What's In The Box? (Brad Pitt Voice) An Early Bontrager OR! **Finished Photos Page 11**


Senior Retro Guru
Well that's turned out rather well, and looks great in that scenery! Visually I always prefer the look of a smaller bike but this one somehow doesn't have that gate look to it.
Apologies in advance as I probably missed it in the thread but is the big headset spacer there to achieve the desired riding position or did you just not want to cut the steerer down?

You know, historically, I've always preferred smaller bikes visually too. But in the past year I've found myself more and more drawn to larger sized bikes, when the geo is just right. And I think this is one such example. The downward sloping top tube, steep and short head tube (for a bike its size) combined with a low seatpost, short but steep stem, and the steep rake of the straight-bladed fork, somehow all combine to make it look even more like a fast and mean race machine than some of smaller ones you see.

In fact, I like it so much both aesthetically and to ride I think it'll become the sort of thing I look for in other bikes moving forward. I was worried before building it that it was going to feel too big and look like a big old gate (I'm still scarred by my childhood 21" Saracen, I suppose), but the cockpit, fork and components have all combined to avoid that feeling entirely.

It doesn't feel big beneath me either. I can't say I noticed all that much difference between riding this and any of my other bikes. Which now range from the tiny 15" Phoenix, an 18" Team Issue and S-Works, and the 20" Brodie. If anything, the Bontrager feels faster, stronger and climbs better than maybe all but the Brodie. That bike is a couple inches shorter, but the upward sloping top tube gives it a much more upright riding position. As a result the Bontrager looks and feels like it's racy bad-boy big brother!

As for the headset spacer: a little of both, honestly. It's stinking, I know! At first I didn't want to cut the steerer down until I knew for sure if this frame was going to work, and now because the riding position is just about right with the shorter Salsa stem. I think, to get rid of it, I would need a slightly longer stem, and who knows how long that might take to unearth one of those at a reasonable cost?

That said, it's a shame to uglify the lovely No Logo, so I do plan to have Dan Chambers fabricate me a perfectly-sized replacement steerer for the Composite fork. That way, when the right stem does show up, I can switch a few things around. I think there's an even older, taller cup version of the CK headset, which would help add a little more stack height too. So maybe one of those someday...