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My “Coolest Bike”:
gilbert1
Rick Hunter High Plains Drifter
As a dirt road tourer myself, this year I lingered most around the High Plains Drifter, despite all the gleaming distractions around me.

Built by Rick Hunter of Santa Cruz, it’s a fully rigid touring frameset with 29er wheels. It’s a combination that handles singletrack, corrugation and rough trails alike, without feeling too lethargic over longer paved stretches.

Details abound. A Ritchey Break-Away-style fitting teamed with a burly S&S coupler on the downtube makes for compact packing. Even the handlebars, 60cm wide in their drops, can be split.

The Hunter-designed swinging dropout offers versatility for gears or internal hub use, while a custom yoke maximises fat tyre clearance and cuts down on chain suck.

Photo: Cass Gilbert

Matching customs racks are lean and minimal. The curved top tube is elegant, also offering a little extra space for the two matching framebags. These are custom made by Oregonian Randi Jo Smith using canvas and sailcloth fabric, and secured in place with eyelets around the frame – perfect for stashing tools, food or gear on an overnight ride.

Tubing and geometry were chosen to keep the High Plains Drifter nimble and fast, yet durable and comfortable enough for the long haul too.

Rick intends to use it to get away from the city, explore the nearby mountains and camp out in the woods. As he says, ‘Bicycles are amazing tools. They transform your mood while delivering you to another place.’

The High Plains Drifter is a definite mood changer.

Cass Gilbert
www.whileoutriding.com

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