This week’s Reader’s Rig comes from Machiko in Seattle, who shares the Rodriguez Bandito all-roader she built up for loaded gravel rides around the Pacific Northwest. Learn more about Machiko and her custom rig here…

Words by Machiko Threlkeld, photos by Chris De La Fuente

Hi! My name is Machiko. I grew up in the “Shitamachi” area of Tokyo, Japan, where walking and biking are a part of daily life. Before I rode a bike without training wheels, I used to walk around my neighborhood, looking for new alleys to explore (yes, it was very safe in my neighborhood). I also went out of my way to find streets covered with crinkled-up autumn leaves and persimmon buds to step on. Gravel riding seems like an extension of the childhood activities I enjoyed so much!

Rodriguez Bandito

I started out cycling (as an adult) on pavement, but many of my favorite quiet country roads that I used to cherish are getting busier with more traffic as more people are living further out, and that pushed me to the forests and mountains. Although I still enjoy occasional road riding with my friends, now most of my fun rides are on forest service roads. As I climb, I see peeks of peaks and LOVE it! I feel very fortunate to live in Washington state, where national forests and state-owned public lands are not too far to reach.

  • Rodriguez Bandito
  • Rodriguez Bandito

After putting many gravel and commuting miles on my original gravel bike (pre-pandemic) and before my bike mechanic told me, “Your bike is so tired,” I decided to add another lighter gravel bike for day trips. I researched online for off-the-shelf bikes, but after many unsuccessful searches to find a bike that matched all my needs, I decided to go for a custom steel frame built by R+E Cycles, a Seattle bike shop. I purchased a frameset and built it up with a new parts kit my son had. Designed after my original gravel bike, my new frame has several improvements and modifications (and pretty paint design). My only regret is not asking for more frame mounts because now, with a great gear ratio, I take it everywhere I go, including bikepacking trips!

  • Rodriguez Bandito
  • Rodriguez Bandito
  • Rodriguez Bandito

The bike had a few updates since the beginning. Gearing is one. Originally, I had 36t in the front and 11-38t, not a gear ratio I consider suited for climbing for miles, loaded. After convincing my son of the difference between city hills vs. mountain roads, he swapped the front chainring and altered the derailleur cage to fit a bigger cassette (inspired by Path Less Pedaled).

My fork has only one hole on each side for fenders, so I added an artificial second hole with an SKS Anywhere Bottle Cage (credit to Dustin Klein for the idea). To the pair of holes, I add Blackburn Cargo Cage to carry a 2-3L bag.

Rodriguez Bandito
  • Frame Rodriguez Bandito (custom)
  • Fork Seven Bikes Matador
  • Rims 650b 32h Stans No Tubes Arches
  • Hubs Speed Tuned Wheels 2.0 super 6
  • Tires WTB Resolute 650b x 42mm
  • Handlebars Oval Concepts 725 Dirt Drop Bars
  • Headset FSA upper cup / Canecreek Hell Bender lower cup
  • Crankset SRAM Force
  • Pedals Mountain SPD Shimano 520
  • Cassette Sunrace 11-46t 11-speed
  • Derailleur SRAM Force with a transplant modified cage
  • Brakes TRP Spyres
  • Shifter(s) SRAM Force
  • Saddle Forte Endure Air Ti
  • Seatpost Thomson Elite
  • Stem Origin8
  • Rear bags Ortlieb Seat-Pack 17L
  • Accessory bags Homemade fork and feed bags
  • Other accessories Looney Bin Bottle Cage on seat tube

Many of the “one size fits most” bags don’t fit my bike well, and I also change where to carry what depending on the season, weather forecast, and terrain/altitude of the destination/route. So, I have been making my own bags. I got feed and fork bags now. Next, onto front and frame bags! This year, I used a modified yoga mat holder in the front (LOL) and worked quite well. I’m designing something like that. It’s fun to be able to pick my own fabric color and pattern!

  • Rodriguez Bandito
  • Rodriguez Bandito
Rodriguez Bandito

You can see more from Machiko on Instagram @jarikozo.

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