21 May 2014

Surly ECR with Rohloff SPEEDHUB and belt drive

We built this Surly ECR for a customer in Mount Pleasant, SC who is bikepacking through the backcountry of Colorado this summer and planning a future tour along the Rhine River in Germany. He has toured extensively through Europe in the past but was considering a new Rohloff SPEEDHUB-equipped touring rig to make his future adventures as enjoyable as possible. He had been comparing a number of 29er frames before the ECR was released last year, including Surly's Ogre model. He was drawn to the larger volume tires of the 29+ platform, but the Krampus frame didn't have the right geometry and mounting points he wanted. Once the ECR became available his decision was pretty easy, and he contacted us to put together this bikepacking-specific ECR with some unique modifications and a custom paint job.

19 May 2014

Vassago Fisticuff with Rohloff SPEEDHUB

Vassago’s Fisticuff is billed as a “monster cross” bike that can handle everything from rough gravel roads to singletrack to daily commuting. Some people may look at it as a cyclocross bike with wider tires and others may look at it as a drop bar mountain bike.  Whatever you call it, the Fisticuff is an "all arounder" that feels just as at home on mountain bike trails as it does on long road rides. It makes you want to take off on an adventure, and pairing it with the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 gives you the drivetrain to do so without any maintenance issues.

The Fisticuff is built from a high quality heat treated steel tubeset, offering a resilient ride that takes the edge off of rough roads and trails. Compared to most cyclocross frames, the Fisticuff is reinforced in high stress areas to handle rougher trail use, making it nearly indestructible in normal road and 'cross riding conditions. Like most cyclocross bikes, the frame geometry offers a blend of road and mountain bike qualities. The front end and cockpit provide a body position similar to a road bike, and the rear end has a higher bottom bracket for trail clearance like a mountain bike. Chainstays are in between a road and a mountain bike, with a fairly short wheel base that can maneuver through twisty singletrack easily. It has both disc and cantilever brake mounts, clearance for 1.8" tires, and 
horizontal dropouts with adjustable chain tensioners, which make SPEEDHUB installation easier. The Fisticuff is one Vassago's more affordable imported models, along with the Jabberwocky, but they also offer Rohloff-friendly U.S.-made frames called the Optimus Ti, TKO, and Verhauen.

We built up this Fisticuff with a sturdy wheelset that is capable of rougher off road riding. Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Flow mountain bike rims are strong and allow for wider tires than most other rims used on cyclocross frames. Sapim Race spokes offer a blend of strength and light weight, and brass nipples offer strength and corrosion resistance. We used a black Toxaholics front hub and a black Rohloff SPEEDHUB in the rear. Schwalbe’s versatile and flat-resistant Marathon Mondial tires offer good mixed surface traction.

As a heavy duty adventure-style bike designed for many different trails and roads, the Fisticuff is well suited for the Rohloff SPEEDHUB. The SPEEDHUB’s shift system is entirely protected within the hubshell, so it is not exposed to road grit, rocks, sticks or anything else that may damage or affect a derailleur system’s shifting on long rides or rough trails. By combining the SPEEDHUB with the solid steel frame, this build offers a nearly bombproof ride that rarely needs to be tuned up even after the roughest rides.

We used a range top shelf components to round out the build. Raceface’s Turbine cranks, WTB Valcon saddle, and Thomson stem and seatpost are very strong with a fairly light overall weight, and Avid’s BB_7 road brakes and Cane Creek Drop V levers provide plenty of stopping power.

If you are interested in a “monster cross” bike of your own, contact us to talk about a Vassago Fisticuff build.

Build Details:

• Frame: Vassago Fisticuff
• Fork: Vassago Fisticuff
• Headset: Cane Creek Forty
• Stem: Thomson Elite X4
• Handlebar: Salsa Cowbell
• Shifter: Rohloff
• Grips: Profile Design cork bar tape
• Seat post: Thomson Elite
• 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 Marathon Mondial
• Cranks: Race Face Turbine
• Pedals: Shimano XT Touring
• Bottom Bracket: Race Face Turbine
• Chain ring: Race Face Wide/Narrow
• Rear Sprocket: Rohloff
• Chain: Wipperman Connex 808
• Brakes & Levers: Cane Creek SCR-5 levers, Avid BB_7 Road
• Rotors: Magura Storm 4-bolt

07 May 2014

Surly Big Dummy Cargo Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB, Schlumpf Speed Drive, and S&S couplers

When a customer told us he was planning to tour through Europe on a cargo bike, we knew we were in for a fun and unique project. Cargo bikes are perfect for hauling plenty of gear, but can be cumbersome on long distance rides or hilly terrain - not to mention a challenge to get through an airport. While our customer was not concerned with riding fast, he said he wanted a cargo bike that was comfortable, durable, and versatile enough to get him and his gear across a continent. The whole bike needed to easily pack up to fit on planes and trains, and would also serve as his daily commute vehicle when he returned from his trip. After a few conversations with our customer about his needs, we set to work planning out a build that would meet his criteria. His unique riding needs were a natural fit for a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 internal gear hub and Schlumpf Innovations Speed Drive two speed internal crankset, which together provide a reliable, wide gear range drivetrain that is perfect for hauling heavy loads across long distances.

02 May 2014

Surly Pugsley with Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and belt drive

Surly's Pugsley is the bike that brought fatbiking to the masses. Although not the original fatbike, it was the first fatbike that was widely available and offered at a price that many riders could afford. Since then, it has been updated with different frame colors and build kits each year while sticking to the same basic design centered around four inch wide tires. Surly's complete Pugsley "Special Ops" build has one of the most unique colorways yet, featuring a maroon frame, gumwall tires, and chrome rims, seatpost, stem, and handlebars. We converted this stock Puglsey to a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and Gates Carbon Drive-equipped demo bike for Wheel Life Cyclery bike shop near Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They will have the bike available for customers to test ride both the Rohloff and belt drive systems.