by Tom dB
May 26, 2009
This bike ticks all the boxes to qualify for a place in Singletrack’s "Bike Pron" feature: Would it draw a crowd if it were leant up against the food tent at Mountain Mayhem? Is it a bike that we’d all like to ride, even if we wouldn’t want to own it? Is there a good story behind it? So that’s a resounding ‘yes’ to all of those.
Santa Cruz Easy Rider
From: The depths of the Santa Cruz Bicycles Engineering Department.
This bike ticks all the boxes to qualify for a place in Singletrack’s “Bike Pron” feature: Would it draw a crowd if it were leant up against the food tent at Mountain Mayhem? Is it a bike that we’d all like to ride, even if we wouldn’t want to own it? Is there a good story behind it? So that’s a resounding ‘yes’ to all of those. Now just cast your eyes over the machine. To downhill race purists, it might appear sacrilege, especially given that it’s an ex-Mark Weir race bike, but it was due for retirement anyway, so what better fate than to become the Santa Cruz Bikes’ beach and beer cruiser? We asked Joe Graney from the engineering department at Santa Cruz Bikes to explain the thoughts behind the project and some of the performance criteria that they had to incorporate…
“The biggest problem with the V10 chassis we started with is that it had all this suspension travel. I mean, that’s great for ‘downhill racing’ or whatever, but it doesn’t really work all that well for rolling with beer in hand. Too ‘useful’.
So we started out by decreasing the rear wheel travel by 9.5in to 0.5in by installing a custom tuned Fox DHX Air shock – and then letting all the air out of it. The bottom-out bumper adds just enough comfort for rides that can last up to five minutes without stopping to pose.
With a lowered back end the cranks got awfully close to the ground, causing cornering stability concerns. The fabrication and installation of a tall fork with ‘just enough’ flex along with a 24in front wheel really started getting the handling dialed in and gave a muscle car aesthetic. Front wheel chopper-fl op can be an issue on a machine like this, but it was taken care of in style with the addition of a freestyle BMX handlebar which gave extra leverage and reach for kickin’ back while lookin’ pimp. You can’t really ‘cruise’ unless you’ve got ape hangers.
Even with the performance achievements detailed here, however, comfort wasn’t ignored. The bike had the luxury addition of ergonomic grips. When you’ve only got one hand on the bar, it’s that much more important that it doesn’t fatigue. And since you’re using one hand, how many brakes do you need?
Besides loving just standing next to this hulk and basking in its glow, it’s always the center of the party with its ‘F*** Off’ bottle opener – the perfect mix of alcoholism and bad attitude that panties moisten and drop for. The custom CNC billet machined belt buckle fork mount was the crowning touch to a machine that was built with neither compromise nor equal.”
And so there we have it. But what’s it like to ride? We were lucky enough to spy the behemoth leant up against a wall in the Santa Cruz workshop/warehouse and took it out for a spin.
To say that it’s fit for its intended purpose would be an understatement. This is a bike that you absolutely cannot ride unless you are completely relaxed. There’s no question of standing up, or of getting anywhere in a hurry, so why rush? The more you sink into the comfy saddle, lean back and slow down your reactions, the easier it becomes to ride. The extreme fork rake and ape hangers mean that the steering happily fl ops from one lock to the other if you’re not careful. So it’s all about carving lazy turns and just being able to spin it round with a typical American muscle car turning circle.