20 October 2014

Vassago Optimus Ti with Rohloff SPEEDHUB

Vassago’s Optimus Ti is a great example of a high-end titanium hardtail that is optimized for the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14. It features cross country inspired geometry that also works well for more technical trail rides. Its titanium construction provides a comfortable ride quality that reduces vibrations yet remains stiff when you push it hard. The frame is hand built in Vassago’s Phoenix Arizona factory, and represents one of the best values on the market for a U.S.-made titanium frame. It's also one of the lightest Rohloff-equipped mountain bikes we've built, making it a favorite of racers or anyone who appreciates a lightweight, nimble ride.

The Optimus Ti is built using Vassago’s “Fast Cat” geometry, which is the name they've given to their more compact, new school frames that feature a shorter rear end for more maneuverability around tight, technical single track. The frame features over-sized titanium tubing to keep the frame stiff and prevent flexing around the bottom bracket and headtube. It also incorporates replaceable sliding dropouts that allow for Rohloff-specific dropout inserts and provide an easy method for adjusting chain tension. One of the benefits of Vassago's in-house manufacturing is that they can customize their frames with features such as Rohloff-specific cable routing. The Optimus Ti is part of Vassago’s “Black Label” U.S.-made frame series, along with the steel Verhauen. The Arizona company also offers more affordable imported frames, including the Fisticuff and Jabberwocky.

For this Optimus Ti’s wheelset, we went with Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Flow rims laced to a Toxaholics front thru-axle hub and a rear Rohloff SPEEDHUB in anodized black. The Flow rims have a sturdy, trail riding-oriented design that comes in a wider-than-average profile and provides more traction and cornering grip. We laced up both wheels with Sapim Race spokes and brass nipples, which are both strong and light. We mounted them up with the Schwalbe Smart Sam tires, which have a tight center knob pattern and shallower tread depth that work well on pavement, hardpacked dirt, and moderately muddy conditions.

The SPEEDHUB is known as the best drivetrain for touring and long distance riding, but it also has a number of advantages for mountain biking. Because it rarely needs any maintenance, it allows riders to stay out on the trail as much as possible. Many mountain bike components are race-oriented and designed for low weight rather than durability. As a result, they frequently have to be tuned up or replaced. With the SPEEDHUB drivetrain, no time is wasted leaving the bike at the bike shop. There is no worse feeling than having to end a ride early because of a damaged derailleur, and the SPEEDHUB virtually eliminates the risk of mechanical failures. We even equipped racers with SPEEDHUBs, including this recent Optimus Ti we put together for an adventure racer.

We equipped this build with other components that are race-capable but stayed true to the theme of durability. Rockshox’s SID fork makes an excellent low maintenance XC specific fork. Magura’s MT8 brakes, equipped with carbon levers, provide a very lightweight brake system with excellent stopping power. Naturally the Thompson stem and seatpost were chosen for their best-in-class durablity and strength to weight ratio. Finally, Salsa’s Bend 2 bars place a rider’s hands in a comfortably natural position.

If you’re a mountain biker looking for a more durable drivetrain or a Rohloff fan looking for a lighter hardtail bike, Vassago’s Optimus Ti frame may be just the ticket. Contact us to start talking about the right bike for your riding style.

Build Details:

• Frame: Vassago Optimus Ti
• Fork: Rockshox SID
• Headset: Cane Creek Forty
• Stem: Thomson Elite X4
• Handlebar: Salsa Bend 2
• Shifter: Rohloff
• Grips: ESI foam
• Seat post: Thompson
• Saddle: WTB Valcon
• Seat Clamp: Vassago
• Front Hub: Toxaholics
• Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
• Spokes: Sapim Race
• Nipples: Sapim Brass
• Rims: Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Flow
• Tires: Schwalbe Smart Sam
• Cranks: Race Face Turbine
• Pedals: Shimano XTR SPD
• Bottom Bracket: Race Face
• Chain ring: Race Face Single
• Rear Sprocket: Rohloff
• Chain: Wipperman Connex
• Brakes & Levers: Magura MT8
• Rotors: Magura Storm

17 October 2014

Erickson Randonneur/Commuter with Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14

R&E Cycles is a legendary bicycle maker in Seattle, WA. With two brands under their roof - Rodriguez Cycles and Erickson Cycles - they have been hand-building dream bikes for customers around the world since 1973 from their workshop in Seattle’s University District. They build a wide range of frames from classic road bikes to more unique - and often technically demanding - projects such as tandems, S&S coupled travel bikes, and frames with intricate design details. They also build a large number of Rohloff-equipped bikes like this Erickson commuter and are one of our biggest Rohloff SPEEDHUB customers. As their specialty brand, the Erickson line represents their most sophisticated body of work and is focused on one-of-a-kind custom bicycle designs, many of which include complex hand carved lugs. These frames are truly rideable works of art.

27 September 2014

Rohloff SPEEDHUB XL & Ventana El Gordo Belt Drive Fat Bike Packages

We've worked with Ventana Mountain Bikes USA to create a special Cycle Monkey edition of their US-made El Gordo fat bike frame. The Cycle Monkey edition will feature dedicated cable routing for the Rohloff SPEEDHUB and stealth dropper seatposts. These frames are also belt drive compatible through Ventana's clever adjustable dropout system for the most maintenance-free fat bike drivetrain available. Options are available to build the bikes up with a suspension fork and dropper seatpost for trail use or with a rigid fork and post for sand/snow use.

Contact us at info@cyclemonkey.com or 510-868-1777 to place an order.

24 September 2014

Ventana El Comandante Bike Packing bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB and Belt Drive

Riding the Divide is one of the most awe-inspiring and grueling cycling challenges in the world. The 2,700 mile, 200,000 foot elevation gain ride goes from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, traversing the whole length of the United States along the Continental Divide. The Divide is also the route of the annual Tour Divide, a famous unsupported endurance race. The record for the race is 15 days, but the ride is also done at a more leisurely pace by non-competitive riders who want to enjoy the beautiful Rocky Mountain scenery along the way. We built this Rohloff SPEEDHUB-equipped Ventana El Comandante for a customer who is planning to ride and train around his home near Columbus, OH with the goal of eventually gearing up for a Divide ride of his own.

28 August 2014

Co-Motion Americano Touring Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB, Schmidt SON28 Dynamo, and Gates Belt Drive

Taking a four month tour through the Balkan Peninsula in Europe requires a commitment to adventure. As with most self-supported bike trips, you must be prepared for different road conditions, varying weather, and unexpected mishaps. The embrace of the unknown was exactly what inspired this build: the customer, from Santa Cruz, CA wanted a fully-equipped touring bike to set out to see new parts of the world. Based on his criteria, we set him up with a Co-Motion Americano equipped with a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14, belt drive, generator hub, and an array of other reliable touring components to keep him comfortable during his travels.