Ride 2 Recovery had a charity ride leading out of (and finishing at) DealerCamp, which meant there were several modded bikes floating around.

The most amazing example was Matt DeWitt’s completely customized Diamondback Mason Sortie full suspension mountain bike.

DeWitt is a double amputee, so the challenge was to get him on a mountain bike that could be ridden without hands. To do that, his bike has Di2 shifting integrated into paddles on the top tube and a butt-actuated brake lever.

Tap past the break for lots of images…


This is the second build, the bike he rode in the 3rd Annual Wounded Warrior 100k  had been stolen and partially stripped, then left at the park in Alaska where it was originally stolen once word got out. It’s about a $20,000 project. He’ll be racing it in Leadville this year.


Two thin, flat panels were placed on either side of the top tube. To shift, he simply taps his knee against the front or rear panel to shift up or down.



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To brake, he just pushes his butt back and it pushes the bar. That pulls cable to actuate a TRP Parabox, which pulls both brakes simultaneously.



Interestingly, they’ve used a standard Di2 rear derailleur even with the wider range mountain bike cassette, not a K-Edge conversion.


Best of luck at Leadville, Matt!


  1. A holler to Scott Moro the team wrench that did a lot of the mods, he can work mechanical miracales.

    Matt is also a heck of a roadie, winning races and holding his own in able-bodied events.

  2. So awesome. The brake lever assembly looks a little hacked together compared to the rest of the build, but still…

    Good luck in Leadville, dude!

  3. I have the pleasure of riding with Matt as a Teammate and a friend. He is an amazing rider in both road and mountain. I know how bad I can feel at the end of a ride, then I look at Matt and can’t imagine. Ride 2 Recovery should be praised endlessly for the work they do for our wounded Vets. Thanks guys for making it possible for Matt to do what he loves, and for those like me to be able to ride with him!

    Good luck in Leadville brother!


  4. Just a minor correction – the foundation for Matt’s rig is the Diamondback Sortie Black 29. Matt and I will be racing in Leadville100 this coming weekend…him on his FS modded out Sortie and me on our Overdrive Carbon Pro 29.

  5. This is super rad.
    I built a Surly once for a single amputee with both brakes levers on one side with a grip shift and thumbie, but this is way more technical then that!

  6. As a bike mechanic I don’t understand the enthusiastic comments about the Di2. For someone without the skills and the tools of a bike mechanic it might be easier to set up.

    Do we really need di2 on mountain bikes? Good outer and inner cables (SPS-41 and teflon coated wires), a derailleur hanger alignment gauge and a frame with a good cable routing (not a T**K for example).

  7. best mod i have ever seen on a mtb. kill it matt! also, best use of electric bike parts for sure, logical as hell in this application.

  8. @Marcassin what are you talking about? First, there are no “enthusiastic comments about the di2” above. Second, if you’ve ever ridden di2 you’d understand there are benefits/advantages, plus some people just like technology even if it is “unnecessary.” Thirdly, di2 has done amazing things for lots of people, particularly those in circumstances like this rider and others with Ride to Recover. Di2 and its multiple shift locations has allowed a lot of people to return to active lifestyles despite limitations that before di2 would have made riding a bike much more difficult. So if it weren’t for rich bankers wanting the extravagance of di2, our wounded warriors may not be leading as fulfilling a life as they now can be due to this technology.

  9. It was a long night last night and completely missed the “It was found” part. Good on him, impressive modifications to say the least.

  10. @ifbikes

    I can understand your point of view but when you compare di2 to Campy or Sram Red I don’t understand all the hype around Di2.

    I’m more than happy to use EPS or Di2 on Trek road bikes (those not made in the US of A) because it’s the only way to get rid of all the internal frictions but please when you ride a bike with gears for years you don’t really need Di2 if you know how to shift correctly.

    And btw my old Campy chorus was able to downshift 5 speeds years ago with a wire ;).

  11. Hey, Marcassin: let us know when you’re in the same position as the wounded vets participating in Ride 2 Recovery. Then your comments about Di2 might be worth reading.

  12. @PSI squared
    Do you think people didn’t ride bikes without hand shifters before this bike and electronic shifting? Marcassin’s comments are extremely valid as a counterargument to a marketing push for electronic MTB drivetrain hacks. It’s cool, but let’s be realistic about needs that keep us able and moving and fun toys that we want.

  13. @PSI squared

    It is a very special case you are talking about. I never said that Di2 is useless, my point is don’t use it until it is necessary.

    @Dr. Monkeypants

    I am no luddite, when a simple cable can do the job of an electric wire I am going with the cable. Same with suspension: when fox and shimano are working on a stupid electronic lockout I laugh, what’s the point if can already do that with a simple cable?

    On the other hand I can’t wait for the Lapierre’s EI Shock technology, this is the way to go for me with electronics on a bike.

  14. @marcassin –

    I see your point where running Di2 on a mtn, or even a CX bike, for an able bodied individual is silly – when a cable actuated set up would do just fine. Especially given the likelihood that your $600 Di2 could be ripped off due to a variety of issues associated with normal riding/racing. But hey for those that can afford it…go for it!

    That said – I think some may be missing the point here regarding others “enthusiasm” for this set up. Our bike was modified with Di2 because the rider from Ride to Recovery, Matt DeWitt, does not have hands. He lost them to an RPG in while serving in Afghanistan (https://ride2recovery.com/news.php?type=cyclist&ID=371). Obviously he is unable to shift or brake using a conventional set up. This modification has allowed him to return to riding his bike, and the point of the post I believe.

What do you think?