I met Brendan and Mary Collier at the Kaibab Mountain Cross in June. Brendan is (among other things I'm sure!) a custom frame builder and owner of www.sirenbicycles.com; Mary races them. Purty fine mojo for this power couple if you ask me.
Siren doesn't do just any old frame design...the one that really fires Brendan up is a 26" rear wheel and 29" front wheel design. I rode his bike a little at KMC and really liked it. That big front wheel floats over stuff, and with the normal back wheel size the drivetrain gear ratios are what I'm accustomed to. The drivetrain issues were a constant issue for me when I rode 29ers in '05.
Shortly after KMC I started working with Brendan on design ideas for a new bike he's coming out with. OK the ideas are his and I supply the excited anticipation. Oh wait he's full of that too...anyway, to make a long story short, the new bike is a 26/29 softail design in the vein of the Salsa Dos Niner, but with close to twice the travel and more careful tuning of the suspension characteristics. She's in the jig and nearly a frame now. Here's how it looks so far.
The artisan in his element.
Lot's of standover in this beauty.
I think he's done this before!
The lower end consists of a titanium flex plate and another brace (not shown).
What's the coolest part of this design? Hard to pick one...but if I had to I'd say it's the action of the rear travel. There is some negative loading built into the design, meaning the shock will be tuned to get the appropriate sag, and it will be active! The Dos' rear end was rock hard to me - I'd get maybe 1/2 to 2/3" travel hucking something stupid - but this design will be active for any rider weight, and the Cane Creek AD5 will provide all the tunability required to dial in the sweet ride. So there you go, a bit more info that the teaser here: http://www.sirenbicycles.com/softail.html.
The bike will be known as the Siren Song and both Mary and myself will be doing some serious R&D at Moab. The anticipation thickens!