A Firefly for Vermont’s Class IV TrailsJan Heine
There are some bikes that you see on social media, and you just want to know more. FF986 popped up on the Firefly feed a little while ago, and it just looked so dialed. You could see that every part was carefully considered, chosen for the riding that the rider intends to do. In Vermont, Class IV designates roads and trails that aren’t maintained. They criss-cross the Green Mountain State and make for great adventures. Here’s what Kevin from Firefly told me about this project:
“We designed and built FF986 for a highly skilled and very strong rider in Northern Vermont. He wanted the bike to be capable year-round on everything from pavement and smooth dirt to the roughest Class IV trails VT has to offer, and comfortable for regular long rides of 150 miles or more. He also came into the process with extensive experience on other bikes, including a number of frames he had built for himself.
“That level of experience is never necessary, but it made for a particularly collaborative frame design process with a lot of specific personal touches. We built it with massive tire clearance for up to 650×2.3″ tires with fenders, compatibility for 1x and 2x drivetrains, internal dynamo light wiring, three bottle cage mounts, bolt-on top tube bag mounts, a pump peg and matching Ti Silca Impero pump, and lots of mounting options on the Steve Potts fork as well.”
I can only imagine how involved a build like this is. There are lots of details that need to be just right. And this bike really came together nicely. I love the thru-axle steel fork with the clean generator hub installation. The wiring is especially neat. The SON Delux hub is laced to carbon Enve rims.
The Rene Herse taillight is mounted on a custom-made titanium boss. The wires run inside the frame.
The Edelux headlight connects to a splitter box, so phone, GPS and other devices can be charged from the generator hub while riding.
The fenders are the new ultra-wide Rene Herse H-98, mounted with ample clearance above the 650B x 48 mm Juniper Ridge Extralight dual-purpose knobbies. The second stay in front of the fork crown stabilizes the fender – essential for fast riding across rough terrain.
I love the contrast between space-age titanium and the leather washers to mount the fender. Why leather? Because it does an excellent job at keeping vibrations from loosening the fender. And unlike rubber or plastic, it doesn’t crack even after decades of exposure to the elements. There are lots of other details here: the tunnel for the brake cable/hose, the titanium cranks and Firefly’s super-clean welds.
The fenders, pump and fork crown are painted. They provide a nice contrast to the raw finish of the titanium frame. It’s quite different from the elaborate anodized finishes of many Fireflies, but no less beautiful.
The drivetrain uses titanium eeWings cranks with an oval chainring, plus a custom cage on the Shimano GRX derailleur.
Despite its wide tires and massive fender clearances, the bike doesn’t look ungainly. Leave it to Firefly to create a bike that’s nicely proportioned and finely crafted! I love how they create bikes that reflect their owners’ tastes and preferences, yet they are all tastefully done.
The best part is that this isn’t a show bike. The rider wrote to Firefly just over two weeks after receiving it: He had already ridden 1000 miles on his new bike. Imagine this bike flying over Vermont’s gnarly Class IV roads! It makes me smile, and I’m sure it did the same for the Firefly crew. Well done!