7 Bikes for 7 Wonders: Mt. Hood
Editor’s Note: This post is courtesy of Travel Oregon.
The perfect bike for riding the trails that crisscross the slopes of Mt. Hood is a do-it-all machine that’s equally comfortable on backcountry singletrack and adrenaline-fueled bike park trails.
This was the design ethos employed by Fred Cuthbert of Wolfhound Cycles, one of seven builders tasked with creating bikes for Travel Oregon’s 7 Bikes for 7 Wonders scavenger hunt. To celebrate the 7 Wonders of Oregon, seven of the state’s best bike makers created custom hand-built bikes inspired by the state’s most amazing places to ride, including Mt. Hood. This summer, those bikes will be hidden at their Wonders for anyone to find, own, and ride.
For Wolfhound Cycles of Talent, Oregon, that meant a bike as capable and diverse as the terrain of Mt. Hood. Ironically that was the driver that got Cuthbert into building bikes in the first place. He couldn’t afford to own a fleet of bikes, and instead needed just one that could handle anything and fit his tall frame.
Wolfhound’s Fred Cuthbert, makes bikes out of True Temper Verus/Columbus Zona steel tubing (click to enlarge).
Today, Cuthbert mostly builds singlespeeds using high quality steel tubing. His business is named after Duncan his old shop dog, who was of course a wolfhound. It was that canine connection that earned the 7 Wonders Mt. Hood bike the moniker Bruno, the name of the St. Bernard long associated with the iconic Timberline Lodge located on the slopes of the perpetually snowcapped mountain.
“When I was designing a bike for Mt. Hood, the first thing that went through my mind was that it needed to be able to handle anything, because there’s lift assist, free rides, downhill, and all-day singletrack rides,” explained Cuthbert. “My core principle behind my designs has always been to make something that could do anything and everything, so this was the perfect opportunity to put that into practice.”
Cuthbert says the 27.5″ wheeled Bruno Bike straddles the line between XC and trail. The head angle is a slack 67-degrees and he spec’d it with a taller than normal 150mm suspension fork, dropper post and aggressive 2.5” downhill tires, but stayed with his traditional hardtail-singlespeed frame set-up for efficiency and simplicity. Less parts to break on a remote backcountry adventure.
“It’s really my signature bike,” added Cuthbert of the 28-pound steed with red hubs and a bright sour-apple green paint job with subtle black pinstriping around the lug details. “It’s the kind of bike I like to ride. It finds that happy medium with a longer top tube and shorter stem so it will handle rough descents, but still climb well.”
That duality of ability is something Cuthbert says riders should bring to Mt. Hood. “You need to be ready for anything,” said the Oregon native. “There is so much diversity there.”
Indeed, 11,250-foot Mt. Hood, with its 11 glaciers and six ski areas, is lined with miles and miles of superb singletrack that travel past beautiful alpine lakes, meander through forests, and roll through valleys filled with wildflowers.
And while Cuthbert hasn’t spent a ton of time riding there because his shop is located down south at the other end of the state, he still calls it among the best mountain biking he’s ever done.
“It was just amazing,” he recalled. “Great scenery and miles and miles of trail. It’s that quintessential mountain bike experience people dream about, the perfect combination of scenery and quality trails. I know I cant wait to get back up there.”