Words and photos by Justin Ntr (@treetrunksny)
Hey, my name is Justin, and I’m from Yokohama, Japan, but I reside in Brooklyn, New York, where I work as a chef. I’ve always ridden bikes but never considered building a custom from the bottom up, until now. Living in the city, I wanted to avoid public transport and carrying heavy groceries at all costs, so I built this load-hauling packrat beast.
My bike is a Surly Pack Rat in Green with 26″ wheels, 2.22″ Supper Yummy tires, and a Sugino crankset with 48T/18T cog. I obsessed over parts for two months before the build became a reality. As my most expensive investment, this custom Surly commuter bike was heavily inspired by Blue Lug bike shop in Japan. Comfort was a huge aspect in selecting parts. I was looking to buy a complete, but none of the bikes had a flat bar I was looking for.
After falling in love with the Nitto Hi-bar and the Sim Works Bubbly pedals, I decided to base my build on that and the Surly Pack Rat frame, regardless of my small budget. Being that it was my first build, I definitely went over budget, but it was the costs of accessories and bags that blew my mind. Most parts were direct from Blue Lug, and the bike was built up at 718 Cyclery.
- Frame/Fork Surly Pack Rat (52cm)
- Wheels Tokyobike Mono Wheels 26″
- Tires Sim Works Super Yummy 26″ x 2.22″
- Handlebars Nitto Hi-bar
- Headset Fairweather x Dia Compe
- Crankset Sugino RD-2 (48T, 165mm)
- Pedals Sim Works Bubbly
- Brakes Dia Compe DC980 Canti, Dia Compe SS-6 Levers
- Saddle Selle Italia Novus Boost Gravel
- Seatpost Nitto S65
- Stem Nitto FW-31
- Front bags Sim Works Obento Rack + Wald 137 Basket
- Frame bags Fairweather Frame Bag
- Rear bags Wayward Riders Louise V2 + Dry bag
- Accessory bags Fairweather Stem Bag, Brooks Top tube Bag
- Other accessories Crane Bell, Blue Lug Onigiri Reflector, Paul Gino Mount
After stumbling on some YouTube videos of bikepacking in upstate New York, my mind was opened up to the possibility of camping overnight by bikepacking from the city. After recently taking my first bikepacking trip to Harriman State from Brooklyn, I can’t get enough of long-distance riding. That said, I wouldn’t recommend doing that route on a single speed unless you’re looking for a challenge…
You can follow along with Justin on Instagram @treetrunksny.
Send Us Your Bikepacking Rig
Use the form below to submit your bikepacking rig. We’ll choose one per week to feature in a Reader’s Rig Dispatch and on Instagram. To enter, email us your best photo of the bike (preferably at a 90° angle), your Instagram username (optional), and a short description of you and your rig. If your bike is selected, we’ll need a total of five photos and a little bit more info.
Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.