In some form of intergalactic serendipity, this review coincides with the 2021 International Singlespeed Day, so hopefully, this article inspires you to dust off the ol’ Cruiser or SSMTB and get out for a sunset shred with your friends.
I’ve had the Sour Bicycles Pasta Party for longer than I’d like to admit for a review period but with supply chain shortages, I decided to scrap my original plans for the build as a geared hardtail and assembled it with various spare parts and some new fancy BERD wheels which ended up resulting in one very unique rigid singlespeed 29er.
The Pasta Party is a strange bird with a few clever details and a few quirks, so read on below for my review of this unique chassis offering from the German brand Sour Bicycles…
The Pasta Party
Sour Bicycles is a small company based in Dresden, Germany and while they largely focus on off-road bikes models, yet they still offer a disc road bike (Clueless) and even a park bike (Cancan). There’s even the vintage cruiser/klunker inspired Bad Granny for those wanting a beefier rigid MTB option. Earlier this year when we posted about the brand’s newest offering, the Pasta Party, Sour reached out if we’d be interested in reviewing a frame.
Intrigued, I accepted but little did I know it’d take a few months to get this bike built up due to parts shortages. Initially, I wanted to build it with SRAM GX and a 100mm travel XC fork but in the end, I felt like building it as a rigid singlespeed would be more fun as I review a lot of hardtails and rarely get to piece together my own build for review bikes…
As you can see from the geometry, the Pasta Party is a straight-up XC bike with a steep (comparatively) head angle of 69º and a seat tube angle of 75º with a 58mm BB drop.
While the geo might be tuned for XC riding and racing, I feel like I should note how this geo feels very similar to bikes like the Kona Sutra ULTD, yet the sizing and fit geometry are much more racey than expedition rigs like the ULTD. It’s this spirited geometry that was the final nudge to convince me to build this bike up as a SSMTB.
The Pasta Party tackles the ability to run a singlespeed kit vis a vis an eccentric bottom bracket which isn’t as popular as rocker or sliding dropouts amongst SSMTB aficionados but in my experience with the bike, I never had to adjust the BB while riding it during the review period. I’m a heavy rider and tend to make my own singlespeed rocker dropouts slip from time to time so this came to me as a surprise. While the eccentric BB might not be everyone’s favorite method for tensioning a singlespeed, I will say Sour’s design works a treat!
The Pasta Party utilizes a 27.2mm seat post, with internal routing for a stealth dropper. In true rigid SSMTB fashion, I went with a rigid Tall and Handsome seat post to keep me on my toes while riding trails. The Sram AXS dropper would also work nicely, or any of the other 27.2 droppers out there like what PNW Components offers. This begs the question: is it still considered a rigid MTB with a dropper post?
What’s really nice are the subtle, proprietary shapes and silhouettes found throughout the frame. Sour specced its butted tubeset to be ovalized at the bottom bracket to stiffen it up and they ovalized the top tube to give this smaller-diameter tubeset some extra stiffness as well. The dropouts are unique, as is the seat tube cluster, which is angular in all the right ways, and the tapered/flared head tube really ties the room together so-to-speak. Plus, this beautiful paint job merited me to clean the bike from a season’s worth of sticky caliché and dust accumulation in order to really let it shine for these photos.
This color is called “Rootbeer” in a matte finish as one of the three color options Sour offers the Pasta Party in.
For this review period, I ran the Pasta Party at 30:17 gearing, which is perfect for our zippy XC trails but for me, it’s a little too tall of a gear for proper mountain riding.
Parts Bin Build Spec
Like most media outlets, we get a lot of parts in to review or to incorporate into build kits for personal or review bikes. This Pasta Party build is a culmination of such components. I had a SRAM GX crankset and bottom bracket from an old GX AXS review where I opted for my personal cranks, Sour Bicycles sent along its prototype 1x chainring which mated nicely to the GX cranks. Teravail Kessel 2.4″ tires wrap those kooky BERD wheels (more to come on those!) and tie into the earth tone color palette quite well.
The ENVE Adventure fork was on my personal Sklar Tourer for a while but I’ve since swapped out the carbon fork for the bike’s steel fork that Adam Sklar made me for that frame. That’s why the fork is Cerakoted a different color than the Pasta Party “Rootbeer” frame. Likewise, I took the Syncros bars off my Starling Murmur a while back in favor of a 35mm DH bar. The Velocity Bottle Trap cages match the ENVE fork surprisingly well, and various Paul parts top off the build spec with Ergon Grips and a WTB saddle. The golden Wolf Tooth headset and spacers are the perfect finishing touches and pop so well in our long and low winter light here on the Colorado Plateau.
A Chassis With Options
Sour pitches the Pasta Party as a bike with options. Rigid? Hardtail? Geared? Singlespeed? A 100mm travel XC frame can live many lives. Hell, I even wondered what the bike would ride like with drops if you’re into that sort of thing. As a frame that weighs in at 5.5lbs for the XL I reviewed, it could surely be adapted to a geared drop-bar expedition tourer with ease. As pictured here, this complete build weighs in at a mere 24lbs on the nose. With a few choice component substitutions, you could easily build the Pasta Party up as an ultralight race bike tipping the scales around 22lbs or so.
Pasta Party Specs:
-Tubing: heat-treated, multiple butted tubing with ED-black coating
-Dropouts: new dropout design with a replaceable derailleur hanger
-Seat clamp: new integrated seat clamp with m5 bolt
-Headtube: ec34/ec44 tapered headtube
-Bottom bracket: 68 mm BSA with eccentric shell
-Axle: 12 mm x 148 mm boost thru-axle
-Seatpost: 27.2 mm (dropper post ready)
-Brake standard: flat mount 160 direct
-Recommended fork travel: 100mm – 120mm suspension fork
-Wheel size: up to 29” x 2.4”
-Singlespeed or derailleur compatible
-3 water bottle mounts
-External cable routing on the downtube
-Internal dropper post routing
-27.2 mm seat post diameter for maximum comfort when running a rigid post
-Ovalized top tube for comfort and precise steering
-Ovalized lower seat tube section for better power transfer
BTI is our local bicycle distributor here in Santa Fe and one of the brands it carries is BERD, makers of ultralight, ultra-cool – in a very niche sort of way – PolyLight spokes. These Berd spokes are made from a proprietary polymer blend called ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), which has 12 times the strength-to-weight ratio of steel while offering an extended and improved fatigue life when compared to steel spokes. Oh, and they float on water too. Neat. BERD claims these UHMWPE spokes offer superior ride dampening while delivering a lighter wheel build overall.
Expect a full review of these wheels to follow, yet I will say BERD’s claims of their spokes offering a supple ride feel to be true as even with a smaller tire than I’m used to on my 29ers, I found them to have a similar ride quality as those wonderful Zipp 3Zero wheels on my Moots. I’ll be swapping these wheels over to both my Moots and my Starling to really see how they perform in the rocky chunder. In the review period of roughly six months, I will say these wheels have my interest piqued… I wonder what the black BERD spokes would look like on this build?
The Pasta Party is a bike built from Sour’s proprietary 4130 tubing, with elegant and thin stays. The front triangle is neither standard nor oversized diameter in spec and offers a good amount of flex without being a loosey-goosey noodle. Sour achieves this by ovalizing the tubes to work in compliance with this flex while targeting areas where stiffness is necessary. This is why, in my opinion, the eccentric bottom bracket works so well on this bike.
I’m most impressed by the reliability of the eccentric BB as other bikes I’ve ridden with similar setups require constant tweaking and adjustment.
Combined with a carbon fork, it flicks about lightly while still offering nimble acceleration. While the current cockpit and fork build spec on this bike is certainly on the stiffer side, an elegant steel fork and bars – like what DOOM makes in Albuquerque – would certainly soften the front end considerably.
What I like about frames such as the Pasta Party is that you really feel the turns, berms, and trail chicanes. You can push into the frame and feel it flex and when the trail gets chattery with brake bumps, the material absorbs a lot of that roughness. The singlespeed drivetrain commands quick acceleration and the frame can back that demand. In short; the Pasta Party has a light and limber feel but won’t flex so much that you get tire rub on the chainstays.
Yet, it’s not all sugar and spice in the land of the Pasta Party…
No bike is perfect and they all have their own special quirks. I feel like we’re in a paradigm shift in terms of braking platforms and it pains me to see flat-mount brakes – the most finicky of all braking platforms, making v-brake setup feel easy – on this bike. In my opinion, flat mount brakes have no place on bikes designed for dirt, especially mountain bikes. It’s my one qualm with the Kona Sutra ULTD and my only true form nit-pick of the Pasta Party.
Why this disdain of flat mounts? Well, let’s start off with the rotor size. I am not a small rider – 6’2″ and 190lbs – so I like riding bigger rotors on my MTB and touring bikes. Flat mount brakes allow for a 160mm rotor size and while spacers to run bigger rotors are apparently on the way, Covid’s supply chain issues have delayed these adapters and spacers from hitting consumers with many companies slating their release well into 2023. 160mm of rotor is not enough for bigger blokes like myself, especially if you plan on taking the bike on a tour and loading it down with gear. Once you space out the flat-mount caliper to fit a bigger rotor then you’ve essentially ruined the minimal aesthetic and functionality these brakes were developed for. Again, this is why they were developed for road bikes, to begin with!
Flat mounts are also notoriously difficult to adjust and tend to “walk” a lot, causing rotor rub. On a singlespeed, where you’re torquing up climbs, brake walk can get annoying real fast. While I didn’t have to adjust the EBB on this bike, I found myself spending a lot of time adjusting the brakes.
As you can see from the above photo, the Paul Klamper Flat Mount brakes are also designed with a longer arm throw, so the brake cable doesn’t fall within Sour’s specced brake line routing. This would probably be solved by running hydraulic calipers but I really like the modulation of these cable-actuated brakes. Again, this is just nit-picky minutiae but is worth noting.
Another teeeeeeny tiny qualm is the tire clearance. I really feel like the ability to fit a 2.5″ 29er tire should be the norm these days, ATMO, and while the Pasta Party fits these 2.4″ Kessels with some clearance, there’s more than enough room to dimple the chainstays for a bit fatter, meaner rubber. 2.4″ gets it done, so to speak, but a 2.6″ would really put the “party” in Pasta Party.
With global supply chains shorting larger brands’ offerings, it’s nice to see some smaller companies offering up frames at competitive prices with stock currently shipping. The Sour Bicycles Pasta Party is a great chassis which you can build a gravel/adventure bike upon. It’s priced competitively at € 799.00 and comes either as a frame or with a Whisky carbon rigid fork and a Crankbrothers Highline dropper post for some extra coin. With S-XL sizing, there’s a Pasta Party that will most likely fit your body’s dimensions. I felt like this XL is a true XL, which is always nice.
In the six months I’ve had this bike, it’s provided the perfect “get out for a quick ride” platform with our local XC trails being literally in my neighborhood, and my free time these days is in short supply. This makes for the perfect combination to enable singlespeed rides! I’ve really come to enjoy riding zippy, snappy XC bikes as of late and have received many compliments on this bike’s unique build and stance. It’s not without its quirks but as the bike industry grapples with new braking standards, I feel like we’ll see more and more XC frames with flat-mount brakes in the coming years.
As I have it built as a SSMTB, the eccentric BB has held strong and its 30×17 gearing has kept my legs feeling fatigued after rides. Shown here, this XL Pasta Party complete weighs in at 24lbs on the nose with pedals and cages.
Thanks to Bailey at Sincere Cycles for the build-up and SSMTB expertise.
See more at Sour Bicycles and be sure to drop any questions in the comments!