It's always fun taking a new frame out for its maiden voyage.
All the time designing the frame, cutting the tubes, brazing them together, finishing the joints to nice-and-smooth, painting... Then the parts build-up. And it's finally ready to get dirty.
As much as I trust my own skill in frame building, there's always a little trepidation, especially taking a new build into the rough stuff. But it quickly fades with each bump, loft and jump, and then it's fully game-on time.
Today was that day for my unsuspended single-speed mountain bike.
Most of the parts came off my old Specialized Hardrock frame, save the headset and seatpost.
This bike's main use is for my lunchtime rides around my work site, with acres and acres of woods laced with gravel service roads and a slowly-increasing network of twisty dirt singletrack. There aren't any big hills, so a large range of gears just isn't needed.
The front geometry is long and slack, with a rather short back end. This keeps the front wheel light for lofting even when I'm out of the saddle. Handling is different than most -- at very slow speeds the front wheel wants to tip into corners, but at most trail speeds that makes the handling feel intuitive, almost like the bike is reading my mind. The short rear keeps power transfer efficient and snappy. The single speed drive train, without idlers, is silent. I like that in an off-road bike.
So a good hour-and-a-half on familiar trails was a great first test. And a sign of many happy hours to come.