I “painted” the frame and fork yesterday while it was still sunny and warm. The Permalac is a cool product. It gives the steel a matte finish that highlights the natural steel. I will likely have to re-apply when it gets scratched or gets dents from rocks, but it’s perfect for my purposes. So this morning, I built up the frame with the parts from the 69er. Nothing special on parts, XT derailleurs, LX shifters, Race Face two-piece crankset, Avid mechanical disc brakes, and new rubber (Kenda Slant Six which seem real nice!) on a Stan’s 29er Arch wheelset. All said and done with cages it was 25lbs even – with rigid fork. Not bad really! It’s not light tubing, so future frames will be lighter. I’ll put on the suspension fork later since it is a suspension adjusted frame (the Hunter isn’t). For now it has the super long (500mm axle to crown) unicrown fork on it.
I wasn’t going to ride today, i haven’t ridden a bike – literally – since November, but I just had to get out there on the backhill trails. The new inch of snow made for a sweet first ride, even if it was just a half hour. I could tell that this geometry climbs well, better than my Hunter and the 69er. The rear wheel stayed put even in this wet snow. A bit shorter top tube too made the cockpit really comfortable. It has 17.5″ chainstays, which aren’t even short, but I still had some chain line issues setting it up. There’s enough room for the 2.2 tire but there could be more. I hardly dented/crimped the chainstays at all during the build to make room for fatty tires, I’ll crimp more next time. The space issues were mostly because the XT front derailleur is so bulky behind the seat tube. I like the old style front derailleurs better.
You can see in the above picture the amount of space between the front tire and the crown of the fork. Not a good idea to keep this fork on the bike for good but it lets me test the rake (51mm) and trail (79mm) without it boinging around.
I like how it rides. A total mix of the 69er and the Hunter 29er I have, more towards the 69er end though. I can wheelie easier, so wheel drops will be easier too, and cornering was solid. It’s a really fun bike! I admit it’s basically a “custom” G2 Fisher geometry bike (Superfly-ish) using a shorter seat tube for lower standover since my legs are so short for my height.
If we weren’t supposed to get several more inches of snow tonight, I’d go for a ride tomorrow on the local trails. But may have to break the skis out for another powder day in late April…!