If you told me 20 years ago i’d be building a Titanium hardtail for Zach White someday I’d have laughed out loud. Mostly because i didn’t think i’d be building Ti frames right now, but also because I can’t remember him ever riding (or wanting to ride) a hardtail. He is the first Professional downhiller I met when racing bikes in the Boulder bubble and has kept riding and racing all this time when others have retired and grabbed the remote (including myself). Zach raced some of the earliest downhill races on the earliest dual suspension frames while traveling to the NORBA and CORPS races, including the famous Kamikaze Downhill at Mammoth Mountain. We haven’t kept in touch through the years other than liking each other’s Instagram posts (such was my social life for the last 10 years…) so it was fun to reconnect with him and create a bike that would be ridden and toured all around the Rockies.
Zach is a writer and photographer that has articles in all sorts of cycling publications, and in the latest Mountain Bike Action (May 2023) there is a “Writers’ rides” feature on his new bikepacking rig which also happens to be the US Made issue with bike tests on a REEB, Mosaic, and a feature on Appleman cranks! Zach is not the typical bikepacker, and this isn’t a typical touring bike, instead he wanted a more downhill oriented geometry that would rail with or without gear on it…and it’s name became the Slackpacker. The head angle is 65 deg with a sagged 140mm fork. Chainstays are as short as I can get with enough room for 29×2.6’s by using a half-yoke and 1″ diameter tapered non-driveside S-bend chainstay. He’s a big dude so I tried to make this a solid build, but it still has that natural “soft” ride of Titanium, especially when loaded up with gear. There’s a massive amount of space in the front triangle for a framebag (aka. storage) while still allowing a 175mm dropper post. I added bosses for a Tumbleweed T-rack and bosses for bottles on the seatstays. It’s a tight fit but works with the King side-loader cages and some fiddling. Check out the article if you’re interested! A digital yearly subscription is only $10 which i just bought for myself (i get no kickbacks, just think it’s a cool issue).
All photos by Zach White.