Todd’s Black Cat Disc Dirt Road

I finally had the chance to actually ride bikes with Todd from Black Cat this week, rather than just talk about them at a trade show. There’s something to be said about a frame builder who makes time to ride his own bikes and Todd definitely does that.

Two of my favorite bikes that I’ve featured on the site came from Todd’s workshop at Black Cat Bicycles – and they just so happen to be owned by two great people. There’s something about Brian Vernor’s Hardtail MTB and Eric’s MAX disc road that just do it for me.

Watching a frame builder rip on his own bike is something else and midway through our ride yesterday, I had to take the time to shoot his bike.

Funny side story: Todd was inspired to build this bike by the titanium Campagnolo seat post he came across after seeing what they fetch on eBay… He couldn’t just sell it, he needed a new bike for it!

  • Jake Kruse

    paselas, like wearing a pair of levis. always a classic choice.

    • Powell

      Especially for a mixed road/dirt bike!

  • Pure filth. Love it.

  • Western Rapid

    Man, discs ARE coming, aren’t they? No two ways about it…

    • David

      UCI target date for allowing discs will be announced in next six months, while that’s professional bicycle racing, it’s still going to be the last major hammer to drop on calipers on all sectors of bicycling enthusiasts, from radavists to those that devour all things VeloNews and Lennard Zinn, to people like me that are interested in both/everything/all. Disc is here.

      • Western Rapid

        The funny thing is, I used to be unsure about them, but now they just look… right. Normal, even…

        • David

          Im right there with you. I have a Shimano di2 R785 set at home in boxes dying to get on my new frame…come on paint….hurry up!

      • I don’t think calipers will ever go away. Velcro is “higher tech” than shoe strings and the world still uses shoe laces.

        • David

          nah, not go away completely, but UCI acceptance coupled with improved functionality will diminish them pretty significantly over the next ten years or so. Really it’s going to turn into Mountain Biking eventually, but hey some people are still riding V-brakes, and I am hopefully buying a Pegoretti soon, so, you know…

        • Tommaso Gomez

          I agree – there are certain conditions where you need the feel and modulation of calipers for light feathering on winding descents. Hydraulic discs on 23C tires grab too hard, so it’s really easy to lock up. Unless you live in the Northwest, I don’t see road discs as an unequivocal improvement.

          • So, I rode the BMC Granfondo disc with 28c 4 Season tires on this ride and it didn’t bother me. Especially going down this rutted, muddy, rooty, fast, steep, sandy descent:

            My hands weren’t sore at the bottom BUT the discs got wet and it squeeled all the way down.

            I never, ever felt like I needed more braking power on my Woodville or Mudville descending similar roads, but I always have to be mindful when scrubbing speed on wet rims.

            Personally, I’m opening up to the idea of disc brakes, but I want a 29r rim and a big fuckin’ fat tire. My Firefly will probably be disc, but I’ll have ENVE 29r wheels and a 2.0 tire with dirt drops. If only so that I can swap wheels with my MTB wheels and have a ton of tubeless options, with the control of a dirt drop.

          • David

            I think what it comes down to is, for whatever reason (pros doing it, what have you), people are going to keep moving away from aluminum rims and into carbon, and disc brakes are carbon rims saving grace. Honestly Im putting my new disc setup on HED Belgiums and just looking forward to not having to be concerned about a worn brake track. That will be nice, but really its going to be the better stopping power of disc for carbon wheels over what calipers can offer…I had a set of deeper carbon wheels I rode for a bit and I get it, the braking was terrible, even with the latest and greatest swiss-stops. Main reason I’m going disc is I am a super clydesdale with a family and just feel disc will offer the extra security. And it might make my wheels last a hell of a lot longer. Tally ho!

  • D.J. Bolles

    Ughhhh… please let this be the last time a damn slug appears on the site. I can’t handle that shit!

    • No more slugz promise. Hugs and kisses!

      • Phomma

        Nugz not Slugz

  • What makes this a dirt road bike as opposed to a cx bike? Is it the Geo?

    • Lower BB, head angle.

      • .,`

        what about chain stay length? I haven’t had a chance to ride any gravel/dirt road bikes. Does an extra cm or 2 make a difference? and is the longer length just de-facto from wider rear hub or is it better on lose roads?

        • Yes, that too. Overall, they’re more stable than cross bikes.

  • I like that more people seem to carry around frame pumps these days. I think they just make sense, especially when riding in the dirt and when you want to adjust your tire pressure. Low pressures are so much more fun on trails. I’m sick of fickling around with these small pumps that often stop working when you need them the most. So, who makes good frame pumps?

    • Topeak

      • Lars

        Totally agree on the Topeak. I have the same Topeak frame pump in four sizes to share between my bike and my girlfriend’s.

    • hans

      ….and Zefal. i’ve used mine for years with minimal maintenance. it’s now more silver than black due to all the buesage. i love getting that thing out to fix someones flat when all they have is a little pump. i think they look cool too

  • ifjeff

    Beautiful bike and great photo shoot :: Discs are not necessary on Drop bar bikes :: #resistDiscs :: prolly

  • JJ

    those forks….nice

  • btdubs

    Gotta love those fat paselas!

  • Christiaan2414

    That slug makes me want a banana and that beautiful bike makes me want to ride.

  • Brian Vernor

    You have to lick the slug to absorb it’s magical powers.

  • KevinSF

    What kind of tires are those?

  • Hikyle2

    How does the non tapered fork feel compared to say an enve disc fork? I’m about to pull the trigger on one of them.