Lots of you have been emailing us your queries about the Fortitude 29er bikes, what price are they going to be? when are they going to be in the shops? what sizes we will be doing? Well everything is now confirmed for these bikes and our orders were placed a couple of weeks ago.
We really appreciate that lots of people are interested so I’ve tried to talk through some of the key points below, hopefully it’s enough info to keep you all lusting.
If you want to know why we’ve chosen this style of bike as our first 29er then read here first: http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/bikes/prototypes/29er-prototype/29er-prototype
Frame material: Classy Reynolds 725 frameset with double butted chromo fork.
Are we using a bent seat tube? : Well, we paid some money for tooling and decided a better solution to the usual wheelbase/seat angle issue for 29ers, was to shape (and effectively externally butt) the seat tube to still allow a tight wheelbase plus the desired seat angle, while giving a nicer look to the frame and ensuring straight tubes throughout.
EBB or no EBB? : We’re not using them and here’s why.
The first key question I asked myself is "do we need the Fortitude frame to be able to run both singlespeed and geared?" I believe the answer to that is no. Sure there will be always be someone who may want to convert their geared ride into a singlespeed for a couple of months, but the vast majority of riders know what they want. If they want a singlespeed then they want a frame that is dedicated to running only one gear. Make something do one thing really well.
So then the question becomes "what is the best way of tensioning the chain on a singlespeed or Alfine geared frame?" In the prototype stages we played with an eccentric bottom bracket design and I personally found it be fiddly and basically overcomplicated for its main purpose of tensioning the chain. I understand that people like the clean aesthetic they give to a singlespeed, but aesthetics should never dictate a bike design, they’re important but not more so than function. For me the most important thing is adjustability and reliability. Don’t get me wrong, not once did the eccentric bb's break, but I found the simple process of tensioning the chain to be difficult on occasion (not always), often involving a couple of whacks with a rubber mallet to get it moving. Fine for a home service, but more painful if you have to tension the chain while out riding or lost in the woods. I know with a horizontal dropout I can grab a set of allen keys, loosen the wheel, drag the wheel back, maybe re-adjust the brake calliper slightly if I have to and then it’s done. I understand that certain EBB designs are better than others and if you want something reasonably lightweight then you have to pay for it which in turn bumps up the bike/frame prices.
I’ve listened to all the arguments for and against and certain riders swear by them but after several months of riding and studying them I’ve been left un-convinced. A horizontal dropout is far simpler and you can see exactly what’s going on, it’s the most utilitarian solution to chain tension on a single speed bicycle. We’ve always used horizontal dropouts on our IO, IO ID and Day 1 Alfine bikes and we have never once seen one break or had people complain about them. They’re tested and proven over several model years so that says it all. The most recent example of this is when Will Snow rode the 2745 mile US Tour Divide route on an IO ID and not once did he have a mechanical issue.
Like with anything in life, if you get years of faultless service from a product then I believe you almost owe it to that product/brand to buy/spec it again. There is always something new which claims to be the best but reliability, durability and quality can only really be truly proven with time and our disc equipped horizontal dropouts have proven themselves year on year. It is for that reason I have chosen to use them again on the Singlespeed and Adventure model Fortitudes. The Race model will use a traditional replacable gear hanger, the same we use on the Latitude and Alpitude bikes.
What are the 3 builds?
I thought long and hard about what bikes we should offer and how we should gear them etc. Here’s what we are bringing to market:
Singlespeed: Clean, simple, fast, low maintenance, just pedal.
Race: 3 x 10 gearing, mostly Deore with a splash of XT where it counts. This bike is fast, I knew after the first ride that we needed to offer a derailleur geared version for enduro racing and just general fast woods blasting.
Adventure: This was the hardest spec to decide upon. A bike that potentially could be out in the wilds for a few weeks so reliability being the main thing. In the end it had to be ALFINE 11. Everything is safe and sound in the rear hub, it’s safe from bangs and knocks, it doesn’t need much love and again it’s proven. Vin Cox rode his Alfine equipped CdF round the world without a single problem, Will Snow rode the Tour Divide on his IO ID and it did the job perfectly. The proofs in the pudding as they say and Alfine has proved itself to us and our customers. This bike will also feature Avid BB7 mtb wire pull disc brakes for easy back country maintenance.
Bosses, bottle mounts, fender mounts, eyelets... etc
Again this is something that takes some deciding upon and is an important detail. Here’s what we’ve gone with for each model:
Singlespeed - As a fan of singlespeed riding myself, I want a singlespeed bike to be just that and designed specifically to be ridden with one gear only. So that means no un-necessary mounts, guides or eyelets. The singlespeed will feature cable guides for the rear disc brakes only, no Alfine guides, no rack mounts, no fender mounts. Two bottle cage mounts, one on the seat tube and one on the downtube. Crud/Cycra mounts under the downtube also, some people don’t like the look of a plastic mudguard under the downtube, but for wet & muddy winter rides they’re a blessing.
Race – Same as the singlespeed, so 2 bottle mounts and a crud/Cycra mount, that’s it. On the race model the second bottle mount is under the downtube, as we need to use a conventional high mount front mech which sits where the seat tube bottle bosses would be. .
Adventure – The clues in the name with this one. BASICALLY IT CAN DO EVERYTHING AND YOU CAN MOUNT ANYTHNG. The frame has the following; 3 bottle mounts, rear rack mounts, fender mounts and eyelets. The fork features low rider mounts, fender eyelets but also three water bosses on the outside of each leg which can be used to mount bottle cages to the fork or the ‘Salsa Anything cage’ which means you can strap a sleeping bag and bivvy bag to your forks, a neat product that I wanted this bike to be compatible with. Ideal for a few days bike camping.
Please note the images below are only mock ups for showing colours. Frame detailing should be ignored.
Colour: Charcoal with grey graphics
Colour: Burnt red with orange decals
Colour: Deep green with lime decals
Frame & Fork only options
We will also offer the Fortitude Race and Adventure models as frames and forks only. We will not offer the singlespeed as people can purchase the Adventure frame and fork and build it as a singlespeed if they wish.
Fortitude Race Frame: £349.99
Fortitude Race Fork: £79.99
Fortitude Adventure Frame: £349.99
Fortitude Adventure Fork: £79.99
Stock of all 3 models, plus frame and fork only options will be arriving into our warehouse February 2012.
Judging by the number of email queries we've had, we think demand will be high so let your nearest Genesis dealer know if you’re interested.