The idea for the Havok design came along from mainly two things: A desire to ride the TDR on a bike of my own making, and a real need to find a way to log seat miles without riding on roads.
To me the number of riders hurt and killed on public roads through no fault of their own is appalling and frightening. I can’t even contemplate that happening to family or friends. So back in 2015 I looked for routes near me that would stay off the roads but let the miles click off. Around Casa Grande, my main choice is the trail system on CG Mountain. This is not, shall we say, the mountain to rack up miles on.
Perusing Google maps showed me that the major canal system here, the aptly named Casa Grande Canal, could be traversed from right out my door all the way up to the diversion dam on the Gila River, above Florence, AZ. This is about 47 miles one way, resulting in a near century route out and back, all without using roads. I rode it on several different bikes, full suspension, hardtail, and rigid. I found myself imagining designing a bike for that purpose, and calling it the Ditch Bomber.
It sat on the back burner for a couple of years until I laid it down in the CAD program and started working it out. Along the way, I had the chance to discuss the design with David Phillips, MTBer, TDR rider and gravel-basher extraordinaire. He provided some keen insight as to what could improve my design and after we went back and forth a couple times, I finalized the design and put it in the oven.
It’s my most complex and sophisticated design to date in that it uses a formed and bent aero downtube, triple bottle mounts, rack and fender mounts, internal dropper capable, 1X or 2X compatible, with sliding dropouts and boost spacing. The frame is suspension corrected for a 100mm travel fork at 20% sag.
Did I mention it’s Plus capable? It’s designed for a 29×3.0 tire and they fit with room to spare. This will leave tons of mud clearance for anything smaller.
I didn’t do a weight weenie build on the prototype but I was delighted when the digital scales read 22.6 pounds, with 3.0 tubeless tires and pedals.
I put 120 miles on it including the canal bank and oh yes, some of that CG Mountain rocky singletrack. I’m not at my best at the moment, going downhill with a torn rotator cuff, so I gladly and with much appreciation handed the prototype off to David, so he can beat the heck out of it.
Havok got its name because, well, Ditch Bomber. I’m an aviation guy, and my favorite bomber from WWII is the A-20 Havoc. So it became the A-20 for a while, then the Havoc, then the Havok. Don’t want Douglas Aircraft coming after me.