Towards the end of December, I received a late Christmas present. I finally pulled the trigger on a new frame and it arrived. I wanted a bike that would handle just about anything. With all-road, cyclocross and gravel bikes being mass produced from every major manufacturer, each with a specific application, I craved for something I could ride on gravel, singletrack, grass, dirt and pavement, without too many limitations.
As you know, I am a fan of rim brakes. I love the simplicity. But Northeast Pennsylvania’s short, steep, gravel hills call for a little more stopping power. My search ended at Black Mountain Cycles in Point Reyes Station, CA. Well, on their website. Owner, Operator, Mike Varley, designs quality steel bikes. There are currently 4 different frames to choose from. I went with the Monstercross Disc.
When I called, Mike explained that the sizing is a little different than the 59cm rim brake version Monstecross that I purchased in 2013. So, at 6’2”, I went with the 53cm frame. Available in 2 colors, Classic Blue and California Gold. I opted for the latter. It looks rather yellow on a computer screen, but once the frame was out of the box, It was clear that this is not yellow, just a perfect shade of pure California.
I’ll save build specs for another post and concentrate on feedback from the first few rides. So far, this bike has been a dream. First, the head tube feels a bit taller, allowing me to raise the handlebar height without spacers. On a few steep downhill, rocky trails, it was very compliant. The tall head tube and sloping top tube, puts the rider in a more upright, relaxed climbing position. And, did I say smooth. The tube spec and long wheelbase make for an extremely smooth ride.
I’ve been able to sneak in 3 rides in the Delaware State Forest and on the McDade Trail. I can’t wait to spend more time on this bike and do a few longer rides and maybe an overnighter. If your looking for that do everything steel steed with a price tag just over $800 for frame and fork, look no further.