Last Sept/Oct I bought myself a med Ogre frame ready to build up in the spring for this years bikepacking ride, having read various reviews, spoke to folk who had one, or a Karate monkey, which is much the same thing in terms of ride/geometry and in no small part to Cass Gilbert who was riding one through Chile and Bolivia while I was reading his blog over the winter. Once built it was pretty obvious that I had got a size too small, which is a shame as it rode really well. For a frame that is built for resilience etc it was surprisingly nimble, even when loaded it was very responsive and didn’t feel as lethargic as it’s weight would suggest.
Surly really did make a great job with the handling. one of the reasons I chose it was the fact that it would do almost anything, and while I was pretty sure that the racks weren’t going on it, it was nice to have the option. I also hanker for a Rohlof at some point, so that was attractive too. A shame then that I found it a little too short, feeling quite cramped with a 70mm stem. I didn’t want to use a long stem as I felt that it might make it a little too twitchy. The irony of the fact that I bought it to replace the Singular, which I felt was a little long, isn’t lost on me!! It still hangs in the shed and may get built back up as a SS.
The build itself was born out of the desire for reliability, simplicity and ease of maintenance on the hill in the main, so I went for cable disc brakes this time, and in a change from my usual preference for IHG hubs, I bought a Hope SS trials hub and put a 6 speed XT cassette on it, mainly to see if Rear mechs are reliable enough for these parts! and the riding I like to do. The Cairngorms are very unforgiving of components, I went through about 3 sets of pads, per bike, between March-Oct, about a dozen sets in total…..The brakes on the Singular were Avid Elixir 5s, and had been put on the Pugs for the winter, but with the problems I had last year I wasn’t really keen to put them back on this bike. I had continual problems with the front caliper seizing after a few rides. I would clean and strip the pistons, oil them and get them all centered and set up again, only for them to start sticking within a 100km or so. I also had a new set of seals and pistons fitted by the LBS, which sorted it for a little longer, but it still didn’t last the season.
So I figured I would give BB7 a try. In fact I saw a set of Gussets on STW and bought them complete with rotors and Avid levers. I have to say that they were very quick and easy to set up, and as they are twin pull(both pads move) it meant that centering was simplicity itself. Once the pads had bedded in they are plenty “stoppy” enough for the my riding style for sure.
The only real problem I had with the Ogre was that it was a little short in the TT for me, especially as I want to run my Titec/Jones bars on this build. Having rode it for a couple of days on the bottom half of the WHW it was clear that I was going to have to get the next size up, hopefully I would be able to trade with someone who had a L that wished they had got a M, an Ogre as first choice, but if not there were several framesets I would be happy to try.
As luck would have it my LBS had a 19in Genesis Fortitude Race that they were selling on, having stripped it for parts for another frameset for a customer. A deal was done and I rolled home with a new frame to swap parts onto. For thet most part it was a straight swap over, the only changes being my Middleburn RS7s to replace the XT chainset, and the Jones bars. I managed to completely overlook the need for a longer cable run with the Jones due to the extra sweep, though the bike was rideable unloaded, it was a dogs breakfast once the bar bag\harness was fitted, especially the front. I have a new sealed cable set on order but it seems to be taking an age to get here!?
Partly built, just a chain, wheels and pedals and were good to go.
The Gusset brakes. Easy to set up as they have pretty much the same tri-align adjustment as Avids.
Jones H bars. Look so very wrong, but feel so VERY right! The shifter is a Suntour thumbie, SIS 9 speed indexing, £20, what’s not to like???
The Genesis is completely polar to the Ogre: Lighter, faster and a lot more sculptered, given that it was designed for racing not that surprising really. Having ridden it a few days I am pretty confident that it will be resilient enough for the bikepacking trips I plan to use it for. It is something of a missile, even with me on it!! I have taken it around the local single track a few times and it is extremely nimble. I recently took it out on a S240 and it rode very well loaded too, more of that in the next post.
All in all the Fortitude frame has built up into a great bike, a couple of caveats however.
The frame is built with braze ons for the gear cable run to be open, and under the bottom bracket shell. Most of the bikes I had in the late 80’s and early 90’s were built like this, and given the British weather I am at a loss as to why? I know its a race frame but really, another 1/2 mtr of cable outer and a couple of cable tie points would break the bank? or add that much weight?
If I were keeping the frame I admit that I would get the frame repainted a more sober colour, and while doing so would get a cable run on the right to match the brake run on the left….but I’m not(almost definitely).
This spot is a bit of a “right of passage” for all of my builds. Looking toward Ryvoan Bothy.