Build the Custom Mountain Bike of Your Dreams This Year
FrameFor starters, the worst-kept secret in the world is that an Arktos 29 can be converted to an Arktos 29 ST, and vice-versa. The front and rear triangles are the same, so all it takes is a link, the correct travel rear shock, and an air rod (to travel adjust the fork) to go between the two models. This compatibility is super advantageous for our customers. It provides a wider range of colors to choose from and — for a relatively small cost — you can toggle between two different categories of trail bikes: 160 front/140 rear on an Arktos 29 (if you’re getting rowdy), and 140 front/120 rear if you’re just interested in general trail bike riding. The custom bike we recently built was an Arktos 29 ST, but we started with the vanilla-colored frame from the standard Arktos.
ForkOn this particular mountain bike build, the client was intending to ride some fairly aggressive terrain. We decided to start with a 150mm Fox 36 Grip 2 fork. This might sound like a bit of an imbalance (because the ST rear travel is only 120), but as the reviews have noted, the ST is a very capable bike, and the rear travel feels like more than the numbers suggest. The client weighed 195 pounds, so we set up the fork pressure at 80psi with 3 air volume tokens. We ran the rebound at 4 clicks in from full out on high speed, and 2 clicks in from full out on low speed rebound. Compression settings are 4 clicks in from full out on low speed, and full out on high speed. This provided a relatively light set up to match the feel of the rear end.
WheelsIt’s true: We’re partial to ENVE M630 wheels. Luckily, this customer was, too. Why M630? The 6-series wheels have a little more give versus the 7-series wheels, feeling more like an aluminum rim than a typical harsh carbon rim. Also, unless you’re riding really rocky terrain, the rim strip that the 7-series wheels use is a little overkill. We opted for the 30mm width 6-series too — not anything wider. More on this choice below.
TiresA 2.5 Maxxis Aggressor out back and 2.5 Assegai up front…this might be the most versatile tire combination out there. It’s good in almost every condition, and since both tires are extra durable, you aren’t buying tires every few weeks. We mounted a DD Aggressor tire in the back, but maybe not for the reason most would think. The DD tires — while certainly providing additional pinch flat protection — increase sidewall support. If you’re running pressures in the low 20s, you’re going to need it. Regarding the rim and tire combination, running M630s seems to give these two tires the perfect profile. Anything narrower and the tires are too round, so you can’t get out to the side knobs. Anything wider and the tire is too flat, so you’re falling off the side knobs.
DrivetrainWe outfitted this bike with a Shimano XT 12 speed drivetrain, 32-tooth chainring on 170mm cranks with an 10-45 cassette. Why this cassette versus the wider 51 tooth version? For starters, the 10-45 provides enough gear range for most riding. Second, you’ll appreciate the smaller spacing between gears versus the bigger range cassettes. While this rider was taller, 170mm cranks were an obvious choice. The terrain the customer rides daily required pedaling through rocks. That little bit of extra space…well, it gives him a little bit of extra space.
DropperWe outfitted this bike with a Oneup 160mm travel post. To be honest, it’s not our favorite post: that would be the budget friendly X-Fusion Manic. But the 170mm Manic was too long for this rider, so he wouldn’t be able get the saddle low enough at full extension. The 150mm Manic was an option, but the client wanted to get the most drop possible.
GripsWe outfitted this bike with DMR Death Grip thick grips with no flange. If you have big hands, this is the grip for you. It has waffle underneath, and quite a bit of padding on top. The padding doesn’t move around much (despite how soft it feels), and it helps take out any sharp harshness you would normally feel transmitted from the trail to the bar.
Handlebar and Stem
BrakesThe new XT 4-pots are truly a step above. They’re strong, consistent, easy-to-maintain, and for most terrain, provide plenty of power with 180mm rotors front and rear. The new brake pads in the 4 pots have also been redesigned to eliminate any potential for rattle of the pad in the caliper. The fins are smaller, and the pad edge has been extended to fit tightly into the caliper.
SaddleMost riders are really particular about their saddle. This client was no exception, but he choose a rather standard saddle: a WTB Volt, the narrower version, 135mm.
Ready to Build Your Dream Mountain Bike?
If you’re interested in talking about bike details or want Alchemy to build something special for you, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk shop. We’re looking forward to making your dream custom mountain bike a reality. Contact us to learn more about our custom mountain bikes >View this post on Instagram
Beautiful custom build with many nice details by @justinhamborsky.⠀ ⠀ Full specs⠀ I9 Hydra Hubs⠀ Reynolds Black Label Carbon Rims⠀ Manitou Mezzer Fork⠀ Fox Factory Shock⠀ Hayes Dominion Brakes⠀ XTR Drivetrain⠀ Rotor Kapic Carbon Cranks⠀ Rotor Inspider Power Meter⠀ FSA Dropper⠀ ProTaper Carbon handlebar⠀ ProTaper Stem⠀ ODI Vans Grips⠀ WTB Saddle⠀ Vittoria Martello Front⠀ Vittoria Aggaro Rear⠀ Lezyne Brass Bell and GPS⠀ Fidlock Bottle System⠀ MucOff Gold Ano Tubeless Valves⠀