Found parked outside the XtraCycle tent were two 36″ wheeled monsters from Keener Cycle Works.
UPDATE: At present, there’s no website, just their Facebook page, so we made contact to get the scoop. Just got in touch with Bryan Keener Smith and updated the post with comments and info about the bikes. He’s been making frames for a bit more than 30 years, since he was about 19 years old. The first 36er started about seven years ago but took a while to reach completion. His full time job is building telescope assemblies – he says he can’t build bikes fast enough (he’s too meticulous) to make it a livable venture.
The bike above featured a custom integrated Lefty fork, and the other, which you’ll see further down, had dual front disc brake rotors, Legos and more. Roll through…
Once you get past the massive wheels, the next most obvious feature is the custom Lefty integration. The stem, crown and handlebar all form a single piece…likely as much to make it stiff enough as to just make it easier to get all the pieces where they need to be. Not much chance he’d find off the shelf stems and adapters for this thing!
The Lefty gets double the front suspension travel of the original (at bottom), which was all the reason he needed to upgrade the new model.
Stock controls are still in place, you’ll just need a really deep socket set to get to them. The shape of the bars is an homage to the hold bull moose bars from the early days of mountain biking.
The front hub is hollow, and both front and rear are custom made. Keener says they’re essentially 185mm wide. That width was chosen after taking a cross section of a traditional 26″ wheel and extending the spokes along the same path and end up with the same bracing angle on a 36″ wheel.
The bottom bracket is 91mm wide, which was done by taking an 83mm DH crankset and remove the spacers. This let him add a bit more BB shell, which supports the wider chain line required to support the wider hubs. It’s offset slightly to the driveside to give it the appropriate chain line. All of these changes came about after spending time on the original hardtail shown below, which has been updated over time with various improvements to make it ride better.
Some very nicely embroidered butterfly fabric and velvety letters make for a sweet custom top tube cozy.
Because of the huge diameter wheels, the gear ratio needed to be easier. So, the driveside chainstay was beefed up to handle the additional torque. In the top photo, you’ll notice that much larger, rectangular stay.
The other bike has been around for at least a year. It uses an ActionTec suspension fork system (ball bearings rather than needle bearings), and it gives it a lower overall stack height. Keener says it’s pretty supple and tunable, but admits he’s overloading it with the 36″ wheels. He says he can get a couple years out of it before it’s wrecked, but it’s still better than wishing you had suspension.
Singlespeed rear ends on both are accommodated by an eccentric bottom bracket.
Up front, dual discs help rein in the oversized wheels.
Storage bag? Check. Cycling computer? Check. Lego mounts? Check.
The connection to XtraCycle is this: Keener’s been helping them develop their new Mega Rack, a variation of their bike-extending rack system, but that’s stiffer and will accommodate some fat bike tires. They showed it at Interbike, but it’s not available yet.
Why a 36er? Keener says that, as a guy who’s turning 50 soon, being able to ride farther and more without hands or “parts” going numb, that makes a difference. Want to see more? Search around on Photobucket using “Keener” and “36er” and you’ll find some other human powered vehicles he’s built.