Handemade Steel Mountain Bikes

July 2011

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Every time I build a Rev. I find myself wondering why I haven’t explained them better. Reverends are built for solid climbs and fast descents.

Reverend 29er

Eagles Rest, Oakridge OR

I start with customer input on style and weight preferences. I can add bent top tubes for standover height clearance, and reinforcement details on the down tube and seat tube.

Down tube detail on the reinforced style.

Good view of a bent TT on a Paycheck

Any bent main tubes on a bike add weight so it is a consideration to think about. I personally think the weight is worth the style and durability you gain. Of course I am not racing competitively and counting every gram either, which is why I offer a racier version that uses more OX Platinum and less reinforcement. Still strong but less resistant to denting and other damage inflicted during a hard crash. On the race style I bend a short heavier walled tube for fork crown clearance up by the head tube and then sleeve it with a short stainless steel piece and splice an OX Platinum tube that continues on to the bottom bracket shell.

SS Sleeve

above the stainless sleeve is a heavier walled tube and below is OX Platinum.

Active riders, which is to say people who like to flick their bikes around switch backs or tight sections of trail, will enjoy the shorter wheel base the Reverend provides. A lot of effort goes into shortening their wheel base for climbing and cornering. Shorter stays work better for climbing. Period. Traction is based on weight placed on the rear wheel. When I first started building 29ers I found myself having to run longer chainstay lengths than I wanted but they were easy to produce so I stuck to it for a while. Over time I have learned that easy doesn’t always work best and certain “customizations” are indeed necessary for optimal function.

Standard chainstay lengths of 450-445mm center to center are easy to produce and for the most part work well until you need to climb out of the saddle. When you stand and shift your weight forward you remove weight from your rear wheel and run the risk of spinning out. Frustrating to anyone. With a Reverend you end up with a chainstay length of 432mm. Traction for days.

I achieve the shorter stays by bending the seat tube and running a plate mount front derailleur. The direct mount FDs are perfect because their “shifty bits” largely fall to the side of the seat tube vs the rear as many others do, robbing you of mud clearance and generally being annoying. Since the reverend is top pull it is also possible to hack off the bottom pull arm from the FD to add even more clearance.

It is possible to go too short on a bikes wheel base as demonstrated here in a video I took at Mountain Bike Oregon this year.

Hopefully this explanation helps to give you some perspective on our 29ers!

Apologies for the long radio silence.  The workshop has been running full steam for a while now and, well, blogging as fallen to the wayside.  But plenty has been going on.  A little re-cap is in order:

Todd has been pumping out sexy new Brontos in record speed.  So fast that they get out the door before we have a chance to photo them up properly.  Here’s a new blue one that went to Texas.  Blue!

Texan Bronto

This week we’re finishing a couple complete Reverend bikes, one going to MANITOBA, Canada, the other one taking its maiden voyage at the fabulous Mountain Bike Oregon event this weekend in Oakridge, OR – where Todd will be a guide, drinking free beer and bombing down shuttled singletrack runs all weekend.  Bastard.

Meanwhiles, over in Europe, the Bronto Pleasure Squad (EU Crew) has been tearing it up on the dirt.  The Tachelet Brothers recently took their shot at the Trans-Belgium, a one-day event that lasts something like 20 hours.  Yuck.  Next up is the Trans-Wales event in August.  Meanwhile Ben Berden has been racing week-in, week-out.  From the Belgacom MTB Cup to the City MTB Challenge.  Nice to hear Belgian fans yell out “steel is real!” as he rides by.  His rig is of course tres tres Euro: Dugast tubulars, bar ends, 26″ wheels:

Super Euro

A mini Bronto-fest strategery meeting was recently held in Portland, OR.  Needless to say, the morning after heads were a-hurtin’, but that didn’t stop us from riding 3+ hours of world-class singletrack on Surveyor’s Ridge, above Hood River, OR.  Good times.

Bronto Garden

And if that’s all not enough, we’re just getting our road and cross project off the ground: www.stoemper.com If you like Bronto but want a cross or road bike, check it out!  Lots more Stoemper love coming soon.