18 Bikes – Project Stupid

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Matt Bowns is co-owner of 18 Bikes in Hope, and is their resident frame-builder. His latest project is something of a doozy – although he calls it Project Stupid. Why Project Stupid, you may ask? Well…


Matt’s a tall chap, to be sure – but he’s normally firmly in ‘large’ territory. But this? This thing has a reach of 525mm. Compare that to 510mm for a Mondraker. In extra large. This thing is LOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGGG.


It’s also rocking, apparently, the rather more conservative XC head angle setting in these shots, which runs at a frankly over-the-bars inducing 62º. If you want to get your gnar on apparently 61º is possible.

But (you may ask) why? To see what’s possible, essentially. Matt’s seen the likes of the Mojo Geometron machines, and wanted to see what he could rustle up.


The carbon back end is from a Saracen Kili Flyer yielding 120mm of travel which nobly gave itself to the cause.


Because the donor bike Matt used was an aluminium one, the linkages are wide enough that joining pieces had to be brazed on. The brazing does look lovely though.

DSC_2003Matt has used a clear powder coat – that mottling looks pretty; it’s an 853 downtube. But of the whole front section, Matt’s most happy about the toptube…


…which he’s externally butted himself with a lathe – there are 5 degrees of butting. It’s pretty impossible to see in photos, though.


But (I hear you cry) how does it ride?? Well, not nearly as badly as perhaps the querulous would expect. Matt’s certainly rather fast on it:

so fast the camera couldn’t keep up

Here’s a slightly better pic of Matt in action:DSC_1950We can’t wait to see what else he has in store. For more details on 18 bikes, click here.


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Comments (7)

    There is a good post on MTBR framebuilder’s forum showing it under construction.

    Looks fairly normal when actually being ridden.

    Amazing project and just the sort of thing I love to read about on STW 🙂
    Beautiful brazing Matt!

    As mick_r says – looks surprisingly normal under rider.
    I wonder if that would finally enable me to clear Parkin Clough 🙂

    Big bikes for bike folks, the way it should be. How tall’s Matt then?

    I’ve recently acquired a Genesis High Altitude in XL and it feels l-o-n-g, and that’s with ‘only’ a 490mm reach with me being 6’1.

    A guy I occasionally ride with has a geomotron. He’s quicker down, quicker up and quicker an all the bits in between as well. As ever the rider is the most important ingredient in the mix. That said, being 6’4″ and long of limb I could see myself happily riding something like this..

    Thanks for the kind words. I’m 6’1″ but also ‘long of limb’/monkey shaped with a span of 6’5.5″. The fit feels absolutely spot on and time will tell if the extra length from the slack head angle works out. I certainly didn’t feel slower on the climbs and level bits but I need to do a lot more testing

    I like the integrated seatclamp at the bottom of the headtube.

    Was talking to Matt about this in 18 on Sunday
    It looks ludicrous, until you see him on it, then it looks, almost, normal (he does have abnormally long arms 🙂 )
    Beautifully made frame as well, pics don’t do it justice, some neat ideas in there too like the bolted headtube allowing you to rotate the Angleset and adjust the head angle without tools whilst on the trail
    I think Matt said it weighs about 31lb which for an equivalent of a XXL frame with ‘only’ Deore/SLX spec and ‘bombproof’ wheels is pretty impressive

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