KB’s uber-custom fatbike – The Swan

This frame was really cool to see go from computer screen to reality. A few people said it looked Swan-like so…there you go.
Thanks to Walt and Brad for their help with this. I probably couldn’t have made it like this had they not given me great advice and in Brad’s case in-house gusset lessons.

KB wanted a 5″ fatbike with a Bluto and 2×10 gearing allowing a 20 x 42t for her lowest gear. She requested the lowest standover possible with a 80mm Bluto, BB height no less than 12.5″, and 4.8″ tires. I was able to get the standover (unsagged) to 695mm and lower as you get closer to the seat tube (~630mm).  I bent the top tube to get it as low as possible but also to give a nice long coped interesection with the True Temper 38mm Supertherm downtube.  The top tube comes into the downtube in the thicker butted section (1mm wall) and a big long gusset was added to strengthen the headtube junction made out 2″ diameter x 0.049″ wall 4130 straight gauge tubing.  She also wanted her bars to be 4″ higher than her saddle.  So this build was very different than anything I’ve attempted before.

Geometry:  68.5 degree head tube angle, 73 effective seat tube angle, 430mm long chainstays, 612mm front center, 41.4″ wheelbase.

Components: SRAM 10-spd twist shifters, Hayes Prime Expert disc brakes, Truvativ Noir T20 carbon riser bar, Thompson 70mm stem and seatpost, Surly Mr. Whirly Offset Double 165mm crank is on there with a 20x33t ring combo paired to a 10spd SRAM 12-36 cassette.  But the cassette is a wide range 10, with a Wolf Tooth 42t ring and a 16t to replace the 15 and 17t rings. I used their longer B-tension bolt too to get it to shift right.

The front derailleur is a direct mount X7 mounted to the Wolf Tooth clamp for Moonlanders/190 rear hubs.   Because of the weird crank when set up as spec’d (2mm from bottom of cage to top of big ring) the cage rubs the crankarm. It’s really easy to adjust the direct mount derailleur upwards and out of the way and it still shifts pretty good.

Wheels were built by Lacemine29.com and are Bontrager tubeless Jackalope rims laced to a 190 Fatback 10mm through-axle on the rear and a Borealis 150x15mm hub on front, Vee Rubber Snowshoe XL’s run tubeless! Very easy to set up without any tape on these rims. Super psyched about this. It didn’t work well (at all) for me using Lou/Buds.   Headed to the Colorado high country!


Melissa’s Fatcycle

This fatbike will be really fun to ride. I pushed with normal chainstays here so am “only” using the Specialized Ground Control 4.6″ tire on the rear to give some room on the 430mm chainstays.  A Surly Lou 4.8″ fits but with not enough room for comfort. Orange Nextie carbon tubeless ready rims, Surly Bud on front, tires are both run tubeless. Hope Fatsno hubs with a 197×12 rear and a 150×15 on front for the Bluto 120 fork.  Shimano XTR shifter and brakes and rear derailleur, Race Face Turbine Cinch crankset with a direct mount 28t ring, a wide range 10-spd cassette with the 42t Wolftooth cog and their 16t as well.  A Thompson Covert dropper post will be put on when it arrives which also has internal routing like the rear brake and derailleur.  She wanted something camo but also dug this Cosmic Blue so I got some orange camo decals made up by VCG.  I think it looks pretty awesome!

Geometry is short chainstays and slack head tube angles, my new fatbike preferred geometry because of how it behaves in soft snow. Here goes:

– 68.5 degree HTA

– 73.5 degree effective STA

– 430mm (16.9″) effective chainstay length. Actual is about 434mm. In my mind, effective length means more than actual. Effective is the horizontal distance between the rear axle and the center of the BB.

– 62mm BB drop is nothing too high or low. I’ve been leaning higher lately to reduce pedal strikes with such wide Q-factors that now are common (222mm!) and when using flat pedals.  Having said that…this still is a pretty low BB at about 318mm (12.5″) with the biggest diameter fatbike tires.

– 610mm (24″) effective top tube, 720mm front center.

Isaac’s foothills tourer

I forgot to post some photos up from Isaac’s touring bike build. I was under a self-induced deadline to get this thing built for his annual Chillbilly ride last Saturday so lost track. Some fun old-school things I’ve never done before on this bike like under BB cable routing for the downtube mounted shifters, and the rear Paul racer brake on the chainstays. Geometry is his special blend and I made a higher rake fork for when he has bags on front.

Some photos..

Sean’s all-rounder all dressed up

Sean sent some pictures of his bike all built up!  Jordan Low did the paint work, Sean built it and took the photos.  NAHBS ready even if I’m not.  I already blabbed about it HERE so i’ll refrain and just show his pictures.  Hope you enjoy.



Donny’s 29er

Donny wanted a lifelong bike, something he could rail on from Crested Butte to Chile. He wanted to have a stiff rear triangle for out of the saddle climbing, and a rig to bikepack around South America where he spends a lot of time being a ski guide.  The geometry could take many routes with these desires but after a lot of thought I made the bike a full on fun all-mountain style geometry since bikepacking these days involves bags instead of racks most of the time.  So in my opinion it’s better to have a bike you like to ride all the time rather than a bike just for camping.  As such, this frame is moderately slack and has short chainstays for a 29er…but not too slack and short.

– 69 degree HTA with the Fox Talas set at 120 which translates to about 70 degrees with the fork set on the lower travel setting (90mm) for better climbing geometry. I really like this aspect of the Talas fork and I use it a lot. The difference is definitely noticeable and helps.

– 74 deg effective STA to shorten saddle setback and center him between the wheels better with the short chainstays. I’ve found that you also have quicker transitions to seated/standing climbing and a more spunky feeling to the bike in general. Since he likes to climb standing up a lot, i felt this was the right call.

– 420mm chainstays (16.5″), fits a 2.25″ easily, will be tight with a 2.4″ tire.

– 12″ high bottom bracket

– 580mm (22.8″) top tube length, 665mm front center.

– Bent tubes all around.  Downtube bent for fork crown clearance and to give me some room to separate the top tube and downtube on the 98mm Paragon head tube.  I like using the bent Nova downtubes for this reason alone, no compound miters.  Bent top tube and wishbone seatstays for looks. Bent seat tube for tire clearance. Radiused wishbone seatstays.

– 31.6 Reverb dropper post with under downtube cable routing with the cool Ragley cable clamps that use a water bottle boss to attach up to 3 cables.

– 142×12 rear axle, hooded Paragon dropouts.


Sean’s fat road cross tourer

Sean’s frame and fork are done! I am not sure what to call this bike, but it’s a true all-rounder.

I built this frame based off traditional touring geometry with angles of 72/73 (HTA/STA) with a custom fit based on his dimensions and previous bikes he likes.  It fits up to 2.4″ tires (he’ll be running Schwalbe Supermotos = 29 x 2.35″ slicks), full fenders, and panniers. To fit the big tires I used a 73mm BB shell and to get a road-like gearing he’ll be putting on a White Industries road crank that has a huge range of ring sizes that can be used because of their very unique Variable Bolt Circle (VBC) design.  The frame’s got a lower bottom bracket (79mm) drop but not too low so he can still use 33mm cross tires or  40mm “gravel” tires like the Clement X’Plors without scraping pedals.  Paragon low-mount disc dropouts with two eyelets, True Temper tubeset except for the chainstays which are Dedacaai. The fork is Yo Eddy style segmented with a fork rake of 57mm for a trail figure of 54mm or 60mm depending on tire choice. It’ll be a quick responsive ride that will handle front loads well but also be smooth on dirt. It’s got all internal cables and a custom arch for the internal front derailleur cable. The arch was Sean’s idea based on a classic Pegasus frame. It also makes for a sweet rest for shouldering the bike. A challenging build and i love how it came out.

He’s sending it to get a sweet custom paint job that will definitely be the nicest finish on any Meriwether to date.  And to top it off, Sean designed his own headbadge for it that is right in line with the spirit of the brand.