Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Bikes Of 2022: OS Bikes Blackbuck

It's the end of the year and time to review what's up with the bikes I used over the course of 2022. You'll get a brief overview, any changes made, and what the future has in store for each bike listed. Enjoy!

Mountain bikes. Ah! I used to ride them weekly for years around here. Then I stopped writing for the website "Twentynine Inches.com" in 2014 and then my usage of mountain bikes started to decline until now, well, I hardly ever go mountain biking around here. 

So, I have whittled down my mountain biking stable to just a few examples and those are mostly single speed bikes, with the exception that I suppose that you could say my fat bikes are mountain bikes as well. You wouldn't be wrong......

So, one of those MTB's I've kept going all along is my OS Bikes Blackbuck. I use it mostly for commuting and errands now. If you've been around this blog a long time, you've seen various incarnations of this bike over the years. Always a single speed, but this bike has sported more and different front forks than I can count.

The bike has an old Bontrager Switchblade carbon composite fork on it currently which I've had off and on the Blackbuck before this. This is the fork I will run 80% of the time. I also have a suspension fork I can run on it as well as the original Blackbuck fork which makes this bike a really oddball affair. 

Mountain Bike Hall of Fame member, Mark Slate, of WTB, and owner of OS Bikes, made a rigid steel fork for this bike. It is short, and it has 51mm of offset. So when you use it on this bike the seat tube and head tube angles, which are parallel, are 74°, and with that short fork, this bike rides like a criterium bike with fat tires. It's really weird! I will rarely ever use that fork, but it's nice to have the OG fork for the bike on hand. 

I may get a different crank for this someday. A White Industries silver crank would be nice since i am running White Industries hubs and freewheel on this bike. I could also pull the Chris King pink head set, (an OG, first run one), and install a White Industries head set as well, making everything al matchy-matchy, but that's not high priority here. 

Stay tuned.....more Bikes of 2022 are yet to come!


Skidmark said...

Greets GT, I tried to buy a size:small BlackbuckOS which was to be available in the last batch, but when the bikes arrived it seemed a very muted and quite affair. Do you have any relatable info on what happened with that (2nd?) final batch of Blackbucks?

Guitar Ted said...

@Skidmark - Hello! Yeah, I know a little bit about the deal. First off, OS Bikes original run (approx 500 units) were all one size and did not sell very well. The reason I think this was is due to the fact that the full spec version was equipped with the OG Reba for 29"ers, which by the time OS Bikes got around to making those available, was off the back since Fox had come out with the 29"er version of its fork featuring 51mm offset. The OG Reba 29 had the then undesirable 38mm offset.

Compounded with poor marketing, OS Bikes found it hard to find its footing, since they were cash-strapped due to having all those Gen I Blackbucks sitting around. That's why it took several years for Gen 2 to be released.

Then by that time the OG factory for the OS Blackbuck was booked up and could not produce the frame sets. Another factory was employed then to produce those Gen II frames, and there are subtle differences between the two runs. Run 2 frames, for instance, have slightly less rear tire clearance, amongst other details.

To my knowledge, OS only made Large and XL Gen II Blackbucks. I am not aware of any smaller sizes being made, although that may have been a plan back in those days. This was 2010/2011, as I recall. here is a link to a XL Blackbuck review: http://twentynineinches.com/os-bikes-blackbuck-gen-ii-ride-impressions/

While OS may have had grander plans for the bikes, the company was really a side project, and because of the quickly changing nature of 29"er geometry in the early 20-teens, I think it was an issue, along with poor marketing/sales, that pushed any further development of OS Bikes off the table. I do know of some interesting projects that were drawn up but never produced that OS Bikes had in mind. I am not at liberty to say what those were, but suffice it to say that they would have taken the company in a completely different direction had they seen the light of day.

Hope that answers your questions!

Spiff said...

Hello GT! I love the lines of those Blackbucks. A few years ago I had an opportunity to purchase one at a fair price and passed. I still regret it!

Do you have any concerns about the Bontrager carbon fork on the Blackbuck? I have an old SS Kona Unit with a similar (Origin8) carbon fork from the same era (2008). I don't ride it a ton anymore. But every time I do, I give the fork a close inspection. It seems to be fine but I'm still a bit leery of it: 14 year old carbon!?

I know I should just swap it out for a steel fork and be done with it. But...

Guitar Ted said...

@Spiff - Concerns? Hmm...... FOURTEEN YEARS AGO?!! Ah..... Thanks - I guess - for reminding me how old things have gotten! Ha ha!

Anyway, I wouldn't be too concerned if the component in question came from a reputable company that tested their product to MTB standard. AND if it wasn't a "daily driver", it shouldn't be an issue. Fatigue cycles add up over the years, for sure, but obviously if whatever it is that is in question hasn't been used consistently, I wouldn't worry, and that's where I am with that Bontrager Switchblade fork.

Now, in your case, if the fork has seen 14 years of consistent abuse? I might be inclined to swap that fork out now.

That's my feeling on the matter. But that's only my opinion. Not a recommendation for what you should do.