Danny's Funnest Hog

Danny was so stoked about his thoughtful, tasteful, fun-as-heck Hog's Back build that he sent us this ode and accompanying pics!

I don’t know if people usually have their builds all figured out beforehand or improvise as they go. I had no clue what this bike would be when I got my hands on the frameset last summer. I had many of the parts already from previous builds, but no real vision or direction to the whole bike.

I had my eye on the Hog’s Back for a while, notably because of its easy-to-build, versatile nature. You look at the various builds people made with the Hog's Back and no two are the same. Drop bar, flat bar, Clydesdale forks, 26”, 650b, 700c, bikepacking rig, commuter bike…

It's specced with a lot of recognizable features making parts sourcing and swapping a breeze: 68mm BSA BB; 100/135mm QR wheel dropouts; straight 1-⅛ steerer; ISO disc brakes; 27.2mm seat post, etc. No proprietary stuff that would add complexity to the already complicated bicycle supply chain amidst/post pandemic. The only thing that could’ve made this frameset futureproof are thru axles instead of QR skewers but it also means you can currently build a Hog’s Back with a set of wheels you already have laying around, collecting dust somewhere in the dark corners of your bike altar.

For inspiration, I spent (too) many hours scrolling through endless pictures of beautiful builds on all channels. As a first iteration, I opted for an ATB, 90’s-rigid-MTB inspired ride. I’ve had people call it the retroneo (a play on neoretro). Call it what you want. It’s a do anything, go anywhere kind of bike and its sole purpose is to be fun. And whoa is it fun.

The silver parts are a nod to beautiful randonneur bikes. Smoke and Dart tire combo is essential to any 90s MTB build as is the Hite Rite. Cranks are from a friend, who was paid in full with brunch. Friction shifting to spice things up. Bear traps keep my feet stable and my shins bloody.

How does it ride? Darn well, but the issue with this quality control is between the saddle and the handlebars at the moment. I’m still a novice at riding dirt roads and shredding the gnar. From my perspective though: It's super stable on its wheels, provides confidence in descents, and has proven a great climber so far.

This quote from Steven Smith on The Radavist about the Doppo High Plains Drifter seems to be very fitting to describe the ride:

“This bike does not skimp on trail manners, nor leave you feeling as though you’re piloting a relic. It’s not a beach cruiser dressed in trail rubber, or a bike begging to have a suspension fork added to its front end. Rather, its soul lives in the wide-open spaces and far-flung singletrack ribbons of your imagination. If you push it, it will take you to those distant lands and deliver you home again; but it asks for your attention, and that you pick your line with confidence.”

Parts list

Frameset: Bassi Hog’s Back, 2021, Dazzling Purple
Wheelset: Velo Orange Voyageur rims laced to Koozer XM490 Hubs
Tires: Panaracer Smoke & Dart combo, 26x2.10
Fenders: Velo Orange Smooth Fenders
Brakes: Avid BB7 Mtn with Avid 160mm discs
Brake Levers: Avid Speed Dial
Headset: Dia Compe CB-2
Handlebars: Surly Sunrise
Stem: Thomson Elite X4 MTB
Shifter: Rivendell Silver 2 friction shifter w/ IRD thumb mount
Grips: Wolftooth Karv
Seatpost: Thomson Masterpiece w/ classic Hite Rite.
Saddle: Brooks Cambium C17
Cranks: Raceface Evolve (2008-ish?)
Chainring: Wolftooth Narrow-Wide 36t, 104 BCD
Pedals: MKS XC-III
Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR RD-M986-SGS w/ Wolftooth Tan Pan and Goat Link
Cassette: Shimano HG50 10spd 11-42
Bottle cages: Velo Orange Moderniste
Frame bag: Atwater Atelier Frame Wedge

Words and images by Danny Tran

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