This year at Grinduro, eight frame builders presented bikes in partnership with Maxxis, Sram/Zipp, Columbus, and Hope Tech. The theme? What is your ideal Grinduro bike? For each gravel bike in the morning, we’ll present a mountain bike in the afternoon. This round, we’re matching the BTCHN’ gravel bike with this Sklar Rigid 29+.
As the lead designer at Landyachtz Bikes, George Bailey sees his ideas come to life through the company’s made-in-Vancouver custom steel frames as well as their factory production models. Yet even those whose ideas regularly come to fruition have their dreams, and that’s exactly what George’s titanium drop bar 29+ is. No holding back, just setting every detail where he wanted it, and creating a one-off frame with a very long ride in mind.
Before we jump into the world of Retrotec Bikes and Curtis Inglis, let’s look at one of Curtis’ personal rigs; this 29+ rigid mountain bike, what I like to call the “Trail Cruiser.” Now, calling this a cruiser has nothing to do with the speed at which Curtis rides trails while on this rig and has everything to do with the history of Retrotec; a company that began modifying actual cruisers into off-road machines.
Bombtrack is listening. They’re listening to their customers, their racers and the riders who want more from their bikepacking rigs. The BEYOND+ ADV 29+ takes everything learned over the years and pushes new boundaries with SRAM’s GX Eagle, a new, custom carbon fork and clearance for the chubbiest 29+ tires. Check out all the details below and holler at your local Bombtrack dealer for ordering.
Adam at Sklar Bikes likes to take on unique and challenging projects. The latest being his personal MTB. This rigid beast rolls on 29+ wheels yet maintains a 420mm chainstay, the magic “wheelie” number. The dropper routing is internal and it’s set up singlespeed currently with those fancy Paragon ends. Head to the Sklar Blog to read more and the Sklar Flickr for more photos. Seriously Adam, this looks like so much fun!
Drew from Engin Cycles is a wizard of custom mountain bike framebuilding. Over the years, he has built some of the most dialed titanium bikes I’ve seen. It doesn’t matter if it’s a rowdy hardtail with 140mm of travel up front, or a snappy, steep XC race machine to tear the field apart, what Engin offers to their customers is custom, performance machinery.
So where does a 29+ rigid mountain frame come into play? It’s not exactly performance, but it does offer up a unique problem solving opportunity. One that Drew couldn’t pass up.
Tyler’s bike utilizes Paragon’s 29+ yoke to ensure chainring and tire clearances. The rigid steel fork is painted with cerakote, as are the frame accents and Tyler chose a mix of X9 cranks, XX1 rear mech and XTR brakes, with a Stan Hugo up front and a Blunt SS on the rear. The Groovy bars really just add the icing on the cake for me.
Fatter tires at a low pressure are perfect for Austin’s Greenbelt trails, which offer a rocky, rooty and sometimes slick environment. Tyler’s been vibing with this bike all spring and is sold!
See more for yourself in the Gallery.
Sean “Burnsey” Burns builds Oddity Cycles in Fort Collins, CO. He’s an architect, an artist and a furniture designer. His bikes, along with the likes of Black Sheep Bikes, stand out from a lot of traditional lines found in the MTB world. Coincidentally, Sean used a Black Sheep fork and bars on his personal 29+ rigid MTB. The word rigid here is italicized because it’s anything but that. Even with a high volume, low-pressure tire, you can still pick up on the bike flex from the lines and fork. It gives in just the right amount, in the right places.
A few wheelies, hops and manuals post-photo shoot had me digging what Sean has created here: a highly shredable piece of art. Please note that this is Sean’s personal bike, it has dings, dirt and yeah, crochet cozies in it with empty beer cans. I didn’t remove them intentionally. Bikes like this at NAHBS are highly successful tools in showcasing a brand’s intent and I respect that.
Phil runs the finishing department at Indy Fab, where recently, he was able to design, build and design the paint for his newest bike. This steel Deluxe MTB, built around a Paragon Machine Works chainstay yoke. This allows builders to have clearance for a 3″ 29er tire, along with ensuring chainrings and cranks will fit the stays, using a 68mm wide bottom bracket shell.
This Deluxe is rolling on Industry Nine hubs, Stans Hugo rims with the new Bontrager Chucacabra tires. Drivetrain is Sram X01 1×11 groupset with gripshifts and the bike is very stoppy thanks to the Avid BB7s mechanical disc brakes. Those 3″ tires fit just fine in the Bontrager carbon 29r fork, and Phil painted the Bontrager seatpost to match, along with the stem.
The color is PPG’s liquid crystal Candy Apple Red, with black on white decals. See more below!
As you can probably tell, I’ve been really stoked on what Chumba is doing here in Austin, Texas. During MTB season earlier this year, I caught up with Vince, who was riding the first prototype Ursa 29+ MTBs. At the time, Chumba’s production was in Oregon, but in recent months, they’ve moved all production in house, using USA-made tubing…
Kris at 44 Bikes has been making some killer 29+ platform MTBs, the most recent being Victor’s Rohloff-equipped ride. I loved the cream and black paint by Jay Nutini at Circle A Cycles. See more at the 44 Flickr.
See more below.
Scott at Porcelain Rocket just uploaded photos of his newest frame bag project. It just so happens to be going on his own AM Peirce 29+ MTB. With all the hoopla surrounding the 3″ platform, I can’t wait to see what’s going to be at NAHBS later this month! Check out more of Scott’s work at the Porcelain Rocket Flickr.
Also, I can’t wait to see what’s going on that saddle bag support…
The name Chumba has been around for some time in the mountain bike world. Back in the early 90’s, Chumba first began making frames in California. The company has since gotten a bit of a facelift and a new home base just outside of Austin, TX. With its California and Colorado heritage, the team at Chumba has started designing frames in Austin and fabricating them in Oregon.
At the 2014 Mellow Johnny’s Classic yesterday, I got to check out one of Chumba’s first prototype MTBs, in the 29+ platform. Along with Orange Seal, Chumba will be offering their bikes tubeless-ready, which means lighter wheels and overall build weight. Utilizing True Temper, Whisky Parts and Paragon hardware (not pictured), these bikes come in pounds lighter than other 29+ offerings on the market.
The final production run will use Ceracote, rather than powder, have new graphics, a stainless head badge and an oversized OX Plat downtube. Completes will be built with Race Face cranks and Thomson parts. MSRP on the frame will be around $1,200 – but that’s not finalized yet.
Being that Chumba is located outside Austin, I’ll be following up on their projects as events warrant. For now, their team is racing and riding these bikes on our local trails and putting in PR&D as needed.