…is always welcome, especially when it’s so positive! Thanks Matt for taking the time to write up this review!
My Meriwether Adventure Tourer
In the past few years I’ve been undergoing a slow transformation from exclusively single track mountain biking to more exploration of the dirt roads that crisscross the area of the Sierra foothills where I live. Lately I’ve been doing more multi day trips, and have been yearning for a bike that fits this type of riding: sturdy enough for the rocks and bumps, comfortable for all day riding. It would have to handle some wider tires, but still be efficient on the pavement. Drop bars for varied positions, disc brakes to alleviate hand fatigue on those long bumpy descents loaded with gear. Racks for panniers and water bottle mounts here and there.
After mulling this over for a few months, my friend Chris McGovern, owner of Real Wheels bike shop in Nevada City, California, recommended a local framebuilder: Whit Johnson of Meriwether Cycles. I met with Whit and went over what I had in mind. I was very impressed with his organization, ideas, enthusiasm, and shop. He seemed meticulous, creative, inspired. I was also impressed with the stable of beautiful bikes he’d made for himself, one of every type imaginable it seemed.
We emailed back and forth for a few months, ironing out the subtleties of geometry, tube sizing, dropouts, build kit, frame color, etc, and then he got to work.
Whit and I both worked on assembling the components, emphasizing products made by quality small scale shops from Northern California: rear hub, bottom bracket, and cranks from White Industries in Petaluma, and mechanical disc brakes and wheel skewers from Paul Components in Chico. A Chris King headset and Thomson stem and seat post weren’t exactly local, but still came from smaller manufacturers. A Schmidt SON dynamo hub coupled with a Sinewave stemcap USB to provide power for GPS and lights, 40 mm MSO tires from Clement, Salsa Cowchipper bars, and a Brooks C17 saddle.
I opted for the Sram Force 10 speed shifters, and an XO rear derailleur to accommodate an 11-36 rear cassette.
I received the bike about a month ago, and have fallen in love with it. It does great on the pavement, but really shines on the dirt. The steel frame and somewhat relaxed geometry, coupled with the wide, slightly flared drop bars, make for a very powerful, comfortable, and confidence-inspiring descending machine when the dirt roads get steep and bumpy. Everything has performed flawlessly thus far, and with each ride I feel more and more that this is the perfect bike! I have yet to tour on it, and have just ordered a Tubus rear rack and Carradice Super C rear pannier. I’ve got a frame bag and handlebar harness from Relevate Designs, and I’m eager to give this set up a try.
I am so grateful to Whit for his attention to detail and his knowledge in helping me put this bike together. He was on time and on budget, and always willing to go out of his way to make things work: several times met me halfway between our homes to exchange items , which made my busy life that much easier! A real pleasure to work with. The bike is beautiful, exquisitely crafted with obvious passion and precision. Thank you Whit!!