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It’s good to pare down. See what you can live without. Ironically, most magazines that tout the concept of a minimal lifestyle implore you to purchase heaps of new stuff to attain a supposedly more modest method of living. Real Simple is filled with this kind of nonsense. So is the opposite minded “Backwoods Home Magazine'' which urges readers to invest in various apparatus of dubious utility. Sometimes it's good to actually go minimal. Figure out what you need to be comfortable, and bring a bit less. Peak bagging takes this concept to its pinnacle, pun intended. It’s the art of ascending a mountain as quickly and minimally as possible. If that means free climbing, or leaving the bivy at home, so be it. Extra food? A change of socks? Not applicable. Think Jack Kerouac in the Dharma Bums. Get some basic kit at a second hand shop, locate a zen poet, and start climbing. But ‘comparisons are odious, Smith…” Collect summits, check them off the list, explore new lands, views, and take on fantastic challenges. Return, knowing the land, taking your time: topographical awareness. The minimal approach pits you against the terrain. Stout boots, one set of clothes, and a modicum of safety equipment pare the experience to its core.
The Japanese have applied this hiking concept to a form of bicycle riding they call Pass Hunting. Well, actually they call it something I can’t pronounce. But the translation is Pass Hunting. Like many things Japanese folks are into, Pass Hunting is pursued to a point of obsession. Special bikes are built at great expense, clubs are formed, snug woolen jerseys are worn. The gist is: go around, find mountain passes, ride them, check them off a sheet, and submit the sheet to your friendly local Pass Hunting Club. Win fabulous prizes at the end of the year, like a commemorative medal you have to buy, or a piece of paper with something nice written on it.
The French are also really into this concept, and have similar clubs and pieces of paper with something French and marginally congratulatory on them. In fact, the French and the Japanese are in collusion over this concept, as evidenced by the Panaracer tire named ‘Col de la Vie”, or the pass of life. Or something.
Maybe you know this already, but we’re into climbing here at Analog. I’m not saying we’re good at it, but we like a decent suffer, and don’t mind debilitating leg pain, or seeing colorful, festive spots dance in our eyes from oxygen deprivation. Physical suffering is best combined with exceptional views, pitches that would make a Sherpa gasp, and road surfaces best suited to yaks.
The Velo Orange Pass Hunter of course is designed for this kind of riding. Sure you can do other stuff, and do it well with the Pass Hunter. Gravel riding? Sure. Commuting? Sign right up. Centuries with cider donuts in the middle of ride? Absolutely. But at it’s core, the Pass Hunter is a light, simple frameset. It’s stiff, which we think is a good thing. The last thing you want went bombing back down a big pass is a noodly frame that gets the speed wobbles.
Flat mount disc brakes are lighter and from an engineering perspective, smarter than post mount brakes. The mounting bolts go in the brake itself, not thru a machined extra tab extending out from the brake body. If you want to go true Pass Hunting style, you can run down tube shifters, or nod to Lance and do a front downtube shifter and a rear brifter.
Normal angles, so the bike rides like a bike. I should clarify a bit: this frameset has a mid trail geometry, which means it’s stable with or without a front load. That’s a good thing. The front end won’t wander on climbs.
If you want to do a classic Pass Hunting build, rad. We can also build it into a light touring bike, a gravel bike, a fast commuter. Drop us a line and we’ll chat about it.
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The best tools out there are beautiful, highly functional, durable and serviceable. Enlightened bikes are efficient, beautiful, comfortable and fun to work on. A bicycle brings you closer to experiences, they enrich a locality, they are spiritual partners on your journey through life. Analog Cycles builds enlightened bikes for life’s peregrinations.