To me, one of the best things about building custom bikes is the ability to experiment and try new things. As mountain biking has evolved, 44 Bikes founder and builder, Kristofer Henry, has been experimenting with things like geometry and spec to build the bikes he wants to ride in New England. Recently, that has meant changes to the geometry of the Marauder, but it’s also meant testing the benefits of Super Boost.
While Kristofer can build you anything you want, he has been experimenting with Super Boost on the 27.5+ or 29″ Marauder since early 2017. Initially, he was using a 157mm DH hub that was already available with an 83mm bottom bracket to get the proper chainline and benefits of Super Boost – shorter chainstays, more tire clearance, and stiffer wheel builds.
The Marauder shown above is a bit different though – it uses a standard 73mm T47 bottom bracket width to keep the q-factor to a minimum. To keep the proper chainline, the bike uses a trick that has become popular with fat bikes where the Race Face ring is flipped, to dish the chainline outwards. Now you end up with all the benefits of Super Boost, without a wider Q-factor, and maintain perfect chainline and tire clearance. .
The two bikes on display also illustrate Kristofer’s newest thoughts on geometry – longer & slacker, with shorter stems. While he mentioned that at first he was a little unsure of the trend with the tight tech of New England, after trying it he’s convinced. All of the 44 Bikes built have custom geometry, but as Kristofer says, he likes to build “his bike in your size” with custom touches for each individual.
Having decided that Super Boost is a good thing for geared bikes, Kristofer decided he wanted to make a single speed with the new standard. To our knowledge, a purpose built single speed Super Boost hub doesn’t exist yet, so he had to get creative.
The hub starts off with an Industry Nine hub shell for a 170mm fat bike hub built on a 157mm axle. That wider hub shell on the shorter axle allows for the use of a smaller single speed freehub body, and the last pieces of the puzzle were custom machined end caps that Kristofer made himself. The result is a Super Boost 157mm rear single speed specific hub that you can’t get anywhere else (yet). Why Super Boost for a single speed? Obviously, with only one gear you’re putting out huge watts in certain situations where a stiffer wheel is a benefit, and the design allows the Marauder to keep a 419mm chainstay length with clearance for huge tires.
If that wasn’t enough to make you lust for this titanium hard tail, the purple anodized parts from Hope, Paul, Industry Nine, Paragon Machine Works, Endless Bikes and more, probably will. Overall it was an incredibly beautiful bike with some clever tech hiding below the surface.