February 27, 2014

Vote! What stupid project should Walt build in 2014?

I have a deal with Sarah (and myself) – I get to build myself one bike a year. I’ve maybe fudged that rule a few times but I generally stick with it pretty well.

In recent history, in 2012 I built myself a cargo bike (which, because it was a test bike to check equipment after the move to UT, I decided didn’t count) and Stupidmobile (the stupidmobile build lasted into 2013, really). In 2013 I reassembled (with very expensive parts) my 6″ travel 29er, rode it a bit and decided I didn’t want or need that much travel in northern UT, and then parted it back out. I also played with my 4″ travel FS bike and built some new chainstay assemblies for it. With all the churn there I figured I was at my bike limit.

But 2014 is a new year. Of course, we’re having a daughter in June and we’re moving to Park City in 2 or 3 weeks… so there’s a lot going on, but I am hoping to still find time to build myself something fun and a little bit wild/weird.

Maybe not THAT weird.

That’s where you come in. I need ideas. Keep in mind that:

-I have a very fun hardtail and a very fun XC full suspension bike that I have niggling complaints about but am not all that excited to replace.

-I rarely ride road bikes and have an “old man” flat bar road bike for those rare occasions.

-I only ride fixies on the track and I sold my track bike when we moved to UT from CO. There is not currently a track here. Also I am perhaps the world’s worst track rider.

-The cargo bike works fine and there is no way I have room for another one in a 550 sq ft. shop. It’s already in the background of every picture, ever, from in there.

-I’ve determined that I don’t have enough really gnar trails to ride in the PC area to justify a long travel setup of any kind. Plus I have a 6″ frame that I could put back together if I changed my mind.

-Park City has a metric ton of groomed winter trails that are generally open to bikes. I also need a bike that can be used to pull a mower for the new huge stupid yard without damaging the turf too much – fatbike of some kind? But a rigid fatbike is kinda boring. I do those all the time. We’re looking for weird here…

-I’ve been doing lots of building full suspension parts and have entertained the thought of doing an FS bike for Knards or for 26″ fat tires. Combine this with a custom headshok fatbike fork perhaps? That would peg the weird meter pretty well as I pulled a mower around the lawn in my wife beater (or UV-protective long sleeves) while drinking a beer… but might also weigh a ton and not be much fun to ride. Having only ridden rigid fatbikes I’m not sure it makes any sense to do suspension if you’re riding on actual snow – and I’ve got other bikes for dry trails.

-Maybe I need to build a kids bike? Something that can grow with the little one and work with multiple wheel sizes, maybe? Problem is that Bean isn’t even 2 and doesn’t much care for his current balance bike, so it might just gather dust.

36er? For all that I seem to be the main guy building these, I don’t own one. That’s probably because I’m a little too small for one, and because they take up an amazing amount of space. Maybe I need to go big…

-A road bike, just to attract the deep-pocketed dentist-bike crowd? Problem is I’d hardly ride it and the build kit needed to impress that kind of customer would cost me a fortune.

Tandem? Sarah would kill/maim/divorce me but maybe Bean would be big enough to ride it with me in 7-10 years.

-Recumbent? Swing bike? Muni? These are all terrible ideas, probably. No offense to the recumbent swing bikers out there.

-Something else? Get creative and tell me your ideas. It has to be at least moderately practical for living in a mountain town and not require $10k worth of obscure parts.