I had a Blacksheep Klunker back in 2017. I usually ran it as 27.5+, but sometimes I ran it 29+.
I managed to finagle a 5 or 6-speed cassette onto a single-speed freehub body and used friction shifting to make it function pretty well. I really enjoyed the quirkiness of it, and there’s something satisfying about figuring out how to piece together some funky drivetrain.
Fast forward to last year, and I was seeing more and more photos and stories from Wende Cragg. It didn’t take much to romanticize the idea of building another klunker after seeing all her awesome photos. I am obsessed with fat bikes so what would be cooler than a fat one?
I like to name my bikes, so it made sense that I’d name this one Wende.
I had a Paul 190mm rear hub that I could pop a singlespeed freehub into to make it a 177 mm fat singlespeed hub, and then I was able to figure out a cassette to fit it that had 6-speeds originally, but I have now opted for a 5-speed. I custom-anodized a bunch of Paul parts as well as the Ignite cranks and Endless chainring.
The frame was powder coated “rusty sandpaper,” and I had some copper and brown Klampers already, so I went earthtone with everything else. I either did a mix of gold or orange first, then dipped them in black for a short period to make them a bit darker.. It was very satisfying!
It’s a blast to ride, there’s this mixed sensation of riding a bike with some limitations and nuances on the shifting but still having the geometry and braking to allow you to ride it like a modern bike. I have been on another custom fat bike since 2015. I have grown very accustomed to that bike and hopping on this klunker felt pretty much identical other than it’s more upright and a little lighter. James and Taryn knocked this thing out of the park!
It’s running 840 mm wide titanium Klunker bars held in place with a Paul 6bolt boxcar, and those are turning on a Chris King headset that my great old friend Kris Bedsaul hooked me up with!
Travis of California and Paul Component Engineering was generous as always to help provide some raw parts for me to anodize. I’m using the short-pull Klampers with the Canti Levers. I like the look and feel of those over the Love Levers.
Travis also had some leftover fat hubs that I butchered into the fat singlespeed by just using a short free hub and cutting the axle. I built those into some Surly Rabit holes that I had bought years ago and they just happen to be brown! One of my favorite wheelsets I have built to date! I have them wrapped in a Johhny 5 up front and a Flowbiest out back.
Ian over at ignite was also kind enough to hook me up with some raw arms and Shanna at Endless got me a raw chainring, I couldn’t help but try and do a triple dip with those. They turned out incredible! Short cranks are really awesome, and these Ignites are absolutely amazing! The accompanying bottom bracket is equally superb. Ian’s attention to detail and high standards make these worth every penny!
The shifters are Microshift thumbies. The left one is set up to operate my Gravity dropper post and the other is set to friction. It’s satisfying and sometimes frustrating to operate, but that’s what has I hooked! I took a SunRace cassette apart and matched the tooth counts with my other fat bike’s cassette as best as I could. So it’s 13-18-24-34-40, and I have a Microshift super shorty derailleur maxed out on it. The jumps are kind of big, but my other bike uses a SRAM 8n speed e-bike cassette, and it’s the same, so I’m used to it.
Klamper brakes are the bee knees. I fell in love with them and I won’t use anything else. I have yet to run out of power on them, they don’t fade. I got one so hot it melted the plastic adjuster barrel!! The Canti Levers are beautiful!
The Gravity Dropper is another one of those components that I have become a lifer of. I can’t justify using anything else. They’re incredibly simple and reliable. They always work, they rarely need any service, the service takes no time and no special tools and they’re made in the US. I like the accordion boot too,
Time pedals because they’re just plain awesome. I normally run the old ATAC Z dh pedals. Oury grips and Retro Your Ride Streamers finish it off…
We’d like to thank all of you who submitted Readers Rides builds to be shared here at The Radavist. The response has been incredible and we have so many to share over the next few months. Feel free to submit your bike, listing details, components, and other information. You can also include a portrait of yourself with your bike and your Instagram account! Please, shoot landscape-orientation photos, not portrait. Thanks!