Monday, August 12, 2013

Rigid 29er Smackdown Part Duex

In my last installment of some comparison riding, I rode the Blackbuck vs. the Soma Juice. The Blackbuck won that one--evidence being the Juice has been sold, but the Blackbuck remains. Today I took the Blackbuck out for round two:

It's the Blackbuck vs. the Singular Gryphon. I just headed out to my local guerrilla trail in Avery Park. It's short, maybe only a 1/3 mile figure eight, and flat, but it does have a few logovers, and some anonymous (ahem) but community minded person has been keeping the trail clear of fall downs and brush.

I set the bikes up as closely as my parts bin would allow, which is pretty close. Very close contact points triangle, very similar bars (Titec H and J bars), very similar tires, gearing, etc. I leaned one against the tree, did a lap, switched bikes, etc, for about eight laps total (until boredom set in).

Here's how it played out:

Handling: Blackbuck wins. It just has much less delay in turning than the Gryphon. The Gryphon handles fine... with that damning caveat, for a 29er. The Blackbuck is noticeably sharper.

Ride: Gryphon wins. It's a bit smoother.

Accelerating: Blackbuck wins. There really shouldn't be any difference here, but the Blackbuck seemed to roll out a bit snappier than the Singular. Possibly because of the (relatively) harsher ride, it feels faster.

Styling: Gryphon wins. I'm still trying to come to terms with the seatstays and paperboy paint on the Blackbuck. Though the Gryphon's headtube is possibly too tall, even for me.

So a tie, but really the Blackbuck wins--the win in handling is a bigger win in a more important category than the others. You can probably guess how this will play out.


  1. Great comparo. I have to say, I'm a little surprised by your results. Maybe I just don't know enough about either bike. One observation, though. You aren't running the Gryphon the way it is intended - with a dropbar. With a dropbar, your hands will be lower, elinimating your problem with the tall HT and further forward, putting more weight on the front wheel. That should sharpen up the handling, right? Maybe you could run the test again, but with a dropbar on the Gryphon. I wonder if your results would be different.

    John B.

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for your feedback!

      For sure, the Gryphon is intended as a drop bar bike. However, I did try to measure out seat to bars (both height and reach) to get the two bikes very close. I think the handling is largely due to the trail: around 70mm (I think) for the Gryphon, vs. a road-bike like 53mm for the Blackbuck.

      I might try the Gryphon as a drop bar, but it's almost too long for that for me: 620mm ETT, whereas my XL Fargo was 600mm and fit well with drops.


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