Monday, April 10, 2023

The Singular Cycles Gryphon Mk3: Off-Road Impressions

The weekend weather was warm and good enough that I was able to get a ride in out in the woods on Sunday. It was too darn windy to be out on the gravel, for me, anyway, so the woods ride was chanced in hopes that I'd be out of that strong breeze and that the woods would be dry-ish enough to be able to be ridden. 

Well, not only was the wind subdued out in the Green Belt, but it was dry! Like mid-Summer dry. I mean, I know the humidity has been low the past couple of days, (for Iowa), but this was actually a bit alarming. We should not be this dry at this point into Spring. 

But for riding it was perfect and a good test of the Singular Cycles Gryphon Mk3. It was bumpy, hardpacked, and fast. There were a lot of broken up branches and blow-downs all along the trail. So, it was good from a tire and frame compliance standpoint. This post will relate my feeling and impressions on the Gryphon's single track handling and ride qualities. 

One thing you have to really pay attention to on a "plus-bike" is tire pressure. That's because one or two psi difference can be felt and makes a big handling difference. In the case of the 2.8" tire here, I went with past experience with my old 650B X 2.8" tires and set these up at 20psi to start out with. My old 26" X 2.5 Extraterrestrials were also really good at about 20psi. So, it seems that this would transfer to the 29" X 2.8" tires.

I ended up finding that on the Spank rims and with the Teravail Coronado tires that 20psi was a tad stiff for off road. For purely paved riding it was fine, but something down into the teens was probably going to be best on this bike for off roading. And I think that is spot on after my ride this weekend. In fact, I think lower teens would be great in really soft sand, mud, or snow. But for this hard packed dirt and all the branches I was encountering, upper teens seemed better.

So, any wood bits up to 3" in diameter were erased. That was all tires. The rest of the ride was pretty springy. That Ti seat post and the entire frame was really quite smooth, and I was a bit surprised by that, actually. Not that Sam at Singular doesn't understand nice ride quality, because he does, and his frames are famous for it. It was just that these beefier tubes seemed less likely to give me that ride, but my fears were totally allayed. 

The fork wasn't overly flexy though, and in fact, it handles modulated braking and allows control in dicey descents better than the old Gryphon did. I was really impressed because a big footprint that a fat tire like that can give you can make a fork give up. But not this fork. 

The geometry is good too. The single track out in the Greenbelt isn't overly twisty, but I feel it is representative of most single track I've seen in other states and the Gryphon carves it up just fine. I bet our super-tight stuff might give this some fits. Maybe. I'll have to go to Ingawanis Woodlands to see about that someday. I did climb the dike in and out of the Green Belt which is a pretty steep pitch. The granny gear on this bike winched me up no problem. I'd likely want one cog bigger if I was out West, but I am not, so this is great for now.

Okay, that's about all, but there was one weird thing. This bike has a 1990's era XT rear derailleur on it. But there was no chain slap whatsoever. Hmm..... Weird that. 

Okay, that's all for now. I'll have another post on the Gryphon Mk3 after I've done a good long gravel ride on it.

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