Our final Reader’s Rig of 2023 comes from longtime community member Vik Banerjee in British Columbia. He shares details on his single-speed Stooge Speedbomb and a little about his mountain biking evolution from the 1980s to today. Get to know Vik and his Stooge here…

Words by Vik Banerjee, photos by Miles Arbour

I’m a lifelong cyclist living in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, named Vik, aka VikApproved. Bikes are the ultimate freedom machines, and I just can’t get enough of them.

Stooge Speedbomb

I love bikes that can go anywhere from hanging out with friends at the brewery, riding across town for an appointment, dropping into a steep, techy mountain bike trail, grinding a day of gravel, or strapping some camping gear to the frame and rolling out on a new adventure—ideally, all riding the same machine. You’ll find me working part-time at Black’s Cycle. It’s a small, locally owned LBS on the way to/from the Powell River/Comox Ferry. So, if your bike needs fixing in the Comox area, drop in. We are always happy to help bikepackers keep rolling with smiles on their faces.

  • Stooge Speedbomb
  • Stooge Speedbomb

When I started riding mountain bikes back in around ’87, rigid was the only option. I went through the normal mountain biker lifecycle for my times: rigid to hardtail to full suspension. My enthusiasm for where the mainstream bike industry was headed waned around the time carbon bikes became popular. I’ve got an engineering degree and have worked in a bunch of high-tech industries, including aerospace composite manufacturing. I am not against technology. At the same time, I don’t assume something more complicated/advanced is going to be better just because it’s “the new thing.” I noticed my fancy full-suspension bike started gathering dust, and my hardtails got ridden more and more. Then I got motivated to try singlespeeding and really enjoyed that. I guess the logical next move was a rigid SS machine like my Stooge Speedbomb.

Stooge Speedbomb
  • Stooge Speedbomb
  • Stooge Speedbomb
  • Stooge Speedbomb

The Speedbomb is mostly a parts bin build using stuff I had lying around. Nothing overly fancy but solid and reliable. Its main mission this winter is being my go-to shred sled for getting sendy on our local Coastal BC trails. It’s got all the fenders, so I can ride when it’s wet without a soggy bum and a skunk stripe. Rolling on 29+ rubber and with stable, rigid geometry, it cruises through steep, chunky tech better than it should. The long-ish WB and low BB carve corners delightfully. The tall bars and slack seat tube make for a very comfortable upright riding position. The low SS gearing claws its way up the climbs and reminds me to relax and enjoy the moment when cruising across the valley in search of more trails.

  • Frame/Fork: Stooge Speedbomb, Cyan Green
  • Rims: Chromag Magna 40s
  • Hubs: Hope Pro2 EVO + Boostinator kits
  • Tires: Bontrager XR4 & XR2 – 29 x 3”
  • Handlebars: Stooge Junker 85mm Rise
  • Headset: FSA Orbit with ALL the spacers
  • Crankset: Race Face Turbine Cranks 175mm with 30T Ring
  • Pedals: Foundation Composite Pedals
  • Cassette: 24T Endless Cog right now (sometimes 22T or 23T)
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore 4 Piston/230mm Front & 2 Piston/180mm Rear
  • Saddle: Ergon SM Pro Saddle
  • Seatpost: One Up V2 180mm with Wolf Tooth Remote
  • Stem: Tag T1 33mm
  • Front bags: Various Porcelain Rocket (not shown)
  • Frame bags: Rock Bros x 2 (I’ll get some custom bags eventually)
  • Rear bags: Various Porcelain Rocket (not shown)
  • Rear rack: OMM Rack + Robert Project Axle
  • Other accessories: RRP Max Front Fender, Mudhugger Rear Fender, Wolf Tooth Morse Ti Cage

For the winter, I’ve only got a couple of small frame bags for tools and snacks. Come spring, I have a Robert Project Axle and an OG OMM Sherpa rack waiting to go on the Speedbomb, plus a bunch of my trusty Porcelain Rocket bags to transform it into a touring machine. It’ll also get a fresh custom half-frame bag to max out the upper frame space storage.

Stooge Speedbomb

What is the Stooge Speedbomb? It’s an enduro gravel klunking bikepacking coffee cruiser. It’s a bike that can do everything with a few minor tweaks, such as swapping in a different SS cog and/or hanging some other racks/bags on the frame. It’s modern AF and old school, all at the same time. It’s a freedom machine.

Other bikes I own and love are a Daambuilt custom hardtail (the Mega Krampus), OG bass boat green Surly Krampus SS, and two Pipedream Sirius S5ss (one geared and one SS).

  • Stooge Speedbomb
  • Stooge Speedbomb
  • Stooge Speedbomb
  • Stooge Speedbomb
  • Stooge Speedbomb

If you are within striking distance of Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, you should come ride your bike here. We’ve got world-class mountain bike trails, endless gravel, and amazingly beautiful bike camping routes. Plus, there are not a lot of people, so you’ll often have the place to yourself. Feel free to drop me a line if you need help planning your trip.

You can follow along with Vik on Instagram @vikapproved.

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