A few weeks ago, the New England Builders’ Ball was approaching and right around the same time I had budgeted some time in the build list to rebuild a new Huntsman for myself. So planets were aligned and it was time to churn out a new prototype with a few new features to test out and have on hand at the Builders’ Ball to speak to. Some of the features on the previous prototype were tests on certain techniques and standards and since then, I’ve been building each one very similarly based on what I learned from that previous build. What I was finding was I’d show the bike then speak to how I would build it differently than what people were looking at which wasn’t necessarily misleading, but made for a tough conversation. So part of this build was actually to update things so I could speak to those specifics and why they are built the way they are built. Standard features seem to be room for 40mm tires, subtle sloping top tube, 44mm head tube to accept a tapered fork and “future proof” the frame, derailleur cables routed down the down tube, internal cable route for the rear brake, ISO 51mm rear disc mount and standard issue deeply curved and formed seat and chain stays. The big things I wanted to try for myself were 12mm T.A. front and rear for this rig which in essence can be raced as a cross bike but more or less, the Huntsman is the original “go-to” do everything bike really designed with ripping dirt roads and jeep roads in mind. Back in 2005 when we moved to NH, it became abundantly clear that a traditional road bike with 25mm skinnies just wasn’t going to cut it. With the vast network of dirt roads here in NH, I needed something to get me out there and back again and thus the Huntsman was born. It just so happens that the trend towards Gravel was getting hot and this coincided with me building my first Huntsman a few years before it became a “trend”. So slightly ahead of the bell curve by chance! But I wanted this latest rig to reap the power transfer of thru axles that I learned by building around those standards on my mountain bikes. Front 12mm TA: Rear 12mm TA: My only gripe about the recent trend towards thru axles on the road side of things was the decision of the industry to go 12mm TA vs mountain’s 15mm TA. You’ll note that I am technically running a pair of mountain wheels so I had to machine a set of end caps that were 12mm and fit the slots of the ENVE CX TA fork. I still can swap out end cap kits and use this wheel set on my mountain bikes, but it would have been really nice if 15mm was used throughout mountain and road for redundancy and simplicity (and less standards to comply with). But, the industry went 12mm front, so we have yet another standard. About 1-2 hours on the lathe and I was in business with 2 custom machined end caps of which to date, I9 did not make (and they make A LOT of end cap kits!). Paragon Machine Works rear thru axle was drilled out to lighten it up a tad and PMW fittings are used throughout the build as always (Head Tube, Bottom Bracket, Dropouts and Braze-on’s). I also wanted to try out an XD driver set up on this next build for a really wide range 1×11 to reap the benefits of that 42t cassette cog: What’s nice about this gearing is I have a relatively high gear but when the hills get steep I can sit back and just pedal almost like a true granny and the 38t x 42t combination gets that job done nicely. I feel like I have a really good range at both ends of the spectrum now and with my lower back showing some age.. that just means less stress and strain on me. That’s can’t hurt and I’ve noticed my recovery time as I age slowing down. But that doesn’t slow me down so this is a good set up! Wolftooth’s Dropstop chainrings get the job done up front and Shimano’s XTR pedals are the only way to go (I also noticed that the cleat locking mechanism is treated differently than the XT versions making the release a bit smoother and snappier. That comes into play on longer rides for me I noticed and the effort to unclip to take a breather takes less effort when my legs are tired.) Ti Nitride treatments were deployed for the head and seat tube badges on this rig to hook up with the gold decal kit on flat black powder. Lucky No. 27 is a homage to my Grandfather Thomas Peter Henry (aka Poppy). That was his number way back when they didn’t have face masks and the helmets were still leather. Just a nice personal touch to remember his spirit… I work in subtleties and it’s all about the details for me. One of those is the careful attention to the seat stay bridge, the curves and how they mirror the shape of the tire and lend to extra heal clearances. Form and function merge as one: Other details on all the builds now include the Made in NH decal with a Perkiomen Broad Point, one of the first arrowheads I found a kid. This is a specific point to my region in Pennsylvania where I grew up. But I wanted the symbols to represent my new home as well as my own – thus the Made in NH X Broad Point. A marriage and nod to both homes. Another detail is the “Swear to Shred” Motto decal. Small tool roll for spare and minimal tools rounds off the build: Changes to the drivetrain along with big changes to the axle configurations make round out the biggest adjustments I made to the bike. Geometry wise, that’s all dialed in from the previous version so no changes were made there and depending on use, I will tweak those numbers from client to client (mine is 70.5* HT Angle, 73* ST angle, 2.75″ BB Drop). One change I did make for this build was to add a touch more length to the chain stays for more tire clearance and a bit more stability but more so for tire clearances (the other version was built around 35mm tires but could just fit 40’s, so I wanted to add that bit of extra length and build the bike based on the 40mm standard). All in all this build is pretty dialed in. And it’s black… I kept kicking myself for not getting the other version in black. So it goes. Back in black!