So about the Carver Ti 420...
Seat tube much?I already went over my misgivings about the frame before I'd even ridden it. Before I even talk about the actually "riding" of the bike, I still need to preface my opinions with the following statement:
I realize I coulda just stuck a 140mm fork on the Dickstickel Meatplow V.6 and had something similar to what I ended up with here. Two things stood in the way; my desire to keep the By:Stickel built with a 100mm fork (not be swapping forks on a whim) and the fact that I had cut the 140mm Fjox fjork too short for the By:Stickel anyhoo. I wanted an always ready to go at a moment's notice all mountain hard tail single speed... without going custom due to price, wait time, and the possibility that this was a terrible idea. I love my By:Stickel the way it is, and I didn't want to mess with it. Nuff said.
This past weekend, we rode some classic Pisgah "descents" and trails including Turkey Pen, Squirrel Gap, Avery Creek, Cove Creek, and Daniel's Ridge. Some of those are my absolute favorites. What shined about the bike that I noticed?
Technical climbing. It was so easy to loft the front end onto ledges and waterbars. I attribute that to the short stays and way relaxed seat tube angle. I tried to measure it with my angle meter app on my iPhone. Close to 68-69°? Somewhere in there. Crazy. I realize I can't get an accurate measurement due to the offset seat tube... whatever. Even with the 68° (listed) head tube angle, the front end didn't wander on the climbs, but that probably has more to do with the fact that when you're climbing steep shit on a single speed, you're standing with your weight more centered on the bike.
I thought the high bottom bracket would be a pain in the ass (13.15 listed, slightly more measured), but it was actually kinda awesome. There's not a whole lotta "turn carving" in Pisgah, but there are a lot of impediments to forward progress. I had a way easier go at Squirrel Gap than usual, a trail known for its technical features. I just smashed away, totally scoffing the idea of pedal strikes. I was also able to clear some pretty large logs (for me), but I do realize that the high BB might have had some placebo effect there.
Overall, I would say having a 140mm fork coupled with short stays equals exactly what I was looking for. I was able to stick on to Kurt's wheel this weekend whereas he was dropping me back when I was on the FSR EVO. This bike suits me and how I ride. So much fun just picking that bike up and moving it. Serious brahppage and schralping.
Loads of clearance, Clarence.
As I mentioned before, that one water bottle thing kills me. I hate wearing packs. I have plenty of them, they are okay when I have to wear them, but I prefer to leave them at home. Fortunately, Pisgah has lots of streams, and I have iodine and Gu Brew.
I can get away with riding all day with this combo. I win.
That "tall feeling" on this bike. With the bottom bracket being soooo high and the fork being soooo long, I am really up there. My bottom bracket drop is less than 30mm. I know exactly what would make it feel better.
The Thomson Elite Drooper Post. I must haz it. Why the yet to be released Thomson and not one of the other drooper posts that are already on the market? Because I don't know anyone that tests their products like Thomson. I remember when they showed their seat post collars at Interbike for the first time. Somewhere between 1-2 years later, after more testing than you would imagine a company would do on something like a seatpost collar, they released it.
I trust Thomson. I am actively pursuing the acquisition of their drooper from all angles to ensure that one will be in my possession ASAP.
I consider myself quite lucky. You need at least 185mm from rails to seat post collar.
I have 200mm. That's close.
As much of a bike snob as I am, and despite my desire to hate the bike based on the nits that I picked last week, I really like this bike. It freaking rails. I would love to do something custom in titanium based on this bike. Lower top tube, somehow mash a second bottle on there, but that's about it. At $1,400 MSRP, you are getting really close to where you could get this frame with custom numbers... but in steel... but just how you want it. I am perplexed, but in the meantime I'll just ride this bike until further notice.
I have no advice to offer. I'm not usually one to settle for something I'm not 100% on, but for what it would cost me to address these small concerns that I think I can work around...
I'm keeping this bike around for awhile.
I have my "quiver."
Six bikes that just happen to be 100% single speed...
If that makes me an angry single speeder, so be it.