I’ve had a more than a few people ask what we’d recommend as the ideal San Francisco starter bike, and I’ve always thought a geared steel 29″ hardtail with a rigid fork was it — except I couldn’t think of anyone that offered a production bike with those specs. When I saw the Traitor Cycles Slot, my first thought was, “that’s it.”
Although there seem to be a number of inexpensive geared 29ers available, most come equipped with cheap, heavy suspension forks. If you want a rigid hybrid, you’re stuck with zero tire clearance for actual mountain biking, should you get the bug.
The Slot is a bike from an era that seems long past. Unlike my first real moutainbike, which was also a steel rigid bike, the Slot has a threaded 1 1/8 headtube, is a disc brake specific, double butted and designed to accept 29″ tires. The rim size for 29ers happends to be the same as 700c, so if you want to stick full on road bike tires on it, that’s an option.
It comes equipped with a matching chromoly disc fork with eyelets for racks and fenders, making it ideal for an every day commuter or for adventure touring. Off-road adventure gravel grind bike camping (hyphen-hyphen-hyphen) seems to be so hot right now, and if that’s your thing, the Slot is ready to go.
Want to make it a flat bar road bike? Buy a set of 700x 28c tires and tubes and you’re ready to go. Want to try your first cyclecross race? Then make those tires 700x 35c. Want to try your hand at mountain biking in Golden Gate Park, McLaren, Twin Peaks or over the bridge? Yep.
Cyclocross bikes are often put into use as commuters, and while the various options for hand positions are nice, their STI shift/ brake levers are prone to damage upon contact with the ground. They’re great for long distance pedaling, but aren’t ideal for quickly avoiding cars and traffic. You’ll never confuse a CX bike with a legitimate mountain bike either, as most won’t accept larger volume tires needed for real mountain biking.T
The only thing that seems off is the choice of the 26.8mm seat tube, which seems like a bit of a throwback. On the bright side, Gravity Dropper does offer a model that fits, so you’re not completely out of luck should you look to add an adjustable height seat post if you find yourself fond of this mountain biking thing.
The Slot complete bike retails for $1399 — learn more about the Slot at TraitorCycles.com