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New bikes!

April 7, 2010

Spring has sprung, and at least this past weekend, summer has summed!  A fresh breath of warm air gets everyone thinking about going for a bike ride.  After a year on her Kettler balance bike (during which time she both complained about saddle sores and requested clipless pedals), Linnaea has been positively bouncing off the walls to get a pedal bike.  With the help of craigslist, the Huffy Sea Star came home yesterday.  I immediately took off the training wheels.  Avoiding training wheels is the whole point of having a balance bike!

The human “training wheel” is a bit non-ergonomic, but its easier to take off.  After a quickly recovered moment of frustration, Linnaea zipped around the college green (or mostly green) with glee.

In other news: the Kermit Niner Air9 will not be joining me on the Tour Divide:

Since I only discovered the frame crack when I removed the cranks and bottom bracket for ordinary cleaning, I really don’t know how long it had been cracked.  Since the frame was new (a warranty replacement for the original Tang Air9) in late October of last year, I had put about 2000 miles on it.  A solid 1000 were on the trainer.  This frame was practically new!  Niner has not gotten back to me yet on whether they’ll warranty this one too, but one thing was quite evident:  for whatever reason, the Air9 is just not for me.

The trick is that stock non-aluminum hardtail29er  frames in my size (effective top tube length 640mm) are few and far between.  The Salsa El Mariachi is now a Ti frame made by Lynskey.  Lynskey makes the Ridgeline 29er, but it doesn’t have a replaceable derailleur hanger, a detail that seems pretty mandatory to me, especially given the numerous derailleur hanger epics in last year’s Tour Divide.  The Raleigh XXIX+G (geared) is a Reynolds 853 steel frame that would work.  That’s about it, that’s how huge I am.

My solution:  Carver custom 29er

Carver custom titanium 29er frame. Strengthened with a head tube gusset, oversize seat tube, and thick wall down tube and chainstays. Other details: satin finish, BB30, disc only, replaceable alloy derailleur hanger, fender and rack eyelets, and a third water bottle mount on the bottom of the down tube.

…coming in May.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2010 5:17 AM


    re big 29er frames.. how about a singular pegasus?

  2. stephen permalink
    April 8, 2010 8:56 AM

    what sorts of reviews are there out there on the carver ti frames? what do you think of the 96er option?

  3. April 8, 2010 9:33 AM

    re: Singular
    In a more relaxed scenario, I’d be happy to scope out all the ti framebuilders, but with the Tour Divide looming, I don’t have that flexibility. Singular’s new batch of Pegasuses will be “started” in May, which doesn’t practically fit with my schedule. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Certainly all the reviews that you can find linked through Carver’s site are good, though they are mostly specifically about the 96er. While having tires/parts for two different size wheels in a touring/remote situation doesn’t float my boat, I suppose that I can at least theoretically appreciate that there “might” be something to it. At any rate, if they can make a 96er frame that holds together fine, I suppose that’s all you really need to know when reading the review with a custom frame in mind.

    I have a local friend who does Ironmans, MR LAMB, and has a mix of aluminum, carbon, and Ti bikes. He just ordered a SS frame from Carver. This will be my first custom frame, so it took some quick brushing up on all the choices, but you really have to go into the process knowing exactly what you want. It got a bit more complicated since I wanted to be able to use all my current components. Getting the oversize seat tube avoided needing a new front derailleur and seat post. The trickiest choice was the BB30, which totally seems like the way to go in the long run, but at least in the spring of 2010, there are no BB30 cranksets in the 180mm length I use. As BB30 becomes more standard, that will certainly change. In the meantime, there is a Wheels Manufacturing delrin BB30-XT Hollowtech bushing adapter that is cheap, removeable, and reliable.

    Sometime in the future I may be a matching Ti rigid fork that matches the offset and sagged axle-crown of my Reba, so that I could switch over to rigid touring pretty easily.

  4. stephen permalink
    April 8, 2010 9:52 AM

    I hadn’t thought about the practical issues of support for 2 wheel sizes at all. In fact, that’s a pretty compelling argument against 96ers period. Regarding reviews, I was wondering about Carver’s ti in particular, since it’s apparently a pretty tricky material to work with. The Salsa looks terrific, though at +$800, it’s no easy thing — it might, though, be the ultimate sweet-spot in ti 29ers, especially since IF, Moots, Eriksen, Black Sheep, and even Dean are substantially more expensive. Speaking of rigid fork options, I thought the Carver carbon looked pretty slick, though I don’t know anything about the quality.

    Part of this stems from my own research about bike options. I’m interested in picking up something affordable but of reasonable quality and fun to give mtb’ing a try come the VT move. If you have advice or see something possible, please let me know…

  5. apa permalink
    February 13, 2011 4:56 PM

    Hi, how did that Carver custom frame work out for you? I can see that it was made by XACD, and I am considering letting them build a custom frame for me. However it feels a bit scary, do not know if quality and design details are OK.

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