The PVD Warp Drive Engin.
Drew at Engin Cycles is making me a couple of bikes. This is the first. It’s a hardtail Enduro style bike. 27.5″ wheels, a stealth dropper, low, slack, and long. This thing is built for war and has the stance of a beast. It’s not going to take any flak from anybody.
I do design work for a few frame companies in the US. Parts and parts of parts. Drew wanted something special in terms of a custom dropout. He appreciated the work that I did with the Firefly (1, 2) dropouts, so he contacted me. Dropouts and head tubes are probably the most important distinction a custom frame will have from another in terms of ascetics. The dropouts that I did were intended for use built into titanium bikes. The dropouts in this bike are just steel versions of those. They could be a lot more delicate and lighter if designed specifically for steel (see new Firefly road steel). Regardless, they look amazing and they sure do the job. The direct mount option is just fantastic with the modern clutch systems.
I consider the Engin bikes as being among the top 3 frame building concerns in the world in terms of quality, craft, and style. I can’t say enough about how highly regarded they are to me. Some of my favorite NAHBS bikes have been Engins. Check them out if you never have. I’m honored to be a small part of it.
I was one of the first people in the country to be running 650b on mtb back in 2007. I ran the wheel size for about a year, shelving them due to lack of quality tires, rims, and suspension. Even then the tires available were horrible and quite old fashioned. The wheel size seemed more stuck in the middle then and not so much a good choice. Bikes were a bit shorter back then in general so it was a much different feel from the 26″. Bikes have become much longer since. We will see if this time it sticks. The 650b wheels are trendy right now. The Maxxis Ardent 650b x 2.25″ tires work well and are fairly light and durable. I like the tread so I’m starting with these. 650b is nothing new to me. Interestingly, the first time I met Drew was at Interbike in 2007. I was cracking on a 650b bike that he had showing in someone’s booth. I was joking that it was like a 29er for little people. True, eh. Drew was a good sport and we became quick friends.
I designed the geometry for the frame and Drew took care of the construction and his specific details.
The new RockShox Reverb A2 Stealth dropper with 125mm of drop is perfect for the use of this bike. I have a 130mm lower seat height on my DH bike compared to full pedal height so a 125mm drop is perfect considering I’ll be doing nothing close to what I do on the downhill bike.
The new RockShox Pike is pretty amazing. I had my doubts that such a large (girth not travel, I’ve done 150mm hardtails) fork would really be good on a hardtail. I was assured in my test ride. This fork is solid, plush, and takes it all. So excited on this fork. It’s a joy and worth the weight.
The chain device shown is in rough form. I had done something similar on my Mega DH setup. I’ll be re-making this part in the upcoming week to be lighter, cleaner and look better. With an outer and inner guide ring, I have never had any issue with chain tracking on my 2x bikes. No rollers, not fiddling. It just works. Bang.
The rough prototype and the final prototype.
The outer ‘Magic Ring’ is a past project. A very cool exercise in engineering, machining, and design.
Why the bent top tube? Simply, a properly set up mtb race bike (or any mtb bike) should be able to spin it’s front end 180 degrees freely. This is because it will happen in most crashes. You want to be able to pick the bike up, twist the bars back and resume racing and the bike works flawlessly. This means longer housing and lower top tubes as bars are lower on a race bike than a leisure bike. Note that my bars clear the top tube easily even after lowering my stem 10mm from the glam photos.
The bike rides fantastically well and will be influencing my on bike design. The longer front center is really rad on descents. I haven’t decided on the short stem with the big wheels. Even with 730mm wide bars, things do get odd at times. I’m figuring it’s something I just have to adapt to. The bike climbs really well. In fact I made a challenging and technical climb that I haven’t made in years on my Sunday ride. That says a lot. I really can’t wait to get a lot more rides out on this bike and see where I go with my own frame design from here.