Well here is my new ride, an OS Bikes Blackbuck singlespeed. What another singlespeed? Don't you have one of those already? Well I do but the Solly will be rocking a fixed gear, 42c CX treads and optional bike packing gear for epics, mixed terrain rides and stuff. The BB will be for shorter rides (sub-8hr say) and messing about on. The freewheel and dual disc brakes makes it a little more friendly for technical riding and group stuff....no one likes being dropped on a fire road downhill in the first 50m :)
I had followed with interest GuitarTeds testing of the BB on twentynineinches.com with a variety of different forks. The geometry is pretty different from "regular" 29ers with a 74deg head and seat angle, 435mm forks with 51mm rake (tail about 55mm, vs 70-80mm for most other 29ers) 612mm top tube is spot on for me and the 18" seat tube fine as well. The EBB is the closest fitting I have see on a production frame and makes it easy to adjust the chain tension. Ah hell, read G-Teds write up, he's better at it than me.
I managed to get it built up on Friday night but had to wait until Saturday to finish it as the Avid rear hose was 10" too short (the front was only just long enough on a rigid bike!) and the top-hats in the Race Face BB needed replacing after the original ones shattered when I installed the cranks. I did read, understand and follow the instructions but still they fell apart. After the silly easy fitting of the Deore HTII cranks to Becca's bike earlier in the week I was a little miffed but that's life. Oh and they don't spin too easily, I hope that this will bed in a bit.
First ride was a 2hr social jaunt over Breadon hill, starting with a nasty climb to gain height then taking in grassy descents, mud, singletrack, wet roots and psychotic trail dogs. The handling felt really stable to start with, I could even manage some no-handed riding on the road and kept the front end from wandering on the stiff climb up the fields. When I got it on the twisty trail however the handling was super sharp and a real "think about it and its done" sort of response that saved me a couple of times (mainly turning in too sharp on wet, muddy grass)
I need to fit a shorter stem (90mm vs 105mm on there) and slide the saddle right back. Colour co-ordinated stem spacers. A seat clamp that holds the post a bit better as the QR one slipped a litte with me bouncing on the saddle, aided by the hefty Carradice Glentress seat pack (filled with tools, tube, pump, jacket, over trousers, food and camera!) A surly Constrictor might fit the bill nicely.
The saddle pack and a spare SQR block on the Solly allows me to carry enough for most day rides (along with 2 bottles on the frame) and easily move it from bike to bike depending on the ride. The frame bag will be fitted for big stuff and when I really need to cart the kitchen sink about! Talk today was of a bivvy at Afan and possibly the West Highland Way next year over 4-5days with some side route diversions.
Finally a pic, with the Titec bars looking really odd, well odder than normal!