It’s always interesting to find out about the bikes that the custom frame builders make for themselves. They have all walked different paths to this profession — or hobby — like John Caletti: a rider since a young age, this is his new titanium 29er MTB.
John specialises in titanium and steel, and places a high emphasis on the recyclable nature of his work. Which could be the influence of his location, in Santa Cruz, California; known for its natural beauty, redwood forests and coastline.
It’s little wonder that California gave rise to the early mountain bike culture, and John’s new ti steed is a nod to that scene. It’s got all the mod cons, but it still looks like an old-school two-wheeled tractor — albeit a fast two-wheeled tractor.
John used oversized titanium tubes to help achieve this look, decorated with custom motifs by local artist Campbell Steers that were anodised onto the frame in colors that formed a theme for the rest of the bike, subtly offset by that brushed titanium finish.
The geometry is thoroughly up-to-date. The offset seat tube is mounted on a T47 BB shell, which helps to keep the chain stays short. A 69 degree head angle maintains stability but is still nimble enough to whip through the trees. The long top tube means a short stem can be used without losing cockpit length.
Paragon Machine Works’ adjustable dropouts form the rear end, and can be set-up with a direct-mount rear mech and thru-axles, or a standard derailleur and axles, or no hanger at all for a single speed arrangement. Talk about versatile.
The cable for the dropper seat post is routed through the seat tube. Even the cable stops are adjustable so you can run different set-ups and keep the frame lines clean. A 120mm Fox fork up front provides the bounce.
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Big thanks to Peter Thomsen for the photos.