Andy has a couple of other bikes I built and he told me “I already have fast bikes. I don’t need this one to be fast, I want it fun to ride around town with all my stuff.”
So, all supertherm all the way, baby. Why? Because townies get dropped. They get other bikes parked up against them. They get drunkenly knocked into a cinderblock wall (Andy is an upstanding citizen, though, I’m sure this would never happen). They get borrowed by two friends and one rides on the handlebars, etc.
So actually, townies need beefier tubes than ordinary mountain bikes, in many cases. They work hard so you can cruise around with your racks and lights and fenders. They deserve good tubes, especially ones that are practically dentproof. And only the nuttiest of weightweenies cares how much their townie weighs (supertherm is only an extra 150-200g of weight, typically).
Geometry-wise, this is a pretty standard “old school” (ie, steepish head tube angle) 29er with really long (460mm) chainstays to make sure there’s room for Andy’s heels and the panniers at the same time, as well as a BB that’s on the low side since rocks and roots (and pedalling through corners in crits) aren’t on the menu. Andy’s using a fork I built him 5 or 6 years ago that I’ll add some rack and fender mounts to. Recycling!
Should be a fun ride, and it’s certainly enjoyable for me to not be trying to pack giant tires into crazy short chainstays for once. I started measuring chainring clearance and thought I’d done something wrong – there was way too much! Then I remembered the 46cm chainstays, and the max 2″ tires, and all was well.
Also 1 1/8″ head tubes now look really weird to me.