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Collin's hardcore hardtail

Collin asked me to build him a hardcore hardtail using the principles of forward geometry: steep seat tube angle, long front center, and a relatively low bottom bracket height. He also requested that I not smooth out the fillets for that raw, aluminum weld look.

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Collin was the first customer to push me to get some head tube badges made. We decided to go with a copper badge in an attempt to match some Deity pedals and a seat collar. The raw copper will eventually oxidize with a minty green patina.

Collin decked out the bike with some very fine Santa Cruz Reserve wheels, the latest Shimano 12-speed brakes and drivetrain, and a Rock Shox Pike Ultimate. A combo of the Maxxis Assegai up front and Maxxis DHR II out back provides excellent traction so Collin can confidently tackle any terrain.

The steep seat tube angle

Although I’ve built lots of these hardtails, I was initially skeptical to make the frame with a static effective 76-degree seat tube angle. I’ve typically kept the angle around 74-degrees. When the fork compresses on hardtails the whole bike pivots around the rear axle. This means that 76-degree angle Collin requested will get even steeper on milder climbs. I was worried that his upper body would bear too much weight with the saddle so far forward. But Collin reported that he was very happy with the position.

I was eventually able to ride the bike on the trail network near Fort Bragg, CA. On the steep climbs that steep angle was fantastic. The front end felt planted. And on the milder grades my hands didn’t feel any worse than on my hardtail with a slacker seat tube angle. I’ll definitely be using a steeper seat tube angle on my next personal hardtail and will recommend it to customers going forward.

Hit me up if you want to build a similar hardcore hardtail.

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