|Steel Single Speed|
Yes, this one has been around my stable for a while now. It still is one of my favorites too. So, just what is it that makes this bike so good?
I often wonder why it is I like this one so much. I am quite sure I've never owned a bicycle that was set up in so many different ways. Not because I was searching for something I wasn't getting out of it, but more so because it just works so darn well no matter how I set it up!
Some of that is due to Mark Slate's design, of course. Mark along with Steve Potts worked on some of the very first 29"er designs back in 1999. So Mark was able to draw on that design work when he penned the Blackbuck for his own brand, OS Bikes.
The Blackbuck has a nice amount of exposed seat post, which is good for some smoothness, but I figure that the unique seat stay styling has something to do with it all here as well. Just my hunch, nothing "scientific" there. The front triangle isn't the stiffest out there, but it isn't a noodle. It works well.
So it works well with either a suspension fork, or not, and the handling is smooth, like a steel bike should be smooth. Added into this is the fact that there are less than 500 examples of the first series Blackbucks out there and it becomes a bike that has a little bit extra for being out of the ordinary. Top that off with it being designed by mtb pioneer, Mark Slate and it hits all my buttons for "cool mountain bike".
The fact it is made from steel makes it ride the way it does, and look the way it does. It is durable, repairable, and, (as in the case of one Milltown Cycles mechanic's Blackbuck), customizable, if you want to take things that far.
If I could change anything about the Blackbuck, I'd probably just add a 44mm head tube. Otherwise, it's about as good as it gets for a steel 29"er hard tail.