New Bike Ride Report and Photos

Posted: March 22, 2014 by Mark in Uncategorized

I have about 50 miles on the new single speed so it’s a good time to provide a review of the bike and components, and share some thoughts about how it rides.

Also photo dump with it properly dressed in mud.

Today was the first “big” ride on the bike with 30 miles and a good group of fast friends. Tom was almost as fast as Tom; I felt like John and I held our own. Good times, great trails with only really one crash.

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This is by far the best bike that I built. My process is not yet perfect but I get better on each build. In particular this bike has finally reached a level where I am not nervous when someone looks at it up close. Sure, if you are total bike geek like me you can find some stuff that is not perfect but in general I feel good about how this one turned out.

Every bike that I have built includes slight changes in design. I like to tweak things but don’t really like wild changes. This bike is VERY similar to my last couple single speeds. I built this bike longer than the last one and am riding a shorter stem. My position remains more or less the same. The change in weight distribution alters the bike handling and follows some general trends we see as the industry continues to refine 29er hardtail geometry.

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If you look close at this bike in person, there are improvements in little details. The bends on the seat stays and the balance of tire clearance in the rear end are improved vs. the bikes I built before getting my Pro Tools 105 bender. I had them make me some custom bending dies for bending the chainstays on a 7″ centerline radius.

The quality and consistency of the welding is also much improved. I spent a lot of time practicing in 2013 and continue to do a lot more practice TIG welding this year.

I am still rolling 2.0 tires but really this bike is built to allow 2.35″ tires. Down the road I will be running some fatter tires. The frame is built with plenty of room even with the chainstays in the short position.

One of the big changes on this bike is the Magura TS8 fork with a Tapered steerer tube running in a 44mm headtube using a Cane Creek headset. I ran an 80mm REBA on my last bike. My REBA forks have been great performers over the years but it is nice to be trying something new.

The bigger fork means the front end is higher so now I have my stem all the way down but really it is a similar position to what I road in the past. With this bike built to have the balance of weight a little bit more rearward the bike handles the rough stuff very well. The fork rides stiffer yet still absorbs trail chatter really well. Steering is super precise with the the through axle.

This drivetrain uses Paragon sliders, a 20 tooth Endless cog, 34 tooth Gusset chainring, and KMC 9 speed chain. My trusty SLX crankset and basic SPD pedals complete the power delivery side of things. The cranks turn on a Praxis Works bottom bracket in a press fit 30 shell. The combination is flawless. As you can see, I get lots of shoe rub but that is always the case and I have been riding these cranks for years.

This is my first experience with Industry Nine wheels. These are the best wheels that I have ever owned. The rear hub in particular is amazing with truly instant power engagement. I am now a huge fan.

The Thomson seatpost and stem are awesome. Once again, I am a huge fan and really don’t see myself using anything else on future builds. My butt likes the Specialized Phenom saddle although I might try an Ergon saddle at some point. Speaking of Ergon, the big bar ends are still my go to setup. These days I am using Answer Carbon 20/20 bar. XT brakes do great and this set was moved over from the last bike. Shimano brakes are top performers with solid reliability.

I think that about wraps it up. The bike rides great and I look forward to putting lots of dirty miles it this year.

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