...well, not really a freak. But not something you see often.
And if you're at all familiar with this bike's author, Mike Curiak, you'll know that every aspect was agonized over and refined (much to the chagrin of it's builder, Devin Lenz) until the bike was ready to do everything it was built for.
So, what, pray was it built for? Specifically, as a bike-packing rig that would be able to access any trail from hardpack doubletrack to the softest loam beside the rivers and creeks of our western states.
First more on the bike: you'll notice the wheels and tires look....substantial. they are in fact based on the 29+ movement that Surly started with their Krampus. For those unfamiliar, those are 29er rims (and everything is set up tubeless in this case) and the tires are 3.0 inches wide -- about a full half inch wider than the biggest downhill-specific tire out there. The extra air volume allows for lower pressures, which in turn makes it easy to ride on soft sand where a standard mountain bike would squirm and wash out.
The frame is based off Lenz's Mammoth platform......5.0-5.5 inches of travel, a burlier top half of the frame (based on the Behemoth and Lunchbox iterations) and a more XC lower half (based on the Leviathan).
Set up with an 11-speed setup from SRAM.
So why would you want a bike that will access these soft trail when tons of prime singletrack exists right out the front door? Well, the answer lies in what's strapped to the handlebars......look close.
Yep, that's a boat.
You can just make out the carbon fiber paddle handle peeking out the side.
The idea is that you can ride a section of trail, put in on the river, float for a while until you hit the next section of trail and ride some more. Sound contrived? Not really. This type of bike-packing allows you to ride and connect sections of trail and plan an A-to-B-to-C trip that lets you cover previously out of reach sections of trail.
So this is an interesting piece. These bars pre-date this bike, but they're no less unique. In the plastic squeeze bottle is alcohol -- as in rubbing alcohol. Yes, the alcohol is being fed into the end of the handlebars.
About three of these bottles is enough to light his custom stove for three days for meals and hot drinks. The bars are titanium and have a special port welded into the side to safely hold and dispense the fuel as needed.
Believe it or not, that's the stove. I don't think I'm allowed to give the schematics for that one, but it is probably the simplest camp stoves I have ever seen.
So there you have it. A bike (and not even the first or second in this particular stable) that will likely see more saddle time than my bikes see in a month.