First bike up on the list is Brandon's 22" Karate Monkey. Brandon came to us wanting a bike that he could use for a commuter, as he doesn't have a car. He also wanted a mountain bike for local use and for trips to CO to visit family. The Surly fit his needs well. He's about 6' 4", with really long legs. The bike fit really well, especially considering that he was using a Walmart special BMX bike! The parts mix is pretty standard, with BB7 brakes, X-7 derallieurs and shifters, and a nice assortment of Bontrager parts to round out the mix.
This is a bike on the other end of things. Loren came to us last year with a pretty specific need. He rides is bike all year long. He services a long line of Bluebird houses in River Bend Nature Center and around the surrounding area. He wanted something that fit like his Trek 7100 step through frame, but with some pretty major upgrades. With his full winter Carhart set up and bags on the back, throwing a leg over a level TT is not really an option. Oh, did I mention that he's over 70?! He wanted disc brakes, and larger tires to smooth out the bumps along the route. Not really having an off the shelf bike that fit all these needs, we sought the expertise of Mr Pofahl down th street. What we came up with was a 13" step through framed 29er with a super low BB, 1X9 gearing, full braze ons for rack and fenders, Hayes Discs for ease of use, and a standover height smaller than his hybrid! This ended up being damn near perfect for his needs. A gorgeous example of what a truly simple custom bike should be. Nothing too fancy, just purpose built for the application.
The last new bike is a stock spec'd Surly Long Haul Trucker. You have to love the guys from Bloomington for making such nicely done up bikes. With smart choices across the board, and a price of under a grand, this is a grat example of a vehicle replacement bike. This particular one had a Surly rack added, along with other normal rider accouterments, (not pictured.) Shortly after purchasing the bike, the owner was starting a long trip down to Missouri. God willing, he should be past Iowa by now, think happy thoughts for him!
I've been spending a lot of time on the OS Blackbuck lately. This is really one of the best bikes I've owned before. I love the geometry with a suspension fork, and with components really fit well with my thoughts on what a nice bike should be, without going to excess on blingly bits. I recently installed the rigid fork that Mark sells for this bike. It really defies convention on geometry, so much so as to be really out there. The fork is really short, 435mm axle to crown to be specific. This lowers the head tube quite a bit on the bike, bringing the parallel head and seat tube angles to a sharp 74 degrees. This alone should make the bike very quick handling, but the fork then throws another curve ball, 51mm of rake! I've been really excited to try this, as it is so far off from what is considered "normal" for a 29er. I have to say, I really like it! I've ridden it on the trails around here and some gravel, and it's way fun. The bike corners like no other 29er I've ridden. Whereas some of the steeper head angled 29er's I've ridden have a tendency to feel twitchy, this is not the case with this bike. It just loves to carve corners, and enters corners very much like a 26" bike. The inherent stability afforded by the bigger wheel balances the front end out nicely, making what should be terribly unstable quite nice. Riding no handed is not an issue for instance. The BB height is also not effected much, measuring out to be about 11.75" with the eccentric in the upper position. That's right about perfect for a rigid bike around here. Standover height is under 31.5", pretty low as well for a 18.5" frame with a straight TT.
The overall feel of the bike is of a low slung, responsive, go fast bike. With the smart parts spec, and the relatively low cost of the frame and fork, this package offers a ton of performance, comfort, and great looks for the money. I will be journeying up to Lebannon Hills to see how this bike performs in some rougher conditions, but I am nothing but greatly happy with the bike thus far.