Occasionally I have a challenging build that comes out of the shop. On average, most builds are simple in the fact that there isn’t a fit issue but more to do with incorporating several of the owners bikes, (wants and needs) in to one bike. The biggest challenge lay in the fact that at some point, my client had suffered a neck injury which required quite an upright riding stance. Like 10″ of bar to saddle rise type of upright stance. His bars sat at a neat 41.75″ from the ground. He was really happy with this set up but upon inspection, the way to achieve this was using a monstrous quill stem that was adjustable. So most of the saddle to bar rise was handled by this old 1″ quill stem that was quite long. That did the job but from an aesthetic stand point, the bike just didn’t flow. From a functional standpoint, we were going to be using disk brakes so that long quill stem or an “LD” style stem would just not work. Too much flex. Too much height. Steering would be sub0-par. So I had to do some thinking on this one regarding how best to solve the problem.

Instead of concentrating all that rise in one component, I thought it might be more elegant and functionally more proficient to take that 10″ measurement and distribute it throughout the length of the fork, the head tube, the stack spacers and the stem. The basic solution was to deliver a drop bar 29er frame in the form a Huntsman with room for 40mm tires.

Lou's Huntsman "Catamount"

Once that decision was made and pitched to my client Lou, he was super excited. Finally a bike that looked and rode right. At 74, this is his last bike basically. We chose some small details like an internally routed rear brake cable and rear rack mounts to round out the build. Then it was my turn to do my thing and put everything together.

In the Hot Seat

To that regard, the past few months have been interesting as I have been slowly working towards offering Titanium. I’m moving slow and taking my time with this. But it’s influenced and informed what I do in steel. Which is important to note. All of my settings on my TIG welder have been changed since working with Titanium. It’s been really interesting and I’ve been learning a lot as well as just honing my techniques. How does this all translate? Well, better bikes of course:

Head Tube Welds

Seat Tube Junction

One part of the bike I absolutely love putting the finishing touches on is the brake bridge. For some reason, that simple curve just hits all the right notes for me. i can’t stand when other builders put all this time in to making all these elegant bends and then they literally ruin that flow with a straight seat stay bridge. This is how you do it kids:

Hour Glass

And of course, the finished product. A simple build with some smart choices here and there to keep within Lou’s budget. This one’s staying local here in New Hampshire.

Lou's Huntsman "Catamount"

Let's get in close

Head Tube Badge

Lou's Huntsman "Catamount"