Colin’s Shreddy Sklar 27.5+ Hardtail

Are you guys sick of seeing the “+” sign after wheel size standards? Ok, I didn’t think so. While the mountain bike industry tries to re-align itself on the topic of wheel sizes and tire widths, the rest of us are busy experimenting with tire spec, chainstay length, and bottom bracket drop. Out in Montana, Adam Sklar has some opinions about the aforementioned design options. Slacker, lower and longer bikes tend to enjoy going downhill faster and offer more stability at those speeds. All of which is particularly helpful when encountering a rock garden or chunky section of trail. Many of those design points that apply in Montana, apply in Los Angeles, where our trails are rocky, steep and our descents last for well over an hour at times.

Colin got this bike when he lived in Bozeman. Adam built him a pretty standard Sklar 27.5+ hardtail, and Colin spec’d the parts. Lining the beautiful desert tan frame are a slew of purple anodized components, including i9 hubs, Hope rotors, Twenty Six stem and collar. Keeping the front from buckin’ around too much is a 140mm Rock Shox Pike and Maxxis 3″ tires. Those rims? Cheapo Chinese carbon from eBay. Colin’s view on those are if carbon wheels are going to break after a few seasons, why not go with a cheaper alternative? He’s got the front laced to a SON hub for night riding in the mountains and is using SRAM XX1 with one of those trippy Wolf Tooth rings.

This bike is a beast and I can’t wait to shred with its owner and creator next week in Moab before NAHBS engulfs this website. If you’d like to read Colin’s review of it, head over to the Sklar Blog!

  • Smithhammer

    Zoinks. That is some hot-buttered Sklar, if ever I did lay me eyes on one. Not a detail missed…

  • boomforeal

    i’ve never seen a dynamo hub on a _real_ mountain bike before. wonder how well it works for night time trail riding – colin doesn’t mention it in his blog post, which was a good read notwithstanding

    ps i’d love to see a geo sheet for this thing…

    • Im curious too since the SON requires a bit of speed to produce light.

      • It all depends on which light you choose. With advent all these nice LED lights, you dont really need all that much speed to generate light. Thus the hub you choose really doesnt matter, besides aesthetics. But as stated above, the downside is that once you stop pedaling only your stand light stays on. I have an E3pro2, E3 Triple, and Edelux II. All three are solid lights, but for the most part, I must say that the Edelux is the best for both on/off road.

        As for technical single-track riding I would highly recommend using both a dyno and a helmet mount, that way if you end up going slower than 5mph you wont lose any light.

        In the end, I am a huge advocate of the Dynohub. Its such a small weight penalty that the pros heavily outweigh the cons. Especially if you pair it with a sinewave revolution USB to charge your things while riding in the daylight.

      • Chris Kyle

        It depends on the hub and light combo. I’m running the SON 28 through-axle hub laced up to a 29er wheel and the KLight bikepacker light. Usable light will appear at around 6-8mph and the Sinewave will start charging at 8+mph. The sweet spot for either is around 12mph.

    • Colin Frazer

      I’ve been waiting on a really slick prototype phone mount/usb charger/light mount that a friend is making in Bozeman to really get this thing set up. I’ll be testing it next week in Moab. But the dynamo lighting works well; it’s dim while climbing slowly, which is fine, and brighter on the speedy descents. I always ride at night with a helmet-mounted light too for descending. Check out this primer that my pal Joey in Durango wrote if you’re curious to read more:

      • Night mountain biking is definitely significantly safer (and more fun!) with a helmet-mounted light. Having redundancy on lighting is important when you’re riding anything remotely technical.

        The dim / pulsing light at lower speeds is manageable, but in my opinion the main downside to a dynamo is that it turns off completely when you stop. This is kind of a pain when rolling into camp late and looking for a spot to set up. Have your headlamp handy…

        Right now Stephanie and I are building plus bikepacking bikes and we’re on the fence about dynamos… heavier, potentially not as durable, and not as functionally beneficial as a single light source on a singletrack-focused bike…

        • Julius

          A SON should be just as durable as any other front hub you can find. I bought mine used with unknown mileage and have ridden it for about 10,000 km since then, including a fully loaded trip across South America, in all kinds of weather, on all kinds of roads, and it has not shown any sign of weakness. It is sitting in my city bike now and is still going strong. Wonder when/if I will have to service it.

          • See comment in response to Robert above; we are having no problems with our SP hubs after thousands of miles. But we are now building a two new wheelsets (one 9×100 and one 15×150) and debating whether to build them with dynamos or not.

        • Robert

          Any light that has a capacitor built in should be better than what you’re using, for instance the B&M Luxos U. Mine holds a charge even after a couple days of not being used. The speeds you’ll be going for bikepacking means that it will provide dimmer lighting, so you may want another headlight too. However, the biggest plus is the USB charging, which you can use during the day to charge your electronics or a battery pack. Additionally, a SON should be more than durable enough for bikepacking and they even make a thru-axle model now too.

          • Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got thousands of miles on our SP hubs and they’re still functioning just fine. My comment about durability is more to do with having electronics in the hub versus not. It’s certainly nice to never worry that your light might be out of battery.

            The lights we have are Supernova E3 Triple 2. Not a cheap light. Said to have a standing light which implies a capacitor, but I honestly can’t tell you if the performance of this light when not being powered by a moving wheel is on par with others on the market. What I can tell you is it’s pretty damn bright as soon as you’re moving, and it’s damn near useless for finding a campsite.

            All of this still points toward the need for a new generation of dynamo powered lights with wall and trickle-chargeable batteries that allow more than just a few minutes of power out of a capacitor.

            And yes, we do have Sinewave Revolution USB chargers on these bikes.

          • Julius

            Why not use a headlamp/torch for camp site spotting? If you really want your bike light to provide the illumination for that, you could check out the Busch & Müller Luxos. I have the Luxos U, which has a built-in USB charger and uses a battery for buffering. This battery, and not a capacitator, also powers the standlight. Since I always had a headlamp ready when needed, I never familiarized myself with the details, but I suppose you can force the thing to shine until the battery is depleted by moving the front wheel every now and then (which you would do when looking for a campsite). The lamp comes with a switch which you can mount to your handlebar. That switch allows you to trigger an extra-bright mode and it probable also allows you to set the lamp to shine until its battery is depleted.

            The USB charging function is not optimal, but not as useless as some people claim ATMO, provided you have at least some relatively flat stretches. And maybe the cheaper Luxos without the USB port also has a battery instead of a capacitator.

            On the downside, the Luxos is huge and fugly ;)

          • Yeah, that’s going in the right direction. With where battery technology is right now, I have hope for a new generation of dynamo lights that can be charged charge during the day, and stay on for a few hours at night.

            The two-cell battery (2×18650 batteries) in my Gemini Xera light will go for 8 hours at 200 lumens and 2 hours at 950 lumens. And the whole thing weighs less than 200 grams.

            I’m all for what’s happening in dynamos right now but honestly the options are very road-focused and it’s a hybrid of a dynamo with something like the Gemini system that will really open things up for bikepacking and mountain biking.

        • Chris Kyle

          Many bikepackers are running a SON Dynamo hub, KLite bikepacker light and Sinewave USB charger connected to a pass-through cache battery. That combo is super durable, puts out a lot of light and charges USB pretty well. Now, it is still a very good idea to have a backup helmet mounted light. I run a little Light and Motion Stella, and also have a small Petzl headlamp for camp setup and stumbling around in the dark to take a leak.

          • Can you run the light and charge the battery at the same time? Seems decent.

          • Chris Kyle

            No. There is a switch to choose. It’s been a non-issue so far. You charge your cache battery during the day and then run your light at night.

      • boomforeal

        that’s what i figured; even with an efficient generator and a big capacitor of some kind i couldn’t see a dymano hub being the exclusive light-power source for trail riding. on an adventure bike, of course, it makes all kinds of sense

    • ChrisDefiance

      Seen a fair few folks using the dynamo as a power supply only and running high-output USB type lights. Best of both worlds, unlimited phone/GPS/light without commiting to a hardwired lighting system.

    • Hey Boomforeal, here’s the important numbers:
      HT angle: 68.5, Front center: 761, BB height: 311, CS length: 428, Trail: 98, HT length: 114

      I liked it so much I built one for myself. It will be at NAHBS.

      • boomforeal

        interesting. based on those figures, my terrible math skills put the unimportant numbers at Stack: 672, Reach: 514

        adam would you characterize this is a “long, low and slack” frame?

        • Not horribly far off there. I sure would consider it long and low. We could go slacker, though we settled on this design after many discussions about Colin’s riding style and preferences.

          • boomforeal

            thanks man

            and, beautiful work!

          • Cheers!

  • Sarkis

    Wwooooooaaaahhh. What a nice bike!! WANT!

    Building my multi-purpose bike right now, also with SON28 ( more juice than the lighter delux hub)…dont know what to expect…but if Sklar does it..

    Respect to the Sklar dude

  • Adam Hancock

    Bozeman-made Dana Design FTW!

  • Taylor Hayden Hill

    I wonder how that Minion/chronicle combo. I want to try that on my Krampus

    • The best!

      • Taylor Hayden Hill

        Thanks Adam, I think I will try the minion after seeing this bike and your review.

        I hope I can get one of your frames in the the future. Unless you do poor college student discounts. Haha Great bikes, congrats on the winning the NAHBS.

  • Oh fun fact, this is actually the bike that was in Sklar’s jig when I shot the shop last year.

  • GT

    No matter what angle the bike is photographed, it’s so damn sexy!

  • Johnny Vanderwell

    I’m super intrigued by the chinese carbon rims for mtb use. If you beat the crap out of them anyways, then why not? Anybody else ever tried it?

    • caliente

      I still have a pair of chinese carbon road wheels from 2011. They have lasted longer than the fsa carbon road wheels I had…

    • Harry

      Chinese Light Bicycle Wheels here. Highly recommended provided they are laced to good hubs!

    • Brett

      All the carbon rims are Chinese carbon rims, unless they say Enve.

    • Chris Kyle

      A lot of bikepackers in the SE have been running Nextie rims for a while, including myself. I’ve had a few sets of ENVE, Reynolds and Stans Valor rims and the Nextie rims are almost as nice. For road, I’ll stick with ENVE; but for cyclocross, MTB, Fat and mid-fat, I’ll continue to run Nextie rims.

  • George Simler IV

    That is a sexy machine. Not gonna lie. Ah….bike porn…..

  • Froste


    I was wondering, would it be possible to create an S-curve with the top tube being the first half and the seat stays being the second piece. My eyes keep imagining this line which would mean that the seatstays would be curved in a quite unorthodox manner. Not sure how it would affect the structural integrity but perhaps it would give a little springyness to the rear end?

    Adam, Have you ever attempted something like that?

  • Tyler Morin

    Damn, that’s a good looking bike.

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    • GT

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  • Herb Hogen

    Might be using a little too much chain lube, or is that motor oil? I feel kinda sorry for that cassette.

  • breed007

    I’m not a huge fan of curved tubing (*ducks*), but I love the lines on this bike. Good work.

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