About 30 months ago I took possession of my first TrueFabrication frame. As it happened it was the first production frame (I guess I was friend # 11).
This sleek fast SS beauty was just what the Dr. ordered after my Niner RIP9 started to disappoint me as an all around bike.
Well the disappointment from the RIP was not over once I was able to reclassify it as just a play bike. It continued to be a bland bike until one final ride, around 18 months ago, when the frame just gave up and cracked. RIP the RIP.
Niner promptly replaced the frame which I had sold before it even showed up. So with a pile of cash and an interest in something fancy I started looking around. The shop I work at, Hammerhead Bikes, had decently large demo fleet and I took an immediate liking to our 4"/5" El Rey. I moved a bunch of my RIP9 parts over till the shop had a full 5" all mountain El Rey. I rode the crap out of it and pimped it to all who would listen. Around that time Cody, the shop owner and part owner of True offered me a solution. He and TF would build me my own TrueFab/Ventana. Only we would make it better.
So Cody and I spent a lot of time talking, measuring, and calculating. Eventually we settled on a CAD plan and Clark/Cole/Mo went to work building. It took a lot of trial and error to get things put together, but here is the near final product:
So the final setup is as follows:
2010 True Fabrication 5" FS frame.
Fox 36 Float 5" cut fork
DHX Air 5.0
XO Rear D
Hope Tech X2 183mm brakes (F&R)
Industry Nine Enduro 29r wheels
I don't have any final photos, but I will have some tomorrow to post.
On my local board I got a lot of people asking why a TF and not a Ventana and why in steel. My response:
Steel provided me the opportunity to have the bike built by local builders who I know and trust. It let me spec the geometry just the way I wanted it. For this frame we moved the lower pivot point forward, giving the frame a shorter effective chainstay than a stock Ventana. Because Ventana uses a prefab Yoke, rather than individually welding the BB area this was not an option from them. We were also able to adjust the BB to sit a touch lower, making up for the uncomfortably high BB that results from using a 5" rocker set. We also played with the HT angle and ETT, but those are both available from the Ventana custom program.
I like the ride of steel. I know this is a bastardization, with the rear Al, but the front end still has the feel of steel vs the vibration and feedback characteristics of Al.
We spec'd the frame with a HUGE (by steel standards) down tube and a sleeved seat tube since these are the areas that fail most often on the larger travel 29'rs.
In the end the weight of the frame was not that much heavier than the Ventana Al version, at least not considering all the extra bulk built into this frame to prevent future breakage. The normal weight of an El Rey is 6.35lbs. The TrueTanna came in at 6.9 lbs. Fine with me. And that includes the ISCG mount.
I've got two short rides in, one a shake down and the other a more technical ride for suspension tuning. The tuning is going to take a little time, but I am confident in saying this bike climbs like a mountain goat on speed. It handles faster and more fluidly than I can ride at this point. I'm going to have to get better.
More photos tomorrow.
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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Thread: My New True - The TrueTanna