Tuesday, January 19

Roger, Roger. What's our vector, Victor?

We have clearance, Clarence,

so Operation Death Stick is a go.

Not Boom Stick

Death Stick... although Boom Stick sounded kinda cool too, but there can be only one Bruce Campbell and only one Boom Stick.
What the hell am I talking about? Here goes the history of my long time fantasy (not the Mr Rourke fantasy).

Before I owned my first single speed I went through quite a few long travel squishy/clicky bikes during my "death biking" phase (2000-2004). I can't glorify what I was doing as "Free Riding" since I never hucked a gnar drop more than nipple high or jumped over the Tour de France. I did enjoy my long travel bikes quite a bit, but I grew tired of lugging a 40 pound bike over hill and dale so I could ride straight down a mountain obstacles be damned. Once I bought my first single speed the devolution began.

My first few 26" single speeds (all three of them) had a 5" travel fork. I loved riding with all that travel, and my Planet X, Spicer, and Dean all sported a long travel Manitou Minute. At the time I vowed I would NEVER ride a bike with less than five inches up front. Once I swapped the Manitou for a rigid Karate Monkey fork to ride in the Hard Ass class at the Fontana Village Icycle Night Downhill Race it was all over, and I discovered my favorite way to ride a bike through the woods. Even today it is my preferred mode of travel (or lack thereof).

Over the last few years I've felt like I was missing something... that ability to loft my bike over a hump in the trail and land somewhere out there in the great unknown, to launch off a precipice and put a lot of air under my wheels in the name of fun, the kinda things that could really hurt me if I landed it wrong or found myself putting my wheels back down on the earth in a not-so-wrist-friendly manner. I've been wanting a "play bike" for quite some time.

Here's where it got sticky. The last couple of years I've had a frame sponsor. I couldn't really afford to have them make me the frame I needed, and I would have fully expected to pay something for it since I wasn't going to race on it. Towards the end of last year I had been saving up some cash to put towards a "play bike", but I spent the last four or so months working things out with MOOTS, so I wasn't sure if I could get the hook up on something from them or if (without any commitments) I could get whatever brand frame I wanted. Then things at work changed with the downfall of the economy....

Making less money at work made me re-prioritize my priorities. It seemed silly to throw all kinds of money around when I was starting to make less money, especially when I didn't NEED to. I had been dreaming of geared bikes with squish, squish with no gears, and everything else under the sun, but none of that fit in with my new budget. Luckily the change in my economic situation saved me from making a bad decision, and sooner or later the dark skies opened up, and I saw the light that was there the whole time.

When I really thought about it there's no way I want to mess with gears at this point in my life. I don't want all the racket and maintenance that goes hand in hand with clicking and clanking your way through the woods. It's not my style. The Lenz Sport Milk Money woulda been neat, but with only three inches of travel it hardly seemed worth all the extra effort and expense for what I wanted to do. I needed a long travel fork'ed hardtail, but so few of these beasts are available without going custom or spending more money than I really want to at this time.

A couple of weekends ago it all came to me in spits and spurts. While riding with some friends at Poplar Tent and borrowing Leanne's squishy bike to drop off some structures I realized I could make a go at this. A call to the folks at Industry Nine had the appropriate wheel in my hands sooner than I would have imagined possible (thanks Jeff, Brandi, and Drew), and another call to George at Bike29 had a box of happy on my porch Friday afternoon.

Buried under all the sponsored unprofessional athlete schwag stuff (Ahhhh, the glorious life of free T-shirts, socks, water bottles, and Eclairs) was a slightly used White Brothers Fluid 135. All I needed to do in turn was send my Fox Fjork to George in exchange for the longer travel, more down tube friendly beastie. I tend to look at suspension forks in this way; You buy 80mm forks when you just wanna go fast, you buy 100mm forks when you want to be comfortable, but when you buy anything with 5"+ travel you are buying yourself an extra testicle. Sorry ladies, but if you buy a fork with five or more inches of travel you are actually getting your first testicle, but one is better than none, right?

So anyways I strapped this bad boy to the bike formally known as the Meatplow.

I had to put a Cane Creek S3 plus Five on there to get a little more down tube clearance, and even that wasn't quite enough.

A little machining down (really just filing, but machining sounds cooler) and some custom caps gave me the clearance I needed, Clarence.

Other tiddly bits that completed the bike were some sexy polished Phoenix Cranks:

and a tidy Dirty Dog cable guide that actually does a great job guiding the cable and adding some death to the Death Stick:

but this is far and above my favorite thing:

Twenty millimeter thru-axle on the stiffest wheel in the biz (I have no actual factual data to back that up). I can see why big fellers complain about front end stiffness all the time on the 29'er forum on MTBR. My Fox Fjork left me unimpressed in that department after years of riding a rigid fork and getting used to ZERO flex. Even with an Industry Nine wheel up front clamped in place with a bolt-on skewer I could feel the Fox Fjork'ed front end wagging when I pushed it hard enough. That sucked. This thing only goes where I point it. This is the only way to fly.

So here it is as it sits now... the Death Stick:

I've only had one true go-to mountain bike for the last five years. I've always set that bike up as a fun bike I could race on, but not ideal for either situation (fun or racing). Now thanks to my friends at Niner, Bike 29, Industry Nine, Cane Creek, and I'd be wrong not to mention the guys at MOOTS, I have two bikes to cover all my "needs". The Niner will get a more race oriented build than I've ever had, and the MOOTS will be used as you see it, a true fun machine minus all the clanking and clicking.

Are you asking yourself "How can you put that monster of a fjork on the MOOTS?". Maybe you're not asking yourself that because you're not a huge bike geek, but I'll answer that question for those that are (and have made it this far into the post). The MOOTS was designed around a fork with a 490mm A-C height (a 510mm A-C unsagged suspension fork), and it has a 72° HTA with that said fork. Throwing the big fork on there makes the HTA closer to 70.5° (total guess) and the bottom bracket goes up to a very Pisgah rocks and roots friendly 12.8". Very nice. To think I was thinking that I needed something new when I had everything I needed if only I put my mind to it.

Happiness and ride report tomorrow. Sorry about not posting yesterday, but I was up at 5:30am getting ready to get my ass smoked on the downhills by The Dude in the mountains of Wilson's Creek.


George said...

Nice! It's dead sexy

Luis G. said...


The Evil MGE! said...

Fuggin Sweet! I need a play 29er.

Nerd On A Bike said...

That's pretty sweet.
I'm one of those big guys complaining about fork flex. Without a 15-20mm axle I can see the fork bow inwards when braking and flex sideways to the point where the brake rotor starts sounding like 5th Grade music class.
That front tire though...that thing just looks painfully heavy.

cornfed said...

Sheik Schick Death Stick. You need some running boards to help you climb up and over now, little legs.

Jesse said...


Anonymous said...

Now that you'll have a dedicated "race bike," I'm curious what your tire choice for the One9 will be?


CB2 said...

I want to see all of "Boom Stick" now.

dicky said...


Tire choice.
The same thing I've always ran until I run outta backstock.

Billy Fehr said...

My fave former ex wife is bloggin' like crazy all up on top of your middle list 2 days in a row. Amazing effort indeed and not even as long as a FaceliftBook post!!

wv: northr

brado1 said...

Captain Oveur: You ever been in a cockpit before?

Joey: No sir, I've never been up in a plane before.

Captain Oveur: You ever seen a grown man naked?


dougyfresh said...

I'm hungry. Can you call George and ask him to mail me some? Its a shorter distance than you shipping those up to me.

I feel crazy fjork flex with my Reba Race 29. I feel nothing with my Carbon Lefty SL. Should have put a Carbon Lefty on that Moots....

dougyfresh said...

oh, the Moots looks really nice. Sounds like the geometry came out pretty damn good for such a long travel fork. It won't ride like a 'chopper'.