We're off and rolling here at Kindred now in business for almost five months now. Katharine and myself have been pretty busy this season cranking our repairs, pairing riders with new bike friends, selling helmets, bells, blinkies, etc... And while we really enjoy the day to day bike shop stuff we relish the opportunity to take on more unique tasks now and then. I love it when a customer trusts us enough to give us the reigns of their bike project. When we can become co-conspirators in making their bike desires a reality. Recently we got the opportunity to tackle some really neat projects.
A neighbor Chris asked us to build for him a city bike. One that would make his daily commute from the North Side to the Strip district a joy. He wanted something that was more comfortable than his aluminum flat handlebar road bike and more capable of tackling the pockmarked Pittsburgh streets. His old bike was limited to 28c tires and had a slightly racy disposition. There were not racks nor fenders adorning his old bike either making it difficult to ride without a backpack or in the rain. His new ride needed to be practical, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. We went with the trusted Surly Crosscheck frame to anchor the build. The supple ride of steel frames are great for city riding as well as the big tire clearance of the surly frame. The low key graphics were a plus as well. The drivetrain is a 2X9 Shimano Road/Mountain hybrid giving Chris a great range of gearing without the clunkiness of a triple. We used the Velo Orange Grand Cru crankset again. We really like the way it looks and shifts. Chris really wanted to used the new Brooks Cambium saddle and we paired it with the new Brooks Cambium grips. The Velo Orange Campeur rear rack was also a Chris pick. It matches the aesthetic of the build very well and the construction quality of the rack is great. SKS chromoplastic fenders will keep Chris dry when it rains.
Sometimes a stock bike is 95% percent perfect but instead of widget X you wish the manufacturer equipped this bike with Widget Y. Recently we got a call from Corey and he expressed an interest in Kona's trail crushing hard tail the Honzo. The Honzo is not your average 29er hard trail. The frame is butted chromoly with sliding dropouts allowing for single speed or geared builds. It has an oversized head tube allowing for tapered forks and instead of the standard 71 or so degree head tube angle we have come to find on most production 29ers the honzo is slack with a 69 degree head tube angle. The chain stays are turbo short and the seat tube is curved to allow the rear wheel to be tucked beneath the rider. Corey was really into the geometry and general disposition of the bike but wished it would come with a Fox float instead of the RockShox revelation. He also didn't like the look of the stock crankset and chainguide. We decided to make a few upgrades and make Corey the bike he always wanted. We swapped the fork for a Float that Corey sourced. The stock FSA crankset got swapped for a narrow wide RaceFace evolve set. And then we upgraded the stock deore shimano stoppers to the fantastic XT brake and rotors. The only thing left to do was set the stock wheels and tires up tubeless and let'er rip.
Thanks for keeping up with Kindred. All our love.
Aaron and Katharine.