The World Needs a Soulcraft Dirtbomb Feb 5, 2014

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With all this talk about “adventure” bikes, or “gravel grinders”, all I want to do it move back to old school rigs. Away from talks of hydraulic discs or 1×10 drivetrains and onto cantis, with MTB drivetrains. While it’s easy to overlook brands like Soulcraft in the modern age, they have been killing it for over 10 years with bikes like the Dirtbomb.

Don’t think cantis are a feasible option? Ride more. Learn to control your bike. Focus less on the details of what the industry sells you and more on the experience. This bike will rip apart your trails and potentially win MTB races.

I’m not sure what spawned this post, because honestly, the Dirtbomb has been around for a while. Actually, that’s a lie, I do know what spawned this, but more on that later…

  • AttackCowboy
  • shitbike

    Soulcraft for the win! Beautiful bikes to look at, even better to ride! He makes some sick mtbs too!

  • David Spiva

    No matter what no genres of bikes get made over the years, the ATB will always hold a special place in my heart.

    ATB stand for “adventure time bike” right?

  • Brian Vernor

    Sean is an amazing guy to talk bikes with. I’ve interviewed him on multiple occasions, and as you acknowledge here he has been doing a lot of stuff for a long time before, during and after the rest of us catch on to the trend wave. People around me are already talking about NAHBS, but I think it is important to ask why Sean and others like him won’t be at NAHBS this year? NAHBS has done a good job putting builders in front of new audiences but has done little to highlight bike building craft/technique itself (for the general attendee). Builders like Sean–builders who do it right technically, aren’t gimmicky, and have enough experience to teach most anyone a thing or two about the craft, are jumping ship on the show. It is a really good thing for you to point to this builder on your site. Sean, as Soul Craft, and as a builder at Salsa (when it was still in Petaluma), is one of the guys who made the bikes which spurned a new wave of stoke for American made bicycles.

    The Dirtbomb and the Dirtbomber in question, China Camp–Tam in the background:

    • Richard Sachs

      What Brian Vernor said atmo.

    • Pearl Velo

      Vernor speaking the gospel. Very well said.

  • HurlEverstone

    Best in the Biz. No joke.

  • Harry

    I’m actually in the market for a relatively inexpensive bike similar to this (even just a cross bike!) with cantilever brakes…but they are getting pretty difficult to find in Australia. For instance companies like Trek that do have a CX bike with cantis in their range dont offer that particular model to Australian buyers. The big companies are just about pushing the new tech and the small boutique builders are a little cost prohibitive. :-(

    • Robert0321

      All City Macho Man? steel CX with cantis, enough room for 40c tyres. (41c knards fit as well i believe). Not sure if they’re available in Australia though

    • Harry Major

      The Australia bike market is unlike anywhere else. The % of very high end race bikes in the Australian bike industry is comparatively huge to Europe and America. The boutique / steel is real / hipster / touring / adventure / ride for fun contingent of the market is comparatively small. Coupled with the relatively small population and vast country size Distributors simply choose not to invest into the niches, and its a bloody shame. Even Surly, arguably the biggest scale “manufacturer” of steel bikes not made for performance has a absolutely tiny operation here. The good news is with no import duty of GST buying this kind of stuff overseas from the US with shipping costs is often cheaper than if it was distributed here.

      If you want a steel canti CX rig in Australia through the traditional distribution model, the Surly Cross Check or something by Jamis is about all you have access to (that I can think of). You can pick up Soma frames on US ebay for good prices.

      [I work in the Distribution side of the Australian Bike Industry?]

      • Harry

        I agree with that second sentance, Harry.

        In places like Japan and China there are millions of bicycles and cycling is a popular form of transport, but very few of the bikes are what I would call high-end. Nearly every bike you see out on a weekend in Australia would be in the $3-6,000 (and plus!) range.

        I just built up an imported steel hardtail 29er beccause there was no other options. It just sucks to pay $200 postage on an $800 frame. :-(

    • Antoine

      I built a similar-intentioned bike in NZ using a Surly Cross-Check frame-set. Not quite as burly as a dirtbomb (which I couldn’t afford) but I haven’t broken it in six years of trail riding with some MTB races thrown-in. All-rounders are fun bikes.

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/79498713@N00/8313027371/in/set-72157623914197785

  • Harry Major

    Prolly: Whats with your Disc Brake hate?

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      I don’t hate them, I just dislike how people claim they’re necessary for a cross / road / touring bike. I actually really liked the AWOL’s brakes but it worked well with that bike because of the large contact patch.

  • Ken Neville

    http://sorba.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=18073&start=300

    Apart from the priceless vintage pics of Ned Overend bombing around on his StumpJumper, there’s a great pic of someone with a vintage drop bar setup. I think there were restrictions at many sanctioned races to prevent people from racing MTB with drop bars. The tamer the course, the greater the advantage!

  • Guest
  • Ken Neville