Recently 29".com has been very busy testing new bikes, building new bikes, etc. and sometimes I get to help with that duty. Hopefully, soon there will be some new bikes from the Big S coming my way to report on and I am looking forward to that. I really enjoyed the brief ride I had on a 2008 Stumpjumper FRS 29er and I would love to throw a leg over one for an extended time. I came really close to buying one of those framesets before I found my Lev at such a great deal $$ wise.
When I was researching the Specialized website to see what was up for 2009, it was apparent that they have a good selection of 29ers this year. Even the aluminum hardtails will convert to SS from what I read. But, as many bikes as they have, and as complete as it may seem, there is one thing missing IMO. This was brought into focus this week with the time I spent looking at the classic Stumpy (see previous post). Back in the mid 90s, my buddy had a steel Stumpy. He loved that bike and rode it till it finally broke at a chainstay, had it repaired, rode it some more. Steel may not be as real as it used to be, and while I don't have a great deal of use for a geared hardtail these days (too much abuse on the old bod), there is one place that steel is still king: Single Speed 29ers...the last bastion of ferrous-ness (apologies to GF).
So, Mr. Big S, if you are willing to take suggestions from an old timer, I offer this.
Bring back the steel hardtail. Bring back the classic Stumpy as a 29er SS. Keep the lugged frame. Yeah, I know it is more costly and such to make smaller/larger frames, but they would set the frame apart from the pile of TIG'd up framesets. Lugs are classy and the Big S has the resources to pull it off.
Small diameter steel tubes are graceful looking. Make it ride nice, give it all day geometry. Leave the racey attitudes for the fatty, Scandium stuff. Back off the angles a touch and let it flow down the trail. Offer two fork options. Sell it with an updated version of the bi-plane fork from the classic Stumpjumper. Make it work for the sus fork of your choice, 80mm travel, 43-45mm offset. Remember the Breezer steel frames from the 90s? There ya go. Classy, elegant. Better still, how about a Japanese built MB-1 Bridgestone? Wish I had never sold the one I had.
I would be happy with SS only, but, to make the best use of the effort, offer a geared conversion kit. What would be cool? Removeable cable stops and a replaceable hanger for clean SS-ness. EBB, sliders, track ends, pick one for tensioning.
Give it a classy powdercoat/paint job. Maybe a tribute to the OE decal from the classic version. Finish it off with a metal headbadge that looks like the Specialized 'S'.
Well, just a thought. What do I know? I know I would like one in an XL.
"Please don't let me die."
5 years ago