Nick and His Titanium Sycip Hardtail 29er

Nick’s titanium Sycip hardtail has been on our list to document for some time. On his April road trip to Sea Otter, John crashed in the driveway at his buddy Nick‘s house while he visited shops and builders in the area. After a particularly epic afternoon of riding in Annadel State Park, he grabbed Nick’s beautiful Sycip for some photos. This bike isn’t your ordinary Sycip and Nick ain’t your ordinary guy. Let’s see why below…

As someone who’s spent the better half of his life documenting custom builds, their makers, and owners, it never ceases to amaze me how specific bikes still move the needle for me. In the world of cycling taxonomy, the titanium hardtail always catches my eye—especially one like Nick’s.

Collaborative Effort

Nicholas Haig-Arack is a copy editor and artist by trade and a community-minded cyclist by necessity. Currently, he works at Breakaway Bikes, a grassroots bike shop in Santa Rosa. He used to work for Jeremy Sycip where his responsibilities ran the gamut from design work to aiding with production inside Jeremy’s quaint shop space. One day, Jeremy and Nick decided it was time for Nick to get a bike.

Nick brought Jeremy a geometry with specific angles and measurements, resulting in a frame that differed from how Jeremy typically designs mountain bikes. Nick wanted something longer, with a slacker head angle and a steeper seat angle; something more progressive.

He then pinged Adam Sklar to supply the rocker dropouts, which feature a different “hooded” design than the Paragon dropouts but still utilized the Paragon inserts. Nick sprung for the titanium Paragon Machine Works rocker hardware. He and I agree they have the necessary bite required for tall guys like us and all our long-legged torque.

From Rigid to Hardtail

Nick wanted a rigid 29er, adapted to the terrain of his backyard trails in Annadel and Bay Area riding in general. Originally built with a rigid carbon fork, which he hated due to its stiffness, he decided to put a 120 mm Fox 34 on it, drastically altering the behavior of the bike.

Later on, he and Jeremy added rear rack mounts. Since the bike is raw titanium, there was no finishing to remove, no elaborate paint design to interrupt. It was a relatively straightforward process of finding where the Tumbleweed T-Rack struts aligned with the frame components, adjusting for proper heel clearances. Nick uses this bike to mark courses in his local MTB races, so he straps all sorts of equipment to the rack.

All the Homies

As many of us do in the maker-aligned community, Nick flossed-out the build with components from all the homies: Sim Works, Hunter Cycles bars, and White Industries cranks. Nick designed the water bottles for Sim Works. You can pick up a set at their webshop! His friend Derek Bolland in Talent, OR made the half frame bag.

Derek is a close friend of Nick’s and a skilled maker and is one of Nick’s favorite riding companions. The fact that he’s originally from Santa Rosa made him the perfect match for the locally-sourced theme of this bike.

While Annadel has a lot of chunky trails, Nick says he rides this bike differently than his full suspension. It’s not a “hucker” frame, it’s a frame where the optimized, smoothest line possible is the goal. With only 120 mm of travel, it’s easy to push through that on these trails, so rather than hitting booters and high lines on rock gardens, Nick’s all about efficient speed through those areas.

I think I speak for a lot of people who are friends with framebuilders and makers; part of the allure of buying a bike your friend made is then riding bikes with that maker. Santa Rosa, and the Bay Area in general, is full of makers, and chances are, on any given day, you’ll bump into one riding these trails…

There’s much less talk about the fabled “forever bike” these days, but you’re looking at one right here. Particularly in the mountain bike space, the industry markets long-travel trail bikes to people to ride the same trails early mountain bikers were riding on rigid bikes with friction shifting. A hardtail is not only the jack of all trades, it’s also the master of many, and a bike like Nick’s Sycip exemplifies this modus operandi perfectly.

Thanks to Nick for the hangs!

Build Spec:

  • Frame: Titanium Sycip
  • Fork: 120 mm Fox 34
  • Headset: White Industries
  • Stem: Sim Works
  • Bars: Hunter Smooth Move
  • Cranks: White Industries
  • Chainring: Wolf Tooth Camo
  • Bottom Bracket: White Industries
  • Derailleur: Shimano XT
  • Shifter: Shimano XT
  • Cassette: Shimano XT
  • Brakes: Shimano XTR
  • Seatpost: PNW Components
  • Saddle: WTB California edition
  • Grips: Ergon
  • Tires: Specialized Ground Control

Interested in a custom Sycip of your own, holler at Jeremy! And tell him we sent ya!