Handemade Steel Mountain Bikes

August 2010

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Our dealer Gino is about to receive the best thing to hit Belgium since their 4th place finish in the 1986 World Cup.  That’s right, a shipment of Brontos on their way!!

3 sexy Brontos will soon be sitting on the showroom floor in Ham.  The sexy Bon in blue above, and two 29ers.  One 29er is our standard white with red.  HOT:

But the crown jewel perhaps is Gino’s personal rig, a white and gold beauty with big ol’ 29″ wheels.

Usually custom colors are, well, custom.  But this one turned out all right.  The Belgian Bronto population just increased by 300%.  Watch out.

Wes Meyer, known to many as the Borg for his endless list of borg-like qualities, first touched his Bronto the night before the NUT.  Completely new bike, new geometry, new everything, and we were embarking on a mission from high above to ride 80 miles of the best singletrack in the universe.  The only “test ride” was doing manuals next to the van while we were waiting for cars to assemble.  Needless to say, he did just fine.  But a little history is in order.

A nihilist when it comes to anything except car motors and espresso machines (yes, the irony is deep), we can safely say that this is the nicest bike the Borg has owned or ridden in quite some time.  Which is not to say he doesn’t have a soft spot for bikes – he has an old Davidson road frame he refuses to retire, and a couple old WTB frames.  But mostly he’s content to ride ironically uncool bikes well.  Paradigm change – now he has a sexy Bronto.

But special note must be given to the NUT preparation.  Few people could pull off coordinating a shuttle and camping adventure for 14 people – big white van, 16-foot trailer, food, and 2 grills.

Yes, pround Bronto owner number 11-ish.  Wes Meyer.  On a sexy Brown Bronto.

The last day of the NUT.  Oh how we will miss you, sweet, seet trails.

On day 3 we woke to fatigue and eggs.  There was only about 15 miles left – the shortest day – to finish the nut.  We shuttled the cars and clipped in for a brutal day of climbing.

Huge climbs, with endless switchbacks, but we were rewarded with long, beautiful, technical descents.  The last 5 miles was a long, fast descent, peppered with short little climbs.  Each felt like a kick in the nuts.

But all too soon it was over.  Our 80 glorious miles of singletrack had come to an end.  After a dip in the North Umpqua river, we headed to Roseburg, loaded up on carbs at the burrito shack, and headed north.  First Bronto adventure in the books!

The second day of our NUT adventure, we awoke to Wesley’s french toast and Jim roasting bacon.  The more clever among us combined these two for a delightful sandwich..others were more conservative and kept the bacon and syrup far apart.  We decided to keep the same campground and shuttle after the day was done, so while the cars were being put into place the rest of us got our bikes tuned up and ready to go.  Already after day 1 there were some issues – Matt the brewer had brought a 36-tooth front ring on his single speed.  Ouch.  DA had made a huge crash and crushed his arm, Troy was retiring for the day…after some part and bike swapping we were good to go.

In case I didn’t give a good enough account of the trails that run along the North Umpqua River, allow me to elaborate.  Like most river trails, the NUT is an endless series of climbs and descents – mostly descents, but no shortage of climbing.  Off-camber, tight, twisty, bermed, smooth, rocky, there is everything on this trail.  Long descents that will keep you smiling.  Beautiful, tight Oregon singletrack, loose and rocky in some sections, but beautifully groomed, as if Carl Spackler himself was in charge of the trails.

The second day started out with a big climb, ouch, but we were rewarded with smooth, flowy trails at the top, a killer view, and a superb descent.  At the bottom of this descent we saw that the trail was closed due to construction blasting.  After some heated discussion, the group split and the braver ones may or may not have poached the closed section.

Regrouping, we all finished the last few segments of trail – Todd running out of water and pretty much everyone burning through their stock of Clif Bars.  At day’s end we hopped in the waiting van, stopped by for some cases of Hamm’s and PBR, and back to camp for some swimming, hot springs, and bacon cheese burgers.

Next up – day 3!

What a weekend.  80mi/120km of some of the best singletrack on the planet.  About a year ago, a small group of us rode some sections of the North Umpqua Trail, just as the discussions for Bronto were getting started.  So we thought it would be a good idea to come back and do the whole thing, point to point.  Thus was born the Bronto NUT.

14 people, camping, food…much more of an undertaking than we had anticipated.  We left Seattle with 2 hour delay.  Stopping in Portland to see Dunn & Co at the brewery did not speed things up.  But we got there, or got to Springfield anyway, and everyone crashed on the floor or the grass.  After a few morning technical and logistical delays, we were off and on our way to the trailhead.

And we were riding!!  The first section, Lemolo, was 6.3 miles of flowy, dusty fun.  A nice warm-up.  So far, no problems.  The next section, Dread and Terror, was going to kick our ass a little bit.  Multiple flats, a broken chain, a good crash or two, and some tough, technical, undulating terrain.  Huge amounts of water were cascading down the cliff, dripping from moss and branches, and running down the trail.  It was dirty but fantastic.  The last section of trail, Hot Springs, was smooth as carpet and super fun, a nice ending to the day.

Camping at Toketee lake, we set about to drinking as much Schooner Exact beer as we could (7 growlers in one evening) and carbo-loading for the massive 2nd day.  Wes cooked up sausages and chili.  The morning brought french toast and bacon, and soon we were clipping in for day 2….

Our web guy was new to the world of 29″.  We set him up ok.  Here’s his new steed:

Sexy!!!!  Fox F29 fork, SRAM shify bits, a smattering of FSA.  Sun Ringle wheels.  Todd gave him plenty of tire clearance for big meat tires.

The blue looks good…might again be my favorite color.  Now lucky Matt, he gets to ride this.