Nissen’s Specialized

This story is about a bicycle, and two really rad folks who made it come together.

About a year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Sam of Redfox Cycles, a Copenhagen based framebuilder. He had set up a stand at one of the annual bike flea markets in Copenhagen, showing off his pile of lugs, dropouts, steel tubes, bundle of tools, and some examples of bikes he’d previously made. I realized I’d seen his instagram profile some time ago, but it didn’t look too active so I didn’t think much of it.

We got talking and quickly realized we were on the same wave length, but also each had something to offer the other. Sam needed someone to help out with his social media presence, and I had some projects that required sticking metal bits together.

I had this old Specialized Hardrock frame with a stuck seatpost, bb, and a good amount of patina I was planning on building up as my dad bike. A disc tab was a must, for good reliable braking in all weather. The stuck bits were no match for Sam’s brazing torches, and the disc tab was a quick and dirty one as I didn’t want anything fancy. Hanging out in Sam’s workshop, chatting about bike nerd stuff, and following along in the process made for a real nice afternoon. Hit him up for a custom steel frame or modifications.

Rad guy #2 in this story is the good Johan Nissen – a calm and wise soul. He’s an OG player in the danish BMX scene, putting on international events and riding whenever the streets are dry. Check out his BMX edits on vimeo. Apart from his BMX, his only other bike (until now!) is an old Raleigh with massive cruiser bars, a SS footy wheel and a front rack. Having spent many hours together, i’ve had plenty of time to slowly convince him that 26″ retro mountain bikes with lots of gears and brakes is the way to go. Being an adventurer himself, the idea of a nice daily bike that also could function as a bike packing / touring rig began to resonate with him.

My list of projects shifted priority, so the specialized was conveniently in excess, and a perfect match for Johan’s new rig. We spent some afternoons talking about the build, searching for some used parts, and ordering the rest online. When all the boxes were ticked, we spent a sunny sunday in the courtyard putting it all together.

Heres a breakdown of what went into it:

Bombproof downhill wheels from Superstar Components – V6 hubs, quick and loud, made in the UK, and 36mm wide rims.
Superstar 38t narrow wide.
Sram NX 1×11 with kmc EL chain and SLX 11-42 kassette.
Brooks Cambium all weather C17 carved saddle
Cube Comfort Shape handlebar.
Maxxis Holy Roller 26 x 2.4″ tires.
Shimano MT400 brake.
ESI grips.

The rest speaks for itself..

I’d like to say we planned the matchy matchy colour of the big cog in the rear to the gunmetal hubs and chainring, but that was a massive fluke.

As for the frame, the rusty bits got sanded, cleaned, and a few layers of clear coat. Sticking true to his BMX nature, he’s only running a rear brake for now, leaving room for an upgrade later on, ideally a front brake and a cool disc fork with all the mounts (maybe a future STRIDSLAND one?). Im happy this frame went to Johan, and i know it will be put to good use! Just look at him go!