Golden Saddle Rides: My Twilight Yellow Stinner Tunnel 27.5+ Hardtail

Hello, my name is John and I’m a hardtail addict. I’m not sure when or where it began, but when framebuilders send me bikes to review, specifically hardtail mountain bikes, I tend to want to buy the framesets from them. Most recently, this Stinner Frameworks Tunnel 27.5+ bike, which I reviewed a little while back when it was built with Box Components and Magura products.

Coming from my stout and solid Retrotec, the Stinner offered a much lighter, zippier feel. It wasn’t necessarily a better ride, just a different one. One that I liked a lot, save for one major – to me at least – flaw: it only had one water bottle mount on the inside triangle.

I offered to buy the bike from Stinner and requested that they’d add another bottle cage mount. In order to do so, they’d have to strip the whole thing and repaint it. Rather than going with their stock paint design, I picked a Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser color, “Twilight Yellow,” and sent that along in my email. James, the painter at Stinner, painted the bike and added a matte clear coat, before sending it back down to LA for me to ride.

Along with the frame, I bought the White Industries headset, cranks and the Fox 34 140mm fork. A spare XO drivetrain made it onto the bike, along with SRAM’s Roam 60 wheels, which I might add, are incredibly resilient to the kinds of abuse you’d expect on such a rowdy bike. The most notable component choice, however, is the PAUL short pull Klampers and Canti levers. Why not Hydraulic? Well, truthfully, I had such a pleasant experience riding this brake setup during my time in Chico with the Paul team that I wanted to give them a try, so I mounted them to ENVE’s 800mm DH bars.

Mechanical brakes like the Klamper feel damn good. I’ve got them on my touring bike and after some time using them, I fell in love with their predictable, no-nonsense feel. For the most part, they installed easily on the bike, save for the rear chainstay cable stop, which is optimized for hydraulic lines, not so much for mechanicals. It’s not a fault of the builder, and I didn’t know I wanted to try out Klampers until the bike was already re-painted. For now, a zip tie holds the cable in place, and Aaron recommended trying a V-Brake noodle to ease the angle of the cable and allowing the use of the cable stop if I want to have the cable tied to the cable stop.

So, the bike was built and ready to rumble. I took it up to Northern California to have at Saddle Drive, as an option to ride if and when my size wasn’t available to demo, which, turns out, was a lot of the time. Myself, along with a whole group of people were harassed by the park bros who worked there, saying “hardtails don’t belong on this mountain,” yet the bike and I held our own. Later, I rode it in Downieville, on trails I had only previously ridden full suspension bikes on. Not a bad way to break in a new ride, huh?

A detail that I have to give the SRAM mechanics Michah and Troy a high-five for is the chainstay protector they made from 3M Mastic tape. I had some chainslap paint chips and the Mastic tape covered it, sealing out water and prevented further damage. Thanks, guys!

I’ll be using this bike for more rugged singletrack bikepacking, where the option for a suspension fork will be preferred, much like my Tahoe Rim Trail trip in September. For now, I just have to figure out which bike I want to ride when I load up the truck for a mountain bike ride.

Thanks to the boys at Golden Saddle Cyclery for the build, Paul for making kick-ass brakes and components and the team at Stinner Frameworks for their dedication to making a rowdy and trail-ready bike geometry, which I posted in the comments below. ;-)

You can check out more information on the Tunnel MTB frames at Stinner Frameworks.


If you want a custom build like this and live in Los Angeles, hit up Golden Saddle Cyclery.

  • Smithhammer

    Sweet build, and a whole lotta capable bike.

  • Don Gouda

    full sus carbon only breh

  • breed007

    Did you go with the Kashima fork for “matchy-matchy” reasons? I ask because, if I remember right, you’ve run Pikes in the past.

    • I like Pikes but this fork was on the bike when I reviewed it and Stinner offered me a good deal on everything. It feels great, too!

  • Ham Sandwich

    i mean you got the seatpost that goes up down and the sproingy fork and then you got your legs that do a bunch of shit too. tell them full squish bros to kiss your poophole.

    • Ham Sandwich

      also your bike is a fine bike, john.

    • breed007

      Yeah, but he isn’t dressed like he’s about to race motocross.

  • really digging this this bike. I like the desert tan paint job.

  • Daniel Smith

    John, do you feel like the foam grips are just as secure and grippy as something like a ODI Ruffian or Ergon grip? Are the foam more comfortable?

    • These are the ESI XC grips. I find them to be the most comfortable out of others I’ve used. The profile keeps my hands from getting sore and they great for long days…

      • Matt

        Hey John, love the bike! Obviously! But its these grips are really catching my attention, are they a custom color? I cant find them on the ESI website.

  • Benny Storer

    Hey John, what ever happened to that beautiful Rosko hardtail you used to rock? Retired it? Moved it on to a new pilot? Gathering dust? Interested because I really think that bike was one of the prettiest hardtails to ever grace the Radavist site. Cheers old mate. Benny

    • I sold it to a friend. I wanted something longer travel.

  • Kurt Jensen

    That is a good looking bike! I love the B+ hardtail w/a squishy fork!

    What tool roll are you using? I’ve been looking for one that will actually fit a 29er tube, but my Roadrunner and Yanco & Tracko versions only hold a 700x45c tube at most.

    • I’m using a Yanco roll, I just roll up the tube in halfs and insert half into the roll pocket. :-)

  • James Eilers

    Beautiful bike, love the color too. I’ll be adding Toyota FJ40 “Twilight Yellow” to my short list of colors for my Slate when it gets repainted.

    • It’s crazy, all the old FJ colors are amazing. Specifically from the early 70’s.

      • Ian Connelly

        I love it – it’s neither dust nor mustard.
        Admit I’ve thought about getting a bike painted to match my 97 FZJ.

      • Brian Richard Walbergh

        Very true, There was a refinished one I rode by everyday that was trying to be this color but ended up being a little more green. Eventually it got to me and when it came time to get my Milwaukee powdercoated I found a color that was close!

  • Dexter

    Always wondered about modern mechanical brakes on mtbs. my promax (megacheap I realise this) were a breeze to set up on the CX bike vs bleeding my shimano XTs

    • I’ve ridden most of the good ones and the Klampers are the best, in my opinion. But ya gotta run canti levers and short pull…

      • Nat Whittingham

        Is that for a difference in feel? or whats better about that over the long pull??

        • It’s hard to explain. haha. Just tried them both and like short pull better. Feels better, etc.

          • Had the same questions. This is good to know! I was debating getting long pull Klampers for a future SS build or using some short pull canti levers I already have with Klampers. Thanks for the insight and great bike and photos as always!

  • Andrew Mc

    Beautiful buggy! Rowdy hardtails are silly fun. I am loving my Black Cat Thundermonkey.

    John, do you still have the 44 hardtail too?

    • Ken

      Love its long reach — that frame would fit me well. :) I have a sweet-riding hardtail from Waltworks, and the only regret was not going with longer reach as it’s only ~450mm. Oh, love the color selection.

      Here is the bike.

    • boomforeal

      looks dialed, thanks for sharing that

      bit of long-low-and-slack ho hum setting in tho; kinda makes me miss the days you were fearlessly commissioning short reach frames with steep head tubes, limited rear tire clearance and tall bb’s ;-)

    • Kai

      Why did you decide to go for such a slack seat angle?
      I’m running 75° on my hardtail, and for the next one I want to go even steeper with a longer reach.

      • For going downhill. I don’t like being too far over the BB – full disclosure, I didn’t design the geo at all. I just liked the way the bike rode enough to buy it from Stinner after I reviewed it.

  • Dang! I want to switch from hydro to Klampers after this…
    Would love to make a matching half or full framebag for this bike.
    And the new Pico Panniers would go well too!

    • Scott from PR is making me a water proof frame bag for it or I’d take you up on that!

  • Steve Alm

    Does Paul recommend a rotor for the Klampers or do you or anyone else?

    • Honestly, I rarely notice a difference between rotors. Sorry!

  • Kyle

    Beautiful ride. Photo of the Stinner with the FJ40? and #33… color matched the shorts too, eh?

  • AaronBenjamin

    So sick! What’s the travel on this bad boy?


    kinda relevant, kinda not..but current choice of mtb helmet?

  • Joe

    Love those Klampers. How powerful are they in comparison to hydraulic disc brakes (for example Shimano XTs)?

  • Michael

    Hi John I’m looking to build a custom hardtail soon and noticed that you were running the Roam 60 wheelset on this bike. The specs for that wheelset list the rim as 30mm internal. How are you finding that width with the 2.8 – 3.0 rubber your are running?