Virginia’s Why Cycles Wayward
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Virginia recently got surprised with a new Why Cycles Wayward for trail riding, touring, and everything in between. The build features a 1×12 drivetrain, 29 x 2.6” tires, and a custom bolt-on frame bag. Read on for build details, a full photo gallery, and a Q and A with Virginia…
Somewhere deep in the cloud forests of Colombia, after yet another 4,000-foot descent on the region’s rugged and bumpy dirt and rock roads, we found ourselves quite jealous of our riding partners’ sparkly new Rockshox Sid suspension forks. Lael Wilcox and Rue Kaladyte had better anticipated how rough the terrain would be. Virginia was riding her long-in-the-tooth, rigid Salsa Deadwood, which is a great bike, but in hindsight, not the best choice for this trip, especially with mechanical brakes and 2.3″ tires. She’d just had surgery on her right wrist two months prior, and the numbness and pain were getting to her. At some point during the trip, Lael suggested, “Yeah, it probably would have been better for you with a suspension fork and hydraulic brakes…” She was right; it was (past) time for an upgrade.
A couple of weeks after getting back from that trip, I had the chance to demo the new version two Why Cycles Wayward and fell in love with it immediately. After analyzing the geometry, I thought it might just be the perfect bike for Virginia and decided to surprise her with one. This was kind of presumptuous of me, but I love surprises, so I took the risk. I ordered the frame directly from Why and intercepted the UPS driver to quickly smuggle it into our shed before she had a clue. A couple of days later, I snuck it out through our backyard along with a box of parts and stealthily handed it off to our friends Rusti and Shiloh, mechanics at the Hub here in town. Shiloh built it up and a week or so later we surprised her. Since then, she’s been riding it on our local singletrack and gravel. She’s also gotten it out for a couple overnighter bikepacking trips. Now that she’s had a couple of months to get to know her Wayward, I asked her a few questions about the fit and build. Read the interview below, along with a bunch of photos and a build kit.
So, you were surprised, right!? What did you think at first?
Yes, I was surprised and, honestly, a little nervous. I’ve had such a tough time finding a bike that really fits me well in the past. I’m not sure if it’s my proportions—I’m long in the trunk with short-ish legs—or if it’s a flexibility issue, or just a bit of an age factor, like a little arthritis creeping in. Whatever the cause, it’s frustrating. I’ve tried adjusting stem lengths, umpteen different handlebars and saddles, thud-busters, and been professionally fitted a couple of times with limited success. So, when y’all handed me a shiny, and really beautiful, new bike that I’d never even demoed, I was worried that it just wouldn’t work for me.
What were your first impressions once you took it out for a spin? Did anything stand out?
After the first ride I was still a little apprehensive. It takes me a minute to get the feel for a bike, and, with my history, I was kind of focused on finding anything that didn’t feel quite right. I also hadn’t ridden a hardtail in a really long time, so there were a lot of variables at play. But, by the end of my second ride, I was stoked. I guess the thing that stood out to me the most was how light and playful the bike feels, while also feeling super stable. Another thing that really stood out is how much more length I have in the cockpit of this bike as compared to the Deadwood. I feel like my fit on this bike is a nice cross between the super upright feel of my previous touring bikes and the stretch of my mountain bike.
How has it been adjusting to a hardtail on the trails around here after riding full-suspension?
For the most part, I’m really enjoying it. I like that it takes a little more thought and finesse to work my way through the really technical bits. You can’t just boulder over everything, and I think that aspect is probably going to make me a better rider. I also love the playfulness. I feel like I have more control over the rear end of my bike now, which is fun. I like that I actually feel like I’m in control, not just responding to the bike’s whims.
I will admit, though, that there are just a few super burly long downhills around here where I’d still prefer a full-suspension bike. I still have carpal tunnel in my left wrist, so the relentless, super rough downhills get to me a little. But really, those aren’t the kind of trails I prefer riding, and I’m pretty confident that the hardtail will be an awesome choice for almost any other trails out there.
How do you like it for bikepacking?
It’s awesome. Like I said before, it’s a super stable ride that’s still agile. I’ve only been on a couple of overnighters so far, but on one of them I hauled quite a bit of gear. It was a luxury overnighter of sorts. For that ride, I actually used a rear rack and panniers, since my frame triangle is a little smaller than it was on the Deadwood. Even with that pretty substantial load, the bike climbed well and was really responsive seeming on the brief bit of singletrack we hit.
- Frame Why Cycles Wayward (medium)
- Fork Rockshox Yari 29er (with new Debonair Air Spring)
- Rims WTB Asym i35 (32h)
- Hubs Industry Nine Torch (anodized blue)
- Tires Maxxis Rekon 29 x 2.6″
- Headset Cane Creek 40
- Stem Race Face Aeffect 50mm
- Handlebar Race Face Next Carbon, 760mm
- Grips Ergon GA3 (small)
- Seatpost PNW Bachelor 150
- Seatpost Lever PNW Loam Lever
- Brakes Shimano SLX
- Crankset SRAM Eagle GX (170mm)
- Derailleur SRAM Eagle GX 12-speed
- Shifter SRAM Eagle GX
- Saddle Specialized Power Expert with Mimic (Machines for Freedom edition)
- Frame Bag Rockgeist Mudlust Bolt-on with Map Pocket
- Rack Tumbleweed Mini Pannier Rack
- Panniers Porcelain Rocket Microwave Panniers
- Handlebar Bag Swift Zeitgeist
Is there anything you’re thinking about changing with the setup?
I’d really like to take the Wayward out on a multi-day bikepacking trip before I make too many adjustments. The only thing I’m considering at this point is trying out some handlebars with a little more backsweep to them… nothing too drastic, but an angle somewhere in the teens. The angle of my wrist seems a little sharp, and I’d like to straighten it out a bit to hopefully stave off another surgery.