Last week I got a PM on the local cycling forums from Cycles Ed. He is a local mechanic, frame builder and all around one of the nicest faces you will ever meet in the cycling world. The message said that "she was ready to go!" Which meant only one thing, the CED SO was complete and ready for a demo ride. The CED SO is Ed's latest Singlespeed frame. He asked if I would take it out and let him know how it road from a SSer's viewpoint. Not really sure why he asked me but to say the least I was completely blown away and excited to take it for a spin.

Met up with Ed at his place on Wednesday morning before work to pick up the bike. First impressions were purely astetic but the frame was breath taking. First thing I noticed as I walked up, was the paint. I'm not quite sure who he had do the paint but it looked great. As I got closer, I noticed how there seemed to be almost no welds holding it together. Ed described the type of welds as a Fillet Brazed frame which is a much more labor intensive way to join two pieces of metal. It definitely shows as every piece of tubing seems to melt into the connecting tubing and becomes one. The joints are virtually non-existent.

I was extremely excited to take it out for a spin on Thursday but was a bit nervous as I tried to decide where to take it. I hadn't been on a MTB in almost a month and Ed asked me to take care of it as he wanted to be the first to put a scratch on it. Do I go to PSP where I know the trails like the back of my hand or do I venture downtown where I only randomly visit a few times of the year and meet up with a few friends? Decided on showing off Ed's work and headed downtown.

Fast Forward Hubs also built by CED

Hit the trails a little early to ride from Reedy Creek to Tredagar so I could get used to being on the bike again and meet up with PiperJ and Carter. Arriving at Tredagar just as they were starting to roll out to head to Reedy Creek we hit the trails on top of Belle Isle before heading back over to the south side of the river.

The ride downtown as amazing except for the two seconds in which I heard Ed's words of no scratches run through my head about 50 times as I tried to save the bike from being dumped down a rock garden into a culvert near Reedy Creek. Thankfully the CED SO saved me from trying to explain what would have been described as the worst ride of my life if I scratched the bike, to Ed.

As most SSer's know, handling and climbing prowess are probably the two biggest characteristics one looks for in a bike. The handling of the bike was beyond ridiculous. And that is a good ridiculous! Many a time on the first ride on the slippery leaf covered trails of the JRPS the rear tire tried to wash out from under me. This is where the overall balance of the bike came shining through. A few pedal strokes and the CED SO just stood itself back up and continued on its way down the trail.

On the many ups of the JRPS trails the CED SO displayed it's climbing ability. I could feel only the slightest flex in the steel frame while I mashed up the hills. Never did it feel like it was robbing me of the power I was putting into it and like a goat, it got me to the top with as little effort as necessary.

The CED SO is setup as with a rigid White Brother's Carbon fork. This meant I not only got a chance to ride a new frame design but also it gave me a the opportunity to compare carbon forks as I ride the Origin 8 carbon fork on my Carver 96er. After about 4 hours on the bike I came to the conclusion the O8 had a bit more forgive to it but after I thought about it I figured out why. Basic physics, longer legs will flex easier than shorter ones. The O8 is designed as a 2-9er fork as the WB is a 26".

Finishing up the ride with PiperJ, Crankee and a few others inside the JRPS just before dusk, I decided to head over to PSP for the night ride. Spent another couple of hours on it and the bike seemed even faster once the lights went out. Smooth as silk the CED SO just floated over everything the local trails had to offer. The idea that after not being on a mountain bike for almost a month I could go out for a 6 hour ride and never start to feel fatigue from being beaten around speaks to the world of just how smooth the ride was. Hands down the CED SO was one of the most comfortable and fastest bikes I have ever ridden.

Normally I would complain about the relatively narrow chainstays as I like to ride a bit bigger volume tire ( read 2.35 - 2.4) on my ss's. But this became a mute point as the combination of the steel frame and the 2.1 rear seemed to soak up enough to prevent any premature fatigue.

Overall I give the CED SO a 5 blazing stars out of 5! Hardest thing ever to have to give it back, but I did. And scratch free nonetheless! If you see him on the trails be sure to check it out. Believe me, you haven't seen anything like it!