Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday News And Views

Simple, yet capable
The Singular Cycles Buzzard was a bike build I had been dreaming about for quite awhile. Ever since I had gotten the chance to try a slack angled, short stayed 29"er, I felt as though there was something to the idea. I needed to have something like the Buzzard to test the idea out long term and see if I was crazy, or crazy like a fox.

There are a few things that I feel have come together in mountain biking recently which I feel have brought the mountain bike somewhat full circle. Let's take a step back through time a minute.....

Mountain bikes were originally made to be capable going down hill at a high rate of speed, be durable, and to take you places you couldn't get to easily, or quickly by foot. The first mountain bikes of the modern era were all about exploring, adventures, and being durable and reliable enough to get you there and back again. Then racing happened.

Suddenly everyone wanted to be like Tomac, Overend, or Furtado. Flat, long stems, big saddle to bar drops, and butts in the air. Go fast or go home. Then mountain biking found "freeride", down hill, and all the extreme stuff. XC racing was dying, then 24 hour racing perked things up, but you had to have a dual suspension device. Along the way, just riding a mountain bike for the adventure was lost.

Then some things started coming together which has brought mountain biking full circle, I think. Things like wide rims, fat bikes, 29+, stable, slack geometry, and advancements in wheel size and accompanying geometry to make it all play nice. Bike packing, Tour Divide, and the whole adventure deal has come back around. It's a "perfect storm" of sorts that has produced bikes like the shorter travel 29"ers, 29+ bikes like Surly's ECR, the B+ idea, and bikes like the Buzzard.

But the Buzzard is a "play bike", right? Well.....that's the perception by many. However; I am thinking my experiences are pointing to a newer, and at the same time, old throwback version of the classic mountain bike.

The Buzzard can climb. have to adjust your climbing style to being "active" and not just sit there and spin. But it does climb well. Obviously, it descends really well, and with those shorter stays, it can do wheelies, and big moves rather effortlessly. With modern frame bag set ups, you could bike pack and do longer adventures easily. It is a simpler bike than a dual suspension rig, and with the big Velocity Duallys, it makes you traction and comfort issues smaller in one fell swoop.

Gravelly Goodness: 

Lots of big gravel adventures are happening this weekend and in the next month some big events are going down. I am working on deciding what to ride for Odin's Revenge.  I can do the Fargo again for sure, or the Black Mountain Cycles rig, which may be lighter, or the new Tamland. I could even do something ridiculously stupid and try a single speed Gryphon. I just have to choose and start training on it.

Saturday will be a longer ride on whatever it is I choose, so hopefully I feel good and I can pile on some miles. I also need to ride some hills. Odin's has a lot of those to tackle! Plus I am hearing that there will be a lot of dirt this time. Like up to 30 miles of a 170 mile course. Crazy!

Memorial Day Weekend. 

Well, it's a big holiday weekend here in the US and I hope everyone takes the time here to say thank you to a veteran. Yes- it is fun to go ride bicycles and be with family, barbeque, or go fishing, but for the sacrifices of the veterans past and present, we wouldn't have that privilege.  Have a good weekend and be safe, ya'all!


Unknown said...

Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.

Though we can still celebrate the lives of those that gave us freedom to ride anytime we want!

Guitar Ted said...

True enough, Warren Kurtz, but I figure we should never miss a chance to thank those who are serving, or have rendered service to our country on our behalf.

To my mind, we cannot thank them enough.

MG said...

I like your line of thinking on the Buzzard relative to our historic roots... New school meets old skool.

I am thinking that for Odin's this year, I'll either ride my (geared) Gryphon or the BWNN. I suspect it'll be the Gryphon with a Rock n' Road on the front and perhaps a 41c Knard on the rear. I'm running that combo now (thanks to you and the TI raffle for the Knards), and it's been good. The Knard uses a slightly harder rubber compound than the RnR, so durability on the drive wheel should be good, but I like the larger casing and feel of the RnR on the front. That's not going anywhere...

I guess I could also ride the Puffin with the Vee Rubber Speedsters... That thing would rock on the dirt road sections!

MG said...

@Guitar Ted... Amen on your second comment. Thank you to all who have served, as well as to the families of those who have given their lives in service of our country.

Have a great weekend!!

Doug said...

Hey GT, longtime reader despite not being a mountainbiker... If you don't mind me asking, what suspension fork would you recommend for a lugged steel mid-90s Trek? Best bang for the buck and probably short(ish) travel would be best, I think. Thanks, Doug

Guitar Ted said...

@Doug: Thanks for reading!

A mid-90's or so lugged Trek? That would be at the very beginnings of "suspension" and travel was generally in the 50-65mm range for most forks.

Finding a modern fork with that little of travel will be next to impossible without doing some mods. It could be done though.

At most, you'll want to limit travel to the 80mm mark and go from there. Of course, a used, refurbished era-correct fork would be ideal, but then you have to go looking on e-bay, Craigslist, and the like.

Keep in mind that you need to check out your stem/head set. If it is a quill type stem with a threaded headset, you can figure on getting a new threadless head set and stem with spacers for a new fork.

There are workarounds for everything, but it just depends on how far you want to go with this project.

Doug said...

Thanks GT :^)

I do have a period correct Specialized Future Shock (basically a rebranded Mag21), but I am sure it would need work and wonder if it makes sense to do that (if it is even possible). I guess what I'm looking for is a good, not too expensive fork that is at the short end of current/recent travel. I am up for scrounging, but it should be something that is still serviceable...

Regards, Doug

Guitar Ted said...

@Doug: Those Specialized Future Shocks weren't too bad. I rebuilt one back in the day. If the bushings are still serviceable, it shouldn't be that tough to figure it out and get it up and running.

Also, Hippie tech suspension service should be of some assistance should you need parts. He specializes in that sort of vintage stuff. Here's the link:

Doug said...

Hey GT, I bet my Future Shock could be salvaged by Hippie Tech as it was never ridden much. If not, what is a good new(er) fork with <100mm travel?

Thanks again, Doug

Guitar Ted said...

@Doug: I'd look for a 26"er version of a Rock Shox Reba. You can easily reduce travel to 80mm, and with a couple easy mods, even less travel can be dialed in, making that possibly a great fork for your project. The Reba is low maintenance and pretty solid from a performance aspect.

Doug said...

Great, thanks again GT :^)