It seems there is no shortage of epic custom built Titanium Kona’s out there, submissions for #tituesdayswithkona just keep rolling in. This week we are featuring something a bit more niche focused, Tyler Huber’s Ti Raijin single speed endurance race bike. This is thing is built for a purpose and as you will read, Tyler is picky and doesn’t change parts for change’s sake, hence the 7 year old cranks (although I’m betting they will still be going strong in 50). As well as a bunch of great photos Tyler also sent in the full story behind the build, read on to find out more.
In 2014, when my buddy Lance opened North Dakota’s new cycling hotspot, Larson’s Cyclery, I knew it was time begin the hunt for a new bike. My current steed was tired. Being an endurance single speed racer my options were limited. In the back of my head I figured I’d end up calling a frame builder to weld another steel frame to suit my picky needs. Lance suggested this and he suggested that, but it wasn’t until he pointed out the Kona Raijin that my ears perked up. Hardtail, hand welded in the States, sliding dropouts? Ok, ok. One phone call to Kona, hearing “We’re going to threaded bottom brackets on the 2015 model” and I was sold.
This was my first titanium frame and it was an absolute ripper. The geometry is spot on and it climbs as well as it descends. This bike took me to the podium of a few endurance races in 2015, and while it’s snowing and below zero in North Dakota right now, I’m already planning my race season for 2016 with the Raijin.
For the build I stuck mostly within my comfort zone of high quality American machined goodness.
For the cockpit I chose a Chris King headset in limited edition Candy Apple Green, Thomson stem, Salsa 11 degree sweep bars and Ergon cork grips. Another addition to my front end for this year was a Banjo Brothers top tube/stem bag. Banjo Brothers makes some of the most practical and affordable stuff out there and this thing made staying fed while in the saddle a breeze.
The wheels are White Industries M16 hubs laced with DT swiss spokes to Stan’s Crest Rims. I prefer cassette drivers over freewheels for ease of gear changing. Schwable Nobby Nic tires have been my favorite for a couple years now. And of course a Paul skewer for the rear wheel.
Drive train is set up with White Industries ENO crank arms that are going 7 years strong! Just put a fresh 32t chain ring on and was set. Sram “middle of the road” level 8 speed chains have always worked well for me. Surly cogs. XT pedals.
The seat is a discontinued WTB Devo saddle. Not sure why they stopped making the best saddle in the world, but luckily I found a couple of NOS ones on Ebay that have kept me set up.
For the first time in my life I draped some hydraulic brakes on a bike as 10+ hour days racing can get a little long pulling on mechanicals. I went with Shimano XT which held up fine all season.
RockShox Sid RCT3 was absolutely dynamite all season. They really knocked it out of the park with this model. RaukShox custom stickers to get a little more green on that front end.