Tuesday, May 16, 2006
When I started racing back in Germany circa 1993, it was all about steel bikes for me, and honestly nothing has changed. Back then, I was riding a sweet Brodie Expresso, and my best friend had a Fat Chance Yo Eddy. Both bikes were magical, beautiful and always got a look over from people passing by. Since then, I have moved through a few bikes, another Brodie, a Dean (which really sucked), two single speed Sycip's and my current steed, this sweet Ti 2005 Ti Deluxe from Independent Fabrication. I landed my dream ride with IF last year, as part of my sponsorship they built me this mtb and a single speed cross bike (look for it soon on this blog).
It is a custom geometry, like all of their bikes, Reynolds Ti tubing, disc brakes, with a sweet Phil Wood eccentric bottom bracket, which makes for easy wheel changes. Phil Wood is also pulling BB duties with a silent, Ti 113 BB that has already seen two hard seasons, and still buttery smooth. Flanking the PW BB is a set of custom anodized White Industries ENO cranks with a 34t ring. Stealthy, stong, and absolutely wonderful to look at. Outboard from those are some sick Triple Ti Crank Brothers Eggbeaters, light, strong, and simple.
Suspension duties are handled by a more than able Fox Racing Shox F80X, and I was sceptical of this fork when I first tried it, but I am really digging it. A fan of really supple-active forks, the 80X is set on the lightest setting, so it blows opens with the slightest trail variation, but still provides enouh lock-out for those stand-up and grunt sections. It feels as good as my F80RLT did, and is the best steering fork with awesome torsional rigidity of any other out there.
Look at those dropouts! The wheels are courtesy of DT Swiss, which include their new Tubeless kit, it is a really slick system, and have had no issues with it since it was installed. The cool feature about the DT tubeless system is, if you flat, just remove the valve stem, and throw in a tube, no need to remove the whole system like with the Stans, this way you still have rim tape. The 240s Single Speed wheels w/ the Centerloc disc brake pattern are a beautiful black all over, run sooo smooth, and engage without a thought. Using DT adapters, I can run my Magura Marta rotors on the Centerloc system and actually save a few grams with this light weight alu adapter over those heavy steel bolts. Chris King is handeling my rear cog duties w/ their sweet stainless steel cogs, the one you see here is five years old, and is still like new!
Magura Marta Sl's keep my bike firmly dowm from orbit, and this is my second season on this set of brakes, they have been bled only a couple of times, and changed the rear pads once. Titec's new Pluto bar and post shine brightly clad in carbon, while the Thomson X4 stem rouns out the cockpit. Only a Chris King headset will do, topped off with an OTE Sports headcap. Troy @ OTE Sports in Fruita lent me his personal Edge Cycles single speed for my first race on a single speed. That, and my close ties to those guys, I am honored to run their headcap.
This bike was electric blue last season, but it did not feel right to me, so I had it stripped and redone for this season, in a proper Lime Green scheme with the team decals. This goes awesome w/ the assorted black parts, and the custom silver Fizik Gobi saddle, which is by far the best saddle on the market. It has a soolid feel to it, but is not so hard that you get sore, and has a great form. The paint schem also matches well with our Squadra IF team kits, featuring the oh-so-to-be-desired YPro3 pad from Castelli.
The overall ride of the bike is incredible. Only a couple of my bikes that I have owned have felt seemless, like that in this bike. I literally float down the trail, and can really push it hard through technical sections, corners and in flight. It my not be quite as snappy as some of the steel bikes I have had, but the bonus there is I don't feel beat after a hard ride or race. The frame & fork do an awesome job of soaking up the terrain, I also attribute this to the tires, Hutchisons, which I will write a whole blog soon about those, and a new set I am trying.
The carbon bar and post from Titec also take the edge off trail roughness, and yet are very stiff, and confidence inspiring. I love bikes, especially custom ones, and while it is nice to upgrade and get new gear, this bike fills all of my need as a mtb, and there is really no reason to change anything (unless the day comes and I want gears - like that will ever happen). I am fortunate to be aligned with all of the companies involved in this bike, oer the years I have learned what I like in my equipment, and these companies represent the best in what they do. Thanks to everyone who help put this dream machine.
Enoy the ride!