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The Beauty and The Best

Pistons & Pivots - The Best Of

Photos Deniz Merdano and AJ Barlas
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Pistons and Pivots 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.

You can submit your vehicle in one of two ways:

  1. Send photos and articles to [email protected]. 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.

We'll get in touch to work on featuring them on the site.

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Noah Wilcox is a wild man with a logical dream when you think about it.

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BMW E30 Pick Up (Ute) built in his East Vancouver workshop

Noah Wilcox's 1986 BMW E30

We've done a few wild and unique Pistons and Pivots articles over the years and none has been more eye-catching than the sweet British Racing Green BMW E30 Noah Wilcox built. Noah also built the bikes that sit on the back of this car. When the guy has a welder, lots of skills and a whole lot of creativity, It is no surprise the results are as striking as this.

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A great example of a functional and tastefully done Toyota 4Runner

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KMC Roswell wheels and the custom bumpers really set this one off

Sean Estes' 2000 Toyota 4Runner SR5

3rd Gen 4Runners are arguably the nicest looking of the Toyota lineup and there are a million ways to build them. From hardcore rock crawlers to Baja trucks, they are versatile, they live forever and are simple to work on. Sean Estes built his 2000 4Runner SR5 to take him to sweet camping spots where he can ride his bike for days. From the custom high clearance bumpers to KMC Roswell wheels, this one ticked all the boxes for us the moment we noticed it. Paired with an equally gorgeous Specialized S-Works Epic, this pair is like peanut butter and jam.

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Matt Livingston's 2003 Chevy Astro 4x4

Hey, Pistons and Pivots is about the journey, not the destination. We are less interested in the fully built and finished projects, and more in ongoing money pits and visual feasts. Matt's Chevy Astro 4x4 embodies the coastal BC lifestyle as much as any other feature. Pegged as "The Original" Sprinter van by a wise few, the Chevy Blazer chassis Astros are as capable as they are comfortable when you are living in the bush. Bring a bike or two and some bevvies and you are instantly transported back to a time to when people could taste difference between Differential fluid and ATF. Matt is a staple in the Sunshine Coast trail building community and while the Astro may have given him some headaches in the last few months, it is still dear to the hearts of many who have dreamt about living in the wilderness.

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You may go fast, but this will go ANYWHERE!

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Orderly conduct

Brian Krueckl's Land Rover Defender Wolf W/W FFR

Of the many things we can thank the Brits for, making the Land Rover, a worldwide recognized symbol of perseverance, is high on the list. Through thick and thin, good and bad, running or broken, the industrial design and ingenuity that is the DEFENDER is a marvel. This one, from the army surplus auction may be one of the most unique you'll see. Designed for every imaginable scenari, and engineered for the literal apocalypse, Vancouver local Brian Krueckl's Wolf Winter/Water FFR edition Defender the is an outstanding example. Like a child, I crawled through every nooks and cranny and pored over the details that made these Land Rovers of the best 4x4 x Far.


There is no better grill to come out of Flint, Michigan


Regular cab, long bed and a rare factory 4x4

Brad Hutchinson's 1970 C10 4x4

When you talk Chevy trucks, you can't skim past the pre-squarebody years with the bowtie perched right on the hood. For me, these are the golden years of American industrial design where the elegance of '60s cars was spilling into trucks. This C10 4x4 is an ultra-rare factory version designed to be a work truck. Normally a 2x4 truck, this C10 got its front-drive straight from the factory. Brad took his time finding, rebuilding and restoring the nameless c10 but the result is nothing short of stunning. I would love to open my garage and find one of these in there damn single day.

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BMW E39 M5


Generally these cars are shrouded in tire smoke

Konrad Kamisnki's BMW E39 M5 Custom

Konrad dailys one of the most desirable BMWs to come out of Bavarian Motor Works. The naturally aspirated 4.9L V8, breathes air and spits fire as it tours the twisty roads of Sea to Sky corridor. No stranger to cars and bikes, Konrad paired his lowered E39 with a beast of a bike too. A Forbidden Dreadnought sets off the classic lines of the BMW, a perfect sight when it is flashing high beams at you on the freeway. You won't be able to eat your take-out in his pristine interior but Konrad will happily show you what the Germans are capable of. There's an M badge to live up to after all. Having now driven in the E39 a handful of times, theonly thing that comes close is having a lion roar in yourface.


4" lift and 37" tires on this beast converted from a duallie rear end.


Enough room and power for about 20 bikes.

Brad Lever's Mountain Goat Fuso 4X4

If you were in the market for an end-of-the-times vehicle, you'd immediately be drawn to this utilitarian and extremely capable Mitsubishi Fuso 4x4 from Brad. Originally a dually, converted and lifted 4" with 37" tires, there is so much trickery going on with this work/play truck that Brad and I spent hours talking about it. It's a perfect vehicle if you want to shuttle 20 of your friends up to remote regions of the Chilcotins. As a set designer and builder, Brad's Fuso gets daily driven. Now thats a relationship!


Hop in, I can get you out of here...


Well if only I can get this thing started.

James Cowan's Ex-Military Ambulance

When your vehicle is named Rolling Thunder, you are making a statement. The ex-military 1985 Chevy Ambulance wears it proudly. James calls his converted home-away-from-home the 'bucket of bolts' and as rough as this big boy looks, it is charming in all the right ways. James had quite the adventure driving this thing across the country with wrong gear ratios in the axles and not much in the form of heating in the camper he is "perpetually" building. A 6.2L V8 Turbo Diesel pulls this almost 10,000lb beast around on 37" tires... I love everything about this unique example squarebody and it's history. It builds trails on the North Shore too. Now that's a bonus!


If it's rockin', definitely come knockin', cause you won't wanna miss the party inside.

fraser newton van

I've got some fond memories of Fraser's Van while wrenching for random races around BC.

Fraser Newton's 1995 Dodge B250 Sports Van

I wish I could fit Fraser and his mind into a short Pistons and Pivots revisit but that's not possible. This seemingly fresh-off-the-showroom floor Dodge Sports Van is anything but. Fraser's chaotic mind can manifest itself in crazy bike parts and inventions and certainly his prints are all over his Dodge. His family of 5 + the dog live in the Dodge on roadtrips across BC and Canada. There are always good tunes (or sometimes horrible ones) blasting out as the cloud of smoke seeps through panel gaps. Fraser can make anything run for as long as needed to finish a task and sometimes not a minute longer. The stories the Sports Van could tell, should probably stay with Fraser but if you ever see this thing at your local bike event, make sure to say hello.

Your Invitation

As you can see, we aren't drawn to normal when it comes to Pistons and Pivots. The more unique, handbuilt, taped together or rare it is, the more we are likely to feature it. I have my eyes peeled constantly for cool combinations of vehicles and bikes and if you are within' a few hundred miles of Lower Mainland BC, I'd be happy to pay you a visit for a photoshoot. Or if you know of someone with a sweet ride, or come across one at your local trailhead, tell them to reach out. We would love to make it happen!

Till the next one!

Deniz Merdano

Deniz Merdano



Playful, lively riding style

Photographer and Story Teller

Lenticular Aesthetician


AJ Barlas

Age: 39
Height: 191cm/6’3"
Weight: 73kg/160lbs
Ape Index: 1.037
Inseam: 32”
Trail on Repeat: Changes as often as my mood.
Current Regular: Every test product spends time on Entrail

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+5 trioofchaos Dan Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman bishopsmike

Love this series. This one still tops them all for me:




big fan of Volvo 240s and funny tall dudes with Chromags!


+3 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman bishopsmike

Fantastic recap! Former E30 owner here , love to see one crafted into a ute. 

And not for nothing but my Toyota Previa, which was featured here a couple years ago, will be up for sale soon. I’m moving on to a Ford Maverick hybrid for bike-hauling duties.


+1 BarryW

E30s are the best. Small, nimble, underpowered but tons of fun! I think the Maverick is a great way forward for Ford, I hope they lean into it with a plug-in hybrid


+2 Hbar Pete Roggeman

Far and away the best series for all of us who love both cars and mtbs.  I've always wanted to someone to combine the two and NSMB has done it fantastically.  Please keep this going.  Unfortunately, my 2014 Sienna is way too normal to be featured even though it is absolutely fantastic as a comfy bike hauler.  So, I'll come here and check out everything you want to show us.  Thank you.


+1 Velocipedestrian

This is a great series. I know they don't have pistons and thus miss the mission statement, but I'd love to hear about someone brave enough to go full EV for their camper/biking fun times hauler. I'd like to hear about how any compromises are addressed.


+2 Hbar BarryW

I'm sure that soon enough we'll find an interesting and unique EV to feature. We've had submissions for an endless array of Teslas, but a stock Tesla is just...a stock Tesla. As more EVs get out there and people start tweaking them (probably after they start coming out of warranty), they should get more interesting.

You're right that the 'pistons' part won't apply, but it'll be our little secret...


+1 Hbar

I'd be interested in a Tesla Truck or a decked out Rivian at this point. Or you just went bonkers and fully built up an Ionic 5, then we can talk!


+1 Hbar

But only if the bike associated with the car (guess "Pistons" becomes kinda redundant at this point, huh?) is either an ebike with AXS everything and either Flight Attendant or Live Valve suspension, or a rigid singlespeed.


+1 Mike Ferrentino

How about an EV and MTB with AXS? It uses a meat engine for the bike power, but it is still a great combo. https://nsmb.com/articles/warren-goodmans-custom-audi-e-tron-electric-shifting-knolly-fugitive/


+1 BarryW

I saw the BMW pickup for sale a while back. I was very slightly tempted.


+1 bishopsmike

Too bad there aren't any more Volksagen Fox Wagons (2 door) around.  That vehicle back in the early 1990s was rare, except it seemed that mountain bikers bought them all.  You would think that you were such a unique iconoclast until you went to race and looked at the car parked next to you



Hard to go past that C10!! What a rig!



Glad to see this series continuing. One of my favorites (even if badass camper submissions aren't accepted 😊).


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