum.
See more from Justin on Instagram.
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