The latest John Henry was inspired by some old ideas.
I’d taken a page from the 1950’s balloon tire bikes style book, and added a Sireny twist.
I had a few constraints to work with on this bike:
-relatively good standover clearance (Sirens have a tradition to uphold here)
-room for 3 large water bottles for long rides
-dashing good looks
The design I settled on accomplished all. By mating the shallow bend twin top tubes to a seat mast, I was able to keep the standover clearance on this bike fairly close to that of the regular medium John Henry, while also maintaining room for the large bottles.
I also tried my hand with fillet brazing, which is new to me… turned out nice on the seat mast. Looking forward, I’d do it on all the top tube bridges on the next bike.
Mary worked up a special commemorative edition decal for this bike, celebrating my 20th year of riding mountain bikes/ working in the bike industry. Looking forward, we’ll be adding some more fun graphic designs to our frames.
I can’t get enough of the lines on this bike. The symmetry and the merging of the twins is just a beauty to behold.
I had an opportunity to take her out for a good ride this past weekend, on a moderate bikepacking trip. I’d hypothesized the relatively shallow seatstay angle would give the bike a bit more vertical compliance. Additionally, the twin tubed design gives the same amount of tubular surface area as single top tube would… so, if anything the entire frame should have a more vertically compliant ride, albeit at the expense of less torsional stiffness. To some extent, the seat mast design should stiffen this up a bit, I figured.
Loaded up for an overnighter.
The bike felt great. If anything, my thinking about the torsional stiffness could be true. My most recent bike was an aluminum frame, with great stiffness all around, the lively feel of this bike was very inviting and easy to get used to. The bike jives with twisty singletrack. If I were to build a similar bike for a larger/stronger rider, I’ve got a couple more ideas to add some stiffness if that were a concern.
Weight: She’s a bit heavier than a comparably sized John Henry. But for the added smoothness, and style, the weight was well worth it for me. As they say, fashion feels no pain.