Redefining the words “Custom Built”
So now you’re thinking that magnesium sound interesting, but the 29er isn’t ideal because you live in a world of tight, technical singletrack requiring a 26er with a higher bottom bracket. Fear not my fellow fahrrad fanatic, because Paketa gives you more build options than the buffet line at Sizzler, and you can do it all from the comfort of your own threadbare couch.
Paketa’s website helps you build a completely 100 percent custom bike in four steps: geometry, wheel size, drivetrain and aesthetics AKA paint and graphics. Every bike is built by hand in Boulder, Colorado, so if you buy a Paketa, pat yourself on the back for supporting American manufacturing. For geometry, simply submit your desired tube lengths and angles or just send your body measurements and they can do the rest. In addition, if you weigh a buck-forty or are pushing over two bills, Paketa can either lighten or beef up frames by using thinner, round tubes, thicker ovalized tubes or extra gussets.
For wheel size, you can choose from 26er, 650b or 29er, so no matter what the terrain you ride, there’s a Paketa which can fit your conditions. If you live in terrain with tight, technical singletrack where quick acceleration and nimble handling are a must, go with a 26er. If you live in terrain that’s mostly flat, has long, flowing trails or bombing high speed downhills where stable tracking and cornering in loose conditions are a must, get a 29er. If you just like making life difficult for yourself and your wallet, get a 650b.
Now its time to choose how all that raging muscular leg power gets transferred to the pavement. You can select a traditionally geared 3×9 setup, a Rolhoff internal hub either chain or belt driven, or a traditional singlespeed hub either chain or belt driven. Paketa exclusively uses Gates for their belt drive systems, and can cost up to $300 extra for a belt drive setup. Is belt drive worth it? Worth every last penny.
Aesthetically, we wouldn’t necessarily choose our test bike paint and decal scheme, but Paketa offers a variety of color and decal choices so your bike is truly one of a kind. We just hope that along with all these custom options there’s a checkbox for “seat tube water bottle mount”, as our test bike wasn’t equipped with one, forcing us to carry a second bottle in our jersey pocket.
So now for the business end of this relationship. When I first went to the Paketa Custom Magnesium Bicycles website to check out pricing, I have to be honest, I got a serious case of sticker shock. Just the frame and headset alone come in at $2650 – and that’s for the 26er. Expect to pay even more for the fad of owning a 29er. Fully built with their high end singlespeed component package including the Fox fork, Gates belt drive, WTB wheels and Magura Marta SL brakes, you’re gonna be signing away over $5000. That’s for one gear. Uno. And no rear suspension.
Although the Paketa is spendy, keep in mind that for this price you’re getting one of the most custom-built, handmade in the USA mountain bikes that money can buy. Every single element of the bike build is up to you. Additionally, you’re getting a frame that is lighter than aluminum and titanium, with 10 times the amount of damping capacity. And of course, you’re getting the exclusivity of owning a magnesium mountain bike. Just make sure that your bike isn’t the one which gets “accidentally” tossed in the campfire by your drunken cronies.
Paketa has a terrific mountain bike in the Wac Corporal. It’s light, fast, responsive, doesn’t hammer you to death like aluminum does and of course, is a bike you can truly make one-of-a-kind to fit any kind of riding conditions. Paired with the belt drive system, we were remiss to pack it up and send back. It was a fun bike, especially on those long, bomber downhills.
Although we came away really impressed with how magnesium performs, the jury is still out on durability, as magnesium is still a relatively unproven material in the cycling world. But if you’re in the market for a fully-custom hardtail, and you’re looking at the equally spendy titanium and carbon, you owe it to yourself to also check out a Paketa Wac Corporal. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get out on my bike and listen to the snarling serenade of angry mutts.