First introduced back in 2007, and perhaps somewhat misunderstood at the time, the Singular Peregrine is back by popular demand. Although its drop-bar-big-tire-classic-styling essence is the same, it’s seen a few geometry tweaks and changes to bring it up to date, and it now sports thru-axles and flat-mount brakes. It also has a lovely new bi-plane fork that makes space for 29 x 2.0 or 27.5 x 2.3″ rubber and is offered in two different shades of blue.
Today, 13 years after it was originally brought to market, a drop-bar bike with 29″ tires and a promise to be capable of taking riders anywhere makes more sense to a wider variety of cyclists, and we’re excited to see the Singular Peregrine get a new life. We caught up with Singular founder, Sam Alison, to learn more about his original vision and why he decided to release an updated version of the Peregrine now. Find that below, along with a selection of images of prototypes out in the wild and details on discounted pre-order pricing through the end of January.
Singular Peregrine Specs
- Custom drawn double butted Columbus steel tubing
- Lugged head tube and seat cluster
- Flat mount 160mm brake fitment
- 12mm thru axles – 142mm rear spacing, 100mm front
- Eccentric Bottom Bracket insert – 68mm BSA threaded shell
- Clearance for Shimano road width cranks with 48/34 chainrings
- Tyre clearance for max 622x55mm (29×2.1”) or 584x65mm (27.5×2.3”)
- Bolt-on modular cable guides under downtube
- Double chainring compatible
- 27.2mm seat tube diameter
- 1 ⅛” external bearing head tube (34mm ID) for straight steerer fork
- Electrostatic Deposition (ED) anti-corrosion treatment
- Five frame sizes from Small to Extra Extra Large.
Give us some Peregrine history. Where’d your original motivation and design inspiration come from?
I’ve long been a lover of classic lugged steel bikes (old Mercians, De Rosas, Colnagos), classic touring, and road racing bikes. Despite the love of those bikes aesthetically, I mostly enjoy riding off-road. I remember seeing a Bridgestone XO-1 for the first time. My first reaction was, “What the hell is that?” Then the cogs started turning and I thought it could really be great – MTB wheels with a fast riding position on a sweet, smooth-riding steel frame.
Then, when I first started designing Singulars, I continued to follow Grant Petersen’s (Bridgestone designer and Rivendell founder) stuff and I saw the Rivendell Atlantis. It just looked fantastic. Basically, it was an evolution of the XO-1 but with room for the (new at the time) 29″ wheels. It just about fit “The Tire,” the original WTB Nanoraptor 29 x 2.0″. This was around 2005. I was also getting introduced to the classic old French randonneuring bikes of the 50s and 60s, builders like Alex Singer and Rene Herse.
I’d already designed the Swift and I knew I wanted something along similar lines to the Atlantis, but I was a big convert to disc brakes. Living in the UK and dealing with the mud that’s is unavoidable here if you want to ride off-road year-round. At that time, disc brakes and drop bars were in their infancy. Hydraulic brakes were a far-off dream, and the very best brake you could get was the Avid BB7 road with road levers. Even so, they were still a vast improvement on rim brakes when used regularly in foul conditions. So, I knew my lugged steel go-anywhere bike had to have disc brakes.
The first Peregrine prototypes arrived in early 2007. The goal was to maintain that sweet smooth steel ride, give it some big tyre clearances, make it handle well on road as well as off, and with or without a load, and last but not least, be able to run single speed or hub gears as well as a conventional derailleur drivetrain.
You’ve got to remember at this time pretty much the only bikes with drop bars for off-road use were traditional ‘cross bikes. Then, you had fusty old touring bikes which might fit some decent size tyres but didn’t have the handling you’d want for spirited riding. I was trying to meld all of these different things and put it in a package that rode well and looked cool.
The first production frames arrived in 2008. They weren’t a huge hit, it has to be said, but it developed a bit of a cult following, I guess. We got some great publicity and reviews at the time it was launched, in fact, Cass Gilbert actually gave it a great write up. He really got it. A lot of people just thought it was a weird touring bike. The fat tyres were the key, though. I would turn up to local MTB group rides on mine with 29 x 1.8″ tyres, wide, flared drop bars and a single-speed drivetrain and got some very strange looks. It was fun and really pretty capable on our local trails.
Why bring it back now, all these years after it was originally introduced?
The Peregrine was always the frame that people would ask about. “When are they coming back?” I was kind of against it for a long time, mostly for financial reasons. Though they were the most expensive bike in the range, they were the least profitable. The lugged construction and the traditional panel paint scheme is really expensive to produce!
But those things don’t really matter. I always loved the bike and wanted to do it again at some time. It’s a beautiful bike that’s brought a lot of people a lot of joy, so I hope I can make that happen again. Now that a lot more people are finding the joys of big tyres and drop bars, it feels like the time is right.
How does this new version differ from the first and second generation Peregrines?
The essence of it is still the same. The main differences are to conform with current component standards for gravel bikes. So, thru-axles and flat-mount brakes. However, we still have the ability to run a road double crankset and front derailleur and with space for 29 x 2.0 or 27.5 x 2.3″ tyres. The cable routing has changed a bit, now running under the downtube with modular bolt-on guides for full-length cable outer – just neat, clean, tidy, mudproof. I also found a really nice flat bi-plane fork crown which gives great tyre clearance and also rides very nicely. And of course, we have some new colours! There’s a choice of either a lovely dark midnight blue, or a lighter blue that was the colour of the original Swift, the official name for which is pigeon blue.
The geometry has been tweaked a bit, mostly to give it a little bit longer front centre to reduce the incidence of toe overlap and give a bit more stability when carrying a load. Things like rack and mudguard mounts have also been moved around a bit to make everything work as well as I can get it to.
Lastly, what kind of rider is the Peregrine designed for?
It’s a hugely versatile bike, so I don’t really want to pigeonhole it by saying it’s just for a specific type of rider. I’ve seen and done builds that have been zippy fixed gear commuters, fully loaded tourers, transcontinental bikepackers, single-speed cross racers, or gravel rides with fat 650B tyres. So, I’d say it’s for the rider who wants that flexibility and versatility in a lovely looking package. Also, a rider who wants to support a small, independent company trying to do something a bit different in the bike industry.
Pre-orders for the new Singular Peregrine are now open and frames are expected to arrive in June 2021. You can secure a frameset (frame, fork, ebb insert and all bolts and cable clips) by putting down a £500 ($675) deposit before the end of January 2021. Early bird pricing is £850 ($1,150) in the UK (including 20% VAT) or £710 ($960) excluding UK VAT elsewhere. Orders placed after January 2021 will have a recommended retail price of £1,000 ($1,350). You can learn more or get in on the pre-order over at SingularCycles.com.
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