Our Reader’s Rig of the week comes from part-time framebuilder Mike Farrell of Flagstaff, Arizona, who shares a peek at his freshly self-made Ponderosa Cycles hardtail. Get to know Mike and see images of his loaded rig on a recent Southern Arizona bikepacking trip with the team here…

Words by Mike Farrell, photos by Miles Arbour

Hello, I’m Mike, and I live in Flagstaff, Arizona, with my wife. We moved here from New Jersey in 2018 when she accepted a job at the university in town. Growing up on the East Coast, it’s been a unique experience living in the West.

Ponderosa Cycles Hardtail

I work remotely for a transportation logistics company, and I also work part-time as a frame builder. I grew up on a bike, and as I got older, the uses of the bike became greater. It was only when we moved west that I started to ride more on dirt, partly due to the abundance of singletrack from our house and also because of the lack of safe paved roads around me. I also grew up camping and spending weekends and summers on trips up and down the East Coast, and one cross-country trip to Las Vegas and back one summer in a suburban with my two siblings, our dog, and a trailer in tow.

  • Ponderosa Cycles Hardtail
  • Ponderosa Cycles Hardtail

I started to combine camping and bike rides on overnight bike trips, utilizing the Northeast Corridor’s ample public transit options to link places together. Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut are all great places to ride a bike and fall conveniently on the train line from Trenton. Flagstaff has made getting out on overnight trips much easier, and the cycling community here has been so welcoming. Most weekends are spent on two wheels in some fashion, whether in the red rocks of Sedona in the winter or the ponderosa pines of Flagstaff the rest of the year.

Ponderosa Cycles Hardtail
  • Ponderosa Cycles Hardtail
  • Ponderosa Cycles Hardtail
  • Ponderosa Cycles Hardtail

This bike came together just a few weeks before the trip with Joe, Miles, and Neil in southern Arizona. It went from a drawing on paper to a pile of tubes, to a frame, to a bike, back to a frame (with some modifications to change a head tube angle that was a little too slack for my taste), and back to a bike. It’s built around a 140mm fork and as short of a rear end as I could get without dealing with a bent seat tube.

  • Ponderosa Cycles Hardtail
  • Ponderosa Cycles Hardtail
  • Ponderosa Cycles Hardtail
  • Ponderosa Cycles Hardtail
  • Ponderosa Cycles Hardtail
  • Frame: Ponderosa Cycles Custom Hardtail
  • Fork: FOX 34 FIT4
  • Rims: DT Swiss XM 481 (front) / DT Swiss EX 471 (rear)
  • Hubs: Hope Pro 2 Evo
  • Tires: Specialized Eliminator 2.6 (front) / Purgatory 2.4 (rear)
  • Handlebars: Steel 810mm custom from Richard at Moustache Cycles
  • Headset: Purple Rollcii via Analog Cycles in Vermont
  • Crankset: SRAM GX Eagle DUB
  • Pedals: Shimano Deore XT M8120
  • Cassette: SRAM GX Eagle 10-52
  • Derailleur(s): SRAM GX Eagle
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide G2 RSC
  • Shifter(s): SRAM GX Eagle
  • Saddle: Bontrager Montrose Elite from the parts bin
  • Seatpost: Bike Yoke Revive 213
  • Stem: 50mm 31.8 stem that came off my wife’s Ibis Ripley
  • Front bags: Prototype Rogue Panda harness and bag, Revelate Egress Pocket
  • Frame bags: Revelate Tangle L half frame bag
  • Rear bags: Revelate Vole
  • Accessory bags: Revelate Mountain Feed Bags, Rogue Panda Alamo top tube bag
  • Other accessories: Spare tube on an enduro strap, Widefoot cargo mount cage on the downtube

The head angle is 66 degrees, and the seat tube angle is 75 degrees. I wanted a bike that’s super comfortable for long multi-day rides but also handles well on short singletrack rides. Parts for this came together from what I had in the parts bin, and some cheaper, no-frills options that, in my opinion, work just as well, if not better, than some of the brands out there that rhyme with “hiss bling.”

Ponderosa Cycles Hardtail
  • Ponderosa Cycles Hardtail
  • Ponderosa Cycles Hardtail

I think I’m going to leave this unpainted. I know it’s steel and rust and all that, but it lives in the desert. Maybe if I end up living somewhere else, I’ll get it painted. I like the look of the patina, and riding around on a raw bike always gets people asking questions.

You can see more from Mike on Instagram.

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.

Readers Rig

  • Make sure to set your shared image folder to public!

  • *By clicking submit, you're also subscribing to our email list. You'll receive an opt-in email before being added.



Reader's Rig

Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.