I’ve been riding my personal Marauder as a single speed the past few weeks and really enjoying it. However, with this past prototype, I had made a slight error on one of the bends of the seat stays. I’ve been wanting to tear that bike down and replace the seat stays to correct the mistake but that would leave me without a single speed.. So that meant rebuilding another prototype. Which offers an opportunity to try some tweaks to geometry and set up (yes, still fiddling). I finally hit my cockpit length on the nose with my 1×11 coming in at 21.75″ from tip of saddle to the center of the bars. It took some time to dial that in and get things for myself just right. Remember, no one has ever built a bike FOR me. I’ve been the one doing it so that means I get to hone things to near perfection for myself. So with that number and months of riding really comfortably on another bike, I wanted to apply that measurement to this new Marauder (the previous one had the saddle set back a bit more off center – I typically like the saddle centered on the post as a rule of thumb). But since this bike takes a dropper, I wanted to also try something where I have two stems to match up with two seat posts. An 80mm with the set back and then a 90mm with the dropper which I would then position the saddle a touch off center to make up for the loss of setback with that dropper post. With that in hand, I also wanted to try shortening the stem because I wanted to slacken the head tube a bit from 70° to 69° now that I’m running a 120mm fork on this single speed. On a 29er, I’ve found a 120mm fork is just right. Not too long, not too short. Never really feeling like I have too much or too little travel. A Fox 34 FIT4 Float was in order and I also could optimize everything around this specific fork. Fox’s heritage black out decal kit is also a must… Up above, take note of the top tube. I positioned it a bit lower where it connects to the head tube to give me just a bit more standover closer to the head tube. Also take note of the seat tube. I can run either a 27.2 or a 30.9mm seat post. And take note that I shortened the seat tube too. 17.5 vs 18.5″ in length (Center to top). I probably “should” be riding a 18-19″ frame but I don’t make stock frames and I can optimize everything. I prefer a slightly smaller more compact frame while having the cockpit optimized for me. So that’s probably a size largish frame but with a size medium seat tube. This also effects the overall “stance” of the bike too. A bit longer and lower looking. Drivetrain wise I had been running a 30×19 but found it on flats to be just a little bit lacking. With a bit of math I decided to go to a 32×20 which effectively only added 1 tooth to bring the gear inches up a bit more and I have really been liking how this bike spins now. The additional teeth also will decrease wear on the chain wrapping around a smaller cog and chainring so there’s some practical pieces of the adjustment. Wolftooth keeps my chain line running tight while Race Face’s Turbine Cinch cranks are the finishing touch. No spider. Only one interface to chase if there’s a creak. These cranks spin on RWC cups/bearings (Enduro Fork Seals). If you have problems with bottom brackets wearing out prematurely, give those guys a look. My fat bike runs on RWC bearings/cups too. This set is easily on it’s 3rd or 4th season and they still spin smoothly. Another funny correction I wanted to make was the seat stay bridge. So simple, yet an integral part of the rear triangle. Functionally it’s a bit of triangulation to stiffen the rear end up but aesthetically, it’s a chance to add a bit of flair vs just a plain jane straight piece of tube (Which I cannot stand…). Anyway, the previous one was a bit too high for my liking so I made sure this one sat nice and sharp so it hug the profile closely. And up to the cockpit. Cane Creek 110 all day long. Top notch product. Top notch support. ENVE Riser bars come in at a cool 740mm wide. These are uncut too. I really have been digging this length. Shimano’s XT M8000 brakes of course and man, these are killer. So much so I’m thinking of possibly getting an XT M8000 1×11 drivetrain when gears are needed on this bike (which would then be reviewed too as so many have requested). And last but not least: ODI Lock-On! Yeti hardcore of course… I won’t run anything but those Yeti’s. Selle Italia SLR Ti because it actually fits my butt. Comfortably so. Every one of my bikes has one of these suckers. There you have it. (And if you are wondering, that’s just a custom tool roll I sewed up myself). Made in NH. Always. I take a lot of pride in being one of the few up here and I put that on each and every bike. Not to be messed with! The reason for some of these tweaks is I wanted to try a slightly slacker head angle in combination with a slightly shorter stem (I typically run 90mm length stems). My thought being that with that slightly slacker head angle, it will track a bit better while descending but with the chain stay length, bottom bracket drop and stem length things will still remain agile and quick handling wise. So I want to put that “theory” to the test regarding how the bike feels and steers. Basically refining the recipe and making adjustments when clients want the option to run a dropper (which I don’t typically myself – but I know how I want the bikes to ride so this is a way to get that benchmark). Also I wanted to give a few things a try in steel before they are executed in Ti which is rapidly approaching. A few more tools to be made and a few last tweaks to existing tools too. I’m also waiting on some addition filler wire. While I wait for all that to come together, this is a great opportunity to build and ride a test horse to try out some new ideas. Till then… Keep pedaling.