2014 was a good year. Good year of riding. Good year of building. Good year of designing. To lay 2014 to rest, I’ve picked out a handful of builds that stuck out for me (all of them were good, don’t get me wrong!). These are tough choices to make I must admit. Each build I produce for the client is special in their own way. There are a few at paint right now that make the list… There’s a few frame set’s that easily could make the list, especially Greg’s Oranged out Huntsman. But these are “Builders’ Choice” I’d say for 2014 and they are in no particular order. These are just the ones that stuck out a little more for one reason or another. But a huge thank you to ALL of my clients for making 2014 a really great year. Without you, I don’t have a leg to stand on. Here goes nothing…

First up is my wife Lynn’s Huntsman Ultra Di2. I have to say with honesty that hands down the best bikes I build are when it’s family (no offense to all my loyal clients!). This allows me to truly work at my own pace, move through the build naturally and take extra care ensuring all is “just so”. Knowing a person intimately, knowing that they are family, brings things into sharp focus. Lynn’s build was Ultra Di2, Lucky No. Straight Edge X. ENVE, Cane Creek, and Thomson throughout with WTB rubber to round out the build. Here’s a few favorite shots from the final build:

Huntsman XXX Ultegra Di2 + WTB

Let's get in close : Huntsman Di2

Huntsman Di2 : Details

44lynnHuntsman XXX Ultegra Di2 + WTB

Next up is Ray’s 29+. What was fun about this build is it takes both fat and 29+ wheel sizes. A complete with lots of goodies to boot. Frame and fork were in order and made in house. 15mm TA front fork as well as a 12mm TA rear. The build took place while Ray was stationed overseas, so we would converse about the build when he had an internet connection, adding a slight layer of fun and challenge to the build. Despite this distance, Ray’s enthusiasm was second to none and that is what any builder likes to be greeted with: A client who loves bikes and geeks out over the smallest details just like you do. Upon his arrival back home, the build was just about finished and waiting for him. Here’s a few shots from that build:

Ray's FATTY in 29+ mode

Let's get in close...

1x10 Drivetrain

The next build was special for me as it was built for Jon (aka drj0n’s Wanderings). Someone I’ve always admired from afar for his keen eye for detail and experimentation. Kindred spirits of sorts, it was wonderful to get his letter simply stating “That’s it, let’s do this…” or something to that effect. Things were quickly turned up to 11 and took on an AC/DC decibel level and his steed was dubbed T.N.T. What we came up with was a fun, all day 29+ bike packing frame set capable of long days in the saddle fully loaded with bike packing gear but when stripped down, was a true single track shredder. Frame and fork were in order for this one, extra bottle cage mounts on the frame/fork, sliders all wrapped in a thick layer of flat black powder. King headset and bottom bracket accompanied T.N.T.’s trip across the Atlantic. 83mm BB shell width along with a 150mm rear axle spacing. Here’s a few shots for your enjoyment:

Jon's 29+ : Front

Jon's 29+ : Rear

Next up would have been a tough one to let go through the doors had it been my size… David’s Huntsman was originally billed as a commuter but he wanted the ability to strip it down and rip the path less traveled. So that meant room for 40mm tires, fender mounts, fenders and front rack with 2 forks (custom steel and ENVE CX Taper Disk). Good thing this was not my size! This one I felt really balanced that versatility that the Huntsman is known for. Here’s a few shots:

David's Huntsman : Attack Mode

Huntsman : Let's get in close

Huntsman : Commuter Mode

Huntsman = Versatility

Next in line was Ron’s Huntsman. Another one like above: If it were my size, this one REALLY would have been tough to let go out the doors! Same song and dance as above. On one hand, Ron needed a commuter ready to haul goodies to and from work, but on the other hand, come the weekend or maybe when curiosity got the better of the cat, he’d take the long way home and tear up some dirt. Again, this one really defines the Huntsman for all it’s versatility and practicality. A true “Road” bike able to do what the owner asks. Stable at speed, capable when the going gets tough, not afraid to get dirty and isn’t twitchy as all get out or “damn, you don’t fit anything more than 25mm tires…”. Full fenders, rear rack, room for 40mm tires all wrapped up in flat black powder, gloss black fenders and Sram Force 22 :

Ron's Huntsman : Seek and Destroy Mode

Ron's Huntsman : Commuter Mode

Huntsman w/ Rear Rack

The Huntsman

Last but not least, of course… was my own 40th birthday present to myself. My fat bike. After a long season of riding the previous winter, there were some changes (subtle changes at that) that I was looking to incorporate with this next build for myself. A little stretch of the chain stays, a little more drop in the bottom bracket height, a little bit more slackening of the head tube angle, drop some weight in the wheels and up the ante to 11 speed via Sram’s XX1 kit. This really helped to showcase what I can do, but also refine the overall build and ultimately the ride which can be passed along to future clients:

FAT XXX 44 to 40

HED XXX I9

Fat XXX : Why I build What I build

The last two were at polar opposite times of the year. Both busy, but both unexpected collaborations. The first with Shimano for the 2014 NAHBS in Charlotte, NC and the second for Wilderness Trail Bicycles for their 2014 Interbike booth to showcase their i45 Scraper 27.5+ wheels and Trailblazer tires. For 2015, I have another collaboration in the works which is completely top secret and I think everyone will be pleased when things hit the interweb. But until then, here’s a few shots of the Shimano Ultra Di2 build complete with paint work by Jay Nutini and WTB’s frameset which highlighted some of their new product for 2015. Here’s to a great 2014 and an even better 2015.

44 XXX Shimano

44 XXX Shimano : Ultegra Di2 Hydro

44 Bikes : 29+ / 170mm Rohloff

44 Bikes 29+ :  170mm Rohloff