Monday, September 10, 2007

It's New And It's Blue

Introducing the Pofahl single speed 29"er. Custom fillet brazed 4130 steel framed bike designed by myself and Ben Witt of Milltown Cycles.

The whole idea was to shoot for a design aesthetic that was reminiscent of mountain bikings past but using modern features like 29 inch wheels, disc brakes, and threadless headset.

I had explored the possibility of going with a "Bull Moose" type bar and stem, but because of logistics and money, it fell through and I went back to the original drop bar idea for this bike. Which isn't all bad! I love the drop bar for off road/gravel riding and that's the primary purpose of this rig anyway. Mission accomplished!

I went single speed because it's no fuss drive train and longevity in adverse conditions was attractive to me for gravel riding. Plus, it's just plain fun.

I got some I-9 single speed specific cassette hubbed wheels in a custom anodized "orange" color. In person, the hubs look almost like copper wire to me. Those aluminum spokes still are a bit odd looking, but the wheels seemed to hold up and were rather impressive on the Badger Dorothy I rode last year, so I thought I'd give them a long term try on this bike.
The brakes are the good old reliable Avid BB-7's off my Karate Monkey, which is being torn down for maintenance and will be reborn next year. It was time to go through that bike anyway.

Chris King has a "mix and match" headset program now and I took advantage of that as shown here. (The top cap is blue, by the way) I liked how my Blackburn pump fit perfectly under the top tube just like it was meant to be there. (I hadn't thought of that, it just turned out that way) Nokon cable housings were made up from pieces off the Monkey and left over blue bits from my Inbred build. (Yes, it's a pain to thread all those pieces, but you only have to do that once!)

Here's a close up of the "business end" of the drive train. Paragon Machine Works slider type drop outs with integrated disc mount. Yeah! No fuss rear wheel removal! (I'm planning on finding some shorter and a bit more attractive tensioner bolts soon) A Surly cassette cog in an 18 tooth flavor graces the rear end along with the PC-58 SRAM chain. The front end of the drive train consists of a Profile 180mm bmx crank in steel with a European bottom bracket by Profile along with Profile's cool Imperial chain wheel in a 37 tooth size. (Just like the Karate Monkey set up as far as gearing) This should be a bomb proof set up that I can run hard even off road without fear of snapping something (me?) in two. Although this rig is primarily the replacement for the Karate Monkey as a gravel grinder, I still want off road capabilities.

Here's a shot of the fillet brazing talents of Mike Pofahl, the fellow who ultimately took what Ben and I dreamed up and made it reality. Mike is the guy that did Ben's 36"er and he has done some tandem work as well. I guess he thought this project was pretty cool, and it reminded him of his tandem work. Another guy that saw this frame after it was completed remarked that it looked rather like a Breezer from the late 70's. That was a cool compliment since this guy was actually one of the Marin Mt. Tamalpais bombers back in the day and actually rode with Joe Breeze, Gary Fisher, and Charlie Kelly. I was pleased to hear that, because it meant that the heritage part of the design came through to somebody.

As far as that goes, the parts pic was partially done to reflect mountain bikings past. The drop bar set up is a cue from Charlie Cunningham's old aluminum rigs back in the early 80's. The BMX cranks reflect the time when much of the off road gear used in the late 70's/ early 80's was from that scene. I chose a Selle Anatomica leather saddle, since it's a modern take on a Brooks saddle which were popular saddles on early clunkers. WTB tires reflect the contributions of Wilderness Trail Bikes to the early days of mountain biking. The Chris King head set was the first off road worthy head set designed to give a lifetime of service. The stem (and in the future the skewers) is a Salsa part because Salsa was the first real off road company that made custom stems that worked for mountain biking. The Syncros post is an actual "vintage" piece off my old Bontrager Race bike. The only oddities, and nods to today's technology, are the wheels and brakes, which are far better than anything before them.

So, how does it ride? Well, pretty far! My long break in ride Sunday was interupted by a faulty seat post binder bolt that wouldn't hold the seatpost tight and stripped out the head of the bolt when I tried to tighten it. A little judicious sawing and a new bolt rectified that little issue though! A long ride will have to wait until next time, whenever that comes. Maybe this weekend. In the meantime I'll be commuting on it to see if I screwed up anywhere on the build, but so far so good. I'll chime in when I find out though. In the meantime, enjoy!

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