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Thread: Purgatory

  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    ... and if we just ... Purgatory

    Hi folks! I'm kinda new around here, but a long-time lurker. Thought you might be interested in this? Some time ago, I began the search for my perfect bike. I know that means something different to everyone. For me, it means a bike that will rip down rock-strewn trails; cope with annual trips to France and BC; corner well; pedal great, it must be stiff, not bob or suffer any pedal feedback; lots of pedal clearance, I like to pedal everywhere; most importantly, itís got to fit me, Iím 6í4Ē tall. Then there were other considerations - material, geometry, pivot type, shock.

    So the search began. Iíve ridden a lot of bikes, I know what I like and what I donít. In my quest over the last two years, Iíve owned some of the most esoteric ďboutiqueĒ frame brands out there, and I just havenít been happy with any of them.

    Finally, around six months ago, I came across Purgatory Bikes. Theyíre a small company, based in Connecticut, USA. Check out their website, you can see a little of their history, design and riding philosophy. Burly steel frames, big travel, high single pivots. You can see that a lot of thought has gone into these frames, plenty of attention to detail. There is definitely something a little different going on, just check out the patented front-shifter setup video, thatís a prime example of their thinking.

    I asked Purgatory about the possibility of a full-custom build. After quite an involved, iterative design process, between Mark Zmurko and myself, Iím now proud owner of my dream bike. Mark is the main man at Purgatory Bikes, an awesome frame builder, designer, engineer, machinist. Heís definitely one of the good guys. The frame was subjected to full Finite Element Analysis during the design stage. Hereís the final spec:

    4130 MIL-T-6736 heavy-gauge cro-moly tubing
    High-forward single pivot, rearward-arcing axle path, 10Ē travel
    Custom sizing and geometry, based around my lanky body and a Fox 40RC2 fork
    Double-row angular contact bearings in main pivot
    6061-T6 linkages, annealed gear hanger
    Integrated chain guide, with Delrin rollers
    Bolt-through 12mm axle
    Floating brake assembly
    Cane Creek Double Barrel shock
    Candy blue over mirror silver powder-coat finish

    Mark sent me pictures of the frameís progress, from the original design renderings to pre-weld, then post-weld, then the final powder-coated build, so I had a good idea what was coming. However, nothing could really prepare me for the absolute pleasure of seeing this beauty in-the-flesh for the first time. This thing just oozed quality, you could see that everything about it made sense. The welding was immaculate. The machining was faultless. The powder-coat is a deep, deep candy blue. The pictures really donít do it justice.

    This frame fits me perfectly. Plenty of space to pedal and really throw the bike around. Thatís a first for me, Iím normally pretty cramped-up on downhill bike. Pedalling was a real surprise, the back-end is amazingly stiff, you can really feel the power going to the ground, absolutely no feedback to the pedals. Thatís got to be largely due to the idler pulley at the pivot. Thanks to the lower roller being high above the bottom bracket, there is almost no chain growth under suspension compression, so pedalling is very neutral. Iím running 175mm cranks, and Iíve had no major ground-pedal interface problems so far. This definitely isnít a ďdownhill scooterĒ, like certain bikes I could mention!

    The suspension is set up to be very, very plush. Thatís an over-used word, but here itís entirely appropriate. The bike runs with around 4" of sag. Running a 450lb spring, I can activate the suspension by pressing on the saddle with one finger. Ripping down the local trails for the first time on this bike was a real eye-opener. Roots and braking bumps just disappeared. Honestly, Iíve never ridden a bike that can do that to a trail. Drops have also taken on a whole new dimension, even 6-7 feet to a not-that-great-a-transition felt like landing in a foam pit. No sign of bottoming out, just a ďyou-have-arrived-at-the-groundĒ feeling. Amazing. The Cane Creek shock is new on the market, but so far, so good. Cornering is great, railing berms is amazing, this bike is low enough to be very stable in hard corners, but is still easy enough to whip around hairpins and switchbacks. Although this is a very strong steel frame, it's not that heavy. I haven't put it on the scales, but estimates of 45-46lbs have been common. This bike carries it's weight low, and that's a good thing.

    I've just returned from a four-day trip to Les Gets and Morzine, in the French Alps. I'm happy to say that the bike performed amazingly. All the braking bumps just disappeared, I've never ridden as fast or as much as this bike allows. Stoked!

    The whole process of buying this frame has been a pleasure from the outset, and I know Purgatory will continue to provide support to keep me riding in the future. Itís early days yet, but I have every confidence that this bike will allow my riding to progress in leaps and bounds. Now I have my perfect frame, but as Mark says, this is just the beginningÖ..

    See ya out on the trails,


    PS: My first post with pics, hope it works out...

  2. #2
    "Its All Good"
    Reputation: Whafe's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004

    Good job!

    Fantastic post, AWESOME looking frame, looks hot built............ But also hugely pleasing to hear the story behind it.................. Thats what mountain biking is, the whole journey from nothing to a sick sick bike. Keep us abreast of things please............
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    that is just mean!!!!! great post

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Mark is a good man, and he builds quality Bikes. Glad to hear you love your ride.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: sikocycles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Nice bike. Mark is probably one of the nicest guys in the industry. I will have a purgatory some day.

  6. #6
    Glad to Be Alive
    Reputation: SHIVER ME TIMBERS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    nice.........congrats to you
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  7. #7
    Reputation: standard235's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Wow, that is one of the coolest looking frames I've seen. All the pivots make sense.. probably the first linkage design I understand and see how it works..

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Wow, sick looking ride....

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    I know this is a older about 3 weeks give or take,
    I'll be postiing pics of my new Purgatory...Mark has been working like a mad man on these new'll love it

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    I remember looking at those frames a while back and thinking they looked pretty darn sweet. Any idea on what that frame runs weight wise? I see no head/seat angles, are they on a "you choose em" basis? Any updates on a long term test review?


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