Adventure Journal has no plans to take on Craigslist, but in the case of this bike it’s worth making an exception — we can guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it. Belonging to legendary endurance rider Mike Curiak, it was built to be pedaled to the South Pole and has been used by Curiak to win the Iditarod.
This is the most purpose-built soft-surface expedition bicycle I know. And I mean ever, anywhere. I’ve not heard of anything even approaching it.
In imagining and building it Brad Bingham and I took inspiration from those that came before, but Brad also blew the doors wide open on what could be done in fabrication, and I’d like to think I opened a few minds on where, and in what manner, a bicycle could take a man.
It took us several tries to get here, largely because the target kept moving. First the rims went from 65mm to 100, then we realized we needed more fuel capacity, then when we got that sorted the tires went from 3.8 to 4.7 inches.
No doubt in the future other dreamers will improve upon this one.
I’ve owned this bike for a handful of years. Ridden it across parts of Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Utah, and Arizona. And yes, all the way across Alaska on the Iditarod several times.
The original inspiration to build and own this bike was so that I could ride from Ross Island on the Antarctic coastline, following the Overland Traverse all the way up to the South Pole. I spent years of my life following this dream — getting the body, bike, mind, and all attendant parts ready. For many, many reasons, I have since decided to move onto other, more engaging projects.
So I’m selling the Snoots, exactly as pictured here.
It has a full 2×10 drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes with six-inch rotors. These brakes (not a similar model, this exact set) have been up the Iditarod to Nome thrice and to McGrath five times.
Every little trick I’ve learned in 20+ years of riding snow has been employed on this bike, from little things like heat shrink tubing on the cable housings to bigger design features like lower bottom bracket height and good-in-deep-snow standover.
Full front and rear racks are set to accept normal touring panniers as well as racktop bags. Four Ortlieb (heavily massaged for winter use) panniers are included, as are the frame bag and top tube bag.
Three bottle cages are included — these are designed to hold the ever-popular .8- or .9 liter thermoses or a regular 20-ounce bike bottle.
Geometry, ride quality, and cargo capacity aside, the thing that sets this bike apart are the fuel cells. Each fork leg holds 17 ounces, the frame holds roughly 70 ounces. There are input portals (whose caps are removable without tools, and with gloves) atop both fork legs and just behind the head tube. Outflow valves (also usable when gloved) are made of brass and are located at the bottom of each fork leg and near the bottom bracket shell.
The volume of fuel this chassis stores was not chosen at random — I calculated the number of days I’d need to travel to the Pole, figured the rough quantity of snow I’d need to melt over that duration (both for drinking water and to rehydrate meals), factored in the volume of the fuel bottle that’d always be attached to the stove, then threw in a teeny bit extra ‘in case’. In short, I figured I’d need about four liters of fuel to get from coastal Antarctica up to the Polar Plateau and then down to the South Pole Station without resupply.
I proved this theory out by riding the entire thousand-plus miles of the Iditarod Trail over 21 days in 2010, entirely without resupply. I finished with more than six days of fuel in reserve.
Brad designed and built this chassis to haul a load and to last. Tubing thicknesses were massaged to blend durability and comfort. I’ve ridden this bike 1,000-plus miles with a 100-plus pound load on it, as well as my 180-pound self, and if anything it feels a bit better (more compliant) when loaded than when not.
Hopey steering damper included. The theory is that it damps out unwanted movement from plowing across wind drifts and snow machine ruts. In practice it works incredibly well — I swear by them for snow (and only snow) use. Also in practice? They aren’t very reliable.
I decided that for me the ideal expedition wheel setup would include DT Swiss 440 FR hubs, DT Swiss butted spokes, and DT Swiss Prolock alloy nipples, laced to Surly Rolling Darryl 80mm rims, a Surly Bud tire up front (tubeless), and a Surly BFL tire (tubed) out back. There are endless reasons for and against this setup — I get that. I’ve photographed it this way because this is the way I most often rode it.
Curiak is selling the Snoots for $10,700. If you’re interest, you can contact him at [email protected].