Slug Bicycles is based in the Bay Area and designs custom titanium frames that are built overseas in China, while also building upon, and growing, their community through supporting organizations including Outride nationally and locally with Trips for Kids Marin. Today we’re featuring Alex‘s custom 29er that he rode last year in Santa Fe. John met up with Alex to shoot this custom Gasser mountain bike and we’re stoked to share it in its bead-blasted glory! Read on below for some words by Alex, along with the full build kit breakdown…
About my Slug “Big Bug” Custom Gasser rigid titanium 29er
Your eyes do not deceive you—it’s a 29er. After years of squeezing myself onto XL frames, I realized custom was the only way to go. I started ideating with my buddy Steve from Slug Bicycles on a frame that would fit my 6′ 10″ self. Here it is. Making a frame this size was uncharted territory, so we decided on high diameter, thick wall, gusseted tubes for durability. So far so good on that front. Another benefit is how stiff and responsive it is, yet the titanium seems to smooth out the harshness.
Yeah, it’s a rigid fork. None of the gravelly trails we have in West LA necessitate much travel, and low pressures on these 2.6-inch tires soak up the chatter. Also, the steer tube length precluded the fitment of some suspension forks.
Plus, I love the simplicity of being ready to hop on any time knowing that my fork is set up the same way as ever. That straightforwardness is part of why I’ve held off on a dropper. For my first custom frame, it had to be personal, too. The bike that got me into riding was a rigid 29er, and this is a faster, modern tribute to that.
For as fun as suspension can be, I appreciate the connection and control of riding without it. Every movement has to be more precise and my focus needs to be further ahead. That makes every perfect pump over the terrain more rewarding.
I feel better riding on longer cranks (have Zinn 195mm on my gravel bike), so raising the bottom bracket height to accommodate these White 180mm was another benefit of the custom approach. At 840mm the Whisky bar is the widest I’m aware of, and although it makes me more susceptible to snags it’s all part of the awesome fit I have on this bike.
XT and Zee work great, but this is my dream bike. Full XTR is on the way. Otherwise, an identical handlebar done in titanium is the only other upgrade fantasy I have—maybe a dropper, someday?
Fitting properly on a mountain bike is something I’ve never had before my Slug, and it’s been a game changer. I would have never known how much climbing, descending, short bursts, and long days would all be improved by dialed-in measurements. Many thanks to Steve and Team Slug for their high-touch approach and genuine passion for the project, just like I’ve seen with every other frame they’ve done.
With dust from up and down California and the Southwest now embedded in the bead blast, adventures with my Slug (which I’ve dubbed the Big Bug) are only beginning.
-HT: 210mm, 68º
-ST: 560mm, 72.4º
-TT: 40mm dia. tubing
-DT: 48mm dia. tubing
-Clearance for 29×2.6″ tires
-Slug custom titanium frame
-Enve rigid boost fork
-White Industries CLD+ hubs
-Nextie carbon rims
-Maxxis Rekon 29×2.6
-Lindarets titanium valve stems
-Whisky No. 9 840mm carbon bar
-Enve 80mm stem
-White Industries headset
-White Industries M30 crank 180mm 32t
-Wheels Mfg T47 bottom bracket
-WTB Silverado saddle
-Orucase Smuggler bar bag
-Lezyne bottle cages