Climbing on a borrowed fully.
Climbing on a borrowed fully.

mountain bikes (6)

Patrick

Building A Bike During The Pandemic (Part II)

Onyx Centerlock Boost front hub.

At the end of 2019, my wife and I moved eastwards. Switzerland being as small as it is, it was a move across borders into a different canton. With the move, my bike territory changed. While we're once again living at the foot of the Jura mountains, now slightly elevated at 550m (1800ft), the flanks north of our house are considerably steeper than they were in my old mountain bike playground. They're too steep for my 44 Marauder single-speed, and I quickly discovered that my 44 Big Boy fat-bike was also not the ideal machine for my new trails. So, I sold it in the summer of 2020 and started making plans for a bike that would feel more at home in steep terrain. In May of 2021, I pulled the trigger on a Stooge MK5 and used the following months to purchase components for it.

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Patrick

Building A Bike During The Pandemic (Part I)

SRAM Eagle XX1 10-50T Cassette

The pandemic broke supply chains, slowed production, and threw global shipping into absolute chaos. Combine that with people discovering cycling because their gyms were closed since the start of the pandemic and you have a bike market that can’t fulfill the growing demand. Much has been reported about bikes quickly selling out, component shortages, and long lead times. People can’t get the bikes they would like or build them with the components they would love. Many custom builders can currently not build complete bikes. They happily build frames but have to tell their clients that they’re on their own to build them up.

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Patrick

Pulled The Trigger On An MK5

Stooge MK5 in size 18".

I've always been a huge fan of the Stooge MK series of bikes. There was the plum crazy purple MK1, the redberry MK2, and probably my favorite, the plum crazier purple MK3. The MK1 was specifically designed around a 29×3 front/29×2.3 rear combo, whereas the MK2 received enough clearance on the rear to run 27.5x3" tires. Otherwise, the geometry remained unaltered. A lot of changes were made to the MK3. It had a 44 mm head tube, a tapered steel fork, and a shorter rear triangle. The MK3 was designed around B+ and was up to that point the most agile of the Stooges. With the MK4 Andy Stevenson pushed the boundaries and came up with a pretty radical geometry. It had a slack and low geometry and was designed around an 80 mm offset rigid bi-plane fork. It lost the 44 mm headtube and went back to a straight steerer tube. The frame was designed around a 29x3"/2.6" combo but kept room for 27.5x3" in the back. Whether you wanted a single-speed, an all-mountain trail bike, or a bike-packing rig – it did it all.

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Patrick

Old Mountain Bikes

Climbing in the Jura on a borrowed fully.

An incomplete list of the bikes I've owned. Before the digital age I rode two different Muddy Fox mountain bikes, a Specialized Stumpjumper, a secondhand Litespeed and a tricked out Merlin Mountain, which I bought slightly too small. FortyFour Big Boy (sold) First ride Mar…

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Patrick

FortyFour Marauder

Single-speeding in Les Prés d'Orvin.

In May of 2017 I discovered a fine hairline crack in the seat tube of my Kid Dangerous. The crack started at the hole of the seat tube slot and ran towards the weld of the left side seat stay where it followed the edge of the weld for a little bit. The bike had been ridden 5'500 kilometers on rough Swiss single-track. Kris covered it under his lifetime warranty and began building me a Marauder at the end of the same month. For a one-man shop who has a wait list and basically builds one bike at a time, he certainly made it a mission to get me back on a FortyFour.

My Kid Dangerous was one of the early client bikes Kris had built and it was an awesome bike. The Marauder got a bit of a longer front triangle and was the first frame Kris built with a T47 bottom bracket shell. I spent a good amount of time online to find a new paint. I loved the flat black on Kid Dangerous, but I sort of make it a habit to never use the same color twice. I wanted to stay with a dark paint and settled with Casper Clear over Speedway Black by Prismatic Powders. There's no bike I could find in this powder coat. It's a finish occasionally used for custom car rims.

The look of the frame was and is mind-blowing. In the years between the Kid Dangerous was welded and the Marauder was built, Kris has improved his frames in every way. He added new tools to achieve a better build consistency, refined the build process and the time spent welding many frames are clearly visible in each single weld. Kid Dangerous had been an excellent bike. The Marauder is a level better.

Just like all my other mountain bikes, this single-speed was equipped with a Jones H-Bar handlebar. A cockpit change was made in August of 2020. In October 2017 I had to replace the wheels and while doing so, I finally made the jump to tubeless. Yeah, while I was an early adopter of 29ers, early for a Swiss to be gravel grinding and early again to fat-bike, I was a total retro grouch when it came to running tubeless tires. Nox Composites Farlow and WTB tires made the switch fairly painless, though.

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