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Pistons & Pivots

Fraser Newton's '92 Dodge B250 Sport Van & 2019 Trek Remedy

Words AJ Barlas
Photos AJ Barlas
Date Feb 10, 2020
Presented By
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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!


For core riders between Vancouver and Pemberton, Fraser Newton's whopping smile and positive attitude are well known. B.C. Bike Race participants may recognize him as well; since its inception in 2007, Fraser's run the race's tech support team, healing racers' mechanical issues during their assault through the wild terrain of Coastal B.C. Countless bikes have gone through Fraser and his team's hands over the years.

Prior to the BCBR, Fraser cut his teeth on bikes near Hamilton, Ontario. Growing up 10km from town is largely to blame for his bike obsession, and he says the distance from his friends "was a pretty good reason to figure them out." An early memory of wrenching on bikes includes a set of "throwaway Skyway II wheels" and some busted hubs he was trying to fix. Shortly after he started as a shop grom for Wheels in Motion on the Hamilton Escarpment. Starting with the store around '92, he was introduced to building road bikes shipped from Italy. He learned to "chase and face headtubes and bottom brackets, tapping braze-on and painting custom lug details." Those experiences are visible in his abilities working on bikes today – Fraser is a bicycle MacGyver.

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Fraser and his daughter, Orla hanging out in the van.

Fraser raced cross country and was supported by Devinci from '94 to '98. He was hooked on MTB and has since moulded his life around his passion. His business; Flying Fraser’s Cyclic Consulting (F.F.C.C.), collaborates on film projects with Anthill Films. He's also the Assistant Manager of the B.C. Bike Show this year and has a plethora of other odd jobs. When Fraser and I met to shoot his vehicle, he had just finished a wild project constructing a room that could rotate for a commercial. Oh yeah, and after decades of working in bike shops across Canada, including Obsession Bikes on the North Shore of Vancouver, he continues to wrench on bikes for a small customer base.


The majority of my work these days revolves around helping film MTB by aiding in creating those seemingly impossible shots with the amazingly talented crew at Anthill Films. – Fraser Newton
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The "Landshark" in all of it's glory.

The 1992 Dodge B250 Leisure Way ~ Sport Van a.k.a The Landshark

Perhaps the best thing about Fraser, beyond his bottomless positivity and MacGyver wrenching skills, is his creative approach. He doesn't follow trends, doesn't bow to the man, and yet, he's liked by everyone. That is aside from suspicious homeowners who see his van and worry that he's going to camp out. Their concerns are likely short-lived because Fraser's charisma undoubtedly wins them over. He doesn't live in the van anyway. He lives with his wife Kate, two kids (daughter, Orla and son Cam) and dog Kitt, as most of us do: in a house. The van is used at work locations though, where he's usually confronted by grumpy residents who are unimpressed by the Landshark's character.

When Fraser's dad upgraded his recreational vehicle, then known as Vanna White, it was passed down to Fraser's sister. After she was done with it, Fraser bought it for $1, a debt that they joke has yet to be paid. Despite its subdued appearance, Fraser says it drives well and his father wishes he had the steering of this van in his newer one. Mechanics may disagree with Fraser's old man though. Whenever Fraser has an issue, the wrenches aren't happy. Apparently it's not an easy vehicle to work on (were any of these old vans?).

This is no typical Sprinter van and Fraser has zero interest in the glossy, rich van lifer image portrayed by many. For his family, the '92 Dodge B250 van is all about function, and it serves their needs exceptionally well. Family camping trips sound like a hoot in this thing and they usually tow a '75 Boler loaded with bikes as well. When we connected for this feature there was still snow on the back roads but the 150HP 5.2L V8 had no problems. Aside from the one time he put the front end too far into a ditch, lifting the rear driving wheel off the ground. The Landshark cruises at a steady pace, earning its new given name well.

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The 1992 Dodge B250 features a 150hp 5.2L V8 engine that allows it to cruise the neighbourhoods with the grace of a shark. Essential soundtrack? The classic Jaws theme.


So far its main and most effective use is pissing off other Squamish locals. Being parked in or around their stationary home, or even simply in its existence. It gets some people pretty fired up. I just offer my condolences and half a beer and remind them there are nicer ways to treat their new neighbour. – Fraser Newton
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Off-road, no dramas. The shitty snowbank into this location didn't stand a chance (I was mildly concerned, Fraser knew better).

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Street cred. flex.

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I'm a big fan of the accents…

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And dual skylights.

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Shark by name, shark by nature… Fraser found this fin from a surfboard at a camp site. It lived on the dash for a while before he went all in, gluing it to the roof.

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Behind that grill lays some interesting quirks but first, the exterior walk-around.

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There's not a lick of gloss to the paint – she's worn into a solid matte mixed with peeled pieces and rust.


We roll pretty hard in this as a family, pulling a ‘75 Boler loaded with bikes makes Glamping easy. Just jackknife the trailer, pop up the 10x10, run power and propane and we’re set. – Fraser Newton
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Panels for the fridge and air-conditioner.

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It's part of the "Leisure Travel" series. Ahhh, the luxury.

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Old vans and their large rear ends. Think of it as a caudal fin in this instance.

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The ladder isn't so supportive anymore… Fraser wasn't too worried, it adds a sense of adventure when checking the integrity of the fin.

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Fraser is a regular on set of Anthill film projects. Throughout the van are various nods to their recent projects.

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Fraser's father is 6'4" and the back of the van was just wide enough for him to lay across for a comfortable sleep. He's since updated to a van with a 3-inch build-out on either side of the cabin for more room.

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Mood lighting.

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The van's hallway.

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Fraser has magnets for the B.C. Bike Race and left this one on for a little long, or maybe there was oil on it? When he removed it, the paint beneath came away too.


It’s followed the B.C. Bike Race along the island and Sunshine Coast, ski trips on the Duffy, parties on the Rutherford… – Fraser Newton
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Weathering perfectly.

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So much metal. They don't build them like they used to.

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All the sports.

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The 5.2L V8 that produces all of the street crawling power. Fraser says the original owner lived on a commune and "her brother did some whack stuff under the hood to save on mileage."


The original owner lived on a commune and her brother did some whack stuff under the hood to save on mileage. Space-age shit y’know. Magnets on the fuel rails to align the molecules pre-injection, water/oil, water/gas separators, and a bunch of other stuff my dad ripped out after they caught fire. – Fraser Newton
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Memories of the fire are still visible in the depths of the engine bay…

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Especially under the hood.

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The fresh wire for the new stereo's sub. The upgrade was a forced error with the original tape-eating deck and a newborn that sleeps to bass music.

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Bedding in perfectly.

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These doors are often opened up with an awning, or for the odd party trip, they have connected two vans with similar doors to create one big hall between vans.

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Fraser worked with Stevie and has some memorabilia to keep his friend's memory alive.

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Art from a party and souvenirs from Japan greet you when entering the van.

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Fridge, sink, and stovetop (which isn't used) and the seating area that converts into a double bed at the back.

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Pushing buttons.

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On-board air conditioner for those hot days.


Right now, the newly flashed Motor Control Unit (MCU) has a shit ground or is about to burn out, so it needs a pretty good lead time to when you actually want to drive somewhere. If you were just driving it starts up fine but sitting for a day or longer, it takes a long time for it to communicate and get satisfactory read back from all of the vehicle's separate systems. It just clicks away pestering through its best of wires until it finally gives a pass to the fuel system and she goes. – Fraser Newton
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The sink makes for a great place to keep things stable when driving down dirt roads.

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There's an onboard lavatory but these days it seems to operate more often as closet space.

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The previous TV/VCR (remember those?) were removed to make more room for storage. Fraser wears a lot of hats.

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Luxurious legroom. The passenger seat can be spun around to face the rear of the van.

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Though it's advised not to drive this way. And Dodge wanted you to know.

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Leather door handles for when the driving gets spicy.

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Fraser's a fan of the wood grain dash. Just look at that beauty.

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Cruise control!


I rarely use it [cruise control] around here with all the climbs and descents. It's always searching for gears too late and wants to overheat the transmission, which is the weak link on these vans. There’s an orange overdrive override button on the left panel which I've used a lot. Locks out 5th(OD) gear, so the engine rpm stays above the final drive rpm and you can rely on engine compression to manage the speed and save from burning out the brakes. Big climbs, if I’m not paying attention and it bogs down to become that annoying camper van doing 50 on the hwy, I can drop into second gear to wind back up to 80km/hr with no issue. – Fraser Newton
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More than 300,000 kms and still going.

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State of the art push button air management system.

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Completely "off the wall."

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Fraser's into ski touring in the winter and has done a few entertaining sounding trips with Margus Riga. His ice axes remain in the vehicle…

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The van doubles as storage locker. Coffee cups and energy drinks included. Ya never know when you'll need a boost after a long day on set.

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This front loaded bike rack is hilarious. I'm not sure if Fraser has ever used it like this, but we had to shoot it mounted.

The Custom 2019 Trek Remedy 9.9

In similar fashion to his van, and continuing to do things his own way, Fraser's bike is not your run-of-the-mill Remedy 9.9. He originally bought the Trek Remedy as a frame and built the bike up for his wife, Kate. Pregnant at the time, Fraser completed the build and proceeded to test it out on the trails around Squamish and when your nickname around town is "first-corner Fraser,” you can bet it's been tested well. He says it's a great Squamish bike, but his build is anything but normal. It features a shorter stroke RockShox Vivid air shock, lowering the BB and raking out the head angle. A 170mm Lyrik further stretches the wheelbase while aiding its rowdy capabilities.

The wheels are particularly interesting, especially for someone as aggressive on the trail as Fraser. He's shoed the Remedy's 27+ wheels with a set of 2.8 Maxxis Minion DHF tires, claiming that it fits the profile (he's 40 and balding, haha) but in honesty, this thing will have been dealt some punishment under him. He says his wife Kate loves it too.

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A little longer, lower and slacker than your average 2019 Trek Remedy.

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Largely thanks to this. Fraser mounted a shorter eye-to-eye RockShox Vivid Air and says "it knows no bounds."

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I actually don't know the last time I saw a Vivid Air in the flesh. It looks at home on Fraser's Remedy.

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The front was lifted an additional 20mm with a 170mm Lyrik RC2. Fraser says the bike continues to "climb like a goat" and I can only imagine it's a good time going down too.


Trek has always been a bike that I felt I had to ride on top of and had a hard time getting inside like my other lower-slung bikes. This version goes inside for sure. – Fraser Newton
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Maxxis Minion DHF tires in the 2.8-inch guise take care of initial contact with terra firma. Fraser says he wouldn't mind swapping the wheels for something of the carbon variety.

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Cockpit by Chromag.

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Code RSC brakes running on 180mm rotors.

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A OneUp Components EDC tool lives in the steerer.

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Fraser noted that he runs "below 20 psi" in the 2.8-inch tires.

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The 180mm rotors look small, even with the fat treads and 27.5-inch wheels. An NSBillet (North Shore Billet) disc brake adapter adds some colour.


Parts selection criteria: Is it black… does it fit… is it in arms reach, haha – Fraser Newton
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A 180mm front rotor isn't typical for brawlers with Code brakes.

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Another Chromag part. Fraser keeping the local pride flowing throughout.

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A 170mm Reverb dropper fits with a tad of space.

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SRAM drivetrain.

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X01 Eagle takes care of shifting.

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Raceface cranks with a 28t chainring. New cranks are also on the list of things he'd like to update.

Although Fraser is currently using the van as his daily driver, he also has a GMC Sierra which his wife Kate tends to drive more – fitting considering he seems to have taken her bike – and an '86 BMW 325. Maybe he likes using the Landshark as a conversation starter, even if it gets him off on the wrong foot? Nevertheless, he enjoys the functionality of the van and surely the driving characteristics, too. As I finalized this feature, Fraser was en route to Campbell River for a weekend away, enjoying another drive…

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Comments

cooperquinn
+3 AJ Barlas Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 9, 2020, 10:19 p.m.

When Fraser runs for Prime Minister I'm voting for him.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+2 Cooper Quinn Reaper
Cam McRae  - Feb. 10, 2020, 1:32 p.m.

He gets my vote for anything. Even Miss America.

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 10, 2020, 4:52 p.m.

He'd look *stunning* in an evening gown.

Reply

LoamtoHome
+4 Mammal Cooper Quinn AJ Barlas Cam McRae
Jerry Willows  - Feb. 10, 2020, 9:05 a.m.

Why would Squamish residents get enraged with this thing of beauty?

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+2 twk Dan
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 10, 2020, 1:09 p.m.

The newer demographic is more aligned with the fancy Sprinters and brand new Tacomas… 😢

Reply

mammal
+3 Cam McRae AJ Barlas Pete Roggeman
Mammal  - Feb. 10, 2020, 1:19 p.m.

It's roof-top tent squatting, or GET THE HELL OUTTA MY TOWN!

Reply

morgan-heater
0
Morgan Heater  - Feb. 10, 2020, 3:23 p.m.

I don't know, I've seen a lot of sprinters getting hassled, too.

Reply

JBV
+2 Mammal Pete Roggeman
James Vasilyev  - Feb. 10, 2020, 6:20 p.m.

best one yet. i love the Vanna White.

Reply

andrewcashew
0
andrewcashew  - July 21, 2020, 6:44 p.m.

Can anyone tell me what shock size that is? And I assume it's just the "old" Trek hardware to hold the shock in place, instead? Thanks!

Also I've never wanted a specific vehicle more in my life. Jeez louise.

Reply

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