Some time ago, I pronounced that my next bike would be steel and 29+. Since then, I've picked up a Mukluk that can fit 29+, sold off four frames in the May Purge, and lately I've picked up this steel Twin Six frame off ebay:
It's simply Yet Another Steel Hardtail, not 29+ capable, so my prior idea of steel and 29+ apparently didn't have to be the same bike.
Of course, by now you may be asking, what is Twin Six? They're primarily a clothing marketer, but they are branching out into frames. This frame was apparently a prototype made by Waterford in Wisconsin. Since it was made by the folks who also make Gunnars, I was ready to deal with a slipping seat post and chipping paint. I ended up having issues with both of those areas, but not quite in the way I expected.
But to back up a moment, I was a bit lukewarm about the idea of Twin Six brand bike. Brands are important, right? I love the Voodoo logo or Salsa's "Adventure by Bike" tagline, but Twin Six as a brand didn't do anything for me... until the "duh!" moment when I realized I knew a pair of six year old twins:
Brand connection established, I got to bidding and building. I got this far on my first night, but then had to take a break for my 44mm headset to arrive:
When the headset arrived the next night, I was able to knock it together pretty quickly. I can build up a single speed in less than an hour these days, easy:
The frame features Paragon Machine Works (made in the US!) swinging dropouts:
So far, I like these better than the Alternator dropouts on the Muk: easier to adjust, and they look quite sleek.
I may be the only person that likes these Shimano BR-M495 disc brakes:
I find them less fiddly to set up than the equivalent Avid BB7 brakes, though I'm getting spoiled by using my hydraulic brakes these days.
I splurged on a birthday present to myself and picked up a Thomson (also MUSA!) seatpost:
Alas for US quality control, it was slightly oversized, closer to 27.3mm than 27.2, requiring me to install it with a mallet. But I wanted silver, and no setback, and there isn't a lot of selection with those criteria in mind. Hopefully, at least, it won't slip without a Coke can shim, which all my previous Gunnar frames have required.
The frame is handmade in the US:
All built up, I was ready for a test ride at my local loop at Alum Creek:
Unfortunately, the first ride wasn't all that inspiring. Mostly, I found that handling kind of darty and nervous. This was likely due to the fact that I was using a 468mm fork, shorter than the 480mm fork the frame was designed for. I used to be all about sharp handling bikes, but maybe I've just gotten used to the more sedate handling of the Mukluk. I won't say I'm in the slack camp, but I'm starting to back off my 72 degree head angles these days. A little.
When I got home, I started making some changes to my build:
A longer, 490mm fork would put the head angle closer to design:
You can see my other issue with this bike (though not really the bike's fault): my stupid trunk rack took off a good portion of the seat tube decal. My next car will be a hatchback.
I put on my Salsa (Adventure by Bike!) Bend 2 bars, less rise (since the fork is longer), but more sweep, which I like:
Sharp eyed reader(s) will notice the rear rim no longer matches the front:
This is because I installed the Blunt 35mm rear rim back on the front of the Mukluk, to run it 29+ again. I took the 29+ Muk out earlier this week, and it wasn't a happy ride. Somehow, my back always hurts when I ride that bike, even though the saddle to bar relationship is close to my typical range. I blame the wide Q factor, but don't ask for a physiological explanation here. I drug it around for six mile of P2 and gratefully headed home.
Today, I took my updated Twin 6 out with some buddies after work:
Marc and Chris are part of the fast crew, and after one lap in the 90 degree heat, I was done in. I gave in quickly to peer pressure, however, and joined them for lap two. Somehow, I usually feel better on lap two at Alum, and today was no different: we ripped off a pretty quick lap for early in the season. I also relearned the single speed rule: the faster you go, the better it is. I was getting a little more in sync with the Twin 6, able to dart it between the trees and hammer it up the short climbs, keeping up with my buddies on their full suspension bikes.
After one lap, I was contemplating a full sus bike myself. After the second lap, where's the need? Though I will have to pick up a geared dropout before I tackle Mohican.
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