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  1. #1
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    A Custom Rock Lobster SS (big pics and info)

    Back in November I talked to Paul Sadoff at Rock Lobster about a custom aluminum 29er singlespeed with sliders. A patient wait over the winter, fun with the build process, and here she is:


    This is a burly Easton 7005 frame, the beefiest down tube Paul could find, rectangular-section stays, solid aluminum seat/chainstay yokes, and aluminum sliders. The sliders and yokes are made by Mike Ahrens. Here's how they look up closer:


    A nice weld shot, and Paul's sig...


    Gobs of clearance, not tried it yet but based on the measurement a Ralph 2.4 on a Gordo will fit in here with plenty of room...that's a tiny little Hutch Toro in there now:


    Geometry custom to spec plus Paul's suggestions, a 71 head / 73 seat angle and a fairly short seat tube to provide some standover clearance (I'm short-legged for my height). The sliders provide effective chainstay lengths of roughly 17.2" - 18" depending on gear and tire choice, based on a 65mm BB drop. This provides adjustment about as short as you can practically go on a 29er without doing a bent seat tube or some other approach to keep the rear tire from buzzing the seat tube, and works well for me in my frame size and the 71 head angle. Fork axle-to-crown based on an expected ride height of 480mm on the 100mm Fox Fork.

    The ride? Well...I am going to have to learn to mountain bike again for the 4th time...it is a lot better bike than I am a rider. I think the lobster is secretly laughing at me when I am tired on climbs or balk at an obstacle:


    This bike laughs at uphills...it is all up to your legs/lungs, what ya waiting for??


    And fast rocky descents that might have had me concerned on one of my steel rigid bikes? Again...the lobster chuckles to itself and shakes its head, no issue, bring it on...


    All I can say is it is going to be a really fun spring and summer. This bike is fast, comfortable, and confidence inspiring. It feels very balanced and stable on descents, and I have no trouble lofting the front wheel and sus fork on climbs. Only a couple rides in so far, but I am very, very pleased. The frame builder's art is alive and well in Santa Cruz, CA.

    The build, all the stuff I had laying around my garage... Well, OK, it was in my garage but that is 'cuz I sold off my old "best" frame and this is the new one...um...REAL good decision.

    09 Fox 29er fork, 100mm
    XT Crank Arms (getting an Enduro BB, XTR cups for now)
    Surly 33 ring, Surly 20 cog, SRAM 991 chain
    09 Marta SL brakes
    Thomson Stem, Post
    Fleegle bars - sadly, Fleegle can't see out of my new stem :-(
    Shimano XTR pedals
    King headset
    King SS and ISO disc hubs
    Stans 355 rims, Sapim spokes (Speeddream wheelset)
    Specialized Alias Saddle, some Lock-on Grips
    Silly Little French Tubeless Tires
    Yep, those are King Cages and they're Stainless Steel

    Yeah, I may try the Captain Control's on it here in a bit, but I am primarily an XC guy and the Hutches are fast, and had that nice blue logo for pictures. This bike just begs to be ridden long and hard over anything you care to try.

    Another season is upon us...Let's Ride!
    Last edited by canyonrat; 03-18-2009 at 01:39 PM.

  2. #2
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    weight?

  3. #3
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    Wow. Nice unique build. There don't seem to be that many Al customs to begin with, but yours takes it to a new level. I love the large tubes, they look like they mean business.

    Re: the tires, they don't look small from the side. Those Hutchinsons (at least the 26ers at my LBS) seem to be much taller than a given tire in the same width.

    Nice to see new bike pics with dust and dirt, BTW.

    Enjoy (looks like you are).

    C.
    I'm covered in beer.

  4. #4
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    I am a fully recovered ex-weight weenie so I have not even checked the whole bike. The Thomson stem and Fleegle bar are a couple of the heaviest products in their class.

    The frame is between L and XL in typical sizing, and weighed 4.2 lbs on the hook at the shop. Not bad, considering the sliders and the yokes are solid hunks of metal. The tubing is older US-made Easton Elite...I think you could use it for a Tandem...weight was not a big consideration.

  5. #5
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    Nice! A very purposeful, classic looking build. Sort of a Klein-ish look with the square chainstays and a old Manitou look with the seat and chainstay yokes. Nicely done up in a great color.

    I've admired Paul Sadoff's work for years now.

    Enjoy and I "ditto" you call to "Ride"!
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  6. #6
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    Wow - really nice. It looks like a 29er version of an old Santa Cruz Chameleon only with sliders and your bike being even that much more cool looking.

  7. #7
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    Looks real, real nice. Congrats....
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  8. #8
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    That thing is beautiful. Nice choice!
    Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances. Benjamin Franklin

  9. #9
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    Wow this is so nice, we don't see many lobsters here but every time one comes up it looks so good

  10. #10
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    Oh, yep, that's a keeper

    Very nice frameset and build. Trail shots from the maiden voyage are also good for bonus points
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    that's the stupidest idea this side of pinkbike.

  11. #11
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    that thing is awesome..very nice!

  12. #12
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    Sweet looking build. How are you liking the Fleegle?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by LBIkid
    Sweet looking build. How are you liking the Fleegle?
    I have two Fleegle bars on different mountain bikes...I am hooked. I had a Niner Flat-Top 9 bar set aside for this build...but it got swapped onto the winter bike...I plan do do some long rides on the Lobster and I have not found anything to be as comfortable. I really reef on my bars when climbing, so the Thomson stem and Fleegle are the platform to deliver full-body force to the pedals.

  14. #14
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    That bike is pure class. I am not even a fan of Fleegle bars, but they look so good on that build, I couldn't even bring myself to change them if I were to ride it. I love the chainstay and seatstay yokes as well. That bike just looks like you could throw anything at it and just laugh all the way. That's the only thing I am a little worried about with a Superfly. But I didn't buy it to pamper it. I'm going to bash that sucker as much as you are going to bash that thing around.

    Oh and awesome use of a Surly SS ring. Even on the lightest builds I create that are SS or 1x9, I still use them becasue of their uber lengthy lifetime.

    I would say enjoy, but there is no way you wouldn't.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by canyonrat
    Back in November I talked to Paul Sadoff at Rock Lobster about a custom aluminum 29er singlespeed with sliders. A patient wait over the winter, fun with the build process....

    Gobs of clearance, not tried it yet but based on the measurement a Ralph 2.4 on a Gordo will fit in here with plenty of room...that's a tiny little Hutch Toro in there now...

    ...The build, all the stuff I had laying around my garage... Well, OK, it was in my garage but that is 'cuz I sold off my old "best" frame and this is the new one...um...REAL good decision.

    09 Fox 29er fork, 100mm
    XT Crank Arms (getting an Enduro BB, XTR cups for now)
    Surly 33 ring, Surly 20 cog, SRAM 991 chain
    09 Marta SL brakes
    Thomson Stem, Post
    Fleegle bars - sadly, Fleegle can't see out of my new stem :-(
    Shimano XTR pedals
    King headset
    King SS and ISO disc hubs
    Stans 355 rims, Sapim spokes (Speeddream wheelset)
    Specialized Alias Saddle, some Lock-on Grips
    Silly Little French Tubeless Tires
    Yep, those are King Cages and they're Stainless Steel

    Yeah, I may try the Captain Control's on it here in a bit, but I am primarily an XC guy and the Hutches are fast, and had that nice blue logo for pictures. This bike just begs to be ridden long and hard over anything you care to try.

    Another season is upon us...Let's Ride!
    Great lookin bike with great trail shots....I want to be out riding right now!

    Crank length?

    Looks like you later swapped the front Hutchinson Toro (2.1"?) for a WTB Exiwolf? Would you compare the tires and how they affect your handling?

    Quote Originally Posted by MMcG
    Wow - really nice. It looks like a 29er version of an old Santa Cruz Chameleon only with sliders and your bike being even that much more cool looking.
    Yes, it does but much better lookin!

    Quote Originally Posted by AL29er
    Oh, yep, that's a keeper

    Very nice frameset and build. Trail shots from the maiden voyage are also good for bonus points
    Yes and love the color, like early to mid 1950's Chevy turquoise from thier old two-tone paint jobs.
    Last edited by Natedogz; 03-18-2009 at 06:45 PM.
    Get off the couch and ride!

  16. #16
    I don't huck.
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    Wow! That is one of those 'just right' builds. It looks so clean and balanced, and yes, GT, kinda Klein-like without the hideous colors. Those sliders are tidy as well. It makes some of the Paragon ones I have seen look like doo-doo.

    Is it just the steel frame compatible sliders that are all big and ugly?

    Nice bike. It almost makes me want an aluminum frame. Well, ok, it does make me want THAT frame.

    Just curious...what were you riding before?
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  17. #17
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    Well done sir.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Natedogz
    Great lookin bike with great trail shots....I want to be out riding right now!

    Looks like you later swapped the front Hutchinson Toro (2.1"?) for a WTB Exiwolf? Would you compare the tires and how they affect your handling?
    Nope the rear is a Toro for bite, and it has the hardskin casing so all the crap that had the benefit of suspension on the front tire does not shred the hardtail rear tire.

    The front is a Python, it has more volume than the Toro, but narrower tread. Rolls fast for the front and with the sus fork there is WAY more traction than I am used to coming from rigid bikes.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtroy

    Just curious...what were you riding before?
    '06 El Mariachi (now the Gordo-Fat-29er)
    '07 One 9 (nice but I sold it)
    '09 Jabberwocky rigid for the 71 head angle (I know...I know...but I did skip '08)
    '09 Rock Lobster is here now as the prime machine

    Most of my parts have seen at least 2 or 3 frames...compulsive part-swapper. The RL build right now is a keeper for awhile though.

  20. #20
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    Beautimous!!!! Love it! I'm pretty sure I saw this one in the raw on Paul's blog. I'm expecting my 650B Rock Lobster to be done soon, and your post just makes it that much harder to wait. Should be a fun Spring and Summer, indeed. Congrats!


  21. #21
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    those yokes are SWEET! I had an Ibis Alibi with similar yokes. Nice build, I like it.

    One question - Why not a Setback post or a slacker STA? Looks like you have that seat slammed back on its rails. Nice build, and sweet color! Have fun.

  22. #22
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    That is absolutely perfect.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLONG
    Wow. Nice unique build. There don't seem to be that many Al customs to begin with, but yours takes it to a new level. I love the large tubes, they look like they mean business.

    Re: the tires, they don't look small from the side. Those Hutchinsons (at least the 26ers at my LBS) seem to be much taller than a given tire in the same width.

    Nice to see new bike pics with dust and dirt, BTW.

    Enjoy (looks like you are).

    C.
    They are pretty tall. FWIW - no real complaints running the Python out back, not a champ in wet/mud but that's a given for many fast rollers.

    This bike build rocks (yes, shameless pun).
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  24. #24
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    That rear end looks painfuly stiff... which may not be a bad thing +1 for the custom Alu build. Nice Bike for sur
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by playpunk
    those yokes are SWEET! I had an Ibis Alibi with similar yokes. Nice build, I like it.

    One question - Why not a Setback post or a slacker STA? Looks like you have that seat slammed back on its rails. Nice build, and sweet color! Have fun.
    Well...I am actually in that grey area between needing a setback with the seat forward, or a straight with the seat back. The specialized saddles actually have long rails, so the seat is not quite all the way back. Also, a slacker seat angle causes other changes like even tighter rear tire clearance, and I like short chainstays. Every bike I ride regularly has a Thomson post and an Alias saddle, set up just like that...I can ride all day with no irritation in that department, so I am not changing a thing.

  26. #26
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    That's a sweet rig. Since the vast majority of custom folks use steel, really nice custom aluminum 29ers are not all that common.

    That looks awesome and I'm sure puts power down like no tomorrow. What about ride? Although my gut says that tires have the biggest effect on ride quality, aluminum always gets slagged for being to unyielding. And your bike looks more unyielding than most.

    How would you compare it to the other 29ers you've had? What does it do better/worse?

    Anyway... I've heard of Rock Lobster but never really seen much of them. Thanks for sharing.

  27. #27
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    Word up on the Fleegle.
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  28. #28
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    Looks great. The STA looks slacker than 73*. Too bad its not...

    So, how short are the chainstays currently?

    Great looking bike!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by racerdave
    That's a sweet rig. Since the vast majority of custom folks use steel, really nice custom aluminum 29ers are not all that common.

    That looks awesome and I'm sure puts power down like no tomorrow. What about ride? Although my gut says that tires have the biggest effect on ride quality, aluminum always gets slagged for being to unyielding. And your bike looks more unyielding than most.

    How would you compare it to the other 29ers you've had? What does it do better/worse?

    Anyway... I've heard of Rock Lobster but never really seen much of them. Thanks for sharing.
    Well, I obviously have that new bike enthusiasm going and only a couple rides on it under my belt. I have ridden mostly steel rigid forks on my 29ers until last fall when I picked up the Fox, I ran it for awhile on the Niner frame and didn't happen to like the way the two played together. I then ran the Fox on my El Mariachi for a bit...nicer combo but had a big-n-heavy sort of feel together. This bike was designed around the geo of the Fox, so no surprise they work great together.

    I sought out aluminum after comfortably riding a "Scandium" bike for awhile (which is aluminum alloy) and getting fascinated by reading this article in Mountain Flyer by Mike Ahrens:
    http://ahrensbicycles.com/Understand...Mt%20Flyer.pdf
    Mike and Paul have separate companies but seem to cooperate together so I got connected with Paul to build the frame, using some of the Ahrens components. I can't point out to you what is yielding or not specifically...but the bike has a lively feel and rides fantastic.

    I agree with your comment on tire choice also...the Hutch tubeless tires are like a little bit of suspension themselves.

  30. #30
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    Nice looking ride! I am after a nice aluminum frame.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by canyonrat
    Well, I obviously have that new bike enthusiasm going and only a couple rides on it under my belt. I have ridden mostly steel rigid forks on my 29ers until last fall when I picked up the Fox, I ran it for awhile on the Niner frame and didn't happen to like the way the two played together. I then ran the Fox on my El Mariachi for a bit...nicer combo but had a big-n-heavy sort of feel together. This bike was designed around the geo of the Fox, so no surprise they work great together.

    I sought out aluminum after comfortably riding a "Scandium" bike for awhile (which is aluminum alloy) and getting fascinated by reading this article in Mountain Flyer by Mike Ahrens:
    http://ahrensbicycles.com/Understand...Mt%20Flyer.pdf
    Mike and Paul have separate companies but seem to cooperate together so I got connected with Paul to build the frame, using some of the Ahrens components. I can't point out to you what is yielding or not specifically...but the bike has a lively feel and rides fantastic.

    I agree with your comment on tire choice also...the Hutch tubeless tires are like a little bit of suspension themselves.
    Interesting. When I was talking to Paul at Rocklobster, he mentioned the scarcity of 7005 stuff.

    I am becoming more and more intrigued with non-steel frames for SS use. It makes a lot of sense to me that soooo much of SS riding is high effort, standing pedaling, that a frame that puts more of that energy into moving forward is a good thing. And really, a fatter tire has to offer more deflection than any difference in a tube set.

    Or am I wrong? I really need to pedal some scandium stuff to see.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by canyonrat
    Nope the rear is a Toro for bite, and it has the hardskin casing so all the crap that had the benefit of suspension on the front tire does not shred the hardtail rear tire.

    The front is a Python, it has more volume than the Toro, but narrower tread. Rolls fast for the front and with the sus fork there is WAY more traction than I am used to coming from rigid bikes.
    Thanks, might have to try that combo!
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  33. #33
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    nice. People always poo-poo Aluminum frames. My first 29er was a purple GF Rig, which I still think was a fantastic frame. I went for custom steel and did a direct part swap. I honestly could not tell a huge difference (besides color...). Aluminum is like a fat chick...
    Only boring people get bored.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by jh_on_the_cape
    nice. People always poo-poo Aluminum frames. My first 29er was a purple GF Rig, which I still think was a fantastic frame. I went for custom steel and did a direct part swap. I honestly could not tell a huge difference (besides color...). Aluminum is like a fat chick...

    Funny, though i would argue that you are not "a fully recovered weight weenie" if you went ALU

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jwind
    Funny, though i would argue that you are not "a fully recovered weight weenie" if you went ALU
    I went with the custom Al frame for the ride characteristics.

    You could readily point out my Marta SL's or 355 rims though.

    At this point, I still weigh my tires on a gram scale...but I am so much better than before.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by canyonrat
    I think the lobster is secretly laughing at me when I am tired on climbs or balk at an obstacle:
    Hmmm...I think it is more likely that Mt. Falcon is laughing at you attempting a SS ride there. Even when I was in great shape, I would be redlining it to do Falcon on a SS.

    Enjoy...she's beautiful.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogdude222
    Hmmm...I think it is more likely that Mt. Falcon is laughing at you attempting a SS ride there. Even when I was in great shape, I would be redlining it to do Falcon on a SS.

    Enjoy...she's beautiful.
    I THOUGHT that trail looked like Mt. Falcon. Me too on the thought of that on a SS. I get excited about the simplicity of single-speeds and think maybe I'll drop the gears, until I go out and hit some climbs... and then I figure my 22 front 28 rear is about all the pain I need. Anyway....

    Very pretty bike and nice build! Got to love the color.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by John_Biker
    I THOUGHT that trail looked like Mt. Falcon. Me too on the thought of that on a SS. I get excited about the simplicity of single-speeds and think maybe I'll drop the gears, until I go out and hit some climbs... and then I figure my 22 front 28 rear is about all the pain I need. Anyway....

    Very pretty bike and nice build! Got to love the color.
    Wow...took longer than I thought for some locals to recognize the trail and comment...it's one of my favorite climbs and SS is all I ride...but yes it is always a butt-kicker. I thought it was a good test ride, up and down.

  39. #39
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    Clean build with a retro Aluminum style. The build looks solid and responsive to power input. Have fun on that ride.

    Cheers,
    BFE
    Last edited by BIGfatED; 03-19-2009 at 09:38 PM. Reason: posted pictures in wrong thread

  40. #40
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    nice bike cayonrat, I have a RL SS paul built for me about 6 years ago out of scandium. it is one of my favorite bikes.. I have a 69er in the cooker with paul. I still got some time to wait though. prolly a couple months yet.

  41. #41
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    Very very cool.

    I was wondering when I would see a 7005 frame with sliders, machined yokes, and boxed chain/seat stays.

    That bike looks like you could huck 5 feet and keep on rolling...it reminds me of my burly dirt jumper.

    EDIT: This is probably my favorite bike on the forum.....I'm in love
    Last edited by Yo!; 04-09-2009 at 04:17 PM.

  42. #42
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    Very nice build. I'm planning to meet Paul soon in SC !
    :-)

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidfrench View Post
    Very nice build. I'm planning to meet Paul soon in SC !
    :-)
    Awesome David, enjoy the build and the process! This is still one of my favorite bikes, just shuffled components around and finished this rebuild yesterday:



    It's seen 2 Leadville 100's, 4 forks, more builds than I can count...sorry these pics are a little overexposed from horizontal 6:30pm sun in Denver.



    Lessee what's changed now...
    - All the king stuff gone, big Cane Creek 110/100 fan now.
    - Just outfitted with Ardent 2.4 front, 2.25 rear on flows, Hope front on RWS, Paul SS rear with White FW.
    - Blacksheep Ti fork...
    - Bars, stem, grips, *sigh* I know I can't leave well enough alone.

    Last year it was all ultra-light build with Niner Carbon fork, Crest/240s wheels, etc.

    Frame is just getting broken in. :-) Say "Hi" to Paul for me...one of these trips to SC I am going to buy him a beer but never met him in person yet.

    Oh, "Long Term Review" is... This Lobster still Rocks... Today I am tired of endurance racing and just want to go ride this rigid fat tire puppy over some large rocks. No problem.

  44. #44
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    Nice fork !
    I'll visit Paul, but not for a build.
    I just got a Ventana...
    :-)

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