44 Bikes custom handmade steel 29er singlespeed mountain bike

We first spotted 44Bikes’ handiwork in October with their Huntsman gravel road/cyclocross bike.

This time ’round, we caught a glimpse of his Kid Dangerous custom steel mountain bike, which is available in any wheelsize and tire width. This particular build is a dedicated singlespeed and gets internal cable routing. It also gets a more traditional double triangle frame rather than 44Bikes’ signature dropped top tube and curved gusset, per the customer’s request.

The bike was designed for a rider in Switzerland who wanted something to withstand the local conditions. Word is the water on and around the trails there was pretty hard on carbon fiber and had damaged a few other frames in the past. Well, when resources allow, that’s as good an excuse as any to go full custom.

For this bike, going custom meant getting the fit and geometry dialed, of course, but also the chance to build in a simple yet nifty way to change the ride depending on conditions…

44 Bikes custom handmade steel 29er singlespeed mountain bike

Flattened chainstays are done in house, as is the bend in the seat tube and chainstay dimpling to add tire clearance.

On this bike, the extended dimples (shown below) allow for tire placement that gives an effective chainstay length of 16.75″ all the way down to 16″. Kris Henry, founder, owner and sole builder, says when he tested a 29er with 16″ chainstays (which, if you don’t know, is extremely short for a 29er), he found that the bike was really stiff and the tire tended to bounce around a bit, which is what led to the flattened stays…they’re there to add lateral stiffness, not really for vertical compliance. For a quick bike that’s pretty well rounded, he recommended around 16.25″.

The super stiff chainstays also help prevent any compression and other forces from the chain, important since there’s no derailleur cage to take up the slack.

All frames are full custom and start at $2,000 plus paint, and options include anything you want and can pay for. You can check out the photo set from this bike’s build on Flickr. Website is 44Bikes.com.

44 Bikes custom handmade steel 29er singlespeed mountain bike


  1. Izzy on

    …” the water on and around the trails there was pretty hard on carbon fiber and had damaged a few other frames in the past”

    And yet that bike has a carbon fiber fork… hmmm…

  2. Muntle Mike on

    Dud should have just said “Hey, you know what, I’d like a steel frame” instead of coming up with that BS about carbon… That’s a pretty cool frame. Not totally psyched about the proportions, but it looks nicely made.

  3. K. Henry on

    Thanks all for the comments. The clients part of Switzerland has quite a bit of lime in the water and unknown to him, was building up behind an exit point of an internal cable routing (the exit point had a molded rubber grommet that did not allow for water to fully drain) on a seat stay of said carbon frame. The resulting build up of limescale expanded when wet and subsequently cracked the carbon exit point. This being the 3rd frame (problems with the previous 2 frames EBB) he decided it was time for a change and hence contacting me. The carbon fork does not have internal cable routing, but the top tube does which is stainless steel (non-corrosive) and is designed to easily drain any water, and hence preventing any build up of limescale. Hope that helps to dispel any of the mystery for some of the choices made with this build. My best – Kris @ 44 Bikes

  4. Patrick on

    Well, I’m quite honored to see my bike on Bikerumor, which I follow daily. I got in touch with Kris Henry back in August for a fat-bike build, which is in the works at the moment. The above 29er was an unplanned build, due to what I’d simply call bad luck with another frame which I had to replace three times within a 2 year timeframe. The main issues were not material related, but stemmed IMHO from design and manufacturing tolerances. When the third frame got damaged by limescale due to an unlucky and unforseeable design flaw, I decided that it was time for a change. The wheels are two and a half years old, saw the same local conditions and have held up wonderfully. I don’t think the above statement in the article was bashing carbon. With Kris buidling such fine bikes in steel, it just happened that this material got back onto my radar screen and now under my butt.

  5. Kark on

    Gorgeous bike.
    High signal to noise ratio in the comments too. Thanks to Kris, Patrick for clearing up a confusing element in the article.

    I’d like to see that Vincero-design bottle arrangement tested, reviewed also as I’ve trashed a few bottle cages doing hike a bike sections and general handling. They look tidy also.

  6. Kovas on

    Sometime a bike just looks “right.” Simple lines, understated paint, clean welds, etched badge, subtle touches like that curved bridge… love it. Keep up the good work 44.

    Now how about making it Ti? …

  7. K. Henry on

    @Kovas – Thanks for all the comments. In 2013 I will be building in Ti. I’m in the process of making some adjustments and refinements to all my tooling and bending dies to manage Ti which is a bit more demanding. In the process of dialing all my back-purge setups now actually. Expect to see Ti out of the 44 Metal Shop in the very near future. My best – Kris @ 44 Bikes


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