Photos + Words : Charlie Sears / @thisischarliesears /

Long Island, New York



I moved to Long Island NY from San Diego CA last year. Culture shock only set in recently.

When I first arrived on Long Island, the optimistic / positive Californian in me loved not knowing where anything was and exploring the roads to find rad routes around the island. After riding all around this island, I realized that the roads are so incredibly dangerous and so incredibly bicycle UN-friendly. I came to the conclusion that the most fun and SAFEST place to ride is in the dirt / trails. No cars, no traffic, no worries.

My ever faithful State Bicycle Co. Contender and it’s not exactly meant to be a dirt bike… But I’ve always believed that the Contender is a chameleon so I had an idea…

With 25c tires, I noticed that there was quite a bit of clearance around my rear wheel. I also knew the Contender’s stock fork isn’t meant to accommodate a large tire in the front so I figured all I really needed to convert my bike into a trail shredder was a different fork and bigger tires…

So I gave it a shot :

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^ A 35c tire barely fits in the rear – BUTT – a 35c tire DOES fit! The tires I went with are 35c Kenda Small Block Eights. They were the smallest but knobbiest tires I could find – and not a bad price too…

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^ The All City Nature Boy Cross Fork is a steel 1 1/8″ fork with plenty of clearance for the 35c tires. I have only ever used Caliper brakes but this fork (and most dirt / cx forks) will require Cantilever brakes or similar. Great stopping power – maybe just a bit different setup than what you’re used to. I got my fork through the good homies over at Retro-gression.



Moral of the story :

The State Bicycle Co. Contender continues to amaze me with just how versatile it can be. I’ve had this bike about 3 years now and have always referred to it as a ‘blank canvas’ – something you can easily upgrade to be whatever you want. Drop bars, Bullhorns, front racks, and now apparently a trail conversion – I’ve never been more proud of this bike and I’ve never been this content with my current setup.



Photos + Words : Charlie Sears / @thisischarliesears /


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