Nobody Walks in LA - Bearclaw Thunderhawk

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  • My wife and I bought our first house in August, meaning I had to devise a new commute.

    I am fluky enough to have ridden my bike to work for all of the 18 years I have been employed. So a house that would mean I could avoid the dreaded LA freeway commute and keep pedaling to the office was near the top of the list of requirements when we were looking for a place.

    House found and bought, I started my new daily rides to Culver City, up a bit of road climb for the first mile or so, then onto a gravel fireroad between the oilfields that Chief Bogomil runs through at the start of Beverley Hills Cop II :D, a bit more tarmac, then some cruisy singletrack before a short section of quite technical downhill that spits me out onto the side of a freeway and leaves a half mile of riding in traffic before I get to the office.

    What would be the bike that would be most fun for all of this, and take a rack so I can carry clothes and laptop and work stuff?

    Of course there is only one choice. A fat tired, titanium drop bar bike, with a little tweak for a dropper post with internal cabling.

  • Given that you’re in LA you should head over to Golden Saddle Cyclery; they should be able to give you advice and sort you out.

  • @mxs Good shout and we've already been chatting.

  • I started speaking with Jason @ Bearclaw back in December. I had been stoked on their bikes for a long time and didn't want to stray far from their design, but did ask for a little bit of custom, placing an order for a frame without downtube logo, and with internal routing for the dropper post.

    The lady from UPS dropped off a pleasingly light box this week.


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  • That's exciting, what's the plan?

  • The plan had been to get a full build from Bearclaw, with Rival 1x11 and the in-house RAMHORN fork, which is super burly with ample options for mounting racks and bottle and cages.


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  • In the end I decided to get the Enve gravel fork instead as it's a touch more stealth. While I do like the Ramhorn's sharp lines, brutal look and capacious tyre capacity, the Enve will be a bit lighter and more suited to my overall build.

    While I didn't end up with the Ramhorn, the Enve fork did come with the Bearclaw 'Hellbender' headset, so I still get to enjoy that.


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  • For the build I had first considered Rival 1x 11 as it is the stock Bearclaw build, but decided the fancy frame deserved some more sparkly bits hung on it, and I really don't like the Sram chainsets.

    Then I was was planning for GRX. I haven't spent a lot of time with a Shimano group in years, but had a good time with some loaner bikes on recent trips and really like the solidity and feel of the latest stuff I tried.

    But, having totaled up the full build with new bits, and looking at some nicer options than the stock Velocity wheel set that Bearclaw fit as default, costs were quickly spiraling skywards while I was still smarting a little from cost of the frame and fork.

    So with a good idea of how I wanted the build the bike up, but wanting more time to let everything settle, I asked Jason to send the frame and fork only, so I could take some time on putting it together, hopefully finding some bargains on the way...

  • Got the frame out of the bubble wrap and I'm really pleased with it. Though I'd done a good bit of online research and had long conversations with Jason @ Bearclaw, this is the first time seeing a frame in the flesh and quality and the finish is just what I'd hoped for.


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  • More pics...


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  • Nice. That's one fancy commuter bike!

  • that's almost a standard issue lfgss commuter

  • standard issue lfgss commuter

  • there is nothing standard about @amey

  • @ffm Haaaa that is so apt. :) And part of the reason I wanted to delete the logo from the downtime. Bit less shouty. I do like that the headset is called Hellbender though. That's one tough headset.

  • In the post:


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  • As I was humming and haarring over groups and wheelsets a friend at work mentioned he was getting rid of a few of his bikes to justify an outrageously expensive custom job from Australia.

    Always up for helping out a pal, and even more so if it was to aid us both in the quest for N+1, a couple of weeks later I ended up with this...


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  • My dog Buster is usually fairly camera shy. He seems to like this project though.

  • Here's what I got:

    Niner RLT 9 Alu frame and Niner carbon fork.
    Ultegra 6800 groupset with RS685 shifters and brakes.
    Easton EA 70 SL wheelset.
    35mm Rene Herse Bon Jon Pass tyres.
    Easton bars and seatpost.
    Fabric saddle.
    3T stem.
    Elite cages.

  • Also some interesting business going on with splitters on the hydraulics.


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  • Feel like this classy frame deserves a classier group.

  • Well this will get me rolling without bankrupting me. :)

    And given the madness going on right now I can’t justify going too crazy on dream components.

    @croft what would you go for?

    I’m going to start with this group and wheels.
    Plus the PNW bits above.
    XT pedals.
    Arundel gecko black bar tape.
    45mm WTB Raddlers all black.

    Once I get the bar position dialed I’ll either get the matchy PNW stem or a Thomson.

    Any suggestions for bottle cages? I like Leyzne Power but maybe a bit utilitarian.

  • 8070 would seem appropriate. Those RS685 shifters are rank.

  • I’m sticking with mechanical for sure. The RS685 shifters aren’t the prettiest. But they are good for Mk1 build and may be upgraded down the line.

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Nobody Walks in LA - Bearclaw Thunderhawk

Posted by Avatar for jimalex @jimalex

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