Sawyer’s Dirt Drop Miyata Sportrunner – Morgan Taylor

Sawyer’s Dirt Drop Miyata Sportrunner
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

Bicycles need not be complicated. They need not be expensive. Yet it sure is nice when they have character. Sawyer’s Miyata is a simple reminder that a Craigslist find and a few easy mods can revive the joy of having a rad bike on a shoestring.

We ran into Sawyer Brown and his brother Spencer while climbing a remote mountain pass in western Montana. Whitney pointed us toward Skalkaho Pass when we left Missoula, hearts full of goodness from the Bikecentennial, looking forward to meeting Sklar and Colin and the crew in Bozeman, and then toward Yellowstone.

When Sawyer’s Landcruiser rolled up with his fishing boat in tow and the dirt drop Miyata on top, we were intrigued. When Spencer hopped out of the passenger seat wearing a Team Dream shirt, we knew we’d found friends. The Brown family hails from Austin, where John shone his spotlight for a couple years, and Spencer was one of the people I came out of that being internet friends with.

It’s always cool when your internet friends become real friends, but you just don’t expect that moment to come in the middle of nowhere, over camp coffee and snacks, checking out a sweet waterfall in the wilderness. Turns out the Browns also have a house at the foot of the Skalkaho, and the pass is the dirt alternate when approaching from the east.

Sawyer’s Miyata is pretty close to bone stock. That includes the 3×7 drivetrain, the Ritchey Z-Max tires, and the pink bottle cages. But add a big ol’ Wald basket, some cheap dirt drops, bar end shifters, classy brake levers, and a meticulous bar tape job, and it’s automatic cool. It isn’t meant for riding super long distances or carrying heavy loads, nor does it need to.

When I was a kid, my bikes were a lot like Sawyer’s: scavenged from friends, cobbled together, and loved. I blasted the neighborhood and didn’t worry about how many gears my bike had. And after spending some time with him, I can guarantee you that’s exactly what Sawyer does with his Miyata.


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