Some of you may remember Scott Brady's feature of his Form Cycles mountain bike in the Summer 2011 issue of Overland Journal. You didn't have to read between the lines to detect he was beaming with pride over his shiny new toy, and rightfully so. I was with Scott when we he first went to visit Daryl Roberts at Form Cycles. Drooling over his show bikes, I just knew I would someday swing a leg over my very own Form bike. This year I embarked on my 26th season of racing and also turned 40.That latter digit nagged at me, but also seemed like a great excuse for a new bike, so I gave Daryl a ring.
The arrival of this bike coincides with my new passion for bikepacking. Bikepacking is an ingenious pairing of mountain biking and ultra-light backpacking. This is not to be confused with traditional bicycle touring. Gone are the bloated panniers, heavy racks and loads best applied to a donkey. Bikepacking is about taking the minimum of gear and launching into miles of serpentine mountain singletrack free to carve, climb, jump, and if it fits your personality - shred. I'll admit, my shred has lessened with the advancement of my years, but I did want a bike with every gram of performance I could squeeze out of it. Daryl did not disappoint.
The finished product is a custom titanium bicycle adorned with various carbon fiber bits reducing the trail-ready weight to a mere 21 pounds in it's current singlespeed configuration. Enve carbon fiber rims provide stunning accuracy with wheel placement and spin up to speed with authority. The X.O cranks are stiff as axe handles and the overall package is simply sublime on the trails. To extend the bike's versatility, Daryl built it with internal cable guides and hooded Paragon slider dropouts to make the addition of derailleurs and shifters a snap. The overall geometry is tuned for performance riding, but not so aggressive it won't facilitate dawn to dusk epics in the saddle day after day.
It is in short, exactly what I hoped it would be and so much more. When loaded with 11 pounds of overnight gear it feels poised and balanced. As the miles tick away, the compliance of the titanium frame and seatpost continually remind me why titanium is so often referred to as the magic metal. It is a beautiful machine to behold, right down to the hand crafted copper head badge. Daryl and his build team are masters of their craft. There aren't enough superlatives to fully describe how amazing their bikes are.
So, should you find yourself itching for a new bicycle I'd advocate rounding up or down to your nearest milestone birthday and using that as an excuse to give Form Cycles a call.
This bike is not just a show pony. Starting on July, 19th I will be riding this steed in the 500 mile Colorado Trail Race from Denver to Durango. What better way to break in a new bike?