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  1. #1
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    Going SS! Spot, IF, Soulcraft???

    I am taking the plunge and going to (try) to do my typical endurance races next year on a single speed 29'er. I really want a steel frame and am not as concerned about belt or chain drive. I'm sort of leaning towards Soulcraft ,Spot and IF...

    1) any other frames i should be looking at?
    2) of the three mentioned, where do you stand, and why?
    3) am i missing something here?

    oh yeah, i've been racing CX all seaon on a custom built Elephant (steel) SS and love it. And i'm doing well too, finally....

    thanks
    matt

  2. #2
    T.W.O.
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    I have Soulcraft though not SS but it's a sweet ride. I'd like to get into beltdrive though

    All are great choice so you can just roll the dice, they'd be awesome.

  3. #3
    meatier showers
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    disciplesofdirt.org
    Remember who
    you wanted to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat
    Jaybo... quit *****ing and move to Texas

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    a hearty second for Vulture -

  5. #5
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    Waltworks

    www.waltworks.com

  6. #6
    aka baycat
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    Look at the various wait times for builders and location close to you in making your decision. For me I would go Soulcraft.

  7. #7
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    Hard to pass on an IF frame..... If you do have a budget, try Gunnar. Awesome frames and a very good price.

  8. #8
    don't try this at home
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    I'm all for supporting your local builder if you can. that's one reason why my last bike was from sycip, though it was not a ss. they also have to be willing/able to fillet braze or lug my steel - aesthetics are important to me.
    will you rep me?

  9. #9
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    Soulcraft delivery is down to two months

    I had to wait 8 months for mine...but it was well worth it (I have one of the first new "rocker" dropouts for SS chain-tensioning on my Holy Roller on which I do my weekly penance)

  10. #10
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    Hey Matt, this is Ryan B. I checked this thread out because another friend of mine is looking at exactly the same bikes and thought it might be him!

    When did you get an Elephant? If that is working for you, why not have Glen make a 29er for you?

    Oh yeah, check out Curtlo as well. Nice, reasonably priced custom steel bikes out of Winthrop. Jesse has one and loves it.
    Last edited by KeylessChuck; 11-20-2010 at 06:40 PM.

  11. #11
    holding back the darkness
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    My IF is the most wonderful bicycle I have ever ridden. IF was able to completely capture my requests and translate them into geometry and materials. This difference is the difference between the wooden Pinoccio and the Real Deal.
    Here is my Statement of Goals from my IF ordering form:

    "I want this bike to be made of nostalgia.
    I want to be able to ride this bike in front of my house in slow circles for hours, just playing with the grace and balance of two spinning wheels like when I taught myself to ride when I was five years old.
    I want to make friends with this bike. I want to be on good terms with it when I ask it to carry me further than I thought I had to go, or faster than I thought I needed to beat the setting sun or the rain or the mountain lion.
    I want to talk to it on long lonely rides and have inside jokes and I want it to know what Iím thinking when I decide to drop the hammer on some cocky bastard that desperately deserves it.
    I want this bike to know what to do with the legs that I never learned to make go in circles when I mash on the pedals and grind up a climb.
    I want this bike to forgive some of my mistakes and punish me for others and I want it to know the difference between the two.
    I want it to swoop through curves and be relaxed enough to ease the consequence of the occasional hypoxic square-edged hit.
    I want to sit by a campfire and learn to play the harmonica with it.
    I want to be completely unable to walk past it without touching it or shining it or spinning the pedals or grabbing the brakes.
    I want it to have the girl-next-door attitude with the Prom Queen looks. But I donít want it to know it has the Prom-Queen looks.
    I want a two-wheeled Audrey Hepburn. Beautiful. Classy. Elegant.

    I want it to be made of singletrack that gives you a grin you canít get rid of and post-ride beers that always taste better than regular beers and long summer afternoons that let you squeak in rides longer than you thought you had time for and good music you canít get out of your head and whiskey benders and hangovers and waking up on your buddyís couch covered in glitter and of women just-out-of-your-league and of going all-out in a race and having it not be enough to win but enough to make you satisfied with yourself.

    Remember the Brideís sword from Kill Bill? The Hattori Hanzō sword? Thatís what Iím looking for, but in bike form. I donít know what kind of tubing or geometry that all equates to. Maybe you can purge the tubing with Jack Daniels or Old Style or use Stripper perfume for your inert welding gas or build it from some ancient metal found buried under the pyramids or something. I donít know anything about building bikes, but I do know thereís more to it than just steel and welders. There is something etheric, unscientific and mystical about the right bike. I hope you know what I mean. I think you do. Thatís why I want my next bike to be built by you".

    And they absolutely 100% came through.
    **** censorship

  12. #12
    Mtbr Forum Sponsor - Homebrewed Components
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    Soulcraft. Sean is a good dude, and makes some good ****!

  13. #13
    Kam
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    soulcraft!!!

    <img src=http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4015/4715886418_39855d0be5_b.jpg>
    "forget kings...forget hadleys......they all have crap engagement. just run your bike fixed gear." - FoShizzle

  14. #14
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    Ridden them all but like the one I purchased best... Soulcraft Holy Roller! Great bike.
    "He was a wise man who invented beer."
    -Plato

  15. #15
    meatier showers
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    Hey drMP, are you noticing a pattern? Go with a good builder... you practically can't make a mistake.

    --sParty
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    you wanted to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat
    Jaybo... quit *****ing and move to Texas

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    Hey drMP, are you noticing a pattern? Go with a good builder... you practically can't make a mistake.

    --sParty
    So true
    "He was a wise man who invented beer."
    -Plato

  17. #17
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    I'll throw in another vote for Soulcraft. I can't compare my Holy Roller to any of the other builders mentioned in this thread (I don't think you can go wrong), but I can say that it rides so good, I have no desire to own a different bike. If it ever breaks, I'm going back to Sean for an exact replacement.
    "I like skinny jeans. Sometimes I wear them to the mall to get an Orange Julius." -Chim Chim

  18. #18
    853+29+1x24=Fun
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    I'm a big fan if IF. I think I had to wait 3 weeks to get my frame from them.

  19. #19
    Relax. I'm a pro.
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    I love my Curtlo, but of the choices listed above, I'd go with a Soulcraft.
    Instagram: @antoine1000
    http://tfwo.tumblr.com

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.soulcraftbikes.com/forks.php
    Note: For 2010 we no longer offer 29r suspension adjusted rigid forks, nor will we allow them to be used on any new 29r frames we build. Doing so will void the warranty on the front triangle of your frame. We’ve come to the conclusion after nine years of testing and customer feedback that these longer forks have serious engineering shortcomings due to their length. There are several brands of after market suspension adjusted 29r forks currently available; some are hand made steel, others are off-shore carbon. No matter the brand or material, we are not convinced that 29r suspension adjusted forks will have acceptable durability under hard usage due to their extreme length. The currently available blades and forks seem to simply be longer versions of 26” forks without any thought given to the higher loads placed on them. Frame and forks are supposed to work as a unit, with one complementing the other. If we build these forks so they have a somewhat supple ride, they will fail over time. Build them to last, and they will put too much stress on the frame which may cause premature failure. Bottom line for you is you have to make a commitment to rigid or suspension when buying a 29r from us.
    I found this very interesting, and sad. I'm enjoying 100% of my rigid riding, but I'm one of those people who doesn't want to commit either. (I also like my bars higher anyway.)

  21. #21
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    Quiring for custom, or his Q-Ball line for production (both made in the US), or check out the El Mariachi by Salsa.

  22. #22
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    Hey Kam,
    Love the soulcraft, is that about an XL equivalent? Looks like it might be with a slightly shorter seat tube, I'm thinking (no-make that going to!) moving from a Niner SIR to a soulcraft and that looks great. I know that are all custom made but if you don't mind what are the dimensions and bb to top of saddle height of yours.

  23. #23
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    go with whichever builder you're lucky enough to live near... i live near soulcraft's place, and went and picked up my frame in person. great way to do it.

  24. #24
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    Good advice- would be a great thing to do if I wasn't in the UK! I'm sure there are some UK builders who could do it, and I could go Indy fab who have dealers here but there's just something about the holy roller that makes me want to go that way...

  25. #25
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    i love soulcraft, and i also like that fewer people seem to own them than IFs. i regret selling mine - for sure.

  26. #26
    jhc
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    I heard great things about the QBall frame and contacted Scott. Unfortunately he didn't have my size (sm) and couldn't get one built in my time frame. My budget was between $500-1K for a steel 29er frame. There's also the Jabberwocky which is a pretty solid frame. Anyway, I decided on the Singular Swift. I'll post some pics when she's built. Can't wait.

  27. #27
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    Hello, My name is Mtnbikerfred, and I'm a boutique bike snob....

    I didn't always use to be this way. Quite the contrary, I was all about "high value" bikes like Kona, Bianchi, Redline, Haro. etc.

    A couple of friends of mine had bikes made by a local(ish) builder, Todd Ingermason. Honestly, I thought they were a bit nuts. I mean, how much better could it be? What could this guy know that bigger, better bike co's didn't anyway? Especially since a couple of my favorite of them have Reynolds tubing, or Easton Scandium, and even some Ti models.

    Fast forward a couple of years. I, through a comedy circumstances, came upon a really good deal on a "box" of Black Cat. Torn apart, stripped, primed (badly), and un-painted. My wife commented "It doesn't even come with wheels?!" It was more of a great deal on a frame, with some nice parts thrown in....

    I was reluctant at first. The measured size of the frame seemed small to me. I had doubts, since I currently have an XC bike that's just a little too small, and a stem that's a little too long trying to kill me every time the trails get fun. Months Passed.

    I got in touch with Todd (aka Mr. Black Cat) and asked him about the frame, which as it turns out was HIS actual bike!!! I was now a little stoked. He even sent me some decals he had lying around. But HE didn't keep a record of the geometry numbers, just that it was a long TT and drawn up around a 100mm fork.

    We were pretty sure it'd fit me despite my doubts. But after chatting, He was confident I'd really enjoy it. The deal was too stupid to pass up, and I just had to find out for myself..

    So, a trials bike was sold. Money changed hands, and I picked up my box of Black Cat.....

    I knew it was going together either to be ridden or flipped. Either way it needed a paint job, and I knew I could get a great deal at Embee Performance. I decided it needed to be black as midnight with a few shiny bits thrown in.

    I picked up the PC'd frame, some needed used parts, and started bolting stuff together. I got the brakes on. Fork and stem and seat on it. BB & cranks installed, and threw the wheels in the dropouts. And sure as I stood over it (no tires on the wheels even) in front of the seat, I had an epiphany. Neigh, a God damned mental infarction right there!!! I could tell that it was nearly a perfect fit. the relationship between everything was SO close to "where it should be"...

    I took it out for a little midnight insanity for it's maiden voyage around the neighborhood. I honestly said out loud "If this thing is half as good as I think it is, I may only need one bike for quite awhile" That was about three months ago. My other bikes have all been sold or are in some sort of disassembley, and I don't care.



    It may look like an XC race bike, Shhhh!!! It's a big BMX bike!!!



    Since then, My wife got me a fairly light 4" fork. It's not necessary, but suits my riding style and lets me enjoy multi-hour rides with less pain at the end of the day. I drop my friends on geared squishy bikes climbing AND descending. I've been crossed up at 30mph on a fire road grinning ear to ear. I've gone so fast through rolling single track that I nearly missed a turn off. I've Jumped bigger gaps than I did on anything accept my BMX bike. I've spent hours grinding away in the saddle then, standing and mashing the $hit out of what ever was left with all that I had left inside. Evey ride is an emotional experience. that leaves me exhausted and elated. You simply have to experience it for yourself to understand.

    Now for the hard sell.... Black Cat INVENTED the Swinger dropout designed now being blatantly copied by Salsa and other builders His answer speaks volumes about his attitude: "Too bad they're so ugly, or I'd probably use them. I told them where to get good pizza after a ride. What comes around goes around"
    His website is just a builders blog. His prices are fair. Lead times are what they are. But he's a Bro. A mountain biker. And your new best friend as soon as you meet him.

    That said. Everyone should just drop him an email and tell him what you think, ask questions, talk smack!

    Three of my friends said "told you so" I said "You guys were right"

    Slainte'
    Giant Trance Advanced SL0
    Black Cat 26 " SS

  28. #28
    mtbr member
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    Black cat question

    thanks for posting photos. I saw a few of these last year at the Butte 100. I have since looked at their web page, etc. Hey- is this frame fillet brazed or tigged? What i saw online sure looked brazed to me. I still have pain from where a Ritchey (c. 1988) broke on me, causing a dislocated shoulder- it was fillet brazed. I know tubes have gotten better to handle the high heat from brazing so it may not be a valid concern.

    thanks
    drMP

  29. #29
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeylessChuck
    Hey Matt, this is Ryan B. I checked this thread out because another friend of mine is looking at exactly the same bikes and thought it might be him!

    When did you get an Elephant? If that is working for you, why not have Glen make a 29er for you?

    Oh yeah, check out Curtlo as well. Nice, reasonably priced custom steel bikes out of Winthrop. Jesse has one and loves it.
    I left a message with Glen today. When I talked with him in the fall (at a CX race) he was playing with mtn bikes, but not for the general public yet. Lets wait and see.

    as for my bike- it is on loan from a buddy that is deployed (USMC). Hehehehehe. I got it right before the walla walla races. It is orange.
    cheers
    drMP

  30. #30
    mtbr member
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    good advice... lets see what Elephant / Glen can do.

  31. #31
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    Fillet brazed with a partial lug at the head tube. A (properly) brazed joint IS as strong as a welded joint. FYI Brazing takes place at a much lower temperature than welding and doesn't distort the structure of the tube NEXT TO the weld (heat affected zone). This is where most welded joint fail: Not the weld itself, but the material that got screwed up by being brought up to the "plastic" temp where it begins soften. Brazing is no where near this hot. I just want to accurately put your concerns to rest. Nothing wrong with TIG, MIG, OXY-Acetaline welding OR Brazing. Done properly, they are all more than strong enough for what we do to them.
    Giant Trance Advanced SL0
    Black Cat 26 " SS

  32. #32
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    ! IF ! IF ! IF !

    They make fantastic bikes.

  33. #33
    mtbr member
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    thanks for the clarifications. I remember watching Tom Ritchey (i grew up in that area...) make a set of forks. They were an orange-hot glowing mass by the time he was done. I know back in the days, fillet was considered weaker. But as i said, tubing has gotten more friendly to be welded. All this is good info. Now i just need to find a local'ish builder. thanks
    DrMP

  34. #34
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    there is a nice IF singlespeedbike in the classifieds for sale....shameless plug

  35. #35
    Schipperkes are cool.
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    Been Loving my Spot belt drive for 2+ years now & the MuTiny Man stays unridden.
    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Better suited to non-aggressive 125# gals named Russell.
    I ride so slow, your Garmin will shut off.

  36. #36
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    Why not Ti?
    I have had 3 steel SS 29ers (on one, niner and a waltworks) and just bought a Lynskey.
    I know it is not as sexy as a small frame builder but I have built it to a little over 19.5 lbs.
    I have ridden it about 3 times on trails so far and it is a much more responsive ride than any of my steel frames. It is also a little more comfortable.

    My friend just bought a Black Cat so it will be interesting to see how that rides.

  37. #37
    Stokeless Asshat
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    http://www.juniper-solutions.com/coconinocycles/

    Steve Garro-Coconino cycles

    He's the real deal.
    Zip ties? Not on my bike!

    Want:
    650B rims or wheel set. 80's vintage 32 or 36 x 135mm

  38. #38
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    Garro is a complete and utter bad ass:
    http://www.velocipedesalon.com/forum...les-15523.html

    However, if I was going full custom and threw my budget out the window, I'd probably end up on a Vertigo:
    http://www.vertigocycles.com/

  39. #39
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    http://www.soulcraftbikes.com/

    Check out the cool SC Video!!
    "He was a wise man who invented beer."
    -Plato

  40. #40
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    Spot

    My first true SS. Love my SPOT Belt drive.

    Belt, chain, geared. - whatever you want to do with it.

  41. #41
    Kam
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timmoth
    Hey Kam,
    Love the soulcraft, is that about an XL equivalent? Looks like it might be with a slightly shorter seat tube, I'm thinking (no-make that going to!) moving from a Niner SIR to a soulcraft and that looks great. I know that are all custom made but if you don't mind what are the dimensions and bb to top of saddle height of yours.

    hey there...sorry for the late reply.

    my soulcraft ss is a xl equivalent.
    effec tt is 25"
    seat tube is 20"
    ht length is 130mm
    center of bb to top of saddle is 32"
    all geo is based on a 100mm fork.

    i am now running a 2011 fox f29 100 terralogic fork....it is a GREAT fork....best i have ever ridin'....way better than the lefty and smoother too.

    as for the swinger droputs...black cat was the first to offer them and many others have their own versions now....even paragon is making a new swinger dropout along with sliders. walt over at walt works had a interesting post in his blog on the back cat swingers.

    i love the swingers on my soulcraft....they are stainless and keyed...there is absolutely no play between the pieces and they move freely. the set screw adjustments help and i love the small hoods on them....i personally feel the hoods add a bit of stiffness to the rear end. the hive and paragon helped sean with design and execution and they have nailed it....it works really well and has never slipped.

    also, sean over at soulcraft will work with you on some things and not on others. make sure you read his site well, he knows what works.

    geo between soulcrafts and black cats are pretty different (especially in the chainstay length) that it is like comparing apples to oranges....both builders are awesome.
    "forget kings...forget hadleys......they all have crap engagement. just run your bike fixed gear." - FoShizzle

  42. #42
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    Thanks Kam, I really appreciate you coming back on this, it really helps when making a decision on which way to go. Not too far off the size I'll need, maybe a little more on the seat tube and a little on the ht.

    I read through the site and it makes sense; straightforward and not compromising where he thinks it will impact on how the bike handles, I can work with that approach. In fact it's one reason that will swing the decision towards soulcraft. I need a frame I can race on so the bb needs to be quite stiff under power.

    I looked at the f29 Terralogic fork, if it's half as good as the RLC I have at the moment it will be worth having-despite the price!

    Time to fill in the order form.... Thanks again.

  43. #43
    mtbr member
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    I went with a Spot Rocker SS (belt). I found a screaming deal on Craig's list, had a buddy check it out (it's not in my area), and now it is with FedEx.

    I talked with a lot of the custom frame builders, but my poor timing + their backlog means i would not have gotten the bike until mid to late summer at the earliest. ugh. I am not going to say which small frame builder i was leaning towards since they are all all all sooooo good and found myself making decision on stuff like how far out, etc.

    thanks for the help

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