Bob’s Black Mountain Cycles Basket Bike Commuter

There’s a bigger story to be told here, mostly surrounding Black Mountain Cycles’ owner Mike Varley and his history not only regarding bicycle design, but also his impact on the Point Reyes community as a whole. I figured this Beautiful Bicycle gallery would serve as a segue to that in the future. For now, let’s chat about this bike…

Point Reyes is a beautiful coastal town in Northern California on the Adventure Cycling Association’s Pacific Coast route and is a bastion of bicycle-friendly roads, trails and tracks. Because of its plentiful offerings in terms of riding routes, Black Mountain Cycles emerged, catering to not only the wayward bicycle tourist, but also locals and SF weekend warriors looking to get their feet dusty.

Black Mountain caters to all forms of roads, but enjoys riding dirt the most, which is why their in-house frame company will always fit a bit bigger of a tire, even when it comes to their “road” frameset. Their Road V3 frame fits a 33mm tire with ease, while offering up the option for either downtube mounted barrel adjusters with road shifters or retro downtube shifters. These frames are made overseas but are affordable, meant for everything from dirt road rides to centuries and even, as evident by Bob’s build here, commuter setups.

Bob's Black Mountain Cycles Basket Bike Commuter

Bob’s Black Mountain tackles all the necessities: a SON generator hub, a Wald basket for transporting work clothes, a nice, supple tire and a comfortable riding position. While the frame itself might be production, Bob’s custom build shows character and utilitarianism we all can identify with. For those wanting a little more cushion for their rides, Black Mountain also offers a Cross V5 frameset, as well as the Cameron Falconer-made MUSA frames!

As I said before, hopefully this isn’t the last you hear of Black Mountain on the site, because this story needs to be told!

  • Harry Major

    Woul;d it be possible for these articles to start being attributed to an author and photographer? Its really nice to know whos personal feelings are being exposed, and to be able to yell a thank you at a specific author for nice content like this :)

    • Anything that isn’t me, is noted. So all galleries that just say the title without credit is John Watson and everything else is noted. I.e. Morgan Taylor, Ryan Wilson, Kyle Kelley, etc etc

      • Harry Major

        Ah, that makes it easy! Thanks.

        • I’m working on a better system for the authors but my web dev took a day job.

          • That’s funny. I always bring up The Radavist when I’m trying to show someone what a “perfect” website interface looks like…

          • Alan

            I have a nitto front rack. Would zip ties be the best way to attach a basket, or is there a better way to go?

  • Brian

    Love the touch of the dog tag

  • Dan Steeves

    What rack is that?

  • Zack Reinhardt

    The folks at Black Mountain rule and this bike is as dope as they are. Once I was bikepacking through Marin and broke a rack bracket and they hooked me up with one on my word that I’d mail them a check when I got home (I had forgot my wallet somewhere like a fool). Nice guys, even nicer bikes!

  • p. meyer


  • Zac Stanley

    Mike is a great and knowledgeable guy. Glad to see him getting some well deserved props here. I have a V5 Cross frame in pink – Almost always my go to dirt slayer.

    • White Mike

      Ditto. The Pacenti crown is a nice touch!

      • Zac Stanley

        I have been following Mike since he was prototyping V1. The pink and the Pacenti pushed me over the edge.

        • White Mike

          Yep. 60cm pink over here.

  • PDX-E

    Love it. I run a Black Mountain with 700x48s all over Portland and occasionally in the woods. Love seeing Black Mountain getting the props they deserve.

  • Zac Stanley


    • shankshiv

      Pinkerton is the monstercross model ?

      • Zac Stanley

        Pinkerton is just the name of mine.

        • White Mike


    • Hell yes!

    • noob_sauce

      That is so hot it’s El Scorcho. Sorry, I had to.

  • I just got on the basket train myself. Work clothes – you said it. It works great for that, and I don’t have to carry as much on my back.

    Bike really wants to tip over when I unlock it, though, that’s embarrassing…

    • Harry

      Make one of those ‘hand brake” setups with a bit of paracord and a cord lock.

  • DamagedSurfer

    I’m so stoked to see Mike’s company on the Radavist. He’s an incredibly knowledgeable guy. I did a full on build of his latest gen monstercross bike in British racing green. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite dial in the fit and ended up selling it to a friend, who’s taking the bike to Grinduro next month. It’s a ripper.

  • Aaron Holmes

    Another vote of appreciation for Mike and Black Mountain Cycles! I’ve been riding my BMC Monster Cross the past several years in all conditions. Mike was very helpful in providing details and suggestions for my first buildup and then a year later for a drivetrain upgrade too. He went so far as to swap cranks around on his own bike to confirm my build plan would work.

  • meaty_urologist

    #basketlife is the only life!

  • meaty_urologist

    #basketlife is the only life…!

    • Love that back rack and front rack. Whatcha using?

      • meaty_urologist

        nitto r10 rear and nitto mark’s rack up front…!

    • henrythewound

      Can you provide more info on your bike? Is that a Wolverine? Me gusta

    • kenny

      Bullmoose bars!!! Yes!! My black mountain cycles monster cross is built up very similar to this bike.

  • Evan Baird

    I would really like to know the rational behind leaving off the rack mounts. He said he was considering making them standard and then apparently decided that it looks better with p-clamps. I don’t get it. Such an easy feature.

    • Jason Stanford

      Mike has two framesets he offers, the cross frame has the rack/fender mounts. The road frame has fender mounts but no other addtional braze-ons. I think it would be awesome to see the road frame built with the champs elysees low trail fork from soma

      • Alex Steadman

        I have that setup and apparently no decent pictures of it. It’s great though, and eerily similar to this build.

        • Jason Stanford

          Take pictures! I have this bike and have been thinking of getting the fork for sometime now and love to see the complete bike.

          • Alex Steadman

            There ya go. Please look past my T-Rex esque reach.

    • hansgman

      Argh. Pclamps look very ghetto

      • I like P clamps on a road bike. They’re blingy. They say, “I can take this shit off any time I want.” I hate warty old rack mounts poking up all over a clean bike if they aren’t being used. They’re gross. Like skin tags.

  • Matt O’Donnell

    Jumping on the bandwagon about what a nice guy Mike is. When I hit Pt. Reyes on my PCH tour I was having some rear derailleur issues and no luck correcting it myself. I rolled over before they were open, but Mike was already there and he let me in, fixed me up, and didn’t charge me a penny.

  • kcameron

    A late addition to the burgeoning fan club, but Mike aka Black Mountain Cycles is simply the best. The craftsmanship, insight and skill he brings to the Black Mountain frames (and bikes in general) is without parallel. I have one of the early MUSA Monster Cross frames, which Mike was gracious enough to build up in a mongrel assortment of Campy/White Industries VBC. The Campy idea, by the way, was my choice. (For better or for worse, I insisted on Campy as a long-standing Campy guy. My bad and lesson learnt that if you want to go up really steep dirt hills you should listen to Mike.) Notwithstanding that self-inflicted error, the Black Mountain is the go-to machine, especially with the VBC and Rock ‘n Road tires. Now, I just need get a basket . . .

  • Thomas Wilson

    Beautiful. What sort of brake levers are those?

  • hansgman

    Is the headlamp cord going inside the fork blade.

  • David Mathews

    One more super happy Black Mountain customer/fan. I bought a road frame from Mike in 2014 and had him build it up. We consulted on every part of the bike, he drafted up two plans for it – one with a 62 cm and the other a 59 cm frame. I told him I wanted silver Shimano 105 components, but he noticed that the silver 105 rear derailleur had a black cage, and the black one had a silver cage. No problem – he dismantled two derailleurs and put a silver cage on a 105 silver rear derailleur for me. Anyway I love the bike and ride it as much as I can. It feels and rides like a custom bike for about one third the price.

  • David Mathews
  • JamesD

    Can anyone tell me what crankset that is? It looks slick.

    • JamesD

      duh did not realize there was a whole gallery with close-ups.. white industries.. I see it now.

  • Benny Watson

    I’ve loved riding my Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross bike on thousands of miles of dirt roads in Middle Georgia over the past 4 years. Mike was great to deal with and provided a lot of help in making sure the bike would fit me correctly. He even mocked up a bike in his shop to my specs and sent me photos and measurements before I bought it. I hope I can get out to California to visit the shop some day.