Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 16, 2013.

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Singular Cycles is developing a new type of fatbike. While still amazing in snow and sand, this is a fatty for fun on the trail.

Background

I started Singular Cycles in 2007 to produce bikes which I enjoyed riding, and which I hoped others would too. Fortunately, many seem to have agreed which has allowed me to create a range of frames of a multitude of types. I'm delighted to say that these frames have received many plaudits from industry press (but more importantly from customers) as to the ride quality, finish and style.  Please see the Singular Cycles website for more detailed background on me and the company, as well as many reviews. 

Photo copyright of Geoff Waugh at waughphotos.com
Photo copyright of Geoff Waugh at waughphotos.com

Project goals

My goal in developing the Puffin is to create a fatbike which excels not only in the kind of soft conditions for which the oversize 26x4.0" tyres were designed - but to provide a lively and fun bike for general trail riding. Achieving this has meant taking much of what I have learnt in designing the vaunted 29er Swift, and applying those same principles to a fatbike. Sharp handling, a lively feel and perfect balance were high on the agenda.  That said, it was not simply a matter of taking the same geometry and tubing and giving it enough clearance for the big tyres. There are many changes from the Swift both in tubing choice and geometry. 

Chainstays are kept as short as possible (428mm with EBB in rearmost position) to allow fast weight shifts and direction changes - the weight and gyroscopic effect of those big heavy wheels means you need all the help you can get to change direction. 

Fork rake is much longer than the Swift and head angle slacker. Overall, trail is significantly reduced - again, to allow that big tyre and its huge contact patch to turn more easily. 

Standover is significantly lower than the Swift for two reasons, to keep the weight low and manoeuvrability up. Also a more practical reason as at the request of Singular team Iditabike racer Aidan Harding - when riding in snow drifts or deeper sections may bring the bike to a sudden halt, putting a foot down will result in that foot breaking through to a lower level than the tyres. In such situations you want as much standover as possible.  

Front and rear rack mounts increase the versatility of the Puffin allowing for loaded expeditions as well as fun on your local trails. 

Frames will be produced in three sizes from medium to extra large - suiting riders from around 5'6" (168cm) to 6'6" (198cm). They will be available in once colour scheme only - reflective of the Puffin itself, arctic white with a black panel and orange accents. 

Production frame and fork sets will retail at £595 GBP - if you back this project in an amount of £400 GBP you will receive a Singular Puffin frameset (frame and fork) in the size of your choice. Additional shipping costs will apply for backers outside the United Kingdom.  

Technical details

  • Frame constructed from double butted 4130 cro-moly steel available in 3 sizes
  • Frame weight expected approximately 2.7kg in M size
  • Fork with tapered steerer and Reynolds blades
  • Tapered external cup head tube (SHIS EC 28.6/34 I EC 40/44)
  • 170mm rear and 135mm front symmetric spacing
  • World's first 100mm eccentric bottom bracket shell
  • Modular bolt on cable guides for clean geared or singlespeed use. 
  • Direct mount front derailleur adadpter
  • Replaceable rear derailleur hanger 
  • 27.2mm seat post diameter
    Frame clearance for 26×4.7″ tyres (Surly Big Fat Larry on 80mm rim) Fork clearance for 26×4.8″ tyre (Surly Lou on 100mm rim)
  • Compatible with all 100mm bb shell fatbike cranksets. 
  • Frames built by Taiwan's most respected steel frame manufaturer. 

Frame Sizing

Medium frame geometry
Medium frame geometry
Large frame geometry
Large frame geometry
Extra large frame geometry
Extra large frame geometry

***NEWSFLASH***
There has been some call for a smaller size. This could potentially look something along the lines of the below. If we get to £25k and there are at least 5 backers who want a size S then it will happen.

Possible Small Puffin Geometry
Possible Small Puffin Geometry

Timeframes

  • September 16th 2013 - Kickstarter funding project begins
  • October 16th - Kickstarter deadline reached
  • If funding target is met the production order will be placed in late October 2013. 
  • Production takes 3 months plus a further month for shipping. 
  • Delivery of frames to the UK will be expected by late February 2014, with backers receiving their frames within 2 weeks of my taking delivery.

All backers will be kept up to date with production schedules and timings via regular emails. 

Development process

Prototype drawings signed off
Prototype drawings signed off

I first rode a fat bike in 2008, and it seemed like a bit of a novelty but I wasn't really convinced by the format. Then last year I had some more extended riding on various different frames which began to give me some ideas for a fatbike frame which would be fun for a lot more riding than just ploughing through snow and sand. The first step in this was testing different forks in a 'fat front' arrangement on one of my Swift 29er frames. This did a lot to form both my expectations of the fat tyres capabilities and strengths, and to form some thoughts about front end geometry which would work best for the fat tyres.   

So I got to work on some drawings and began talking with my manufacturer about the ideas I had for this new frame. As this was something completely new for me it required many revisions of the drawings until I got to the point where I was ready to order some prototypes. 

Dual chainstay yoke plates on the prototypes to help achieve maximum tyre clearance. This turned out to be unnecessary and the production frames will have a driveside plate only which will reduce weight without compromising tyre or crank clearance.
Dual chainstay yoke plates on the prototypes to help achieve maximum tyre clearance. This turned out to be unnecessary and the production frames will have a driveside plate only which will reduce weight without compromising tyre or crank clearance.

The prototypes took a couple of months to be built and in that time I started gathering lots of fatbike parts and lining up team riders and other volunteers to test the prototype frames. Two frames were tested to ensure compliance with EN safety standards - and easily passed. One frame was sent to our team rider in the USA Matt Gersib. Four frames then came to the UK for testing by the Singular UK team and as many other riders as I could get them under. 

A few things were immediately apparent. In my eagerness to maximise tyre clearance I ended up with chainstays which were too wide. Only the widest Surly cranks would fit and even then a little chainstay hammering and yoke grinding was required. So drawings were immediately altered to ensure compatibility with all commonly available fatbike cranks. I realised that the double chainstay yoke plates were unnecessary and added weight. Production frames will have a plate on the drive side only. 

Aidan's Puffin all built up
Aidan's Puffin all built up

Once I got a bike built up and out on the trail it was apparent that my thinking on fat frame geometry had been pretty much right on. This was a fat bike which just encouraged you to jump and pump off every little trail feature and rail every corner. It just wants to be ridden fast and hard in the tight and windy stuff and over any terrain. A few more of the prototypes got put together and the same sort of feedback started coming from anyone who rode one - "the funnest bike ever", "it just wants to fly", "the most responsive fatbike I've known". People liked it, the geometry was dialled.

So the geometry and tubing choices were very nearly there. One thing a couple of testers noticed was quite a bit of fork 'flutter' in rough terrain. To mitigate this the production fork will have a tapered steerer and larger fork blades. For a cleaner look this fork will be mated to a tapered headtube utilising external headset cups top and bottom. 

In addition to the head tube, some of the other tubes will change specification a little. The top tube will be a bit thinner walled, the seat tube will be slimmer, as will the seat stays. These steps will save some weight over the prototypes, and impart a little more 'give' to the ride while retaining torsional stiffness thanks to the oversized downtube, headtube and chainstays. 

Other minor changes will be a forward facing seat tube slot to keep the gunk out of your seat tube. Cable routing will get a complete overhaul, using bolt on modular guides for singlespeed or geared compatibility. The rack mounts on the fork will stay, though will be tweaked a little to optimise their position. There will be mounts added at the rear to allow for a rack to be mounted.  

Below is a computer generated image of the final frame - please note this is NOT an actual frame, but a representation of what the final frame will look like given the changes discussed above.  

This is what the final frames will look something like
This is what the final frames will look something like

Riding 

Here are some inital thoughts from Singular Team rider Aidan Harding after getting his hands on one of the protos. 

Matt takes flight on his Puffin in Nebraska - picture thanks to fat-bike.com
Matt takes flight on his Puffin in Nebraska - picture thanks to fat-bike.com
Aidan testing one of the prototypes on the Swinley forest trails
Aidan testing one of the prototypes on the Swinley forest trails
Sand dune singletrack on the south coast of England
Sand dune singletrack on the south coast of England
Aidan on some Welsh rocks in the Brecon Beacons
Aidan on some Welsh rocks in the Brecon Beacons
James' proto built up with 1x10 gearing
James' proto built up with 1x10 gearing

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

In the six years since Singular Cycles' inception I have brought seven different models to market. With this background of experience I would like to think that there are few risks associated with this project. The sole exception being possible production delays. While my suppliers and I do everything possible to hit the production schedule, delays can happen due to issues with other suppliers in the chain, shipping delays, customs clearance etc. Through such challenges I always keep all interested parties and investors informed up any changes to schedules and possible delays.

FAQ

  • In the frame at a distance of 344mm from the axle there is 125mm (+2mm/-1mm) between the stays. A Surly Nate on a 100mm rim or BFL on an 80mm rim will be fine.

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  • If the project is successful I will be offering the option to purchase, in this order of priority; headset, hubs, wheels and tyres. I will not be doing complete builds.

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  • Yes, production frames will have rack mounts for both front and rear racks.

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  • There doesn't seem to be (so far as I could tell) any mechanism within Kickstarter to offer different rates for international shipping dependent on location, nor to offer VAT inclusive or exclusive prices. Therefore I tried to make an assessment of the likely split of domestic versus EU versus international backers and arrive at an overall price which would hopefully raise enough cash to get this thing funded, and also represent a fair price for the backers of the project. If anyone has a major concern with that I am happy to talk about it.

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  • The Puffin uses 170mm rear spacing, which means a Rohloff won't fit easily. However the good people at Salsa Cycles make an adapter for their 170mm back ended Mukluk. That adapter fits with no interference with the frame at all, overall seems very solid. I don't see any reason a Rohloff hub wouldn't work - with the following requirements;

    - QR version
    - laced to a rim with offset spoke holes to get the 17.5mm offset and retain some spoke triangulation
    - skewer suitable for a 170mm hub
    - speedbone or similar brake adapter to deal with the hub torque.

    An Alfine won't fit in this adapter due to both the length and diameter of the axle.

    The only other IGH possiblity is a 3 speed 170mm hub which is available from Sturmey Archer.

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  • Yes in the fork - no in the frame. A big part of the reason for the great handling of the Puffin is the super short chainstays. Fitting a 29+ tyre would have required stays nearly 1" longer, which would dramatically alter the handling. I do also have drawings for a 29+ frameset in the pipeline - so that could be the next Kickstarter....

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  • The standard production colour will be arctic white with black downtube panel and orange logo - inspired by an actual puffin.

    Custom colours are a possibility, starting at £100 for a single colour powdercoat with contrasting downtube decal in the colour of your choice.

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  • Yes - the EBB insert is supplied with the frame.

    The interior of the EBB is a british threaded 100mm wide shell, so anything which fits in that will be fine. So ISIS 100mm, Surly HTII 100, 100mm square taper, E13 and Truvativ/SRAM bb and crank set ups will all fit.

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  • The production forks will use a front standard disc mount, allowing any 135mm ISO disc hub to be used. Hubs built on a rear hub disc standard (eg. Hope, Surly, or any 135mm rear hub) will need to have the brake caliper/adapter spaced across by 4mm - i.e. a couple of washers. This allows maximum flexibility for use of any type of hub.

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  • You don't pay anything. If the project does not reach the target then no money is taken, and we all gaze forlornly into the middle distance thinking about what could have been.

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  • Yes - as per all the bikes in the Singular range it will have a lovely cast pewter headbadge depicting a Puffin - I'm still working on the drawing. There will be something extra special for backers of the project!

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    Singular 'Huffin and Puffin' Fatbike t-shirt

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    One Singular Cycles Puffin fatbike frameset (frame and fork) in the size of your choice.

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Funding period

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