A Selection of our Favorite Readers’ Rigs
To celebrate 200 Reader’s Rig posts, we’re looking back at some of our favorites from over the years. Check out our team’s hand-picked selection of beautiful bikes submitted by our readers around the world here…
This week marks the 200th installment of our Reader’s Rig series, through which we’ve only begun to shine a light on the broad range of bikes our readers ride. We’ve highlighted everything from self-made cargo bikes to high-end full-squish shredders and round-the-world tourers to parts bin grocery getters.
I’ve loved seeing the steady stream of submissions hit my inbox since we started sharing rigs from our community in 2019. Getting to know a little about 200 passionate riders who’ve spent an inordinate amount of time contemplating their bike builds down to the tiniest bits has been fascinating and enlightening (and it makes me feel slightly better about my own color-coded build spreadsheets). Our weekly Reader’s Rig posts have also provided a valuable space where folks can glean ideas, ask and answer questions, and connect over their shared love of frames, builders, parts, and more.
To commemorate our 200th post, I asked the team to wade through the archives and select a rig that speaks to them. You can find seven of our favorites below, each featuring some thoughts, a handful of photos, and a link to find the original post with further details.
Chosen by: Logan Watts
There are a lot of great bikes in our collection of Readers’ Rigs, so this was an interesting exercise. I first reflected back on when we started the series nearly four years ago with Pao’s Velo Orange Piolet. Pao sent over some photos, a little description, and a parts list. As I was trying to figure out what to do with it, something clicked. The beauty of this little corner of the cycling world is in the diversity of bikes and styles with which people approach it. We knew right away that the possibilities were endless.
Despite the loads of options that are now in the archive, it was pretty easy for me to pick a favorite. I was immediately smitten with Neža’s Hoop Snake when we published it in 2019. And while it’s custom-built for her, it ticks all the boxes for a bike that I could easily see myself spinning off with on a long trip. Steel frame with a big triangle, check. Sliding dropouts, check. 29+ tires, a reliable 1×11 drivetrain, loads of mounts, check, check, and check. And it’s also got that sweet custom carry handle and a custom-cut Kuwahara derailleur bumper, not to mention a great story behind the name. Give it a look here.
Tijs’ Muddy Fox Pathfinder
Chosen by: Lucas Winzenburg
There’s a whole lot to love about Tijs’ characterful Muddy Fox Pathfinder. To me, it strikes the perfect blend of classic and modern. It has all the charm of an older bike but it’s been thoughtfully updated where it counts, using reliable parts, and it’s not specced with anything particularly flashy. The matching bags from one of my favorite small European makers, Wit Slingers, add a lovely touch of color and help tie it all together. And that paint! They just don’t make ’em like that these days.
Those XT V-brakes, the Berthoud leather saddle, IRD double crankset, chunky GravelKings, and minimal frontloading setup—this one’s easy to appreciate. No doubt, Tijs’ Pathfinder looks like a bike that’s ready to go just about anywhere with a bit of rough-stuffing, and it’s sure to put a smile on the rider’s face while doing so. Find a deeper dive here.
Slim Wonder’s Retrotec
Chosen by: Virginia Krabill
Slim Wonder’s Retrotec is a beautifully crafted adventure-ready machine. The bike appeals to me both aesthetically and functionally. Its gracefully arched top tube and seat stay offer a striking contrast to the otherwise modern-feeling straight lines of the frame. The marriage of form and function is repeated in the choice of drivetrain. The Rohloff keeps things looking clean and uncomplicated, while the internal mechanics are anything but simple—an engineering feat that creates worry-free and nearly maintenance-free gear optimization in settings where having a less robust system would be cause for apprehension. The dynamo hub is a great plus for extended travels too.
To top it all off, Slim has decked out his bike in some of my favorite bags, while still leaving space for the addition of a larger framebag should extra space be needed. In short, this bike is a sweet-looking ride that appears to be capable of taking on any adventure, particularly the long-haul travels I most enjoy. Head over to the original post here.
Antonio’s Velo Orange Campeur
Chosen by: Joe Cruz
I love bikes that not only look purposeful, but where that purpose seems distinctively refracted through the sensibility and aesthetic of the rider. I get that feeling from Antonio’s Campeur: it’s ready for big trips, for horizons, for days and tracks that are open-ended, for quiet hidden wild camps or pedaling through towns. What makes it my favorite isn’t that I somehow picture myself on Antonio’s bike; it’s not a format that I’d typically ride. Instead, it’s that the details say something about how he travels and sees.
The smart, functional, not-so-common Gevenalle shifters, stalwart XTR v-brakes, an eclectic mix of bags piled high in front without looking precarious. I appreciate that no two bottle cages match. Front panniers, because, if you’re going to use panniers, the front is where they should be. Look again at the bike without luggage, the raw steel frame clear coated. It’s hard to place the bike’s era—it puts you of a mind 100 years ago and also right now. Most of all, you can tell it can go just about anywhere to gladly meet the world. I don’t know Antonio, but that’s how he seems to me. See more here.
DAVID’S 1985 TREK ANTELOPE 850
Chosen by: Cass Gilbert
There really are way, way too many fantastic Reader’s Rigs to choose an ultimate favourite (and besides, Lucas already snagged another one that caught my eye). But, if decisions must be made, I’m going for David’s Trek/Xtracycle mashup. I love the fact that an old and faithful Trek frame has been transformed into a car-replacing adventure-mobile, with lots of character to boot. I’ve always been a fan of Xtracycle’s Freeradical and its ability to transform a standard-issue bicycle into a super practical station wagon, and I admire the work that David is doing to make walking and cycling in Denver the safe activities they should be.
As he mentions, the whole setup sports a Rivendell aesthetic, which I’m a big fan of too. And I spotted some bags by Carsick Designs, another small maker I really like. Mudguards keep it practical throughout much of the year, and there are all sorts of other nice touches, like the collapsible passenger seat and space for firewood. Lots of vintage parts and durable metal water bottles round it off nicely! Find it here.
Christopher’s Velo Orange Neutrino
Chosen by: Miles Arbour
It’s tiny bike week here at BIKEPACKING.com, so it was only fitting for me to select the Neutrino that started it all as one of my favourites. The photo above is what sparked my original interest in the Velo Orange Neutrino. The combination of riser bars, tiny wheels, a basket, and a big JPaks top tube bag spoke to me and served as a major influence for my custom Neutrino build that we published (find it linked at the bottom of this post).
What’s more, owner Christopher really took a risk with that non-drive-side main photo, and tiny biking is all about taking risks! There are lots of fun details on his build that confirm what the Neutrino is all about: making it your own and having fun while doing so. Check out the original post here.
Conan’s Bridgestone MB-1
Chosen by: Neil Beltchenko
I didn’t go through all 200 rigs again, but I’ve been following the series closely, and I just love the uniqueness of each bike. I decided on Conan’s 1989 Bridgstone MB-1 because I’m a bit envious of it. I’ve been looking for a 52cm MB-1 for almost a year now without much luck. It’s a classic frame that has was built extraordinarily well, and I think it woud make a great bikepacking bike.
One thing I particularly appreciate about Conan and his rig is that despite all of the modern updates we have seen in geometry and parts, Conan and his 1989 Bridgestone crushed it at the Silk Road Mountain Race, completing the challenging event on the 26″ beast. If nothing else, Coanan showed us that with enough determination and grit, the bike really doesn’t matter. Find the original post here.
What’s your favorite Reader’s Rig to date? Browse through the archives and let us know in the conversation below!
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