Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A bike by any other name would ride as sweet.

A bike is a bike right? They have two wheels, a drive train, a way to steer them, brakes to stop them and a frame to hold it all together. For the most part I agree, components come and go, some are very similar in function, some are unique but they are all utilitarian and serve a basic purpose. The frame on the other hand is the key piece to the puzzle, it dictates how all those components will work together. Mess up the basic angles and you have an unsafe machine. Too short and it will be too "lively," twitchy and unpredictable, too long and it will be sluggish and slow. But when all these elements combine to fit the rider the machine will perform perfectly.

I've had some good luck with the bikes I've owned and some bad luck. But after decades of riding I had never ridden or owned a small-batch-production hand-built bike. I'd always just settled for what was hanging on the pegs of my LBS or the deal I could get on Ebay or second hand from a buddy. I had always wanted a unique frame, something that by just looking at it made my hands sweat and my heart rate increase. I recently found that frame.

Siren bikes have been around for awhile. I first noticed them at the first XC mountain bike race I competed in back in 2009 at Balboa Park. I remember talking to Brendan Collier about his frames and admiring the craftsmanship. The way Brendan talked about the fruits of his labor really resonated within me and I told myself at that point that "If I ever have the chance to own a custom frame this would be the one".

Fast forward to February 2013. I had been meaning to get up to Idyllwild for the longest time to ride I had been up there a bunch to rock climb, hike and generally hang out but only a handful of times to ride. I had been to the Hub Cyclery a couple of times and knew they had shop rides but always seemed to somehow miss them. On an odd day in February I managed to get the guided tour of the area from Brendan owner of said Hub Cyclery and Siren frame builder extraordinaire.

Long story short I've become addicted to the riding in Idyllwild. See "Ranger Dave meets the Silver Fox".
As my relationship with the area and the people grew I knew it was time for a Siren, for me the obvious choice was the Siren called the "Twinzer". Born with altitude this steel steed is the epitome of form and function. The twin top tube that runs seamlessly from headset to dropouts is truly unique.

A visit to the Siren shop sealed the deal and after a couple late night meetings fueled by whiskey, beer and pizza I was the proud owner of one Siren Twinzer.

Now all I had to do was choose a color. I did with the help of my wife, she wanted "French Blue" but I wanted more of a gray overtone so I choose "Blue Grey" and off to the powder coater it went. After what seemed like a hundred years but in actuality was only a week it was done and ready for pick up.

Last week I set off for Idyllwild via a quick stop at the powder coater in Temecula to pick up the frame for the build up. The frame came out great and the color was just what I was looking for. The next hour was spent trying to concentrate on the road up to Idyllwild while continually looking at my new frame that was securely seat belted in the passenger seat beside me. Rider and bike arrived safely and the process of preparing the frame was underway.

A little sanding here a little sanding there and she was ready for the final touch the Siren head badge.

Time to get to work. I starting into to stripping my old bike down and systematically building the new steed up. The work went fast and within a couple of hours I was done and ready for the shakedown ride.

What a ride it was. I headed out of town and hit the trail and after a quick seat adjustment I was off. It took a little while to get used to but the ride was outstanding the whole time. Every technical rock section this bike ate up and was hungry for more. It felt solid under me and soon it was like I had always been on it and that this was just a routine run. Every time I told someone I was getting a steel bike they would add that "Steel is Real" heavy that it is. That might be the case but the performance was so buttery smooth that I must not have noticed it. Shake down run in the books, I was one happy camper. Time for a true test.

I was set to ride the Archipelago ride two days later. The Arch ride is a 45 to 50 mile mountain bike ride held in North County San Diego that joins six major open space parks together on trials that test both rider and bike equally. The bike held up great and there were no issues to speak of. I'm gonna be keeping this beauty for years to come. Look for it on the trails around the San Dieguito River Park where it will be on patrol on a regular basis.

Special thanks to Brendan Collier at the Hub for being such a great down to earth dude and for making such a killer frame. I appreciate the time you have taken to help me and the dedication to your trade. If you are looking for a great frame look no further.


  1. Great article! Riding a bicycle is also great for kids fitness.

    Bike Zion

  2. That is a good looking frame. If you are still riding it, what is your long term review?

  3. That is a good looking frame. If you are still riding it, what is your long term review?

  4. I am still riding this bike and its still one of the best bikes I've ever riding. It's now a dedicated fully rigid single speed and I wouldn't change a thing.