18 June 2015

Review Orange Ventana Gordo Hardtail Build


El Gordo hardtail build in Orange

This sharp looking orange Ventana El Gordo went to a happy customer in Delafield, WI. He had been running a Gates Carbon Drive belt system on a Trek Sawyer set up single speed and loved the low maintenance aspects of the belt but wanted additional gears. He had considered putting a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 on the Sawyer to get more gears, but he really wanted to run wider tires than the Sawyer would allow. He was excited when Rohloff introduced the SPEEDHUB XL - the fat bike version of their gear hub - last fall and contacted us to put together a no-fuss fat bike for year round trail riding including his snowy Midwest winters.


Ventana's rocking dropouts provide solid wheel positioning for tensioning the belt

Ventana's US-made El Gordo frame is a great starting point for a fat bike, and our Cycle Monkey edition offers clean integration with Rohloff's SPEEDHUB, Gates' belt system, and dropper seatposts.  This build is very similar to the bike we built for in-house use with the exception of a dropper seat post.

With huge tires and a suspension fork, this bike inspires a lot of confidence, especially on steep or loose terrain. The 4.8" tires absorb many of the impacts that you would usually want a full suspension frame for. Adding the suspension fork makes you feel like you can hit pretty much any line you come across. Fatbikes have really entered a new phase in their development with the introduction of the Bluto fork, and the Rohloff SPEEDHUB and Gates belt drive are a great compliment. With a Rohloff/Gates drivetrain, you don't have to think about the weather report before taking off on an offroad adventure!


Halo Tundra Alloy fatbike rims, Vee Rubber Snowshoe XL tire

For this wheelset, we used Halo's Tundra 80mm rims with weight saving cut outs like many other fat bike rims. These were laced to the SPEEDHUB XL in the back and a Hope Pro2 Fatsno up front.  Vee Rubber's Snowshoe XL 4.8" tires finish the wheels off, fit great, and provide lots of traction on a variety of trail conditions.

Rohloff SPEEDHUB XL, Belt Drive

The drivetrain on this El Gordo gives you the same effective gear range as a conventional MTB drivetrain without any duplicate gears. The shifting mechanism is sealed inside the rear hub shell, so you don't have to think about cross chain shifting, unexpected chain drops, lubrication, or worn cassettes. An annual oil change is the only suggested routine maintenance, and with the Gates Carbon Drive belt system, you can ride upwards of 7,000 miles (20,000 on the road) before you need to replace the belt and sprockets.

Ventana El Gordo with Rock Shox Bluto

If you are interested in an El Gordo, get in touch to discuss the options for building one up to meet your needs.  We have several pre-selected parts kits available as well as offering full custom build options.

Build Details:

• Frame: Ventana El Gordo
• Fork: Rock Shox Bluto
• Headset: Hope Tapered
• Stem: Thompson X4
• Handlebar: Thomson Alloy Riser
• Shifter: Rohloff Twist Shifter
• Grips: ESI Chunky Silicone
• Seat post: Thomson Elite Setback
• Saddle: SQ-Lab 611 Active
• Seat Clamp: Ventana
• Front Hub: Hope Pro 2 EVO FatSno
• Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB XL 500/14
• Spokes: Sapim
• Nipples: Sapim Brass
• Rims: Halo Tundra Alloy 80mm
• Tires: Vee Rubber Snowshoe XL 4.8
• Cranks: Race Face Turbine
• Pedals: Acros A-Flat
• Bottom Bracket: Race Face X-type
• Chain ring: Gates Carbon Drive
• Rear Sprocket: Gates Carbon Drive
• Chain: Gates Carbon Drive CDX
• Brakes & Levers: Magura MT
• Rotors: Magura rear, Magura Front
• Extras: Rock Shox lockout remote

13 May 2015

Jones Titanium Rigid Adventure/Offroad Touring Bike with Rohloff Speedhub


We built this custom painted Jones Titanium Diamond frame with steel Unicrown fork for a customer in Silver City, NM. He already had a steel Jones bike, set up predominantly for on-road touring, so for this build he was interested in building up the Ti version into a hassle-free mixed terrain touring bike. He came to us because he was interested in using a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 for an unstoppable adventure touring drivetrain. We worked with him to select a build kit that would be comfortable, reliable, and keep the weight down as much as possible.



05 April 2015

Fits By Paul City Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14


We assembled this striking commuter bike for a local customer named Paul, who runs a bike fitting business called Fits by Paul in Marin County. He is an accomplished road rider and works with his customers to fine tune the fit of their road bikes for comfort and to prevent injuries while riding. For the times when he’s not riding his road bike, he wanted something more casual that was also trouble-free for riding around town. As a first for us, the customer built the frame himself while attending a bicycle frame building course.  After the frame came back from the painter, he brought it to us with some of the parts, and we helped him plan out the rest of the build centered around a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 internal gear hub. We supplied the missing parts, built the wheels, and assembled everything into a complete bicycle.



06 March 2015

Surly Troll with Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and Schmidt Dynamo


We built this eye-catching purple Surly Troll for a local customer who wanted a bike for daily commuting and long-distance touring. He asked us to build it up with versatility and ergonomics being the primary concern. With Surly's nearly indestructible steel frame, a worry-free Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14Schmidt dynamo front hub, dynamo-powered head light with USB charger, and a pair of steel Tubus racks, this bike is ready to serve as a reliable transporter for many years.


The Surly Troll frames are a trusted choice proven on many different kinds of terrain. From commuting to mountain biking to mixed terrain touring – the Troll is an easy choice for versatile builds based around 26 inch wheels. Like all of Surly’s frames, it features sturdy 4130 chromoly steel tubing to ensure longevity even under the harshest of conditions. It includes gussets on the key tube junctions where frames tend to fail - where the seat tube meets the top tube and where the top and down tubes meet the headtube. Troll frames also offers a full array of threaded mounts for racks, water bottle cages, fenders, and Surly's trailer, making them adaptable to satisfy any rider's needs, no matter how they intend to use it.

28 February 2015

Budnitz No.3 Titanium City Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB and Belt Drive



We built this Budnitz NO. 3 titanium bike for a customer in Southern California who was looking for the perfect all-purpose bike to get around town and to potentially do some long distance rides. He wanted a bike for exploring his neighborhood, riding nearby trails and bike paths, taking out on fitness rides, and eventually working his way up to a self supported transcontinental tour. Most of all, he wanted a bike that would be comfortable, lightweight, and stylish - an all-arounder that would last him a lifetime and rarely need service. His goal was to simply take off on a ride whenever he felt like it, so the build focuses around the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 internal gear hub and Gates Carbon Drive belt system.