Siren Song 29"er Single Speed: First Ride Impressions

The Siren Song has been a project that I have been eagerly awaiting for some time now. I am an avowed fan of the soft tail design from a long ride/back country/endurance riding standpoint. To me the idea just makes a lot of sense. Less to go wrong, lighter weight than a full on dualie, and mated to 29″er wheels, there isn’t a whole lot to dislike here. So, it was with great excitement that I took on the testing of this Siren Song single speed 29″er.

Now of course, it should be mentioned that Siren didn’t invent the soft tail and that this particular idea of a flex plate has also been seen before. What is new is the blending of these ideas with a custom designed aluminum frame and 29 inch wheels running a single speed drive train. That’s a lot to consider right there. First: Siren can build the frame to suit you and your riding style. You don’t have to suffer, as I did, from a slight misfit in tubing choice and rider weight/riding style. (More on that in a bit) Secondly, the frame can be configured in a few different ways. Say you don’t like Siren’s signature bent top tube. No problem, it’s a custom after all. Thirdly, it is a single speed, which makes the soft tail feature more intriguing, in my opinion. (Siren will also do geared versions of the Song) There isn’t much available in dedicated single speed 29″er soft tails. Finally, you can have your very own Siren Song in 8 weeks, maybe less. Pretty fast turn around on a custom design, I’d say.

Before I go on, I have to explain that this bike I rode is a “demo fleet” bike, not specifically designed for me. Since that is the case the frame that I rode was a bit too flexy in the front triangle for my liking. Brendan told me that this would easily be rectified in several ways, so not only is there a solution, there are options! Other than that little niggle, I was pleased over all with the Song’s performance. Let’s get into it!

The trail I rode in El Paso Texas is littered with rocks, loose gravel, exposed bedrock, steep climbs, switchbacks, and fast downhill sections. Basically everything nasty imaginable plus cactus and spiny vegetation thrown in, just to make things really interesting. Leaving beside the front triangle flex, which I honestly forgot all about halfway through the ride, (so you see, it wasn’t all that bad!) the steering was spot on for this sort of trail. Not too twitchy, but stable and predictable with all of the sketchy rock strewn downhill pitches trying their best to knock me off line. I don’t even know at this writing what the head angle is, and I didn’t want to know before this ride. I wanted to just go into it without prejudice. Well, with the 38mm offset Reba, whatever the head angle is, it worked a trick on the Song. I felt confident on all of the tight, narrow, exposed trail the loop had on offer here.

Climbing was really good. Of course, we are talking single speed here, and to be quite honest, this trail wasn’t a place to ride a single speed unless you wanted to do a fair share of walking. What steeps I did clean were done with no real drama, and standing and grinding it out would go on as long as you had legs and lungs for it. The 1 1/2″ of rear wheel travel helped a lot here keeping the wheel going over big rocks, step ups, and in the loose stuff.

What impressed me was the rear suspension performance. I checked several times to find that I was bottoming out, or very close to it, but I never felt the end of the travel while riding. The rocks were felt at times, but very much muted and the whoops were done with no bother. I didn’t feel any sort of strange sensations from the rear of the bike either, suggesting that the rear end is decently stiff laterally, at the least. A funny thing to note: Brendan suggested I run the rear damper at 125psi, but I ran it at 115psi instead. Heh heh! I’m such a rebel! Anyway, it didn’t have any negative effect and quite honestly, I wouldn’t want any more air in the can on a trail like that one I rode.

While we won’t have much more time with the Song, I hope to get out on at least a couple of other types of trails before it has to go back to ferret out the personality of this bike further. Until then, I will withhold my final thoughts on the bike. What I will say is that for now, it is a custom bike worthy of consideration for sure. Stay tuned!

Until then go visit Siren and take a look. You can get more information on the full custom Siren Song there.

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No Responses to “Siren Song 29"er Single Speed: First Ride Impressions”

  1. Matt Says:

    This is a very interesting design and I am excited about the possibilities. I raced last season on a Mooto-x Ybb. I am a big fan of the bent top tube – I have it on my Astrix Rook. To me this bike seems to be the cross between the two with a very desirable final product – an affordable custom soft tail 29er.

  2. blackbean Says:

    Spoke to a buddy of mine back in South Africa a few weeks ago and he told me he was looking at buying a hard-tail or a soft-tail. Only to realize back home they call a full-suspension bike a ‘soft-tail’ (because a front-suspension only bike is called a ‘hard-tail’!). Little did I know there is a difference between a soft-tail and a full-suspension bike! This is a sweet looking bike. It’s SS and it has 29-inch wheels. Whats not to like??? Makes me want to go ride my bike right now. Luckily the weekend is on hand…

  3. Desert9r Says:

    I too like the bent top tube, esp after the new fork raised the front of my XXIX, I can get un-comfy Real Quick, I am concidering a few new frames including the Soma Juice.

    Guitar Ted-

    Thanks foe the post, I just wish some one would make a steel soft-tail.

  4. MMcG Says:

    Desert9r – Curtlo makes a steel soft tail.

    Blammo – your problem is solved.

  5. OhNooo Says:

    Guitar Ted,

    Since this bike is at the very top of my drool list, there are a few points during your review that I would be interested in knowing.

    1) Have you had any chain drop issues? Is there significant difference in chain tension when moving between the sag and max compression points? I guess you would have to depressurize the can to easily check the chain tension under max compression.

    2) Any significant increase in pedal strikes over what you are accustomed to? Noticably fewer pedal strikes?

    3) Any frame creaks while riding? My last aluminum bike was nicknamed the “creaking beer can” because every bump resulted in lots of noise. I’ve only been riding a steel hardtail since. Since this is a softail, aluminum is once again an option to consider. But I’m leery of the creaking.

    4) If you could change something on your own custom build of this bike, what would you change?

    Thanks!

  6. Guitar Ted Says:

    OhNooo: #1: No chain issues what so ever. No weird noises, no popping, nothing. I would think that if the chain slackened during compression at all it would be a recipe for derailment. No such issues with the Song.

    #2: Hard to quantify. The ride on the Song was only my second ride ever on this trail and the first one was over a year earlier. I did have a few pedal strikes, but these trails were super rocky and technical and I was running 180mm cranks to boot. If pedal strikes are a concern simply have Brendan design around that. πŸ™‚

    #3: No. None.

    #4: Obviously the frames down tube would necessarily need to be stiffer for me, as I have mentioned. Maybe a squidgen shorter top tube, but really, nothing else comes to mind. Oh! I would have it anodized purple! I almost forgot! πŸ˜‰

  7. OhNooo Says:

    Cool! Thanks for the great review!

  8. RJ Says:

    Hey,

    Is that bike still in the El Paso area. I would love to check it out.

  9. Guitar Ted Says:

    RJ: Sorry! Just pulled back into the home base 1250 miles away today. πŸ™‚

  10. Dirt McGirt Says:

    Ano Purple? You old skool fool, you!

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