Do not create with the purpose of serving others. Create because it is part of you. Create because you have too.

The bikes I rode and loved in 2015

As I continually process my year and prepare for another year, I thought I’d take a moment to highlight the bikes I loved and rode the most in 2015. I work in the industry and rode a lot more than what is pictured here, but these are my personal bikes that I spent my own money on and that gave me joy and happiness throughout 2015.

Disclaimer – I work for the manufacturer of all these bikes. Some of these frames are prototypes, but the parts, bags, dirt and dust were all provided by me. Don’t take this as a review. These are the bikes I like and ride.

Late edit/observation – 7 bikes – 6 steel and 1 titanium. Hmm…..I wonder what my material preferences are? Oh…And there are two more I ride, both steel, that I can ‘t show you! 

My trusty steed for Eurobike 2015.

This is an old Salsa El Mariachi that was cut in half and had S&S couplers installed. This is one of the old ones that was on the 16-18-20-22″ sizing scheme so it has a larger front triangle for holding more stuff. Eric at Revelate made custom bags for this one. This year I added a Jones Ti bar, a carbon Salsa Firestarter fork and Teravail tires.  Wow, what an incredible world traveler.  My Eurobike 2015 story can be found here. My best set up yet for international travel and exploration.


My Surly Ice Cream Truck – This right now is my favorite bike. I built it last year and immediately went on the Desert Ramble. My Desert Ramble Story can be found here. It was my first tour with 5″ tires and honestly, I had not had the bike set up and tweaked long enough before going on that trip. It hurt a bit but I worked through it and I have it set up so perfect for how I like to ride it. It’s been completely transformed and is now perfect. I added Whisky 70mm carbon rims, tubeless 45Nrth Van Helgas, Whisky Carbon bars, Wolf Tooth single ring conversion for Surly OD cranks and a lot more. It’s so unbelievably good for trail riding and fun.


Big Blue – This is my custom painted Salsa Fargo Ti. I will always be a Fargo guy. Fargo bikes put me in the right state of mind to explore the world. This one is special.  The original build and image post can be found  here and its the most popular post of 2015 here on ImagineGnat.

Right now it is completely disassembled as it is getting a complete redo with new wheels with carbon hoops, tubeless Teravail tires and a new SRAM 1×11 drivetrain. The set up pictured above had prototype SRAM hydraulics that have been returned to SRAM. This one is going to be a stunner when I am done sometime in 2016.


My Surly Krampus – This bike has been in the stable for over 2 years now. It’s a crazy beast. If I only looked at specs I probably shouldn’t love it but I do. I have had it set up at least 10 different ways. I’ve ridden it on every surface and all over. This year it carried me through my Maaah Daah Hey tour. My MDH story can be found here. I’ve ridden the MDH on 4 different bikes now and this is my current favorite for touring this type of trail. It hauls my stuff and like every single Surly ever made, it give me confidence and I know I will have no troubles with the bike. It just rocks.


My All-City Cycles Fulton Team Bike – I haven’t done a featured post on this bike yet with my build spec. When I do I suspect it will become one of my top posts here on the blog. The build isn’t that special in terms of over the top-ness spec, although a few pieces are really top notch. The reason I love this bike is that I took over a year to select every single part of this bike and built it right the first time. It is perfect. I mean perfect. I LOVE riding this machine on gravel and pavement. It’s trail capable too, but I have other bikes I enjoy more for those conditions.


The All-City Cycles Junk Yard Dog – This bike simply kicks ass. I built this as my “City” bike. Unfortunately, I don’t get to the city that much so I haven’t ridden it as much as I like or should. I did grab a set of skinwall Maxxis tires to transform this to a dirt trail ripper, but I haven’t mounted them yet.


And I leave you with one last shot. This one was just added to the stable, the Moonlander Ops. It was Surly Bikes show bike. I am a farm-kid and for obvious reason this bike just brings me back to my youth and driving tractors and combines. I just had to bring it home for my collection and I’ve already tweaked it to my liking with a new post, saddle, stem and bar. More on this bike when it is complete and dialed. While it has only been in the stable for a week, I think it will become my go to Minnesota River Bottoms, off-trail rambler. This bike simply kicks butt and I have ridden it 4 times in the last week. So good.

5 responses to “The bikes I rode and loved in 2015”

  1. Just a quick note to say how much I enjoy reading your blog and your photographs. Love these atmospheric shots of the bikes you’ve ridden, and especially like your portraits – in my opinion you have already mastered the skill perfectly. Have a great Christmas.

  2. […] bike news I am completely enamored with my new to me, but used, Surly Moonlander Ops. I shared in my bikes I rode and loved in 2015 post that it was a recent addition. I love this thing for rambling around the river bottoms. It’s been good to me so far and […]

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