You know me, you know how I like unusual?
It was good to hear from Jeroen in the Netherlands before Christmas – I featured his Ti22 fatbike a couple of years ago (http://www.spanner.org.uk/2012/10/ti22s-custom-titanium-newsboy-fat-bike-from-xacd/)
He’s still got the bike making bug as you can tell from his new venture, 11ANTS, that he’s started with a couple of friends.
They’re offering a range of bikes, all with a little theme to the names – there’s the ANTelope, the pANTher, elephANT and tarANTula (see what they did there?).
One thing that impressed me about Jeroen’s Ti22 was the excellent attention to detail and the neat little design touches. Sure enough the current range of bikes has plenty of things like belt drives, Rohloff gears, eccentric rear axles and Pinion bottom bracket gear boxes.
Checking out a few of the highlights, the pANTher is their 650b hardcore hardtail based around a 140mm travel fork:
Nice use of a 44mm headtube there, it let’s you run a taper tube fork if you want to (with an innny/outy headset) but doesn’t look as bloomin’ ugly as a taper tube!
Also check out this very neat integrated seatpost clamp. The inserts mean you won’t have to worry about stripping the threads out of a fixed boss:
And… because we’ve got a belt drive there’s an eccentric bottom bracket plus a machined(?) yoke chainstay. The yoke won’t be that light but there should be lots of clearance and the necessary rigidity that’s essential for running a belt.
It looks like there’s plenty of love for UK components too – Hope hubs, brakes and headsets, along with Middleburn cranks feature regularly in their builds.
Saving the best till last though, we have the tarANTula, which is, well, whatever you need it to be. Taking advantage of the way a 26″ fatbike wheel is a similar diameter to a normal 29’er they’ve designed a frame for a variety of wheels:
Fancy a fatbike? Pop in some 26″ wheels with 3.8″ tyres on. Want to roll a little easier? Drop in a set of 29’er wheels and away you go. Or how about some 29er+ tyres for something in between?
The other key feature of this bike is the Pinion gearbox, available in 12 and 18 speed variations it requires a unique frame mount to bolt it on in place of the bottom bracket shell. Think of it like a Rohloff hub that keeps the weight better balanced in the middle of the bike. Combined with a belt drive it could be the ultimate in maintenance free ‘adventure bikes’.
As well has having the split seat stay to allow for the belt to be inserted, it’s got an eccentric rear axle mount to allow for belt tension which is a nice touch. Optional S&S style couplers in the main tubes make it portable too. 11ANTS also offer it with the upside-down German:A Flame fatbike suspension fork which certainly looks the part. Do fatbikes need suspension forks though? Hmm.
Although taking all the options does result in a bit of a weight penalty – the complete bike weighs in around 34lbs (15+kg). But you’ll have a machine that should roll over just about anything, and keep going for ages before it needs any attention.
No doubt Jeroen’s got more bikes in the pipeline – keep an eye on their site for future developments: