19 February 2008

bikefix Quickie: Siren Song 29er softtail

This really isn't much of a review- Brendan from Siren was kind enough to let me borrow a beautiful new Song for a few minutes last weekend- just enough to whet my appetite. Siren's a small, year-old builder out of Idyllwild, California who are making some quite nice-looking aluminum frames. It's nice to see a builder (you know, who actually builds frames) out at the races. While not as pornographically sexy as the Hand Built Bicycle Show stuff we've been seeing, I'd feel much better hammering one of these regularly.

24 hour races are a great place to be selling comfortable, fast bikes. After 130 miles on a single speed hardtail, I'm thinking about softtails again. Moots' YBB is beautiful, but at $3k plus, a bit excessive. The Song is running about $1900 (custom geometry) and 4.5lb (medium), for whatever wheels or gears you'd like (within reason). While the bike I rode was freakishly large (with freakishly wide handlebars), if felt good right off the bat. Unlike Salsa's softtail, the Song's frame actually acts as a negative spring, pre-loading the Cane Creek air shock (which I didn't know was still being made). This meant good small-bump action and a more progressive spring curve (which will prevent you from blowing through the 1.5in of travel). The shock felt properly damped- active but not bouncy- and didn't bob noticeably under power. There's also a surprising amount of room for big tires (see picture), which are becoming increasingly available for 29ers. The option may also exist for different rear ends, which can help to justify the expense (one geared, one SS, for example), and the fact that the frame is bolted together at the rear shock and water cut titanium flex plate could make for easy (and inexpensive) airline travel. All in all, a very appealing ride.


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