My Rosko Agave Slapper Hardtail 29’r MTB v2.0

Slack and low, with bigger tire clearances this time. That’s the main difference between this bike and its predecessor. As noted in the previous bike’s gallery, the first version of this bike wasn’t what I wanted. Luckily, Seth Rosko is a good friend of mine and a very capable frame builder. He’s also human and humans make mistakes. What makes a human a great human and a great framebuilder is their ability to rectify those mistakes.

My Rosko Agave Slapper Hardtail Mountain Bike v2.0

We had a miscommunication, and there was a fabrication error that resulted in a frame with clearance for 2.0 29’r tire in the rear. It’s something that happens from time to time. Framebuilders make mistakes. Chainring clearances, missing or incorrect cable stops, off-square rear triangles. You’re getting a functional piece of art and art has character. Right? Maybe not so much. It needs to function, above all.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move onto what I’m calling my “Agave Slapper” hardtail. This version clears a 2.4 Ardent on the rear, has a 69º head tube angle, a mid-range BB drop and an option for a 2x or 3x front ring. It’s easy to get it low through corners and in Texas, that means the occasional run in with the blue agave plant, where its color was inspired.

My Rosko Agave Slapper Hardtail Mountain Bike v2.0

The ever-so-trustworthy 120mm PIKE calls the shots up front and while it’s a heavy-duty fork, compared to a light Supertherm frameset, this bike was made for huckin’ and buckin’. Other bits include an ENVE MTB stem with Ritchey Trail bars, ESI grips and a Reverb dropper topped with an ironic carbon railed Silverado saddle (why worry about grams with a dropper post?!?!). I used the same Chris King headset from V1.0 and the same thru-axles, although I’d love to put some of those Paul Component ratcheting jammers on there at some point.

My Rosko Agave Slapper Hardtail Mountain Bike v2.0

Because I like a good, durable bite up front, the trustworthy 2.3″ Maxxis High Roller II runs the show, while a 2.25″ Maxxis Ardent follows up the rear. SRAM’s XX1 has yet to fail me and so it was a no-brainer for this rig. I stole the wheels of my new Tallboy C for this trip, while I was waiting on others, hence the Santa Cruz Bicycles decal placement (there’s a story there too).

My Rosko Agave Slapper Hardtail Mountain Bike v2.0

So yeah, blah blah blah products, products, products. Does it shred? You bet. It’s the ideal hardtail 29’r geometry, according to my opinion anyway. Does it feel good to finally have it? Of course. My favorite thing about the bike is the third bottle cage and possibility to do some ultralight bikepacking on it. Maybe even throw a triple on it and a rigid fork? We’ll see what the future holds. For now I’m just stoked to have a killer hardtail that’s capable of shredding Austin, Texas and Chilao in the San Gabriels.


Many thanks to Seth Rosko for following through here, mother nature for the color inspiration and Elliot Wilkinson-Ray from Kitsbow for the shred photo!

40 responses to “My Rosko Agave Slapper Hardtail 29’r MTB v2.0”

  1. Tyler Morin says:

    Such a rad looking bike. While you made the first one “work” there was something about it that just didn’t look right. This one looks like it should. I love the color too. Are you going to have the same ENVE 50/50 wheels on their when they are done or is it a different version?

  2. Tony Clifton says:

    Hella tight. What length are the chainstays now?

  3. Derek says:

    Man this thing is perfect, color is on point too. I’m curious, what does a build like this one weigh?

    • John Watson says:

      Not sure. Mid 20’s is probably accurate. It’s in Los Angeles now because I couldn’t bring two bikes home to Austin with me.

  4. STW says:

    What?! No shellac and hand-stitching on the chain-stay fabric wrap?!? Shame!

  5. Trenton South says:

    Sweet build. love the long travel fork for a hard tail. Do you prefer a hard tail trail bike to say a full suspension 120mm travel frame?

    • John Watson says:

      I wouldn’t consider a 120mm fork “long travel” – that’s usually in the 140mm range like what Cromag / Engin / Breadwinner does. In my experience those long travel hardtails usually rip better in the 27.5 platform. Once you put a 140mm fork on a 29r tire, your front end gets really high.

      With regards to full sus or hard tail, I ride the bikes differently. You don’t have to be as selective with lines on a full sus and you don’t get the same snappy feeling either. Hardtails are fun bikes and are only limited to their use by the rider’s ability, versus you can cover up a lot of inconsistencies or nuances with a full sus.

      • Trenton South says:

        Makes Sense, Thanks for the quick response!!! I forgot to mention 120mm as long travel for a 29er. I know there are a few 130mm 29 hard tails on the market and they look BOMB, but always wonder if I would be better off with a full suspension do it all bike.

        • John Watson says:

          Yeah, I’d say if you’re looking to get a bike to hone skills and become a better rider, I’d go with a hardtail. You can also do a lot more on one IMO. Bikepacking, touring, even jibbing around town.

  6. Davey Struthers says:

    what tire widths you running?

  7. Nick Valdes says:

    Awesome inspiration on the color. The reason behind a color choice on a frame is my favorite story behind every build.

  8. boomforeal says:

    so having ridden both versions now john, with seemingly quite similar builds, do you notice the (slightly) longer chainstays?

    • John Watson says:

      I can’t notice a huge difference other than added traction from a bigger tire and less bottoming out through technical sections. The bike still wheelies damn easily and it still slaloms down steep stuff just fine.

  9. schue113 says:

    I’m thinking about putting a Pike on my Trek Superfly SS. I’ve heard great things about that particular fork. I was kinda digging the nice rigid it came with but seeing this bike got me stoked on the Pike again. Nice build!

  10. The Goats says:

    Been watching this builder for some time. A Class.

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  11. adanpinto says:

    Very nice bike…these bars are almost riser though ;-)

    I wonder if the same happened to another person (more let’s say anonymous), would he get a replacement frame that easy?

    • John Watson says:

      The Ritchey Trail bar has a 5mm rise and a 9º sweep. Hardly a riser… ;-)
      It wasn’t easy. I still waited 7 months. Most builders will fix their mistakes like this in a quicker time period. I’d say that since I was a friend and there wasn’t an immediate need for a new frame, Seth might have taken longer to fix it.

  12. Eric Spinney says:

    I love this bike. I rode a hard tail in the woods for the first time ever last night, and I will say, I am not nearly as good or fast a rider as I thought.

  13. btdubs says:

    Nice one, brother. Perfect in every way. Good on Seth for making good on this bike the second go-around!

  14. Caden Burross says:

    Lookin’ good dude

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  16. Phil says:

    What bell’s on there?

  17. Sean Curran says:

    This bike is exaclty what I would have built. I’m on a kona honzo, which seems kind of like a poor mans version with a few issues. The matching socks hit the spot on the ride photo. Now having ridden a few enduro’ish full suspension bikes, would you still have a hardtail as your only mtb? (I know my answer, but just curios).

  18. Brandon Day says:

    That color is SO spot on! What a clean looking setup. Rosko killed it on this one.

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  20. Scott Effting says:

    4 months late but why go the 120mm fork and not more for getting rowdy? Or is the 120mm just enough to get the job done? That last pic is wild!