Often times when we talk with our clients about what they want for their dream bike, we usually get a few variations of the same theme: I want it do “X” and I want it do “Y”. In this particular case, we definitely got more than we could have ever hoped for. With that in mind, allow us to introduce you to Matt. Matt had a grand plan for his singlespeed Optimator and knew that he wanted to pay tribute to the Black Hills of South Dakota. It would be fair to say that the bike turned out better than expected, but don’t let us tell you that. Let’s hear it from Matt in his own words.
Back in August of 2021, I sold my company and the only thing I wanted for myself was a custom single-speed titanium bike (more on the single-speed part later). After a ton of research, I landed on Sage titanium because the brand’s message resonated with me. I was fed up with carbons bikes. New standards and geometries every year made my head spin. I wanted a bike I could ride the heck out of, last a lifetime, and pass down to my son someday. Forget a watch…a bike is a much better family heirloom.
Why drop some major coin on a titanium single speed when I could have bought the squishiest, slackest, most so-called badass bike from any major name brand you ask?
The decision to pull the trigger on a custom titanium single speed from Sage had to do with the physical and psychological reasons why I ride with a dash of memories and aesthetics. Admittedly I am a sucker for the clean looks, minimal cables, and smooth lines of a titanium single speed.
Aesthetically the bike’s cerakote paint is inspired by a Black Hills of Spearfish, South Dakota sunrise and how the orange, blue, and pink hues inspire a sense of awe when they shine on the hills. I’ve lived in many beautiful places but Spearfish beats them all hands down…the mountain biking happens to be world-class here too but don’t let that secret out.
You’ll also notice on the top tube a picture of some pines and a buffalo. The pines are the black hills spruce which give the hills their dark appearance while the buffalo (practically the South Dakota state animal) represents power, strength, durability, and a little bit of crazy…all traits you need to have when you ride a single speed.
Physically I love the demands of riding a hardtail titanium single speed. I love the way a bike with a steep head tube angle climbs and turns like no other. I love the way titanium feels over the rough stuff. When I ride I want to feel the terrain under me and react to any feedback that kicks back at me. Most of all I love the challenge. It’s when I am in full suffer mode that I learn the most about myself. I wouldn’t trade any of this for a carbon, geared, mega suspension trail bike that has no soul.
Psychologically I love a titanium single speed because it is simple, quiet, and reliable. In a world that is constantly noisy and complex, where everything is tracked and the success of a ride is often determined by how many KOMs you get… it’s a real treat to ride a simple bike to just enjoy the ride in silence. To be present in the moment without the clicking of a derailleur or a bunch of dings belching out of your Garmin or phone.
It’s also nice not having to worry about shifting, charging a battery, adjusting suspension all the time, etc. I don’t have time for that nonsense anymore. With 3 kids and a busy wife sometimes I just need to grab my bike and go and not have to worry about the constant prep and upkeep of a more traditional mountain bike.
Lastly, some of my most memorable rides have been made while riding a titanium single speed. The type of rides that you never forget and always bring a smile to your face when you think about them.
I remember a huge grind up the Colorado trail outside of Breckenridge where I thought I would die. I remember tackling the almost impossible trail to ride, the Templeton Trail in Palmer Park (Colorado Springs), aboard a single speed. I remember all-day epic rides with my pals where we ate enough nachos and drank enough beers afterward to kill a horse. I remember many of my life’s problems being solved while riding a single speed.
To wrap it all up Dave at Sage has been wonderful in making my dream bike a reality. He and his team have exceeded all my expectations and their attention to detail is second to none.
I’m looking forward to putting a ton of miles on this beautiful machine….smiling all the way.
- Build Spec:
- Frame: Optimator Single Speed
- Custom Finish: Cerakote Multiple Colors with Raw Titanium finish showing through
- Fork: Fox Factory 32 Float: 100mm Travel
- Drivetrain: Cane Creek EEWing Titanium Crankset w/ Praxxis Chainring, Problem Solvers Zinger Singlespeed Conversion Kit
- Enve M6 Carbon stem and Enve M6 Carbon handlebar: Custom Cerakote painted
- ESI Chunky Grips: Aqua
- Headset: Chris King Inset 7 Headset in Matte Turqoise
- Saddle: Sage Beccus
- SRAM G2 Ultimate Brakes
- Fox Factory Transfer Seatpost: 150mm Travel
- Wheels/ Tires: Astral Serpentine Carbon Wheelset with Astral Approach Hubs/ Maxxis Ikon 29×2.35 Tires
- Frame: Optimator Single Speed