Soul Cycles Dillinger: First Impressions

Editors Note: The Soul Cycles Dillinger frame and fork have been getting ridden and tested by Captain Bob lately while I am off running all kinds of different forks on another bike. Here is his First Impressions of this yellow screamer. Enjoy!
Soul Cycles Dillinger

Well folks, we have had the Soul Cycles Dillinger for a while now and it’s past time for a report. We have outfitted the frame with a mix of BBB components, Avid BB5 brakes, Truvative cranks, and Salsa hoops laced to Surly hubs. The goal was to get the bike built up fast. What we didn’t know at first is if the build would be geared or single speed, disc or cantilever, or if it would be a high-end parts or mid range. We decided on the single speed, disc, and mid range. For part of the test we are running this Spinner 2 Nine coil sprung fork. We will be mounting the Soul Cycles rigid fork soon and will comment later on how it changes the bike.

Drop outs

The frame is designed around a 100mm fork and the Spinner 2Nine is an 80mm fork. Keep that in mind upon reading this. Also, the Soul Cycles Dillinger rigid fork is based on a 100mm travel suspension fork.

After building up the Dillinger and riding it for a bit I discovered something. I didn’t really want to cut down the steer tube on the Spinner as it is way longer than I would normally keep my own. I decided to leave the length as is and add a bunch of spacers. Not loving the look but getting use to it. What I do love (and never realized that I would) is having the bars up higher than the saddle. I have way more control now and feel much more comfortable.

Back to the frame itself. The welds are nice and smooth. The paint is great with lots of shine and seems pretty durable. There are some chips here and there but it has been put through many gravel roads and a fair amount of rocky singletrack; hey, it’s a mountain bike. It wasn’t made to stay pretty. I am happy to report that the “spare parts” (as I call them) fit very well. The bosses for the “v”-brakes and the replacable dropout hanger for gears all mount very nicely. I have never been a huge fan of single speed bikes that come with all the cable stops for gearing, but I am seeing the light, I guess. The versatility is nice to have. The clean seatstays are the way to go I think. It leaves very little trace that the frame can run “v”-brakes once that hardware is removed. Just two little holes on each side.

Rear of frame

The frames looks hot. The cnc work at the bottom bracket shell is really nice to see. Lots of clearance even when running Racing Ralphs 2.4 inchers mounted to Salsa hoops. There was 1/4 inch between the tread and the stays. Ecentric bottom brackets can sometimes be a little tricky to keep in place, but not with the Dillinger. I added some locktite and wrenched them down. It never slipped. I made some adjustments a few weeks later and wrenched it back down again and over a month of hard riding it has not slipped at all. It’s a simple one piece affair also. The chainstays are somewhat flattened and are almost a triangle shape. They do not soften the ride though. In fact, the rear of this rig is not the slightest bit flexy. Rock solid to be exact. I was surprised at how stiff it is. Stiff from the headtube all the way to the rear dropout. Too stiff? Yes and no. I tell ya, I was never able to crank hard enough on the pedals to see the clearance change between the tire and the chainstay. Along with the larger 31.6 seatpost it provides a plenty stiff platform for any aggressive rider.

Once out I quickly realised what this frame was designed for. Speed. The ride accelerates quick I think. You feel more of the trail but you don’t feel any power loss. Ascending is where I really notice the power transfer. Every bit of effort makes the bike launch forward. I noticed some traction loss but not enough to upset me or cause me to have to dismount and walk. Hammering up the climbs out of the saddle rewarded you with being the first one to the top. Ok, not all the time but that’s not the bikes fault. I was curious as to why the seatpost was not 27.2 and also still wondering what they were thinking when designing the rear. I emailed Chad and he filled me in. Here is what he wrote: ”

The rear stiffness comes from a couple of things. First everything is welded to a larger diameter seat tube. Secondly we use a slightly thicker straight gauge wall tube on the CS (chain stays) and SS (seat stay)tubes. It is worth adding an ounce or two to get the stiffness. Thirdly the yoke allows for a shorter tubing length, thus less flex.

Makes sense to me. I like it. I also was surprised at how stiff the front triangle is. I have ridden bikes with rigid forks that had more flax than I feel here. It’s great I think because you let the suspension handle the bumps. Tracking is spot on due to the lack of flex.

The first time out I had problems smacking the pedals on just about everything. I saw that the eccentric was in the lowest spot possible. I raised it up into the highest spot and now the bottom bracket height is 12.25 inches (WTB Prowlers mounted). Not sure how that compares with my other bikes, but it is working for me. Cornering is swift and effortless. The geomety of this bike makes for a super fun ride, and you can really rail through the turns. Very confident inspiring for me. I have never been a log jumper. Not sure if that’s even what you call it. The local trails have a few sections that have a pile of logs about three or four foot high. I can roll up and over it without even thinking. It’s a hoot! The bottom bracket height was never an issue clearing the downed trees with the eccentric in the high position. Once we mount the 100mm fork we’ll report back to see if that is really a better match for the frame.

Rear view

I do have a couple of nit picks. The first one has to do with the seat tube mounted water bottle bolts. I have my Profile cage mounted in the bottom holes and the bottle still doesn’t clear the downtube. I might try a differnt cage to see if it just my cage that’s the problem. The brake cable guides on the top tube have only two guides. There is no middle guide, so that leaves the cable free to move in the two foot range. It hasn’t moved much, but I still notice it and have pushed it back through the other two guides to keep it in it’s spot. I also think top tube shifting cable guides should be moved to the bottom to give my knee more room. I have nicked my right knee a few times on the cable stop and it does hurt. I might just wrap some tape around it. Again, these are just nit picks.

I haven’t weighed the bike yet but I know it’s the heaviest one I own in a 29 inch platform. However, I feel the fastest when I am riding it and seem to have more energy left when the ride is over. Not sure why but I am loving it.

More to come after the fork swap out.

Captain Bob.

Note: All photos by Captain Bob


No Responses to “Soul Cycles Dillinger: First Impressions”

  1. MMcG Says:

    I found that riding the bike with the bb up and back towards the stays was the ideal “sweet spot” for the Dillinger.

    It raises the bb up for log and rock clearance and it “effectively” shortens the chainstays a tad vs having the ebb in the up and forward position.

    It is a very solid value in terms of an well built AL hardtail 29er frame that is for sure.

    Nice write up.

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