Words and photos by Montana Miller (@montana__miller)
I’m Montana from Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania. In spring, summer, and fall I guide van-supported bike tours for Wilderness Voyageurs, and maintain a fleet of a couple hundred rental bikes. In the winters, my wife and I take off and do our own touring. I love my home woods in Pennsylvania, but winter is an excellent time to not be there. I’ve raced Tour Divide and the Colorado Trail and finished with semi-respectible times, helped scout a little piece of the Baja Divide route, spent a lot of months touring in New Zealand, and I’m currently riding from Hanoi to Bangkok. I write about my rides on my blog, Dirt Cruise.
At the shop where I used to work, we sold Surly Big Dummies and the now-discontinued Kona Minute. The Big Dummy was fun on singletrack, but the back end was too long to get the front wheel up, and a handful around a switchback. It was so long that it almost felt like riding a tandem without a stoker. The Minute had a shorter rear so it handled great, but it only had tire clearance for 700×45 tires.
I wanted a bike that handled as nice as the Minute, could haul like a Dummy, had clearance for 29 x 3” tires (which is my favorite size), and was short enough to pack into a regular cardboard bike box to get it on an airplane, so I contacted Walt Wehner at Waltworks in Park City, Utah. He’s an awesome builder and this is my second frame from him. He made me this Big Boy custom frame and fork, which is kinda a short cargo bike.
The chainstays are 20″ long, so it’s a smooth ride and it carries weight well, but I can still wheelie it (badly). The rack is built into the frame, so it’ll never rattle or shake loose. It has a 68 degree head angle and 72 degree seat angle. With the long wheelbase and huge tires, it’s a stable and comfy ride.
It has some very fancy custom titanium bars from Moonmen, and a bunch of other nice stuff. This bike is the most over the top thing I’ve ever owned. I sewed all the bags, keeping the panniers narrow so they don’t get in the way on hike-a-bikes. All the attachment points are Velcro so they don’t make any noise. Rear panniers have made multi-month touring so much more pleasant. Unlike the bad old days of using a saggy seat sack, now I can pick up a couple loaves of bread, a bottle of liquor, whatever, and not worry about how I pack it.
- Frame/Fork Waltworks Big Boy
- Rims Spank 395+
- Hubs SON28 Dynamo (front), Hope Pro 4 single speed (rear)
- Tires Surly Knard 29 x 3.0″
- Handlebars Moonmen, 2.5″ rise, 40 degree sweep
- Headset Cane Creek 110
- Crankset Shimano Zee (polished), 32T RaceFace ring
- Pedals DMR V12
- Brakes Paul Klamper and Canti Levers
- Saddle Chromag Trailmaster
- Seatpost Ritchey Classic
- Stem Profile Mark Mulville
- Bags All homemade
- Other accessories Sinewave Beacon
The black thing on top of the rack is my skateboard. I’m a crappy skater but I enjoy it enough to lug the thing around. My Big Boy is single speed (except for a very brief affair with a Rohloff), which is all I’ve ridden for the last 14 years, so I don’t know any better at this point anyway. I have an 18T cog that’s in theory a flat ground gear, but I’ve never used it so it’s really just a heavy spacer.
Find more from Montana on Instagram @montana__miller.
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