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Grew up riding BMX bikes on horse trails in New England. Graduated to bombing fire roads in the Santa Monica mountains on a rigid Cannondale. Bought parts and purple bits at Bikeology back in the day.
Crosscheck has been a faithful companion for many years. It was my first Rando bike complete with box bag, single speed cross bike, and flat bar ripper. When I looked to replace it, it was a tall order. My riding these days skews towards randonneuring and gravel ultras.
I have a Redwood that has served me well over the last 10k miles bikepacking and gravel racing. Great bike, but preferred a 68mm BB for distance over a 73mm. Decided to try the Pass Hunter as it could use a lot of the same parts as the Redwood making maintenance a breeze.
When I received the frame, it was amazing. Pictures just do not do the paint justice. It explodes with purple sparkles in the sun. Built it up with 10 speed XT components, Microshift bar end, and Ritchey Beacon bars. Paul’s Klampers slow down the wheels built with Hope hubs and Spank rims. Rene Herse 42c tires complete the build. Purple bits because 90’s mountain biker for life... Front derailleur and 2x cranks are put on for long road events. I live in TX where a 100 mile ride might have 800’ of elevation change so 1x covers 99% of riding. Most of my bikes are single speed for a reason lol.
The Pass Hunter fought me a bit at the start. It was testing me lol. Once I got the fit dialed it blew my mind. This is one of those bikes you don’t think about, it is like part of you. Not a weapon for crits, but will go 15-17 mph for days on end without thinking. Stable enough to keep you on the road at 2AM when you wake up still pedaling. Swallows 650b x 48 Rene Herse tires for events with a lot of sand or mud. Carry a couple cables and a tube and you can repair it in the middle of nowhere. Being able to swap wheels, saddles and parts between bikes whenever needed is incredible. 5’7” and riding a medium for anyone interested.
TLDR: Amazing bike for long distances on road and gravel. Combines modern standards with the ability to still use older parts. Thought the ride would be rougher with a disk fork, but even with shellacked cloth bar tape, riding at speed off-road is just fine. Crosscheck has been retired to trainer and neighborhood ripper. The Pass Hunter is better in every way. Looking forward to many happy years riding it.
I've had my Pass Hunter since Nov 2023 and had the chance to finally ride it in late December. This frame truly meets my expectations for an "all-road" or gravel bike! When used with the 650x42 Panaracer GK Slicks, I don't feel slowed down on the asphalt but feel very comfortable on rough terrains. It also smooths out rough asphalt roads like it's nothing.
Unfortunately, I do think the tire clearance is a bit of a pinch point. 650x47 is a great size for lots of riding, but with fenders you can only run 650x42, of which there are far less tire options. If you're like me and know you'll be mostly riding pavement and relatively tame gravel, it's not an issue, just be aware of that when planning your build.
Also, the rack mounts on the seat stays are a bit odd. I guess there was supposed to be a rack that goes with this bike, but that never materialized. However I did have the chance to repurpose the braze-on to mount a rear light, so it's all well and good! Besides, the front fork with its generous braze-ons more than makes up for that.
All in all, a great and unique frame that feels speedy and confident, descends like a mothertrucker, and smooths out bumpy stuff when you need it to. 5/5!
I'm in the middle of building out my Pass Hunter with parts from a 2023 All-City Guerilla Monsoon (just finishing my Polyvalent build) . I like the design, frame weight, Metallic Graphite color, and the geometry of the Pass Hunter better than the All-City. Looking at both frames, I believe the Pass Hunter is a better build. By the way, many of the parts off of my All-City came from Velo Orange because I converted the AC from drop to flat bar. I know that the 2023 variant of the Pass Hunter is going away, but I hope that that VO brings it back in the future... :)
Quality frame with great geometry
The Pass Hunter is a great N=1 all-road bike. My initial build weighs in at 25lbs with pedals... a bit heavier than initially expected. Nevertheless, set up with 700x32 road wheels/tires it accelerates quickly and with a 42/26 crankset it climbs surprisingly well on our steep western NC roads. However, I can see a carbon fork upgrade and in my future as well as an alternate 650b wheelset with wider tires for riding chunkier gravel.
My only (small) criticism would be that I wish that running the brake cable was similar to the Polyvalent where the cable exits on the top side of the down tube rather than on the bottom side to avoid the rear brake cable housing interacting with the front shifting cable as it runs under the bottom bracket shell. However, so far this has not caused any front shifting issues and is more cosmetic than functional.