January 23, 2016

A tale of two bikes

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It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times…

Sorry. I actually want to talk about a couple of really fun and really weird full suspension bikes I built in the last few weeks. But I promise it’ll be appropriately Dickensian. I worked my fingers to the bone for an unscrupulous miser of a boss, anyway.

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Simple Jack

Up first is what I thought would be the weirdest, longest travel big-tire bike I built this year. It was for me, and it’s a blast on the snow (though not really necessary for riding the butter-smooth packed trails we have around here – we’re at 174″ of snow for the season and counting). It’ll hopefully be a blast on the dry trails too. Here’s the lowdown:

So, a 68 degree head tube angle, 42cm chainstays, clearance for 3.8×27.5 tires (or 29×3), and 125mm of travel. Not to mention a 73mm BB shell and nice low Q factor…

Yikes. Basically this bike is insane overkill for riding on snow, unless you’re talking postholed ice down a huge mountain (maybe I’ll get to try that in the spring), but I wanted to play with the very fine Bontrager Hodag 27.5 tires (or other very larg 27.5 rubber) for summer use too and hence kill 2 birds with one stone. Is it the perfect fatbike? No, not at all. The suspension is plush and feels great… and has no bumps bigger than about 1/4″ to soak up on the snow around here. A rigid bike (which I’ll eventually build for myself, whenever time allows) would be more capable AND probably more fun.

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Overkill for snow. Kill-appropriate for gnarly dirt?

But it’s a blast in the winter and I’m hopeful it’ll be a blast in the summer as well. And I get to keep using my 15 year old LX cranks (and saving my 39 year old knees from the sort of high-q-factor punishment that I’ve decided they just don’t tolerate).

For those who are curious, yes, you could fit a *slightly* bigger tire on there (the Hodag is about 92mm on the Hugo rims). If you are just crazy sensitive to Q factor and/or have bad knees, a 73mm shell and 3.8-4″ tires, with a 1×11 drivetrain just might be your ticket (no need to do the silly suspension thing, of course).

As I said, I thought I’d have the weirdest long travel fatbike/plus bike this year.

Sam thought otherwise. Allow me to present: Godzilla.

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Scale may be misleading – that’s a 530mm reach/720mm stack/891mm front center!

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Yes, Sam is 7 feet tall. Yes, he’s 270 pounds. He has broken a dozen frames in the last few years, I think. He wanted a bike with lots of travel that could huck AND fit plus and fatbike tires.

I’m too stupid to say no to a project this cool, so I gathered up some materials:

-Chainstays? We need fork blades. That’s right, fork blades. True Temper KIT-FB7 in this case (that’s 1mm x 25.4… absolutely insanely beefy for a chainstay and burlier than many built for tandems).

-Toptube? We need a 38mm 1/.7/1mm Supertherm pipe. That’s a downtube for most folks up to about 250 pounds, even if they’re aggro. You could use it as a softball bat. And it’s the TOPTUBE.

-Downtube? Nobody makes one long enough. Or strong enough! Sam breaks things. Let’s do 44.5mm x 1.2mm straight gauge 4130.

-Quad bearings everywhere, 177×12 rear through axle, and a Cane Creek 2.5″ stroke DBinline are on there too.

-160mm front and rear. Fox makes the 160mm 36 29er fork with enough clearance for 29+, so that’s what’s going on there for now. For fatbike mode we’ll have to figure out what makes the most sense (probably the Fox 34 and some 27.5×3.8 Hodags) but that’s not the primary mission.

So, the bottom line: 11+ pounds (that’s right) of totally insane aggressive geometry and burliness, capable of generously fitting 29×3, 26×4, or 27.5xanyhing. 425mm chainstays, 66 degree head tube angle, 160mm of travel… holy crap. I just hope the Scraper/Hope wheelset we settled on (not to mention the plus tires!) can handle what this bike can dish out.

4 Comments on “A tale of two bikes

Zac
January 26, 2016 at 8:00 am

Some badass duallys. You could fit four waterbottles in that front triangle 🙂

Sam Randolph
January 26, 2016 at 2:09 pm

(Anticipatory drooling sound)

Feldy
January 28, 2016 at 11:05 am

The proportions of that bike are crazy: the headtube looks like it’s for 1 1/8 and you can’t tell that the DO spacing is wide.

Whit
January 30, 2016 at 8:58 am

HOLY CRAP….
So awesome man, you are the only one that can do this stuff!
I was still tripping at the 3.8’s with a 73 and then you make Andre the giant that thing? Insane.

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