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Thursday, April 5, 2018

A Mountain Bike Companion?

My Black Mountain Cycles monster cross bike now is my only road bike. It rendered obsolete all the others and I turned them all loose. One bike for all kinds of rides on all kinds of roads. It's that good. At least it's that good for me. A Road Bike by Black Mountain.

Overnight trip to Robert Cota's 2016 Bikepack Extravaganza.
The capability and versatility of the Black Mountain eventually led me to question my fleet of mountain bikes.  Each one had a purpose and a history, but so did those old road bikes. Could one mountain bike - the right mountain bike -  be the single track companion to the Black Mountain?

One mountain bike? Hmmn. One bike to confidently and comfortably ride single track of all kinds. Short local jaunts. Afternoon excursions. Day long explorations. Overnight adventures. Multi-day expeditions. One mountain bike? Casual cruises. Group rides. Events. Races. One mountain bike?

Why not? That's how I started out, more than a few years ago. That's how most everyone started out.

My Black Mountain wearing the effects of the 2017 Robideaux Quick and Dirty gravel road race.

What would that one mountain bike look like? Back in late 2015, I started to wonder. Then I started to research. Over the course of more than a year and a half, I studied reviews, reports, blogs, forums, press releases, web sites and anything else I could find. I asked loads of questions to lots of different cyclists. I rode as many different bikes as I could. I pushed the fun limits of the Black Mountain, unloaded and loaded, on rough roads and trails. The options expanded quickly, narrowed gradually, and expanded again as more bikes appeared on the market. Mountain bikes, fat bikes, plus bikes. 26 inch, 27.5 inch and 29 inch. Drop bar, flat bar, not-sure-what-it-is-bar. One or two derailleurs, internal gears, single speed. Chain drive, belt drive. Even generator hubs. Every combination imaginable. This was going to take some time.

Meanwhile, I adored the Black Mountain monster cross, prompting me to further thin my herd of bikes from 11 to 3, leaving just the Black Mountain, a rigid single speed and a fixie. I also shed some other weighty possessions, including a room sized home gym and a 40 year old four wheeler. I downsized quantity to upgrade quality.

Then, about a year ago, I found it. Maybe it found me. It wasn't love at first sight. It took time. But I just kept going back to it. All the others lost their luster. Eventually, I committed.

The one mountain bike for me. And now it's on its way here.


  1. Let me take a guess-a Jones Plus? A year ago I bought a Black Mountain Cycles cross frame because of Guitar Ted and your glowing reviews. I love the bike-smooth, comfortable and capable in the mixed terrain rides here in the driftless area of Wisconsin. Thanks for your review and for the work on Black Hills Backbone-my wife and I may do some riding in that area in September.

  2. I'm glad you enjoy your Black Mountain. Your corner of the country looks and sounds like a great area to ride. If you have questions planning a trip to the Black Hills, let me know. If you'd like some company riding, I'm always game. Ride on.