Saturday, May 27, 2017

Minus Ten Review- 21

The Badger drop bar specific 29"er Image by Josh Patterson
On the blog ten years ago this week I was revealing my two "secret project bikes". One I have already spoken of, the Badger drop bar specific bike. This design, other than the fact that I wanted it to be a single speed, and it came to me as a geared only bike, was something that foreshadowed another bike I would get a year later. That bike was the Salsa Cycles Fargo. Interestingly, there was no other time I can recall when a fat tired, drop bar, 29 inch wheel based bike was so desired by a lot of people.

Consider that during this period that not only did I have this Badger brazed up, but that Salsa Cycles heard the customers out there who, like my friend MG, were clamoring for a drop bar 29"er. Consider that at the same time, Singular Cycles' Sam Alison was busy working on the drop bar specific Gryphon 29"er. So, it would be a time that this sort of bike was in the limelight. Not that it isn't to this day. Salsa Cycles longest running model now is the Fargo. Sales of that model are still pretty strong. I don't see it going away any time soon.

But, at any rate, the Badger was an idea that was slightly ahead of its time. A steel framed drop bar 29"er. The Badger is not festooned with the amount of braze ons that the Fargo was and is, but the basic idea is there. Oh.......and yes- I still have it. Stay tuned........

A naked Pofahl Special. Image by Ben Witt
The other "Secret Project Bike" was my Pofahl. This odd little deal was straight out of my brain. When 29"ers were still a rare thing in the early 00's, I would often draw up frame designs as a way to doodle and pass the time. Yes......I used to have spare time. That was before blogs, Trans Iowa, and reviewing stuff! See, it was dangerous for my mind to be idle. Just think of all the wonky designs I would have come up with had I still been idle all these years!

Well, when I met Ben Witt concerning the Badger mtb I reviewed, I mentioned this design to him and he got excited and encouraged me to work with him and Mike Pofahl to make it a reality. Ben took my basic design and then made all the necessary tweaks to that idea to make it an approximation of a  "Karate Monkey/single speed specific" 29"er. Ben even designed a swoopy take off of a Jones Bar that he wanted me to put on this bike. It was to be made in titanium. However; things didn't quite go as planned in regard to the bars that were intended for this design.

Ben was excited about a builder in Colorado many of you have heard about. Now this will be the first time I have revealed this. It is the story, and the truth, but more importantly, water under the dam. Ten years of it....

The design was sent to Black Sheep. We were excited to see how it would come out. Ben initially heard back concerning some details, but then the communication grew cold. Eventually, after months of waiting and trying to get through to Black Sheep, we gave up. I ended up putting drop bars on the Pofahl, and that's the way it has been ever since. So, what became of the "swoopy Jones-like design"? Funny thing- About six months later Black Sheep has a variation on Ben's design offered on their site. Coincidence? Maybe..........

But, as I said, water under the dam. I have the Pofahl as a drop bar bike and that works fine. 

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