31 October 2014

REVIEW: Soma Sandworm Fatbike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB and Gates Carbon Drive Belt

Soma Fabrications called us recently and told us they were designing their first fatbike frame named the Sandworm; they wanted us to test out the prototype and give it the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 internal gear hub and Gates Carbon Drive belt drive treatment that we are known for. We were glad to hear they had decided to expand into fatbikes with this frame and potentially bring the fun of fatbiking to more people by filling a hole in the market for an affordable Rohloff/belt drive frame. Once we received the frame, we began mapping out a build kit suitable for this project.

28 October 2014

Merlin Roots Mountain Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB

This Merlin Roots came in to the Monkey Lab for routine service, and we were excited to check it out. Offered as a limited edition, the frame is modeled after the original west coast "Klunkers," the home-made dirt cruiser bikes that were ridden at breakneck speeds by the pioneers of mountain biking on the dirt roads and hiking trails of Marin County's Mount Tamalpais. Although the aesthetic of the bike is similar to early Klunkers, it's equipped with modern geometry, materials, and technology that didn't exist in the early days of mountain biking, including a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and hydraulic disc brakes. This bike's owner was initially drawn to the bike because of its form, but his first few rides confirmed it is also an extremely functional ride.

Calfee Design Bamboo Road Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB and Dynamo hub

Bamboo is an unconventional material to build a bike from, but it has become an increasingly popular option as more and more riders discover the unique ride quality that it offers. We built this bamboo Calfee Design frame for a customer who enjoys long organized rides like the Seattle to Portland event along with exploring back roads around his home near Seattle. He also planned to use the bike for his daily transportation needs, so it was designed as a sturdy road bike/light duty touring bike. All the components needed to stand up to heavy mileage, rough roads, and the Pacific Northwest’s infamously damp climate. The Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 internal gear hub combined with a Gates Carbon Drive belt system provides a drivetrain that is nearly impervious to the elements, and the Schmidt dynamo hub-powered lights provide worry-free night time vision.

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.

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.