Margaret correctly predicted that this ‘long term build project’ would be complete within two months. She knows me too well. Five weeks after the frame arrived saw my first offroad ride on my newly built 29er.

I decided I wanted to build a dedicated bike specifically for bikepacking, rather than using my lovely orange Cotic Soul which I’ll continue to play around on at the local forest singletrack and trail centres. In the interests of keeping the peace, I thought I’d try to build one as cheaply as possible, so started looking at the Singletrackworld classifieds for bargains and would re-purpose various components I had lying around the shed. The frame was the first piece of the puzzle, a first generation On One Scandal in British Racing Green. The frame has sliding dropouts so can be singlespeeded if I’m feeling man enough in future [not likely]. It is in pretty good condition except for assorted cable rub and minor chips to the paintwork, but this is to be a utility bike, so I’m not too worried about cosmetic details.

Eventually I started getting a bit obsessive about missing bargains and wrote a small script to scrape the STW classified pages for a list of keywords and throw up a Growl notification whenever there was a match. That was a bit of a slippery slope. Once I had a seatpost and forks, it would have been madness to not just buy the wheels and go for a ride!πŸ™‚ The forks are rather lovely Pace RC29 carbon fibre rigids, now discontinued as Pace sold their fork business to DT Swiss.

I decided I wanted to ensure the bike would be as comfortable as possible to long days in the saddle, so opted for a USE shokpost [STW again] and the On One Mary bars I’d originally bought for the Soul [That’s why they’re blue, which admittedly wouldn’t have been my first choice to pair with a green frame].

I’ve strapped my Salsa Anything cage to the fork leg, as it won’t fit in the front triangle with a bottle cage mounted. I’m hoping the cable ties will be strong enough to cope with the weight of my Trailstar, as I’d prefer not to use hose clamps on the carbon if possible.

So how does it ride? Wonderfully! It’s pretty nippy and the front is easily unweighted for lifting over obstacles. I’m still tweaking saddle/bar position. But was very impressed how easily the bigger wheels roll over the roots in my local trails. Grip was good, despite having fast rolling tyres on. To give you some indication of the state of my local trails, this winter I was riding with a Super Tacky Maxxis Swampthing up front and a Bontrager Mud X on the rear.

I now need to start planning a trip to test her out properly in the wilds. I still haven’t decided about a frame bag yet. I think it will be the last thing I buy. I’ll probably get a saddle bag first and will be handlebar mounting a 20 litre Alpkit drybag using my MYOG harness.