What have you done in quarantine? Watch a lot of trash TV? Eat too many snacks? Maybe given some DIY a go? Benni Amend has gone one better than most and built himself an entire bike.
This is the 140mm travel, 29er FCKW Frameworks Reclaimer. It's the first bike Benni has ever built, and he's done it all by hand with no computers involved. Benni is a carpenter by trade and openly admits he has no background in bike design. He says, "I acquired all my knowledge by watching YouTube videos for hours and the rest was instinct and luck".
Benni said he just likes to "swim against the current" and would probably have been happy buying a bike off the shelf but the appeal of being connected to the bike by building it meant more to him was irresistible.
Rider Height 172cm (5'8")
Head Angle 65.5°
Seat tube angle 76°
BB Drop 30mm
Without access to CAD, Benni sketched the entire bike out by hand then made 1:1 wooden models to ensure the bike would work for things such as the chainline and to check the dimensions for the shock installation. After that, he simply got on with building. While he admits not using any computers is probably a slower way to build bike, Benni believes it allowed him to get it right first time as he could see the problems arise as he went along. He says, "mistakes can be discovered better because you can think through 100% of every part that you hold in your hands. The computer thinks nothing."
Benni sketched out the bike and the built up scale models of the complicated parts to make sure everything worked.
Benni's carpentry skills continued to be useful throughout the build
Inspiration for the linkage came from his two current bikes, an Orange Stage 6 and a Commencal Supreme. He describes this as a cross between the two and it's basically a simpler take on the current trend of high single pivots.
Benni has only been able to test the bike on some smooth trails so far and has been pleasantly surprised at the bike's ability. He says: "I don't know anything about the kinematics and it was a bit of a gamble but I also notice that the geometry of the bike is very well tailored to me." He said there are a few things he could change but he's satisfied enough with it to not feel the need to try again.
A pair of orange Formula Cura brakes stand out on a bike that's all raw steel and stealth components
The process has ingnited a bike building spark for Benni and he says he will be looking to build another bike when he has recovered from the stresses of this one. Next on his list is an e-bike version of the bike for his father, despite his father claiming, "he doesn't need such new foolish nonsense."