Mid South 2024: Ben’s Not-a-Sklar, Not-a-Tall Bike

Tall as this bike may be it’s not a traditional tall bike, and although it was made by Adam Sklar, it’s not a traditional Sklar. Jarrod Bunk couldn’t resist getting a few snaps of Ben and his quirky not-tall bike at this year’s Mid South. Let’s take a closer look…

A project that maybe wasn’t intended to see the light of day found its way to the Facebook marketplace, and the link was sent over to the homie Ben Witt. Maybe you know Ben from his time guiding Whisky Parts Co. along or from his most recent endeavor, Heath Creek Cycles, where he likes riding singlespeed so much they provide the old Northfield Special—hacksawing derailleur hangers on Surlys and ripping around with charcuterie boards aplenty. Well, Ben brought a lot of that to this year’s Mid South and pulled this build together just in time to be hosted at the Stargazer x Cedaero party.

I’ll let Ben drop some details about the build below:

“I was doomscrolling Facebook one day, as you do, and somehow a marketplace ad Adam had listed for this tall bike showed up. It had little info, other than one complete photo and a small description. I saved the ad, sent it to friends, (I’m a social processor) and sat on it for about 10 days or so. Post-ride one night over a beer, Michael—who runs The Heywood [gravel ride] with me—said that I needed to buy it. It was still available, so I reached out to Adam and we came to an agreement.

“I’ve ridden tall bikes before, and they’re just fun. I love the perspective they provide, the feeling of drama and the change of literal scenery. They just make people smile as well. I’ve described this one in particular as like a Victorian folly. It does nothing better than any other bike I own, but it makes people laugh and smile and remember why all bikes are special.

“Once the bike was on the way, I started thinking through what we wanted to do with it. It was in the raw and had no bottle braze-ons on it. I asked if he minded if I made a few changes to it, and he obliged. Once the frameset came, I built it with parts around to get a feel for it. I was honestly super surprised at how well it rides. I was hopeful, and it had exceeded my expectations.

“Bottles were laid out on the bike to draw the ST bottle as your main while riding. The DT bottles are too far down to grab readily. The mounts are spread out also to hold the most amazing Cedaero bags they’ve ever made for me. The bags split the frame ‘rhombus’ nearly equal. The HT alone is 345 mm long, so even half of the frame is a huge volume.

“Both bags bolt on along the periphery of the frame, and they connect using magnets in the middle. This allows for the full bag configuration, or the top half, to be run with bottles. The bags represent the new MN state flag because, as my friend Marty said, it’s tall and flag-shaped. The white star of the flag carries over to the non-drive side on the top bag, so one flag will be represented with either bag or both installed. Brian in particular from Cedaero gets credit for bringing this vision to life. It’s so so good. They even set the zipper for the lower bag on the ND side, to not disrupt the flag effect on the drive side!

“The build list is a variety of new parts, very old parts, parts that have been on many bicycles, parts that have never been on my bicycles, etc. It’s a hoot.

“Cranks are old Race Face I-Beam road cranks in 130bcd, paired with a Dura Ace 40t chainring. 1.5 XT 8 spd chains drive a 20t White trials freewheel. Wheels are Paul’s hubs laced to Velocity Blunt SS rims with Sapim Force triple-butted spokes. They’re light and feel bombproof. They hold 29”, Rutland 2.2” tires and use Muc-Off valves and Whisky tubeless tape. Braking is handled by Paul Cantilever levers to short-pull Klampers in black.”

“This is my favorite combo of Paul brakes. They feel superb with quality Jagwire compressionless housing. The rear cable is precisely full length from the box. Love that. The cockpit consists of an ancient Brooks B17 Ti on a Thomson post, held with a Paul seatpost clamp, paired with an equally old Salsa steel stem that holds Nitto Bosco bars. Cages are Wolf Tooth’s Morse stainless.”

Any questions? Drop a comment below and Ben will chime in.