Pistons and Pivots

Pistons and Pivots: Reader Submitted #2

Words Cam McRae
Date Mar 23, 2020
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Pistons and Pivots is presented by Maxxis. Every second Monday, we'll present a new round of Pistons and Pivots which features cool vehicles with character, and a little about their owners and the bikes they ride.

If you've got a vehicle and bike that fit the series, we'd love to help you share them with a wider audience, and you can take a crack at winning some tires from Maxxis.

You can submit your photos in one of two ways:

  1. Send photos and articles to submissions@nsmb.com. Make sure to include 'Pistons and Pivots' in the subject line.
  2. Or simply post a few vehicle and bike photos and details to Instagram and use the hashtags #pistonsandpivots and #nsmb.

Once a month, we'll pick a winning submission and feature it on the site, and the person that submitted it will earn a fresh set of tires for their bike, courtesy of Maxxis. At the end of six months, we'll pick a grand prize winner, who will walk away with Maxxis rubber for the vehicle they submitted for Pistons and Pivots!

One of the best things about Pistons and Pivots is seeing the cool vehicles and bikes that people send us. The tougher part is choosing a winner monthly, although this month's winner is pretty sweet. Here are the contenders and the winner.

Dan Murphy's Toyota 'Eggvan' and Trek Slash

I met Dan at the Crankbrothers wheel launch a couple of summers ago, and we've ridden a couple of times since. He's a ripper and a great tour guide in Bellingham. On top of that he works in health care and is currently busting his ass making things run smoothly in Bellingham. Thanks for all you do Dan, and to everyone working to smooth out the bumpy road ahead. Here's Dan's description of his dry land Toyota submarine.

Below is my ‘94 Toyota Previa and my somewhat more expensive ‘18 Trek Slash. Both are well-worn and well suited for each other. We have traveled together everywhere from Whistler to Hood River and I foresee a lot more PNW road trips in 2020 what with this coronavirus business seizing the world’s attention. (let's hope so! -Ed.)


I am the Eggvan.

As mid-engine vehicles go, this is among the most exotic, by some yet to be determined measure. It's absolutely high in the rad scale. Also - buy used vehicles owned by German repair shops whenever possible.

My Previa is my daily and though it has nearly 310,000 on the clock, it’s still going strong. It’s not an AWD AllTrac model but it gets the job done. It was owned by a German car repair shop for a decade and served as its customer loaner vehicle so it was very well cared for when I bought it in 2018. While the drivers’ seat is a bit worn, everything works in this oddball mid-engine Toyota van. Lights, switches, a/c, cruise control, you name it.

Kai Penhaligan's GMC Savannah van/house and Santa Cruz Megatower

We appreciate commitment and utility, and Kai's got both of those covered. He lives in this panel van year round. We're pretty sure that if it was insulated and well-appointed Kai would have sent us some photos of that, so we're imagining bare steel panels and mattress found at the dump on the floor. You need to be a hard man to live like that for a winter in Whistler so, despite his brief description, Kai gets an honourable mention. Thanks Kai! And respect.


I have a 2001 GMC Savannah that I live in full time (in Whistler for ski season now) it's not as fancy/cool/expensive as most the vehicles you feature but it works for me.

I also have a megatower that I ride everything on, bike park most days when it's open and all the Whistler valley trails.

Darwin Krmpotich's 1969 Toyota FJ40 and Foes Mutz

I'm always impressed by people who have the tenacity and skill to accomplish tasks like completely rebuilding a beaten up 50-year old truck. And Darwin's done a beautiful job. Here's what he had to say about it. I understand some of the words below, but not all of them. Johnny jointed? Hydro bumps? Those of you into modding 4x4s will be all over it.


This is how Darwin's FJ was when he found it.


And when he was done!

The 40 is 5.3LS swapped with a turbo 350 and Orion 4:1 transfer case. It's locked front and rear with 5:29 gears in the 60 series front axle and 80 series ff rear, both with nitro chomo axles. The front suspension uses 4' long, johnny jointed radius arms, Bilstein shocks and Radflo hydro bumps while the back is sprung over on OME leaf springs, a ladder bar and also has the Bilsteins. The wheelbase has been extended, frame fully boxed, heavier gauge steel is used throughout the tub and it has custom bumpers/sliders/skid plate/roll cage/axle trusses etc. Tires are 40x17 Procomps on Mickey Thompson wheels.


The process.

Interior features a custom center console/shifter/cup holder contraption, fj60 tilt column with fj40 wheel, spectre sliding cargo windows, custom storage under drivers seat, paisley head liner (resined into the fiberglass roof), and cedar accents. A few spider webs and saw blades were thrown in for good measure.


Why not make getting there a little more fun? GM's LS V8 is one of the best things to ever come out of Detroit, and possibly the most popular engine swap there is.


Foes is a legendary brand that makes amazing bikes in the US. The MUTZ is the rowdiest fat bike you can buy.


It will also become a 29er in the summer. 2 bikes in 1!

Darwin - you win! Your meticulous resto-mod is no show pony and that's one of our favourite things about it. Yes, the work was meticulous and very well done, but Darwin isn't afraid of getting 'er dirty, and that scores points in our book.


She's no show pony...


but that doesn't mean she isn't pretty!

Congrats! You win some Maxxis rubber for your bike, and you'll be in the running for some rubber for your FJ as well.

Please send photos of your vehicles, no many how many wheels they have, to submissions@nsmb.com

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+6 Mammal Cr4w Cam McRae AJ Barlas goose8 Dan
mrbrett  - March 23, 2020, 6:28 a.m.

"The front suspension uses 4' long, johnny jointed radius arms, Bilstein shocks and Radflo hydro bumps while the back is sprung over on OME leaf springs, a ladder bar and also has the Bilsteins. The wheelbase has been extended, frame fully boxed, heavier gauge steel is used throughout the tub and it has custom bumpers/sliders/skid plate/roll cage/axle trusses etc. Tires are 40x17 Procomps on Mickey Thompson wheels."

Google translate to bike talk:

I made up some new suspension links with better quality Enduro bearings, and got a Luftkappe put in. Then, I put my chainstays in "Long" mode, slapped on a home made bash guard, and I'm running DH casing Assegais.


+1 Dan
Cam McRae  - March 23, 2020, 11:02 a.m.

I wish there was an opportunity to have something Johnny jointed on our bikes. Not to mention 40' rubber..


Dan  - March 23, 2020, 11:24 p.m.

That '40 is awesome! Makes me wish for a video component of this great series. 

Special kudos to Kai for wintering in such spartan quarters. Any chance there are Johnny joints in the back of that Chevy?


+1 Dan
truckymctruckerton  - March 25, 2020, 3:20 a.m.

Fj40 and fj60 vids can be seen on youtube. Just search for truckymctruckerton.



+1 Dan
Velocipedestrian  - March 24, 2020, 12:03 a.m.

Can we get some bike deets? (asking contributors) or are they stock completes?

Where are the funky custom mods? The odd part choices? The weird thing they've done because it really suits the rider?


Dan  - March 24, 2020, 9:24 a.m.

Speaking for the filthy bike on the back of my white van, I've replaced the touch points, drivetrain, brakes, wheels and dropper on my Slash. I run the larger size Easton lock-ons (38mm?), a mixed XT/SLX drivetrain and stoppers, a Highline 170 post, and Synthesis wheels wrapped in Minions. The most recent addition to the bike is a SQLab saddle which I really like. My buddy Greg at Butter Suspension here in Western Washington updated the Yari with Lyrik internals so it has a Debonair cartridge, a Charger 2 damper, and travel bumped to 170mm. The stock 9.7 spec was a little undergunned for me so I replaced these bits as they... uh... wore out.  

Though I sometimes find myself a little 'overbiked', but this is my one and only steed. Like Kai, I ride everything with it - from local trails, shuttle days, and park laps. I have my eye on an EXT Storia v4... maybe one day after this virus madness is resolved and I am working normal hours.


+4 Andrew Major Dan Pete Roggeman Cam McRae
truckymctruckerton  - March 25, 2020, 3:19 a.m.

Hey! I'm the fj40 guy with the mutz. 

I chose the mutz because I live in northern Ontario canada and I wanted a true year round bike that suited the conditions I ride. Parts are as follows.

16' foes mutz frame/19' mastadon 150 pro fork with Dorado decals, I swap rear shocks between a dvo topaz t3 and dvo jade coil, chris king bottom bracket and headset, raceface crank/ring/guard, deity black kat flat or mallet e clipless pedals, spank spike stem, answer pro taper carbon bars, odi grips, shimano saint bakes w 203mm rotors, xtr 11s shifter/xt derailleur, pnw bachelor dropper with sdg duster saddle... 3 sets of wheels with a mix of hope/dt/salsa hubs and bontager/surly/velocity rims, 2 are XD and have sram casettes and one has a shimano driver with an xt casette. Tires are maxxis fbf/fbr exo's and studded vee avalanche/snowshoe (the vee's are terrible tires but I'm stuck with them now) for the fatties and maxxis dhf/dhr's for the 29's.

Probably missed a few things but that's the jist of it.

Thanks to nsmb for the shout out!



+1 Dan
Pete Roggeman  - March 26, 2020, 2:53 p.m.

Nice work and congrats! Make sure to get in touch (submissions@nsmb.com) to claim your pair of Maxxis tires as a prize for winning this month (they may not be shipping from their warehouse right now but we'll get you sorted out and Maxxis will get you taken care of asap).


truckymctruckerton  - March 26, 2020, 2:58 p.m.



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