The Origin 8 Scout 29″er frame, in its second configuration since it appeared on the 29″er scene some years ago, has been built, ridden, and tweaked upon. Here are some initial impressions of the frame and how it has been working out so far. If you missed the opening introductions, you can find that post here.

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I started out with parts off another review frame, (to be revealed soon), and put them on the Scout to get something rideable going right away. The fork is a 120mm Reba Team with the 20mm Maxle Lite, and the wheel set is the Gordo/Hope Pro II set that I have been using as a test mule set for sometime now. This yielded a set up more towards the aggressive side of trail bike. In this configuration, the head angle is slacked by about a degree, (depending upon how you set your sag), and the bottom bracket gets closer to 13″, (again, un-sagged). The build went together without incident, with the exception of one minor detail. The tires and shortest chain stay length did not quite mesh.

origi8scout22 004The idea was to “max out” the settings to see if it was possible to run the shortest chain stay length possible with the widest knobby tire on a 35mm wide rim. Granted- this may not be the design intent, but I felt that this frame set with the listed specs might tempt someone into trying this out, so why not me? (Ha!) Chain length was determined and it worked out without a half link, the wheel was set in place, but it cleared by only a thickness of a sheet of paper on each side, so……no go! Perhaps someone with a less aggressively knobbed 2.4″er might have luck with dry conditions, but I needed to move the wheel back to get the bike going. The image here shows the resulting clearance after adding a link and attaining a chain stay length of approximately 17 3/8ths”. Pretty good, but not in the territory of some of the upcoming AM hard tails which we’ve been hearing of.

One more thing to think about here: It is also necessary to allow for a bit of forward movement in regards to the axle in the drop outs to make removing the chain easier in case of a flat tire. The horizontal drops require a bit of forward leeway, so getting that shortest chain stay length is a bit of a tough thing to do. In most folks “real world” use of this frame, the shortest chain stay setting will likely be about 17″, which I may have achieved if I had used a half link in my particular case.

origi8scout22 007The other thing that gets a bit complex is the actual wheel removal. Plan on having a 2mm Allen, a 5mm Allen, a rag, and possibly another 6mm or 8mm wrench if you have bolt on hubs, (or a 15mm box end wrench, if you run a nutted axle) Oh yeah, and plan on being in that spot to fix the flat, or whatever, for a long time! (Reminiscing about the Karate Monkey days here.) The screw adjusters have to be backed off to allow for the axle to move forward to get the chain free from the cog. Then you need to loosen up that disc brake mount to swing the caliper out of the way to finally be able to get the wheel outta there. A bit complex, but then again, this is a sub-200 dollar frame we’re talking about here. Some futzing isn’t out of line when it is looked at from that perspective.

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Riding Impressions: The ride of the bike was different with the short wheel base, and with the rear wheel tucked up underneath you a bit more, it was really easy to loft the front end up. The steeper head angle, (nominally 71 degrees as I had it set up), in concert with the short wheel base also made for a quicker steering bike than I was expecting with this long of a fork. The front triangle felt torsionally stiff enough. Nothing exceptional, but very good. The bike’s ride feel is hard to discern with this set up. The front fork and big, voluminous tires would smooth out many a bike’s feel, but that said, the bike didn’t feel overly stiff. I’ll save a final judgment for after I have run thinner rubber and a rigid fork on this frame, which will be coming up next.

As I said, the bike didn’t feel at all sluggish, even though the bottom bracket height is higher than spec, and the front end slacker than spec due to the Reba Team fork. I felt I could gather it up well in turns when the front wheel began to push and standing climbing was fun since the rear wheel stayed pinned to the ground. No doubt a factor of the shorter rear end. This is a fun, snappy feeling rig, even though the final build weighs 29lbs! It sure didn’t feel that heavy out on the trail, but there it is.

testingaug2 003One thing that was a problem with such a big tire, (Specialized Purgatory 2.4″), and wide rim, (Salsa Cycles Gordo), was that it magnified the asymmetry of the seat stays and actually rubbed on the non-drive side as I stood and climbed. Of course, this is an extreme set up with the widest rims and tires, and this is an inexpensive, lower quality frame, with a price that reflects that fact. Still, I was a bit disappointed that even though things were spot on with the chain stays, the one flaw in the seat stay/drop out attachment would not allow me to run this tire and rim combo without interference. (Note: It appears that one of the drop outs is welded slightly higher on the seat stay than the other causing this asymmetry.) I will be running smaller tires and rims for the rest of this test, but this kind of thing should be noted for those who are thinking about building up one of these with bigger rims and tires. (Note: Asymmetry in seat stays and drop out asymmetry has been noted in far, far more expensive hand built frames by myself and others, so it isn’t an issue exclusive to mass produced, inexpensive products like this Origin 8 8) )

Next up: I’ll set the bike up as a rigid rig and with a different set of tires and wheels. After that and some more riding, I’ll be back with an update.

Note: This frame was purchased by Guitar Ted for test and review on Twenty Nine Inches. I am not being paid, nor bribed for this review. I will strive to give my honest opinions throughout.