Soul Cycles Hooligan - a love story- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Good job! Soul Cycles Hooligan - a love story

    I'm not one to review or gush about bikes or frames, but I need to make an exception in this case. The Soul Cycles Hooligan is perhaps the best SS frame I've ever owned, if not the best hardtail I've ever owned. Period. And I've owned a buttload of hardtail frames (2 Surly 1x1s, a Bianchi SISS, Gunnar Rockhound, Giant XTC carbon, 2 On-one Inbreds - 29 and 26, a Fisher Rig, an Access XCL, two Trek hardtails, and probably more I can't remember.) The Hooligan is the cream of the crop of 13 years of riding. I've spent about a full season of riding it at least once a week or more and now feel that I've spent enough time on it to give a review.

    I was looking earlier this year for a 26" frame with an EBB. I wanted steel, but I frankly couldn't find a single non-custom steel 26" frame with an EBB. (Seems like you 29'er people have now co-opted singlespeeding and the frame manufacturers are thusly caterning to that crowd.) Somebody suggested the Hooligan. I checked their website and saw the low, low price of $350 for a new frame with an EBB, full cable stops and two dropouts so you could run it SS or geared. Easton elite tubing. I have not really loved AL frames in the past, and hesitated. But then I saw the "scratch and dent" frame selection. For even cheaper. I ended up getting a 3rd generation Hooligan "scuffed" frame for $250. (One barely noticeable scuff in the black paint on the top tube.) I ordered by phone. Due to transposing two numbers in my credit card, the order took a few days and a second call to get it to go through. The cool thing was that due to that small error they comped my shipping. So, brand new frame for $250. Not bad.

    At the time I was riding the Giant XTC carbon frame as a SS with a singleator. 2.7 lbs. Crazy light. I was sort of bored with it and wanted a frame I could run sans-tensioner. I thought no way would the Hooligan outperform the carbon frame - especially with the relatively pudgy 4.10 oz weight. I couldn't have been more wrong. Right out of the box, the thing out accelerated and out climbed the Giant. And the descending was instantly spot-on. I've never had a bike or frame that felt "right" on the first ride. This thing was more than right. It was perfect.

    It is truly the best handling bike I've ever owned. (And I've had a few other bikes, including a Superlight, a Ventana X-5, a Racer X, and a Ventana El Ciclon.) The Easton elite tubing simply disappears - it rides like no aluminum frame I've owned - and better than every steel frame I've owned. The geometry is perfect (for me.) I'm running an '08 Reba Race dual air U-turn with 85 - 115mm of travel and this thing downhills as fast as my El Ciclon. (Other bits and pieces on the frame are irrelevant. The one other part I really like and which I think improves the handling is the On-one Fleegle bar.)

    Anyway, crazy. I can't give this thing any more compliments. Fantastic frame. If you're in the market for a "budget" SS frame, this should be at the top of your list.
    Last edited by Earthpig; 10-12-2009 at 10:00 AM.

  2. #2
    Feeling retro..but Jung
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    congratulations !!!!...and you post has caused a visit to the website

  3. #3
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    I also have visited their website in response to your post.....and may have actually purchased one of these if I had known about them before I got my 1x1....oh well, the 1x1 is money anyway so I'm happy!

  4. #4
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    I stalk their site. I like SC stuff a bit and I know one of their CNC guys.

    I feel like a real love affair would feature photographs.

  5. #5
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    Glad to hear it. I have a Dillinger being built up and have some concerns about the EBB. How has it held up over time? Any slipping or chronic noise? I have teflon taped it, but again it is not built yet. Thanks for the feedback. Mine was a "blem" also.

    "No good deed goes unpunished"

  6. #6
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    I don't stop long enough on rides to take pix. I'll see what I can do.

    EBB - Yes, mine slips occasionally and needs to be tightened. I do re-grease every once in a while too. I figure those are the downsides to an EBB. When I hear it creaking, that's my cue to either tighten and/or regrease. But, just FWIW, the Hooligan EBB is WAY better than the one I had in the 2nd gen Rig. That one creaked like a horny banshee on crack and was as loose as a 55 year old hooker.

    If you know what I mean.

  7. #7
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    SC Hooligan

    I own both a hooligan and a dillinger and they have been great frames.I would suggest getting the bushnell EBB its more reliable than the set screw type.Be careful not to over torque the set screws either, Broke the set screws off of my Hooligan tring to solve a creaking problem. Chad at Soul Cycles warrented the Frame and sent me a new one.He has really good customer service. On the creaking issues Grease everything, my creaking problem turn out to be pedal spindels.Greased the spindel and there was no more creak.

  8. #8
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    that pretty much sums up how I feel, too.

    I've been on my Hooligan for just short of 2 years now.

    I originally purchased it in order to try out a different size frame, and experiment with different geometry than I had been riding. I thought that if those elements worked, I would replace the Hooligan with a "good" frame. Instead, I've been singing the praises of this thing for just about two years.

    I love it.

    But I do keep wondering... how much more would I like it with a 130/140mm fork with a 20mm TA? One day I'll have to find out.

    Fitting... here's a shot from our first rain of last year, last Nov 1. Today's our first real rain of the year. Single speed season. Yeah!


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earthpig
    EBB - Yes, mine slips occasionally and needs to be tightened
    I find that mine will slip to a certain degree, leaving the chain a bit more slack than I would desire. However, it doesn't slip beyond that and the additional chain slack hasn't caused any problems, so I leave it alone.

  10. #10
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    where is this scratch and dent section?

  11. #11
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    Just email the guys at Soul Cycles and they will let you know what they have in stock.

  12. #12
    Space Ghost
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    Better yet call. You will get immediate results. Chad is very helpful with all reasonable questions. Just my experience.
    "No good deed goes unpunished"

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by grundy
    that pretty much sums up how I feel, too.

    I've been on my Hooligan for just short of 2 years now.

    I originally purchased it in order to try out a different size frame, and experiment with different geometry than I had been riding. I thought that if those elements worked, I would replace the Hooligan with a "good" frame. Instead, I've been singing the praises of this thing for just about two years.

    I love it.

    But I do keep wondering... how much more would I like it with a 130/140mm fork with a 20mm TA? One day I'll have to find out.

    Fitting... here's a shot from our first rain of last year, last Nov 1. Today's our first real rain of the year. Single speed season. Yeah!
    I saw your review and it was, other than the couple of recommendations I'd received on a post I made on here for suggestions, a part of why I picked up a Hooligan. Very thorough (and complimentary) review.

    I notice some chain slack every now and then, but a 30 second adjustment to the EBB fixes it. But, like you, I've never had enough slack from a loosening EBB to make any difference in the ride or pedaling characteristics.

    Fork length - I started with a straight 100mm Reba, as the geometry is designed around a 100mm fork (per Soul.) With a flat bar (Fleegle), I had to put a lot of spacers under the stem to achieve a not-totally-racy position. I thought the 100mm Reba worked well for the bike and with the wide bar it made for very snappy, throwable handling. But, I recently swapped over an adjustable travel Reba and agree that a bit more travel didn't at all negatively affect the handling and in fact may have improved it a bit. For me, a 120 - 130mm travel fork would be too much - our trails (Boise) aren't particularly steep or technical on the DH, and I like a very sharp handling bike. But if you do go for that, let me know how you like it.

    On a side note, I did try a slightly narrower riser bar for a couple of rides. The handling did suffer a tad. I can say that the Fleegle bar, IMHO, accounts for a fair portion of the good handling - if you set it up right. (I never knew, until seeing a friend's bike, that the Fleegle works best if you angle it down and forward, instead of back and up.)

    So, especially if you plan to add some travel up front, to keep the bar height at the same position, you may want to consider a flat bar like the Fleegle.

    My ONLY disappointment is the color. For the 3rd gen frames (which oddly are not on the website, despite the fact that I've had mine since around June or so), I think all they had was a scuffed black one. I love that baby blue color, but it wasn't available. (The green looks to me a lot like the old Santa Cruz Chameleon.)

    Can't wait to get out work to go ride and the bike I will be riding today will definitely be the Hooligan!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    I stalk their site. I like SC stuff a bit and I know one of their CNC guys.

    I feel like a real love affair would feature photographs.
    Freaking stalker.

    You just stay away from me.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  15. #15
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    Oh yeah. That's hot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Earthpig
    Freaking stalker.

    You just stay away from me.

  16. #16
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    Not bad for a love story, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Earthpig
    I'm not one to review or gush about bikes or frames, but I need to make an exception in this case. The Soul Cycles Hooligan is perhaps the best SS frame I've ever owned, if not the best hardtail I've ever owned. Period. And I've owned a buttload of hardtail frames (2 Surly 1x1s, a Bianchi SISS, Gunnar Rockhound, Giant XTC carbon, 2 On-one Inbreds - 29 and 26, a Fisher Rig, an Access XCL, two Trek hardtails, and probably more I can't remember.) The Hooligan is the cream of the crop of 13 years of riding. I've spent about a full season of riding it at least once a week or more and now feel that I've spent enough time on it to give a review.

    I was looking earlier this year for a 26" frame with an EBB. I wanted steel, but I frankly couldn't find a single non-custom steel 26" frame with an EBB. (Seems like you 29'er people have now co-opted singlespeeding and the frame manufacturers are thusly caterning to that crowd.) Somebody suggested the Hooligan. I checked their website and saw the low, low price of $350 for a new frame with an EBB, full cable stops and two dropouts so you could run it SS or geared. Easton elite tubing. I have not really loved AL frames in the past, and hesitated. But then I saw the "scratch and dent" frame selection. For even cheaper. I ended up getting a 3rd generation Hooligan "scuffed" frame for $250. (One barely noticeable scuff in the black paint on the top tube.) I ordered by phone. Due to transposing two numbers in my credit card, the order took a few days and a second call to get it to go through. The cool thing was that due to that small error they comped my shipping. So, brand new frame for $250. Not bad.

    At the time I was riding the Giant XTC carbon frame as a SS with a singleator. 2.7 lbs. Crazy light. I was sort of bored with it and wanted a frame I could run sans-tensioner. I thought no way would the Hooligan outperform the carbon frame - especially with the relatively pudgy 4.10 oz weight. I couldn't have been more wrong. Right out of the box, the thing out accelerated and out climbed the Giant. And the descending was instantly spot-on. I've never had a bike or frame that felt "right" on the first ride. This thing was more than right. It was perfect.

    It is truly the best handling bike I've ever owned. (And I've had a few other bikes, including a Superlight, a Ventana X-5, a Racer X, and a Ventana El Ciclon.) The Easton elite tubing simply disappears - it rides like no aluminum frame I've owned - and better than every steel frame I've owned. The geometry is perfect (for me.) I'm running an '08 Reba Race dual air U-turn with 85 - 115mm of travel and this thing downhills as fast as my El Ciclon. (Other bits and pieces on the frame are irrelevant. The one other part I really like and which I think improves the handling is the On-one Fleegle bar.)

    Anyway, crazy. I can't give this thing any more compliments. Fantastic frame. If you're in the market for a "budget" SS frame, this should be at the top of your list.

    How about this...I've been around on Fat Chance, Ibis, IF, Niner but when I saw Holligan rollin' by, I had to HAVE her. Those sensuous stays and the butting were a woodening experience. She gave me headset until I screamed "no more!" I thought nothing could top that but when I slipped myU-tool into her EBB and rotated it oh so gently the chain tension was immediately hard and blew my lube. Every time I look at her I come (over) multiple times. On my last ride, I enjoyed a cigarette as I glanced knowingly at her downtube.
    i am a human derailleur

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jennytalia
    How about this...I've been around on Fat Chance, Ibis, IF, Niner but when I saw Holligan rollin' by, I had to HAVE her. Those sensuous stays and the butting were a woodening experience. She gave me headset until I screamed "no more!" I thought nothing could top that but when I slipped myU-tool into her EBB and rotated it oh so gently the chain tension was immediately hard and blew my lube. Every time I look at her I come (over) multiple times. On my last ride, I enjoyed a cigarette as I glanced knowingly at her downtube.
    You just ruined sex for me. Calling local monasteries as I type...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    You just ruined sex for me. Calling local monasteries as I type...
    How? Did you sprain your wrist typing your post?
    i am a human derailleur

  19. #19
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    Longer forks

    I ran a fox 32RL 140mm on my hooligan for a while. It was Fun bombing down hills and through rock gardens but lacked in the steering. Right know it set up with a 120 Reba and it perfect.

  20. #20
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    what bars are those?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gearsequalqueers
    what bars are those?
    On-one Fleegle. Great bar. Nice width and a 17 degree rearward bend.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earthpig
    On-one Fleegle. Great bar. Nice width and a 17 degree rearward bend.
    ya they look real comfortable
    beautiful bike by the way

  23. #23
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    I'm looking pretty closely at buying one of these to replace my Giant XTC Two2One frame.

    The only concern i have is about the EBB. The Giant has sliding dropouts and uses a 10mm bolt on axle. They don't slip, but they are a pain when i go to swap tyres or get a puncture on the rear as i have to remove the rear brake caliper as well as everything else.

    I've found a bit of info about using plumbers tape or greasing everything and also some info about using a different type of EBB with the frame. How bad is the slipping? Is it simply a matter of setting the chain length with the EBB in the position closest to the rear dropout and tightening from there?

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