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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I thought it time to post up a mini-review of my Soul Cycles Hooligan.

First off, I'm probably a poor choice of a reviewer. I'm not very perceptive when it comes to bike details. I hear comments such as 'those cranks are flexy' - I'll be damned if I can tell the difference between one set of cranks and another.

That said, I do like to ride. I'd characterize my riding as aggressive XC; my local trails provide plenty of tight, technical single track, lots of steep, fast descents, and plenty of climbing.

I had previously been riding a non-disc Surly 1x1 and wanted to run full discs, hence the new frame. I also went up a size and found that I've been riding too small of a frame for years!

Soul Cycles is threatening to put up a new web page, after which the Hooligan will be sold for $345. Currently, though, you can phone in an order for a Hooligan frame for $245. Shipping was cheap too, if I remember correctly I was charged $16 to ship to CA.

The frame sports an EBB + cable hangers etc. so that it can be run single speed or geared. It ships with an SS a dropout and a derailleur hanger dropout. The frame is also set up to run V or disc brakes, with the V brake hangers completely removable. All in all it is a versatile frame, and reminds me quite a bit of a Chameleon.

The frame built up nicely. The only issue with the frame was that the disc brake tabs were not faced (the headtube was faced). Cable routing is straightforward, and Soul Cycles included plastic C clips to hold the brake hose to the braze ons. I lost the forward downtube clip on a ride at Skeggs, and replaced both downtube clips with zip ties. The seat stay clips have been in place for 5 months now.

I mated up the frame with a 100 mm Reba, which has been magic. I've been meaning to bump it up to 115mm to see how it handles, but just haven't gotten around to doing so. The frame is designed around a 100 mm fork (455mm AC height); in talking to the folks at Soul Cycles they essentially recommended playing around in the 100 -130 mm range. I'm pretty curious to see how it will ride with more travel, but at the same time it is really nice as-is so I'm not in a hurry.

The Hooligan is set up with a set screw EBB (looks to be the same EBB that Zion uses). I greased it up and torqued it down to 11 nm and have had no issues with it creaking. It either slipped initially, or the chain stretched (I built it up with a new chain). However, after the chain slacked out initially it never got worse. The chain has more slack in it now than I'd set, but it has never caused an issue so I haven't adjusted it.

The Hooligan also uses a 31.6 seatpost. Not may favorite, and I didn't have a nice 31.6 post so I shimmed it down to 27.2 and haven't had any issues with post slipping etc.

So, I had picked up this frame because it was cheap, and I wanted to try something different. I really wasn't too sure what to expect, and I was also suspicious of an Aluminum frame. I fell in love with this thing on the first ride. It's quick, stiff, and nimble, climbs and descends well, and in general I am more confident on it and ride faster on it than I did on my 1x1. A large part of that confidence is due to the better fit (my Hooligan is larger than the 1x1) and disc brakes, but still… there's just something about this ride. It is a whole lot of fun. Also, I had been skeptical of an aluminum hardtail, but thought I'd gamble on it for the price. None of that skepticism has been born out. The bike is no less comfortable than my Surly. The Hooligan's rear end is pretty well worked over, with bladed chainstays and curved seatstays. Maybe that contributes to the ride quality, but whatever the reason it is a comfy and fun bike.

Lastly, I emailed and phoned Soul Cycles a few times while shopping for the frame, and while building it up. They responded quickly, and were helpful and informative. Nice!

In sum - how can you go wrong? A high quality, low cost bike, backed by guys who answer the phone and respond to email. I'm enjoying the hell out of this thing and am keeping my eye on the Soul Cycles site to see what they'll come up with next.

By the way, I ordered a 19" frame. Here are a few additional details that were provided by Soul Cycles:
2) Can you provide full geometry measurements? As I can't test ride, I'm doing my best to compare to my current bikes
--Top Tube=579mm, Effective Top Tube=605mm, Seat Tube=483mm, Head Tube=120mm, Headset=1 1/18th, Chainstay=432mm, Bottom Bracket Drop=35mm, Bottom Bracket Height=310mm, Bottom Bracket Needed=68mm
3) do you have an aprox frame weight for the 19"?
--4lbs 4oz, A Bushnell EBB will shed additional weight.
4) I see that the geometry is based around a 100mm fork. What is the AC that you based your measurements on? What is the max. fork size that can be run on this frame? I would initially build with a 100mm Reba but like the idea of a Talas or Revelation that could be run up to 100mm.
--We use a 455mm axle to crown. We take into account 20% sag when designing rigid frames. You could run a 130 or 150mm, but for 25mm figure on a 1 degree head angle change (decrease).





 

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trying to size this frame

grundy nice work on the write up, I am seriously looking at this frame. how tall are you and what is your inseam? and then how many inches top tube clearance? I assume reach is comfortable etc..
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm 6', ~32" inseam. Plenty of standover. Reach is comfortable too, I do run a layback seatpost.

I can't say enough good things about this bike. It's currently my only ride; I've been beating the crap out of it for... not sure how long I've had it, 6 months +. Anyway, it's been great, it has a comfortable ride, handles well, and has handled everything that I've thrown at it with aplomb.

Here's a pic to give you an idea of size:

<edit> I meant to add, if I had it to do over again I would set this thing up with a Revalation U-turn w/ 20mm </edit>

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
2009 update.

I have put about a year of hard riding on this bike. It just takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. Seriously, I am as happy as can be.

I sold my geared bike back in May, this has been my only ride since then. It gets a steady diet of trails, roots, rocks and mud. Good stuff for a good bike.

I still have not tried a longer travel fork, although it handles great with a 100mm Reba, I think it would be even better with a bit more travel. I have been meaning to bump my Reba up to 115mm for a year now, at this rate if the thing ever needs service I'll have it done, otherwise I doubt that I'll get around to it.

This is a great frame, I would buy it again in a heartbeat.



 

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Great write up. It definitely makes me feel good about my decision as I just purchased the same frame (same color) in a 17" and am very excited. It will be my first single speed and my first build. Looking forward to building it up as it should arrive in days.
James
 

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Grundy - thanks for the review. The Hooligan isn't listed in the SS "reviews" section, so I was a tad bit nervous before I ordered mine - yesterday. Apparently, they're about to come out with a 3rd generation, which is what I bought. (Not sure what's different.) I had been looking at the Ventana El Toro, but this seems to be 90% of the Ventana at 30% of the price (and is speced for a 100mm fork, whereas the Ventana is speced for 80mm.)

I'm having all the same reservations as you as to the ride quality of the AL - I'm currently using a converted Giant XTC carbon frame (with a singleator) as my SS and have previously stuck with steel only for SS frames (except for a GF Rig, which I replaced with an Inbred 29 after about a month.) But, the Elite Race tubing looks like it's top of the line stuff - I've only ever had lower-end AL frames.

Obviously, the Hooligan will be heavier than the Giant (by about 2 lbs), but I like the EBB option and the ability to run it SS or geared (not that I'd do the latter, but the option is nice.)

Looks like you've got a 2.24 Mutano in the back. Is there clearance to run the 2.4 Mutano? I also have a Reba 100 fork, but I was planning on running a White Brothers rock solid fork - the 447mm a-c version. I think that's the same a-c as the Reba, accounting for sag. Anyhoo, I'm just disappointed they discontinued the powder blue color. Mine, apparently, will be gloss black.

But, for the price, it sounds like I can't go wrong. I'll get a pic posted when it's done.
 

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I just bought the Dillinger frame and it's absolutely amazing. I seriously don't understand how you get such a great product a such a great price.

I paid $250 scratch and dent for a faded spot on the headtube. It's hardly noticeable, and only in the right light. It's got to be the most high value frame out there, I can't wait until the build is finished.
 

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nice.

Nice build.

I'm running a Reba on my Spot frame. The guy who sold me the fork told me I NEEDED the version with the remote lockout. I said, whoa, not so fast, and no thanks, but really no.

He took matters into his own hands and ordered the fork with the remote lockout. That SOB!

I love it. Wouldn't build a SS without a the remote, ever again. Best. Option. Ever.
 

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So I am bumping this year old thread so that reviews for the Soul Cycles Hooligan can be found in one place. When I was researching the frame I found this thread and it was quite helpful. Anyways...

I have now ridden several times, off and on road, and I am extremely happy with this bike. It is light and very responsive. My previous bike was a 97 Stumpjumper, so the whole aluminum vs. steel thing is lost on me.

I think the thing most people are concerned about is the EBB and any issues of creaking or slipping. I am happy to say that I have yet to have any problems at all. I put teflon tape on the EBB and torqued it to specs and haven't had any issues.

My only tiny gripe is the URL of Soul Cycles on one of the chainstays. Can't fault them for wanting to advertise, but I think the name on the down tube is enough. Actually, what would be cool is a chainstay guard with their URL instead of being painted on. But this has nothing to do with the quality of the bike, so like I said, just a small gripe.

Well built, nice paint job, very affordable aluminum frame. Very satisfied! Here are a few photos and a couple of some local trails I took after a ride (screwing around with the iPhone apps).







 
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