Reader’s Ride(s) – JP’s Parade of Bikes

Is this JP's last bike? I don't think so...

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We’ve published a series of articles about the bikes that our reader’s ride, but I don’t think I’ve ever met someone that has quite the list of bikes that JP shared with us. It’s not that JP has a huge stable of bikes, there are many others that have more bikes in the shed than JP. JP only keeps one bike at a time, but he’s installed, a revolving door, when it comes to the bikes he rides. The list of bikes that he’s owned is a rather long one, so why don’t we let JP tell it, in his own words.


jpPeople often ask me how I got into Fat-biking.  It was actually pretty easy.  (after you read this story, {if you’re like me}…’ll probably think that it wasn’t that easy) I was going through a time in my life when I was down sizing and minimizing my life to the essentials.  I wanted to live more intentionally and deliberate.  I started with my clothes and ended up in the garage.  I haven’t been able to park my truck in the garage for years.  This was due to the fact that I had 6 bikes taking up all the room.  So I decided to fix that problem.

I asked myself.  If I could only have one bike, which would it be? No N+1 for me.  More like N+0.   After hours of deliberation, and a few Dale’s Pale Ale to help the process go along, I discovered the answer.  For me, and my style of riding, it was a Salsa Fargo.  It could do it all.  Commute me to work, take it on long gravel rides.  Take it to Levis and run single track with it.  Pull a BOB trailer.  And of course, take it bike packing.  Load it down with soft Revelate 2015-03-16-09-09-29bags and go forever.  After all, every one loves it for the Tour Divide race. So I decided to sell all six bikes, buy a Fargo Frame and build it up 100% myself.  Every single part I would hand pick for it.  So it began.  I ended up parting out all of my bikes and selling the good parts I knew I could get money for and donating the rest to Dream Bikes and to friends who needed parts for their projects.


So I sold and sold and bartered for parts I knew I wanted for my dream bike.  I ended up with about $3200 when I was all finished.  So I bought my beloved Medium Salsa Fargo frame, and since I had more than I though I would, I bought a titanium frameset with a Black Fargo fork. It was used and it was awesome.  It was a really fun project.  The best part was I had a bunch of cash and could start purchasing parts.  Added bonus, I had my truck in my garage for the first time ever. So I built her up, and rode her and she was grand.  I bought almost all USA made parts, which I love.  They are built to last.  Then I loaded her up and took her on a bike-packing trip to Dodgeville, Wi from Madison, WI.  43ish miles each way of flat boring gravel.  Where I discovered I am only 5’9” with a 29 inch inseam.  My hips hurt.  I bought the wrong size bike.  I needed a smaller size to be more nimble.  Easy enough I thought.  I will just buy a small ti Salsa Fargo frame, swap them out, and re- sell the medium frame.  Well that never happened.  Why?  Because it is extremely hard to find one in a small! (you may be thinking “when do we get to hear the part about fat-bikes?” Hang in there sports fans.)

Then winter hit, the snow started flying and I thought hey, winter project.  Let’s find some studded tires and take the Fargo on the ice for ice fishing on Lake Monona.  I can’t find another bike frame so I will take the winter to search and wait and use the Fargo for everything.  Test her out in every situation.  While testing my ice fishing rig on Monona one December morning I noticed a guy on a Surly Pugsley with these massive tires on.  When I went home, I did some Internet research.  I had seen fat bikes here and there and never really thought much about them.  After all, I had enough bikes how could I get one more!  So I never got one, or tried one out. Until I was on Craig’s List one day, and came across an orange one in an extra small.  I decided that I must go see this and ride it.  I bought it, and immediately took it to Quarry Ridge Park in Fitchburg.  I wanted to test it properly.


I rode it from the parking lot to the entrance trail and about 100 feet onto the trail, and snap! Then the chain broke.  Rusted beyond recognition.  Walked it back to the truck and decided I better go buy a new chain and come back since I drove so far to get there.  I went to Trek bought a cheap $25 chain, slapped it on and headed back to Quarry. The second time was much better!  I felt like a 5 year old.  Learning to ride all over again.  I could go over anything.  Rocks, ice, logs, even run it though deep powdery snow off the trails through empty fields.  I couldn’t believe how awesome I felt on it.  It was small and maneuverable and I felt invincible.  I may have found a new Favorite bike.  So I did what I eventually do, I sold my Fargo to a guy that owned a bike shop somewhere in the Cedar Rapids area I think.  He drove up to Madison and bought it on the spot.  Then the dilemma began.  How I can I make my fat-bike even better?


It didn’t take me long to research online. There wasn’t a lot out there still.  I found a great site. (those jerks).  Loved every article, read tons of reviews and searched the inter webs.  I came across something I never knew about.  Salsa sold a titanium Mukluk manufactured by Lynskey in Tennessee for two years (before they moved production), just like they did with the Fargo.  But added bonus.   They had the alternator drop out system on the ti Mukluk but not the Fargo in 2012.  So I knew I had found what I was looking for.  A fat bike for the winter and then build a separate wheel set for the summer with the wider rims and have one bike that can do it all.  So I did. Then I sold it.  I sold the Orange 907, and bought a Medium Salsa Mukluk Frameset from a guy, because I couldn’t find a small. I took what I could get and decided I could live with it for a while until a small became available.  I re-purchased new and used parts and built up a great ti Mukluk.  Rode it for a year, and discovered something else.  There is no one perfect bike for me.


The troubles started when I needed a new front fork.  The industry decided that tapered forks were going to be the new standard thing.  But my Mukluk could only take a straight fork.  So back to the drawing board I went.  Yep, new bike time.  This time I bought a Bamboo Boo Alubooyah frame set.  I sold the ti mukluk frameset.  But I discovered something.  I had all these great blue ano parts and bits and took me a year to find them all.  Why sell them with a bike, keep them for the next bike.  So I did.  Built up the Boo with all my blue parts and bits.  Then again something happened.  I loved the bike and got compliments on it and it rode ok.  But it did not ride and feel the way titanium did to me.  Back to the drawing board.  Up (for sale) it went.

So I got a new frame, a titanium Fatback made by Lynskey in Tennessee.  Notice a theme here?  Great built bikes my true craftsman.  But when it arrived my heart sank.  It didn’t have the tapered head tube, it was straight.  Really, all this work and I forgot to ask.  Back to the drawing board.


So I bought a straight Salsa Enabler fork for it and sold it.  But the guy wanted all the blue parts. I reluctantly agreed and decided to take my purple parts from my old collection and start a new color scheme.  Next bike frame time.

I bought a used REEB Donkadonk at a bike swap up in Minneapolis.  Oh my god what a great bike.  I had found it, ‘the perfect bike’.  Great geometry, size, ride and feel for a steel bike.  Even the rear triangle split for a belt drive.   It crushed Levis where I ride the most.  SO much fun, but I bought it with some issues going in.  It was well used and dinged up and it was a raw frame.  It was never frame saved or clear coated.  The top tube was almost rusted through.  Any scratches from a frame bag or anything and the rust came.  So I sold it.  So I could buy a brand new frame directly from REEB.  I have never owned a brand new bike so it was a blast going through the process.  Chris from REEB clear coated the last raw one he said he would ever weld.  Too many came back due to the rust issues I found out.  So I felt lucky.


I rode it for a few months and built it up with some awesome purple parts.  A perfect single speed.  Then my world changed, it appeared on Facebook one day in my feed.  A Small Ti Salsa  Mukluk.  My dream bike finally appeared.  It also came with sweet sweet goodness.  A Salsa Ti Seat post, Salsa Ti Handlebars, an XX1 Carbon Crankset and a Carbon Hoboy Fork with black Chris King headset.  I grabbed it as quick as I could and sold off my REEB Donkadonk before it got scratched up and found it a new happy home within hours of posting it.  But, not until after Gnomefest 2016.  I had to ride her hard for a bit first.


It was a great opportunity to build up a sweet ti bike with left over purple parts from years past.  Purple Chris king headset, and new Paul Boxer stem, Paul Purple brake lever, purple predator pedals from twenty6.  But it does have its draw back, it doesn’t have the tapered fork. But for now, I am living with it.  I love the bike in every way even put gears on it.  A 1×11 is overkill for this 27 pound beauty.  Just think if I got some Carbon rims and got it under 25 pounds?  Someday.  I look at it this way, I have had a blast the last few years trying out different bikes.  Who knows maybe another Perfect bike will come this way.  They usually do.

Is this JP's last bike? I don't think so...
Is this JP’s last bike? I don’t think so…

-JP Syverud-

The first time I read JP’s bike-ography it kinda blew my mind, but after reading, editing and formatting the thing, it just has me more confused than ever. I don’t know how anyone can top this, but if you have a cool fat-bike that you’d like to share with us, go ahead and drop me a line at uncle


About Gomez 2576 Articles
Just an old cat that rides bikes, herds pixels, ropes gnomes and sometimes writes stories. I love a good story.


  1. Good stuff, JP! The process of finding the “right” bike is daunting.
    I was prepared to go full custom with a Hargedon and found my Mayor to be very close to what I was seeking. That left a large budget for groovier parts to go on.

    Fun read. And yes, been there done that.

  2. Great read, but I don’t understand the angst over straight steer tubes. Unless you want to go with front suspension there are plenty of great forks, steel, carbon or ti that have straight steerers. Now if it’s just an excuse to build another bike, well that I get.

    • I like straight steerer tubes. Problem is the Fork manufacturers don’t! I would love a straight steerer carbon fork with anything mounts and thru axle. Why are those only for tapered. Seems Un American to me! I love my carbon hoboy fork but I would love for it to have anything cage bottle mounts. I do strap on some Fish cage mounts when I bikepack. But they do shift a bit once in a while.

  3. Great read JP! Thanks for sharing. Is the quest for the best ever completed? I quit looking at new frames. What I ride works for now. After a few grand in upgrades I decided to roll on until something breaks. Plus my wife was getting pissed at a lack of vacations!

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