Rodeo Labs Spork 2.0 Builder Series: Traildonkey Singlespeed

Rodeo Labs Spork 2.0 Builder Series: Traildonkey Singlespeed
Words by Stephen Fitzgerald and photos by Sheldon Thompson

The next build in this series is my bike. What I like about this bike’s story is that this early prototype Traildonkey frame was decommissioned for the better part of three years before being brought back to life this year with a fresh coat of art store spray paint fade and a 1x drivetrain. This bike’s only purpose was “let’s build something fun to commute and play on”. Almost everything on this bike was in the parts bin before our lead mechanic Sheldon built it all up into what it is now.

I’ve never had a single speed bike before. I’ve always been too scared to ditch my gears. Now that I’ve finally tried it I have to say that single speed is giving me a fresh look at the sport that I haven’t had in a long long time. Everything about the bike feels so simple. Push the cranks, go forwards. If the gradient kicks upward just push harder. I need that kind of simplicity right now. I need to be able to look at old commuter routes or old trails and find novelty in them. If you’ve got an old unused frame hanging around in the garage I highly recommend grabbing a few rattle cans, flat bar singlespeeding it, and letting it rip.

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  • Shreddy Krueger

    this bike makes me feel funny.

    • Dave Pelletier

      like climbing a rope in gym class?

  • Thomas Yeates

    Could this be the beginning of the end for the drop bar?

    • mjsenz

      Jones bars on everything.

    • When flats allow you to get down in the drops, it’ll be the end of drops.

    • CTDSAC

      Never. I appreciate the multiple hand positions of Drops too much to say goodbye for good.

    • So… here’s my 2 cents. I like bikes where the geometry is adjusted for flat bars. In my experience when you put flat bars on a drop bar bike, it handles all wonky because you’re usually steering from the hoods of the drops, not the bar clamp. I also HATTTTTE having to ride flats or in a head wind on flat bars. Like hate hate. While I love seeing flat bars on bikes, I really love seeing bikes designed for flat bars…

      • I would also expect a bike designed for drops to ride poorly in the flats but the times I’ve done it it feels great. I think though that I don’t spend much time on a real MTB so I don’t know what I’m missing. The secret to happiness is to not know what you’re missing. ;)

      • barry mcwilliams

        Flats & headwinds, yup, that’s why I’d go for drops!

  • Francisco Alvarez

    Two single speeds in one day!? Are you guys trying to be cool again?

    • It will never be cool.

  • barry mcwilliams

    Don’t care if it’s cool or not, all these SS bikes are making me very happy. With a new bike on the horizon, I‘ve been scouring the internet for an eccentric BB that fits PF86…

    Granted, I’d go drop bar on this sucker, but it’s a beaut.

    • This might have ended up drop bar if I had drop bar hydro levers in the parts bin but it seemed a shame to let a pair of Saint levers collect dust! My other bikes are drop bar so this one is a total novelty setup. It is amazing how much more leverage the flat bar gives you when cranking hard SS.

      • barry mcwilliams

        Totally get that. Last year I put some really wide drops on my SSCX and I absolutely noticed the difference the width makes when climbing. It makes sense that wide flats would do that even more so.

        • I heard some racers call it SS Doping. Pretty accurate!

  • nipon56470 .

    I wish I had the same parts bin and decommisioned frame…

    • It is pretty crazy what ends up in the parts bin when you are building bikes. As a total bike nut it is never lost on me how cool all the parts are and how much potential they have when just sitting there in a box. We had more parts than this and we ended up building them into other complete bikes and offering them at about 30% less than standard cost so that people who can’t normally afford our bike might be able to snag one.

  • Bryce Rinkenberger

    That paint is very impressive for spray paint.. how is this possible?

    • Honestly I just got lucky but you can see a lot of mistakes if you look close. I think spraying it on a 60 degree day helped keep the paint “open” a little bit longer but if you give it a try you’ll find that it is a lot easier than it looks. I expected it to be a total fail but when the pink to red looked decent I just let that dry then hit it with the orange as the last step.

    • Spray.Bike is really easy to work with FWIW.