If you feel the need to pray to the dirt gods in a different way, this could be it. Freedom Of Choice Custom Fit and 700c wheels on a true mountain frame roll over rough terrain rather nice with "29er" tires. These bikes are designed to handle as closely as possible to our popular Option 3 mountain frame. We call it the Holy Roller because everyone riding one wants to "spread the word" about how great the 29" wheels are. They roll smooth over rough ground and the larger tire patch makes for great traction. And for those seeking forgiveness, we make these in a singlespeed version as well.
a Cross Country Rider
from Gainesville, Florida USA
Date Reviewed: July 4, 2009
Strengths: Absolute craftsmanship, superb handling under all conditions. Sean knows how to relate, ask questions, listen and deliver a frame that fits perfect. After Sean got the bike back from his painter he was not happy with it and had it stripped down and painted again, that's how much he cares about bikes he builds. This bike is faster than I dare ride it.
Sean has to be one of the best builders in the business, he is precise and meticulous and it shows in how this bike looks, fits and rides. If you are looking for a custom steel 29er, the holy roller could just as easily be called the holy grail.
Similar Products Used: Dean Colonel Ti SS, Wily 29er SS, Moots mooto-x YBB
Bike Setup: Fox 29er fork (Pushed), CK headset, Magura Marta SL brakes,
Thomson stem, Easton Monkeylite carbon bars, Moots laid back post, Fizik Aliante seat, Tune hubs w/Bontrager Mustang rims, Sapim CXray spokes, WTB nanoraptors
a Cross Country Rider
from Chapel Hill, NC
Date Reviewed: May 3, 2009
Strengths: Beautiful craftsmanship. Perfect alignment. Excellent balance, steering and climbing.
If you are tall enough for a 29er (I'm 5'10" and feel like I'm at the lower end of that range), you cannot go wrong with this bike.
Similar Products Used: This is my first 29er. My other offroad bike was a Bridgestone MB-1.
Bike Setup: Chris King NoThreadSet, XTR 970 crank/BB, XTR 965 hubs, NoTubes rims, Panaracer Rampage 2.35" with Stan's sealant, Nitto UI-5GX stem, SRAM X-0 grip shifts/rear-der, Nokon housing, XTR 970 front der, Salsa Shaft seatpost, Brooks Flyer Special saddle, Potts Type II fork, Wipperman 909 chain.
a Cross Country Rider
from Orange County, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: September 16, 2007
Strengths: Bike fit. Geometry for the 29 in. hoops is spot on. Overall craftmanship, especially the welds, is simply beautiful.
My first experience with Soulcraft was when I bought a Convert for my Litespeed, which was my first singlespeed. I had a few set up questions and the immediate, VERY thorough, answers I got really impressed me. So much so, two years later, I made the trek up to Petaluma to meet Sean Walling and get fit for my first custom frame.
This was a big purchase for me but Sean's attention to detail was apparent through the entire process and really put me at ease. He's a lot more affable then his "no page" on his website might lead one to believe.
The first time I rode this bike it blew me away. At 6'2" I still feel like I'm riding low between the big wheels, yet the BB is high enough where I'm not hitting rocks with the 180mm cranks. It handles quick and snappy on singletrack and is the most stable hardtail I've ridden in technical rocky stuff.
Finally, this bike is not flashy but I'm still surprised how much attention it gets on the trail and how many people down here in SoCal have heard of Soulcraft...go figure.
Bike Setup: Chris King SS hubs and headset, DT Swiss TK 7.1d rims, Reba Race (100mm) w/o the poploc, Avid Juicy 7's, White Ind. ENO cranks, Thomson stem and seatpost and Salsa carbon Moto flatbar.
from Santa Rosa
Date Reviewed: October 28, 2006
Strengths: After riding my option 3 for quite a while I decided that I needed a 29" bike. I knew the fit of the Option 3 was perfect so I wanted a 29' bike with the same fit. Sean was again awesome during the process.He super patient with my questions, explaining what needed to be done to match the fit of the other bike. He even took in to account the seat post setback, bar diameter, rise and stem. In the end the bike matches exactly. It's a awesome ride. So much so that I rode it 18 out of 24 hours at the 24hrs of 9 Mile.
So, the rest of what I have to say about the 29" is exatly the same as the 26" bike. When I received my bike and got a chance to look at the attention to detail up close, it became clear that many years building custom frames has left Sean with a finely trained eye for what works well. There was no fluff, every thing was done with a specific goal in mind. I asked for a fast race bike that I could use for endurance races (8-12-24 hrs). Something that would be fast, responsive but also still behave once my reflexes have slowed after many hours. The bike seems to respond to what you put in to it, the harder you go the more aggressive it gets, back off a little and things settle down.
Weaknesses: Nothing so far...
I really dig this bike, more than I thought I would. The ride is awesome, the fit is perfect and it hauls. As usual I can't say enough about it. My hat goes off to Sean, Thanks for another beautiful bike.
Bike Setup: XT build kit, BFWG handbuilt wheels (velocity rims, Sapim Spokes and White Industries hubs)King headset, Reba, Formula disk brakes, Easton Carbon post & bar, WTB Devo saddle, Specialized Fasttrak tires Paragon Machine works slider drop-outs (think disk brake single speed!)
a Cross Country Rider
from Montara, CA
Date Reviewed: August 13, 2006
Strengths: Fit, feel on the trails, craftmanship, handling, quickness ability to glide over bumps. Steel is REAL!
Weaknesses: none. It weighs a little more than Ti frames, but that amount is pretty meaningless unless you are a gram counter. If you are really into shaving grams, then you should go find a carbon or Ti frame somewhere, but I put water in my waterbottles, and tools and a spare tube on my bike (not to mention I drink a few beers on the weekends), sooooooo whatever...
This bike has exceeded my expectations. I rode a Surley last year at Interbike and was impressed at how fast it was, but know how hand-built frames ride much nicer than ones churned out of a factory overseas (although that Surley was certainly a good bike), so I ordered a SoulCraft. SoulCraft offers the same (or better) than IndyFab for less $. I usually ride an Ellsworth Truth that I also absolutely love, but this 29er has been awesome so far. I was out yesterday w/ some friends who race and they were on Santa Cruz Superlights. I was not holding them back on downhills (except for 2 short ones that were really rocky and they were ahead of me). For the most part, we were ripping through the singletrack and I was out in front! The wheels look really big next to 26" ones, but the bike handles soooooooo well. While I will still ride my Ellsworth at Downieville and the Eldridge Grade on Mt Tam, my SoulCraft will be getting more miles on it than I planned as I ride my Ellsworth a ton (until I built this sweet machine up). The 29er tire patch had me climb a few places that my dualie friends couldn't! Totally unexpected! The Rohloff rear hub works great. No chain slap or thrown chains or gear shift/grinding during climbs. 29ers are a great thing (I have to tip my hat to Gary Fischer for pushing this big wheel catagory). Mt biking is such a great sport that I'm going to log off and go for a ride!
Similar Products Used: Surley 29er singlespeed, Indyfab
Bike Setup: Rohloff http://rohloffusa.com/ hub, Marzocchi Marathon SL, http://philwood.com/ front hub, Avid BBDB7's w/ DirtyDogMTB http://www.dirtydogmtb.com/rotors.htm rotors to give it a little something special, Velocity rims, WTB tires and saddle, RaceFace stem and Deus XC cranks http://www.raceface.com/ , SIC http://sicusa.com/ camodize bars, Paul http://paulcomp.com/ brake levers, King headset, XTR pedals
a Cross Country Rider
from McKinney, Texas
Date Reviewed: April 28, 2006
Strengths: The ability to talk directly to the frame designer that was open to my ideas, and new how to integrate all of his own experience into the design. I wanted a light XC 29 racer, that I could run as a SS 90% of the time, but still possibly consider running as a gearie. Sean at Soulcraft built the frame to my exact specs. I wanted to run a 80mm shock with an On-One Mary bar, and when built the bike fit like a glove. I was hesitant about a steel frame being heavier, but I have seen zero drawbacks, and only benefits from the steel frame.
Weaknesses: None, unless you considering being impatient while waiting for the frame.
Worth every penny for the frame. I cannot believe I waited this long for a custom steel 29er frame. You will not be dissapointed.
Similar Products Used: I had never ridden a 29er before, but rode SS exclusively. I have been to the mountain and been baptised in the fires of 29ers. I raced the first two races of the Spring season on a 26er, and the last 4 races on the 29er, and one of my regrets was not racing the first 2 on the 29er. What a difference it made.
Bike Setup: 29 Soulcraft Holy Roller with sliding dropouts, rock Shox Rebba race with Poploc, DTSwiss TK7.1 rims laced to Phil Wood SS disc hubs, WTB Nanoraptor wire bead with Stans tubess 29 rims strips, Phil Wood square taper BB, ENO 175 MM crank arms with 34t ENO chainring, Hayes El Camino, On-One Mary bar, ODI lock un grips, Thomson 410 set back seatpost, Thomson 120mm, 5 deg stem, Serfas Furano saddle, with Time Atac carbon (old skool) pedals.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: March 8, 2006
Strengths: EXECUTION....in design,detail,quality,craftsmanship,and most of all builder confidence, not only in skill but attention to the customer. The latter being the best thing and when executed this well there's every reason you would want to tell everyone.
Weaknesses: None to speak other than my own of wanting one of everything Sean welds....
First off, I should mention I work @ BIKESPORT in town and that being said I have had access to try alot of rides in my time there...10 yrs. now in fact...and when I got a chance to get SOULCRAFT in our store I was pretty excited. Fast forward to now and the original drive these guys had (props to MATT...hope your little one is keepin you in smiles!!) has not left the building! I am amazed at how well this bike handles! It's every bit as agile and precise and definetly as confident in handling as my OPTION 3 (my review back in '01). I have to say that 29ers are the real deal and the HOLY ROLLER can help me spread the word in confidence. Sure we the big mfgs in our shop but we always have and will always continue to support the small custom frame builder and SOULCRAFT makes that easy. Bottom line is customer service...you talk, he listens and then you ride happily ever after. Oh yeah, to you point and click, can I have it yesterday crowd...hope you guys get it one day...
Similar Products Used: nothing comes close my bike
Bike Setup: simple and strong. chris king wheels, thompson post and stem. easton bars, xtr brakes.
from Santa Rosa, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: May 18, 2005
Strengths: Stiff, unique design allows this 29er to corner better than any 26" wheeled bike I've ever owned. Beautiful powder coat
Weaknesses: Down tube doesn't clear the fork crown in full lock to the right. Sean tried to design the frame such that these clearances were accounted for but something happened in the numbers and it was off by just a few millimeters. My first crash brought the fork crown in contact with the frame and chipped the powdercoat pretty bad. The tolerances of this particular frame are very very tight, and as a consequence it is easy for niks and scrapes to find their way into those areas of the frame.
I spent over a year building up this bike from concept to design and back again. I wanted a RACE BIKE. Being a single-speeder I realized that there was only one thing I could stand to gain from, and that was a taller gear for the long flat sections and gradual descents. A 1x9 would be the answer, and while I was at it why not make it a 29er just to smooth out the hardtail experience?
The result is the sickest bike I ever dreamt of owning. In fact, today I can hardly believe that this thing is my bike. I spent a lot of money building it up with the best of the best in terms of parts and brought the final weight of it to about 24.5lbs. With a set of CX tires on it the weight drops by another pound, and the course at this year's 24 Hour race in Laguna Seca was proof that the bike is all I had hoped it would be. I knocked two minutes off my best lap time last year on a 26er at 49 minutes on my last lap.
SOULCRAFT Sean Walling of Soulcraft bikes is one of this nicest, most down-to earth people you will ever talk to. He has a lot of experience behind him and his business, and was able to answer questions I didn't even know I had. He rode with me, spoke with me, and did everything he could to make sure that he was getting me the best possible build for my size. This proved to be challenging because building 29er bikes for small riders is a tall order. I'm 5'8" and border that threshold. But with careful attention to detail he made me a frame that not only functions PERFECTLY, but also looks beautiful.
This end product has turned more heads than I could have imagined. This past weekend at Laguna Seca my bike was practically molested by people I've never met before. It really stands out for a number of reasons. But above all else, it's the craftsmanship that makes this bike what it is.
The product weaknesses are more a result of having to cope with my smaller body size than anything else.
Bike Setup: Avid Juicy 7 Disc Brakes, SRAM X.O Rear Derailleur and Grip Shift, Ultegra 27:12 rear cassette, SRAM PC99 Hollow Pin Chain, Spot 32t Singlespeed Chainring, RaceFace Turbine LP Crank Arms, XPedo Tripple Ti SPD Pedals, Mavic Open Pro 700c Road Rims, Sapim CX-Ray Aero Spokes, Chris King ISO Disc Hubs, Avid Flak Jacket Cable System, Bontrager ACX Jones 29er 2.2" Tires (also used Maxxim Wormdrive CX tires), USE Alien Ti Seatpost, Selle Italia Ti Saddle, Syntace F105 Stem, Chris King Headset, FSA Titanium Bottom Bracket ISIS, Answer Hyperlite Flat Bar,... AND A WHOLE LOTTA LOVE
a Cross Country Rider
from HENDERSON, NEVADA
Date Reviewed: February 27, 2005
Strengths: Soulcraft does such a great job of building a superb custom frame that works perfectly with the rider's intended use and riding style. Soulcraft spends a good deal of time insuring that the "fit" is exact making the bike handle perfectly inspiring a great deal of confidence at speed and in all conditions.
Weaknesses: The bike is so beautiful, you'll spend too much time wanting to clean it. Other riders always spend too much ride time complimenting the quality and admiring the bike.
The bike is called "Holy Roller" for a reason. 29ers roll faster and roll over rock gardens and obsticles better than 26ers. Tall riders (5' 10" +) especially with long inseams (34+) will reap the benefits of riding a 29er. Soulcraft frames are a work of art. The ride fell is unforgetable. The handling is precise and accurate making it a rocket in the singletrack. The bike does it all so well you must check Soulcraft out for you next purchase. Customer service is excellent. I had my bike in 3 weeks which is not the norm. My Option 3 took about 6 weeks.
Bike Setup: Avid Single Digid Ultimate V-brakes, Velocity Dyad rims 3X DT 14/14 to Chris King Classic Front hub, Velocity Dyad & White Industries Eno Eccentric Rear hub 3x DT 14/15 to WI Freewheel, Easton Carbon bars, Truvativ Team SL Stem, Shimano Saint 180 mm Crank, White Brothers .80 Fork, Thomson Seat post, WTB saddle, Sram PC 58 chain.
I just installed a set of Maxxis Holy Rollers on my KHS XC104. First of all, I love these tires! My KHS weighs in around 30-32 LBS and is generally a brute to ride with traditional aggressive mtb tires. The Maxxis Holy Rollers make ridding a lot more enjoyable both on the street and on trails!!
... Read More »
I am building my first 29er and sadly my choices are quite limited when it comes to tires. I need a REAR tire that is similar to Holy Roller but size 29. Please, tell me it exists.:) I will be riding tarmac/asphalt and regular trails. Normally, I would go with Nevegal Small Block 8 but they ... Read More »
Anyone run the Holy Roller (2.4") through soft dirt? How good/bad/acceptable was it?
We have a BMX-style course being reclaimed from previous years' flooding. It's a nice rolling track with a lot of potential. The dirt is river silt mostly - very light and quick to dry. In places it has packed-do ... Read More »