Flying high!

IMG_20140906_100815Months ago I posted about acquiring a Singular Peregrine for adventuring. It’s take a good while longer than anticipated to get the thing built, but it was finally finished about a month ago. Many thanks to Jo Burt for assembling my box of bits into a fully functioning bicycle;

Frameset Singular Peregrine, custom drawn double butted 4130 steel
Wheels Kinesis Crosslight CX
Skewers Salsa stainless steel
Headset Hope
Stem Nitto UI-5GX
Bars Nitto Randonneur
Bartape Brooks leather
Seatpost Thomson Inline
Saddle Brooks B17
Chainset Velo-Orange Grand Cru 46:30
Mechs Shimano Tiagra
Cassette Shimano 12-28
Shifters Shimano Dura-Ace bar end
Brake levers Cane Creek SCR-5
Brake callipers TRP HY/RD
Cables Shimano (gears) / Jagwire (brakes)
Tyres Conti GP 4 Seasons on road, Conti CycloX Kings or Schwalbe Sammy Slicks off road

On the Singular website the Peregrine is billed as “A tourer? Commuter? Monster ‘cross? Dress it up whichever way you like, the Peregrine is our most flexible frameset, with a classic lugged construction.” Having now ridden around 1200km on it, including a 400km audax and an 85km ride along (and up and down and up and down) the South Downs Way, I can concur with this assessment, this is an incredibly flexible frameset. The only change made between the audax and SDW ride was a swapping of tyres & removal of mudguards.

On road with a 25mm tyre on the front and 28mm on the back it was incredibly comfortable over the course of the 400km audax. The slack(ish) angles – 71 head tube, 72 seat tube – and steel frame ironed out all but the worst of the road surfaces, no noticeable road buzz. I got a tiny bit of discomfort in my hands the day or two afterwards but I don’t think that was due to the forks/wheel combo and more to do with the Brooks bar tape. The leather tape looks lovely but has no padding at all. The Brooks B17 on the other hand was astoundingly comfortable. I’m not going to lie to you, this isn’t the lightest bike build in the world so it can be a bit of a drag over hills but when I have hauled myself over them it flies down the other side and the disc brakes mean you can actually be confident of stopping at the bottom of them. On the flat the weight doesn’t really make any difference for the sort of road riding I plan to do on it, it chugs along all day long very nicely. And all night long as it turns out. Full audax story here.

Swap the high pressure road tyres for something fatter, gnarlier and squishier and the fun really starts. You can chuck this bike across all sorts of terrain, the tyres and frame absorbing the worst of the surface. So far I’ve ridden a fair chunk of the South Downs Way on it, plus many of the bridleways across the downs between home and work, from grass ridges to gravel tracks to chalk paths to flint strewn climbs and descents. It’s very stable over all but the lumpiest of track, but I reckon with a set of low pressure 29er mtb tyres on it would probably cruise over and through anything. There’s a photo story of the South Downs Way ride here. I’ve been running 35mm cyclocross tyres on it so far but it has clearance for up to 50mm tyres to suck up rougher stuff. With semi slick CX tyres the Peregrine becomes an awesomely fun on/off road commuter in the dry…in the damp it becomes a slightly squirmier offroad commuter!

I’ve still to try it in full touring mode but have plans for a set of handbuilt wheels with dynamo front hub, and to fit racks, saddlebag and front panniers.

Having said all that, unfortunately Singular have just stopped (for now at least) producing the Peregrine frameset, but all of Sam’s frames are worth checking out at singularcycles.com There’s a couple of small Peregrine framesets still available if you’re quick. There’s a new disc version of the Kite coming that looks pretty damn smart.

Glad I got mine when I did, it has made the commute to work a lot of fun…
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