I think I’ll break the Molly Fin build list into a few separate posts. lest I bore people unto death. Better multiple short, skim-able posts than one ignorable one! So this one will cover the core of the bike: the frame and the wheels.
The manufacturer, Salsa, describes the frame as a mid-tail to distinguish it from real longtails like the Surly Big Dummy or Extracycles. Seems right to me. Eyeballing it, there’s approx 8 extra inches between the bottom bracket and the tube that ties the chainstays together right in front of the rear wheel. Here’s the frame, as delivered – the big gap behind the seat tube is obvious.
The long rear triangle does 2 things – one obvious and one maybe not so much. Clearly it allows for a huge rear rack, suitable for fly rods and smol hunting dogs. More subtly, it changes front/rear weight distribution, balancing the total rider and load weight more evenly between the front and rear wheel. The back wheel always gets more load than the front, but this setup moderates the imbalance.
There was one thing about the frame that I was not wild about: the fork. It was carbon fiber with 150mm through-axle spacing. The front wheel was definitely getting a SON hub dynamo, and the 150mm version is $$$! And, though I’m not quite the crabon-hater Grant Petersen is [inside baseball: big big name in most favored niche loathes carbon fiber], still, the vulnerability of carbon fiber to scoring (a hazard when you’re riding trails) combined with shattering/delaminating as a failure mode gave me serious pause. Turns out that dropping back to 135mm front spacing would save enough money on the hub to cause a Surly Ice Cream Truck fork to net out at approx +$30. Steel and more mount points? Done. That left me with a bit of a dog’s breakfast, paint-wise, but Mike at Maine Bike Works knew a powder-coater. Paint swatches, ahoy! The result:
The wheels were easy but interesting. I went with 27.5 Plus as the target tire – one nice thing about disc brakes is that you are not locked in to one rim diameter – and really liked the look and size of Velocity Dually rims. The hubs were obvious – SON dyno in front and a DT Swiss in back (there were other options but omg the extra $$). And the tire had been in my cross-hairs all along: Schwalbe G-Ones. Good on the road, good on dirt, just plain good.
Big pieces, decided upon and built:
Next: cockpit and controls.