Monday, October 21, 2013

Singular Gryphon Rises Again

What do you get when you cross a Singular Gryphon with an OS Blackbuck? I've had both my Singular Gryphon and my OS Blackbuck framesets for sale for quite some time without much action. Both bikes had some things I like (Blackbuck: handling, Singular: looks and ride), so I wondered if I could get the best of both worlds?

I thought about calling this "Project Pheonix" to fit in with the Gryphon theme, but WTB already has that name, so I'm going call this project "SingBuck":

The Blackbuck's fork on the Gryphon's frame. I cleverly wrapped the fork in black tape to reduce the visual jarring of the cream frame mated to a black/white/red fork:

My hope was that the shorter fork from the Blackbuck (435mm vs. 445mm on the stock Gryphon), with similar rake, would sharpen up the Gryphon's handling. I took a quick demo (at night, wearing crocs--I was excited to ride immediately after my build) and was pretty amazed by the ride, but it wasn't until today that I took it out for a proper ride. My warm up lap on the beginner trail confirmed my initial demo: the bike just felt fast. Maybe it was the low slung bars. Maybe the tires. Maybe the more flexible frame. In any case, I was wishing for a taller gear to get more speed out of it.

Unfortunately, after four or five miles of rooty P1, my back and hands were starting to feel the weight of the low bars. I finished off the lap, still quick, but my back was in no shape for another lap. And, I have to examine my preconceived notions vs. the actual geo: I thought the Gryphon's stock fork was 20mm longer, not just 10mm, and I thought the Blackbuck's fork had more rake, not less (BB is 51 vs. 55 for the Gryphon). Take that all together and stir it up, and the numbers tell me the Gryphon should handle very similarly with its stock fork. I was underwhelmed by this the first time around, so it's worth trying again. Especially as the Singular fork did ride noticeably better than the stiff BB fork.

I'm not sure what the future holds for my SingBuck. I need to get the bars up some, but I don't want to lose the upside down-ness of the flipped Marys. I will probably add gears to it, mimicking one of my favorite setups from my Salsa Fargo:

My complaint with the Fargo was that the frame was too stiff--otherwise, it was really comfortable and fun to ride in this configuration. The smaller diameter/thinner wall tubing on the Gryphon has a much nicer flex to the ride, but it loses out on the thoughtful braze-ons from the Fargo. In the back of my mind, I have an idea to have a local frame builder put canti studs on the rear of the Gryphon--that would allow me to use my Burley Picolo with it, obsoleting my Novara Buzz for family duty. Hmm...

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