This isn’t the perfect* bike for various reasons but it’s very close concept wise.
My issues are
1. Too heavy. Although this is down to the build not the frame. At 6.44lbs my small is quite reasonable for how it can be built. Shave half a pound off and I’d be very happy but the wheels/cranks/bars/seat/etc aren’t exactly light items. They were all bought as reasonable cost to weight ratio that should last.
2. Tyre clearance. The 2010 chainstays are a bit too tight for a 2.4″ tyre (Schwalbe Nobby Nic currently) for my liking although there’s plenty of metal there to be worn away. Pushing it hard into berms causes tyre rub which a few more mm might avoid. A skinnier rim might do the same job though.
3. Seatpost QR lever hits the bar connecting the seatstays on bigger hits so has to be run at an angle. I believe this is only an issue on the small and when my uppydowny seatpost works it’s a non issue as the QR is swapped for a collar. Just a shame that my uppydowny seatpost is shit and spends more time on the bench. Yes it’s a Crank Bros before you ask and no I’ve not had much luck with the newer version I stole off Bec’s bike to use for one ride.
4. The seat/top tube brace gathers water when cleaning, yeah I know not very often, and you have to remember to rotate it on the workstand to drain the water out. Ok I’m clutching at straws now.
So the perfect* bike should have
1. 1.5″ or 44mm headtube with a Cane Creek Angleset in. Non of this pointless fashion based tapered head tube as we aren’t on an absolute gram saving excercise here. I’d much rather have the bigger range of head angle adjustment and fork steerer options available with a bigger headtube.
2. Head Angle around the 67deg mark.
3. At least one water bottle mount. They may not be fashionable but I prefer bottles to bladders and they act as a nice place to strap a battery come Winter. Also this is preferably on the downtube inside the frame.
4. Rear travel around the 125mm mark.
5. Designed for 140mm travel forks.
6. Dropouts for the new 142mm 12mm axle.
7. Cable stops as I don’t like full outers.
8. Cable guides for seatpost remote. I prefer the lever under the saddle type but I have the feeling these will come in short supply in the next few years.
9. Weight under 6lbs.
10. Not Fugly.
There are quite a few bikes out there that come close to this with minor compromises. Although I expect more will pick up the geometry, weight, dropouts and travel details over the next 18 months.
The Hemlock is pretty close and very good value considering you’ll have to pay 50% again for most of the brands but unfortunately it has now been discontinued. I wait with interest to see if and what they come up with next in the full suspension department.
For those wondering no I’m not buying a new bike. Just thinking about what I’ve got and being glad it’s quite close to what I want it to be.