All started for me around-about April 2014.
Someone on MTBR and latter on on Forumrowerowe.org posted about extra wide (100-90mm) 29-er rims by Xtreme Bikes https://www.fattirebikeparts.com/ .
I thought that it might be interesting idea, especially after good experience with Knards on Rabbit Hole and P35.
Did a bit of snooping, stumbled into MTBR not very favorable threads, managed to contact Tommi (Xtreme Bikes man) and inquired about availability.
I was so trans-fixed on the idea that completely ignored poor communication and terrible delays.
Just before New Year all the sudden things speed up. I’ve been informed that alloy version would be even further delayed but slightly narrower – 90mm instead of 100mm – full carbon fiber option is on and ready for shipment. Quick calculation, credit ratting and organs black market trending prices for kidneys tipped me over the buying threshold.
Late Christmas gift get into my grubby paws just at the beginning of January 2015 and was initially half-unveiled at: https://krzywekolo.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/poczatek-czegos-zupelnie-nowego/ and latter fully measured and (gosh!) weighted 3 month latter after another secret package from across The Pond https://krzywekolo.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/idzie-wiosna-zatem-odtajniamy-dalej-p/ .
The most obvious fact was one, that there is no off-the-peg frame on the market that will accommodate 3.5″ wide, 29-er wheels. Anyone who realized that custom is the way knows what I meant by THIS excitement that enters your stomach before custom-built Odyssey.
Initial idea of steel seemed good but after theorizing about potential weight of full built decided to expand into titanium.
After month of spinning tons of e-mails with various local and not-so-local frame builders at the beginning of March I stumbled into Brant’s Richards new baby, Pact Bikes ( http://pactbikes.com/ )
It was like healthy dollop of rocket fuel for the project 😀
Pretty untypical, as I inquired about…
Long top tube, slack-ish front, short rear and 3.5 inch of rubber to deal with, 150mm front spacing, 170mm rear spacing, 100mm bottom bracket shell, single speed compatible, 1x… compatible and Bluto ready (-ish 510mm A2C). Oh! And cherry on the top, stealth dropper ready – because why not?
Brant’s first query: Can you measure for me your rear wheel as on the picture?
W=C=90.35mm, R=383mm, T=335mm…
That’s his first and second approach to rear end, loosely based on FatCat.
Back end of March we agreed most of the details, I paid deposit and things start rolling.
Also we found out, that Brant is unable to provide me with 150x15mm spacing forks (bummer…) and I was back to digging-internet-up-side-down mode again.
At the end of first week of April Brant sent me some pictures of future beast that I started to dub WeirdCat or TwistedCat. In the end we both decided that WeirdCat is better and that became official name of the project.
First render from back end of April, made me drool xD
For a moment we considered straight down tube but caution and peace of mind took over and we went with slightly bent one.
After that it was only better and more, and more tasty 🙂
Sexy rocker dropouts…
177x12mm rear axle (not considered in the first place, but then wholeheartedly accepted)
On the 1st of may full package arrived to me for final confirmation. Money changed accounts and WeirdCat started his way to physical existence.
Until 22nd of July when I picked up the frame it was like sitting on the hot oven plate 🙂
But what about front end?
After initial experience with UK builders decided to expand my scope.
I was hoping to buy sorta of-the-peg forks from Muru Cycles in Ozzz ( http://www.murucycles.com/ ) , but they only had 135mm spacing forks and didn’t offer custom builds.
So ended up with two well know in titanium custom world contenders. Carver Bikes and Black Sheep.
Requirement made it again a bit not that typical… A2C 510mm, 55mm rake, 150x15mm front axle, mudguards, racks, AnyCage mounting points and tapered steerer…
Thanks to slightly better pricing and quicker reply I decided to go with Carver Bikes. Funnily enough their first reply came to me no different date than 1st of April 🙂
First draft wasn’t exactly to my liking:
I preferred uni-crown type over segmented. Second approach, apart of canti bosses and no through axle was much better xD
Final and approved version ticked all the boxes:
At the beginning of May monies again changed accounts and I was put into impatient wait mode second time in one week 🙂
One week after Cat forks has landed in sunny Warksop.
Simon mate, hold on to your socks because you dunno what’s coming ]:->
To finance whole Extravaganza I sold 3 steel frames (2 x N9s, 1 x Peregrine), 1 steel forks (Krampus), one 29+/29 wheelset plus some bits and pieces (CK headset, Thomson seatposts). Good deal Sir, good deal :p