bobknh
I've been sharing some concerns in the component category about outfitting my soon to be built custom steel gg bike - the Forty Four Huntsman http://www.44bikes.com/road/ . Kris Henry - owner and frame builder - has been building beautiful bikes for quite awhile. 44 Cycles has built up a strong contingent of happy bike owners in my local rural NH area. I've been lusting for one of his custom builds for several years. I finally bit the bullet in June, and put down my deposit. Yesterday, I took a test ride on one of Kris's own bikes (we have the same inseam measurement). Kris's bike is equipped with a 1x11 SRAM double tap  - 38T chainring, 11-40 cassette- which is a good setup for the short steep up and down dirt roads in our area. Kris's uses a mountain bike 29'r wheel set with wide and heavy WTB tires. To my surprise, he also favors TRP Spyr mechanical calipers with 160 mm rotors front and back. Kris explained to me, that he almost always rides alone and will frequently attack some of our local single track on his Huntsman. My test ride was a 10 mile out and back from his shop 50/50 dirt and pavement, with lots of short steep hills. The dirt roads were sloppy and slick from recent rain in our area. 
Here are some of my impressions of the bike:
- Despite being on the "heavy" side, the bike "feels" light. Kris's Huntsman uses a heavier steel tube set than the one he will be spec'ing for me. Kris doesn't use packaged steel tube sets; but mixes and matches tubes from several high end steel tubing suppliers. With lighter weight road disc wheels from Southern Wheel Works, my light weight eTap drive train, and light weight weight Compass Bon Jon's, my Huntsman will weigh considerably less than Kris's test bike. Fine for my skinny 148 pound body, and less aggressive road venues.
- The WTB knobbies were sluggish compared to my Compass Bon Jon's. But, I was glad to have them when I did some fast descents on the muddy back roads.
- The Spyr's with 160 mm disc's were more than adequate. I'll probably stop worrying about a fully hydraulic system and go with my mech. eTap shifters and either TRP Spyr's or Hy/RD's. I've elected however, to run my brake cable through the top tube on my new build. This routing will be compatible with both mech. and hydraulic brake lines, should I upgrade to fully hydraulic brakes in the future.
- The 1x11 double tap set up is nice, but I still prefer the 2x eTap setup with a 46/36 in front and an 11-36 (assisted by a Wolftooth Roadlink) in back.
- As far as handling, the bike is a dream. Kris seems to have found a near perfect geometry for his Huntsman. Secure and steady on high speed descents; but with almost effortless handling on turns and corners. Of course the steel frame and fat tires made the bumpy rural roads feel almost paved.
Can't wait for my new bike!

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bobknh
I just received a message from Kris Henry - 44 Bikes. Kris plans to start building my Huntsman frame tomorrow. New TA tubeless disc wheels should be arriving soon from Dustin Gaddis at Southern Wheel works, my Swiss Cross will be donating my eTap Wifli drivetrain, Chris King BB, and Ritchey cockpit. I've selected a bright red powder coat with black logo and accents. My Huntsman should be good to go in a few weeks - hopefully in time for the Rose Mountain Rumble on Aug. 26. http://www.rosemountainrumble.com
Not sure what I'll be doing with my Swiss Cross -- but I'll probably build it up again with an 2x11 Ultegra drive train that I have in a box in my garage and give it to my step-son who would like to have a gravel bike.
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JoeFriday
No doubt you're beyond excited. Kris always provides great photos of the build so you'll get to see it move along the process.

Excellent color choice, too. When I was talking to Kris about a Huntsman, I planned on bright red with white accents.
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bobknh
JoeFriday wrote:
No doubt you're beyond excited. Kris always provides great photos of the build so you'll get to see it move along the process.

Excellent color choice, too. When I was talking to Kris about a Huntsman, I planned on bright red with white accents.

As Sheriff Longmire would say: "yup" . Kris plans to send me a bunch of photo's in Drop Box. We're both hoping to have my Huntsman on display and getting dirty at the Rose Mountain Rumble on Aug 26. But Kris is very busy with customer orders like mine, as well as  well as cycling community work for the Crotched Mountain 100 mountain bike race on Aug. 19, and RMR on the 26th. BTW, both events are short handed this year for volunteers. I'll be doing my stint at the CM 100 in support of CMARS - a handicap accessible recreation and sports program. If you can volunteer at the RMR, Kriss will comp. your entry fee.
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bobknh
Quick update: Frame build is in progress. All tubes have been fitted and shaped. Today, I stripped down my Swiss Cross and delivered the eTap wifli and some other components for the build. Wheels were shipped from Southern Wheel Works yesterday; as well as the Enve CX fork from the supplier. Although my initial bike will run eTap wifli with mech. disks; I've also added Di2 drilling and prep to the frame, should I wish to convert to Di2 in the future. If all goes well, I'm hoping that the frame will go out to the powder coater late this week; with a complete bike ready to go at the Mount Rose Rumble on 8/26. I wont rush things, though. I'm trying to restore my Swiss Cross - just in case. I have a more or less complete  Ultegra 6800 gear set ready to install. Or, I my just decide to tackle the RMR with my Lemond Washoe road bike and 28mm Conti 4000 IIs tires.

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