Summer time is here and mountain bike season is in full swing. The snow is melting and the trails are open, so with that we're excited to share our latest mountain build. For this project, we were tasked with creating a highly capable hardtail—purposely spec'd for the epic alpine terrain around the Lake Tahoe area, teetering the line between a lightweight XC bike and a rugged trail rig.
The 29er hardtail is the bike that started it all for Open Cycles. While their gravel bikes have been a major stand out for the brand, their roots lie in designing ultra light, high performance hardtails.
While these One+ frames tend to get built up with more of a super light XC kit, this one is meant as a capable all-rounder. Given that need for a little extra burliness, plus the need to swap between 29 and 27.5+ wheels, we elected to use a Fox 34 Step-Cast fork. The slightly beefier legs are significantly stiffer than the lighter 32 alternative. Set up with 120mm of travel, it provides that extra bit of squish while also helping slack out the fairly "euro" geo of the Open frame.
Up front, the cockpit is an Enve M6 pairing. A 70mm stem grabs hold of a 780mm wide handlebar, resulting in a solid, trail-worthy control center.
There isn't a particularly deep selection of dropper posts to fit a frame with a 27.2 seat tube, but luckily, the KS Lev Ci fits the bill. The super light post enables a rider to drop the saddle up to 120mm, getting it out of the way for unrestricted body english, maneuvering through technical terrain. Mounted to the Lev is a Throne RS saddle from 3D Bike fit. Initially designed as a road saddle, but we're finding them to be quite comfortable on a range of types of bikes.
Sram Eagle drivetrains have become fairly ubiquitous over the past few years, but with this year's launch of the AXS system, we're now rolling them out in an electronic, wireless configuration. The stealthy XX1 components remain clean on the black bike, giving room for the gold chain and cassette to really pop. A 34t ring up front pulls the chain from the 10-50t cassette.
While some find it sacrilege to mix and match component brands of a group set, we find it all part of tailoring a bike exactly to a rider's needs. XTR brakes have always been the gold standard, and the latest generation are no exception. As a long time XTR rider, our client wanted to keep the brake feel familiar. We surely can't argue with that, especially considering the Shimano brakes are among our favorites.
Yep, 3.0" tires. The 27.5 plus sized Schwalbe Nobby Nics offer a massive contact patch, providing tons of traction in loose, dusty conditions as well as slick exposed rock. When aired down to lower pressures, the extreme volume also makes a huge difference in smoothing rough terrain. With the dropper and longer fork, this set up gives this hardtail capabilities that enter full suspension territory, all while maintaining the maneuverability of a skinnier tired 29er XC bike.
The rims are Enve M640s. A massive 40mm width, these rims are specifically designed for girthy tires. We laced them up to Industry Nine Hydra hubs to achieve the best engagement in the business.
Of course not every ride is on super rough and rugged terrain, and there are times when lighter and faster is the better choice. So, we took advantage of the frame's versatility and built our client a set of fast 29er wheels as well. We used the same I9 Hydra hubs to make wheel changes a breeze, but instead laced them with a set of Enve M5 29" rims. For tires, we went for a more XC oriented set up, pairing a Schwalbe Racing Ralph in the rear with a Racing Ray up front. Both in a 2.25" width.
With the big tires, the bike checks in at 22.2lbs. Pretty impressive considering the massive rubber and the trail oriented build. We had a lot of fun building this one up and we can't wait to see it out on the trail, tackling the iconic Tahoe Rim and Flume trails.
From weight weenie cross-country bikes to big mountain enduro bikes, we've got a lot of experience building up mountain bikes tailored to meet any needs. If you've been thinking of getting a new rig for hitting the trails, just drop us a line, as we'd love to help you out!