17 December 2013

Independent Fabrication Rohloff-Equipped Custom Touring Bike

Matte black Independent Fabrication "Independence" frame
customized with S&S couplers and Rohloff-specific cable routing.

Independent Fabrication is known for building beautiful, eye-catching bikes and this matte black touring frame, although understated, is no exception. We built this custom “Independence” model for a customer who lives in Thailand and has done plenty of off road touring throughout Southeast Asia on his trusty mountain bike. Although his old bike had served him admirably, he had been dreaming up the ultimate touring bike based around the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 for years. He wanted his new ride to last him for the rest of his life, so the SPEEDHUB was the perfect shifting system for his needs.

Initially this customer had been interested in a Surly Troll frame, which is a very popular model for off road touring. However, he wanted S&S couplers to make the bike easier to travel with. That would have required us to send the frame to a frame builder for modifications and then to a powder coater to have it repainted. After considering his options, he decided to go with a custom frame to get all the features he wanted in one complete package.

Sliding dropouts make for easy chain tensioning.

10 December 2013

Twenty2 Cycles Belt Drive Rohloff 29+

This eye-catching Twenty2 Cycles 29+ is custom-built for adventure touring but is also well suited for fast singletrack.
This gorgeous Twenty2 Cycles frame is the latest in a handful of builds we have put together using the new “29+” platform. These bikes use three inch wide 29er tires mounted to 50mm rims, which provide ample float and traction like a fatbike, yet roll fast like a standard 29er. The “29+” bike designation was invented by Surly Bikes with their release of the Krampus model last year, and it has proven popular for bikepacking as well as fast singletrack riding.

Our customer for this bike had owned a Rohloff hub for years, and it has been serving him reliably on his Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bike. When he decided he was ready to start exploring off road, he knew a Rohloff was in the cards for a new mountain bike build as well.

02 December 2013

Rohloff-Equipped Soulcraft Road Bike

Custom Soulcraft frame in sea-foam green.

We built up this custom Soulcraft for a customer who had a very specific road bike in mind. He had searched in vain for a production frame to suit his needs, but couldn't find anything available on the market. After deciding that a custom frame would be his best option, he contacted Soulcraft, a local Northern California framebuilder, to make his dream bike a reality. With his one-of-a-kind frame in hand, he came to us to build up the rest of the bike around the Rohloff gearing system.

Our customer was looking for a comfortable yet nimble road bike that he could take on all-day rides without straining his neck, back, or shoulders. He requested a taller headtube on the frame to give him a slightly more upright seating position, yet he still wanted it to have a quick-handling ride quality like a traditional road bike. He also knew that he wanted to use a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14, so the frame was made specially for the hub – braze-ons for Rohloff cable routing, no derailleur hanger, and a sliding dropout with a bolt for an axle plate to secure the hub's axle in place.

Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 with Rohloff-specific dropout design.

Because our customer likes to go for long road rides, he knew the Rohloff SPEEDHUB would work well for his riding style. The internally housed mechanics of the shift system are extremely durable and only need to be serviced with a new oil bath once a year. Long rides normally take you miles away from any bike shop, so a reliable shift system is a priority for endurance riding. Knowing he did not want to be stuck mid-ride on a desolate country road with derailleur problems, our customer figured the SPEEDHUB was the perfect hub for his needs.

We have long believed a wheelset truly “makes” the ride. Wheels play a large part in the ride quality and general feel of any bike. Much like a custom frame is tuned for a given rider, custom wheels can be tuned the same way. For the wheels on this bike, we used Velocity’s A23 road rims because the wider footprint allows the tire to spread out more, providing more comfort, control, and traction. We used White Industries’ American-made MI5 front hub and the SPEEDHUB on the rear. The polished silver color of the rims and hubs matched perfectly, making for quite a shiny, vintage-looking wheelset.

White Industries is another local company we have come to trust. They have been making parts in Northern California for nearly 40 years, and have a reputation for very precisely machined components. For these reasons, we chose a White Industries crankset, bottom bracket, and chainwheel for the Soulcraft.

Nitto Classic handlebars.

Finally, we set up the cockpit. We chose Nitto’s classically shaped drop bars, paired them with a Nitto stem, and mounted the Rohloff shifter on the end of the bar with a Hubbub adapter. Lastly, we wrapped the bars in tan Deda tape to compliment the Gilles Berthoud leather saddle.

This custom frame was a joy to build, and we were excited about the Rohloff-specific features designed into the frame. We expect our customer will enjoy this no-frills, durable road bike for years to come. Contact us to discuss whether a Rohloff-equipped road bike is in your future.

Build Details:

•  Frame: Soulcraft custom steel road
•  Fork: Soulcraft steel
•  Headset: Chris King NoThreadset
•  Stem: Nitto UI85EX
•  Handlebar: Nitto Classic
•  Shifter: Rohloff
•  Bar Tape: Deda
•  Seatpost: Paul Component Engineering Tall and Handsome
•  Saddle: Gilles Berthoud leather
•  Front Hub: White Industries MI5
•  Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
•  Spokes: Sapim Laser
•  Nipples: Sapim brass
•  Rims: Velocity A23
•  Tires: Schwalbe Durano Plus
•  Cranks: White Industries VBC Road
•  Bottom Bracket: Phil Wood Stainless
•  Chainring: White Industries VBC
•  Pedals: Shimano Ultegra
•  Chain: Wipperman 8sX
•  Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace
•  Levers: Shimano R600