More is everything


The Blackbird has proven to be the greatest bike that I’ve made thus far. The geometry is dialed. It is completely sorted. It works well everywhere. It’s comfortable. It’s fast. It has real balance. Up or down hills it crushes.

So what to do? Push it. Make it full race. Find its limit and bracket the setups. Just like I did with Red Five, I’m going to see where this bike can take me. I like to find the breaking points of designs.

I maxed the huge 2018 Lyric 29 fork travel out to 180mm. The new rod was marked “180” while the existing 170mm rod was marked “PIKE 29-160mm”. Food for thought. The 170mm shaft measures 275mm OAL and the 180mm is 285mm OAL. Both have the same 10mm piston.

I installed one of my Cane Creek Anglesets to bring the head height back down and add some front center. A “1.0°” top and a “1.5°” bottom. Ignore the values as they mean little. Basically, this is the most you can do on a 44T/49B. Front center is now an absurd, 838mm. So much craziness. There aren’t too many custom builders out there that make a frame that allows this. I plan for it. Geometry adjustments are a real value-add in a frame. Look for it.

Another important piece of this puzzle is the Syntace Sabertooth/Flatforce stem. I ended up fitting with a 55mm iteration. These stems are magic. So much so that long ago I designed my head tubes to not only work with an angleset but also work with a Sabertooth 44mm stem. It would have been nicer to do a 49T/49B tube but there would be no room for a slammed 44mm. So 44T was configured in. This flexibility makes modifications like this possible.

This will definitely be the most extreme bike that I’ve tried…and it’s mine.

Soon, the bike will get a BikeYoke Revive 185mm dropper post. Then it will be the most jumbo! I’ve been noticing how much a very low drop post can add to getting back on a bike mid-run. It’s interesting.

I can’t be at the Philly Bike Expo this weekend so this post is going to have to represent me. This show is so cool and I can’t wait for the year that I can go. Looking forward to reading about all the rad stuff.