Saturday, October 3, 2009

Castellano Silk ti 29 - Long term review ( part 2 of 3 )

John put this bike together and ran it through his fit kit. When you break out the numbers this is what it looks like on paper. 17" c to c or 19.875" to top, effective tt length 24.5", head tube length 4.25", bb height 12.0", cstay 17.9", head tube angle 71.5, seat tube angle 72.0.
The bike feels perfect and I am pretty sure that this is the best fitting bike for me as I usually end up on 19" frames. I opted to go for the Potts head badge for the Mt Tam nostalgic factor and threw in a King BB and King Headset. I replaced the Thompson post & stem for Moots Open trail stem and a Blacksheep Infinity post. There was no reason to swap out the Thompson parts but spending 7 weeks in Crested Butte CO this summer and I felt the need to have some local parts bling on the bike.
Kris and I both ride 19" frames and the plan is to do a swap of frames to do some ride comparisons between his Moots x-ybb and the Silk ti 29. The welds are amazing on this bike and it is easy to see why Steve Potts is considered on of the best frame builders in the world. This bike had 2 hard crashed in CO and the ti holds up nicely. The CO terrain really takes it toll on the parts as well but no issue at all with the frame. So what would I change if I had to do it over again ? First I wish this bike had a replaceable hanger. John said he has not had one fail but I don't know maybe it is just piece of mind ? The second is I chose under top tube cable stops and I would have preferred slotted guides for the disc hose and a third ( middle ) one. The latter is easily done the only problem is I can't ever imagine what would happen that would need me to send the frame back to John but the option is there if ever comes up.

When this bike had the big Nevegal's on it and running low p.s.i's the bike floated through the ruff stuff, part of this is the ti. I have upped the stock 80mm G2 fox to 100mm and this helped as well on those long CO down hills. Back to reality and southern Ontario there really is no need for tires this big so I swap between Hutchinson Python's and Schwable Racing Ralph's. The bike weighs 25 lbs give or take and it sits at 23.5 with the I9's and Stan's Raven / Crow's. Did I need a custom bike ? no. Did I need to spend as much as I did on the frame ? no. Do I regret it ? Absolutely not. I have 2 ti bikes in the past a GT Xizang and a Dean Ace X Lite so I love the material. It is confidence inspiring, something that was lacking with the carbon frame on the Superfly. There is a lifetime warranty on the frame and in all likelihood, I will probably fail before the frame does. If your thinking about a custom bike and you have narrowed it down to ti and a 29'er I would suggest exploring this option. If you have any specific questions not covered in these 2 posts flip me a email and I will get back to you on them. In the last part of this I will make some comparisons to the Moots and also the new parts installed and finally a update on the Mavic Crossmax rear hub issues.

Update: I just received my Blacksheep Unicrown rigid ti fork just in time for the mud & leaves. Looking forward to checking it out this weekend.
The fork is a 475 mm axle to crown length and it has a 51 mm offset which mirrors the G2 geometry that the frame was built around and the Fox F29. This should be a blast to ride.