By Matt Kasprzyk
I’ve been searching for a bike that could handle miles of urban streets as well as dirt—a bike that could endure the abuse of rough gravel roads and provide me with the freedom to explore.
Enter Marty Larson of The Prairie Peddler, a small bike shop located in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and the exclusive North American distributor of the U.K.-based Singular Cycles. Marty built his Peregrine to tackle miles of unmaintained gravel in the Midwest, and was kind enough to loan Dirt Rag his personal bike for this test. Thanks, Marty.
The classically inspired Peregrine is Singular’s most versatile frame. It can be used for bikepacking, gravel grinding, or as a drop bar mountain bike. The frame is built from Reynolds’ 4130 chomoly tubing. And although the lugs and classic paint scheme take you back a few decades, Singular doesn’t discredit the utility of some relatively modern amenities like 29-inch wheels and disc brakes.
The Peregrine’s frame and fork have clearance for 29×2.0 tires. My test bike came with 2.0 Kenda Karmas; there wasn’t much room for any- thing knobbier. If you want to run fenders the frame will accommodate up to 700x45c. Running larger volume tires changed how I rode rough gravel roads—I went from trying to pick smooth lines to not needing to pick lines at all. Obviously, disc brakes are pretty rad—the Perigrine doesn’t have canti bosses ruining the frame’s clean lines. The braze-ons for racks and fenders don’t interfere with the disc caliper mounts, there are three water bottle mounts, and open-style guides to run full-length cable housing. The eccentric bottom bracket allows for a singlespeed set-up and there is a derailleur hanger for geared riding.
The 59cm frame is the largest size offered; I thought it was going to be a little short, given my height, but wide off-road drop bars made the reach comfortable. Riding drop bars on singletrack takes some getting used to. The handling was quick, borderline twitchy compared the trail bikes I’m used to. The front end felt light on pavement and wandered slightly—a byproduct of the fork’s 50mm offset and the fact the Perigrine is also designed with loaded touring in mind.
The Peregrine carves through flowy singletrack effortlessly. Handling in technical situations can be a challenge. Riding the drops and having my head down took some adjustment, and riding on the hoods really doesn’t provide secure hold on technical singletrack.
The only real drawback for me was toe overlap. Riders running big tires with big feet will have to deal with this. I never noticed the overlap on pavement, but I had to be conscious of it when turning sharply off- road. Given the large tires, my big feet, and frame’s geometry, there isn’t a way around it. Smaller tires would make toe overlap a non-issue, but that also diminishes the Peregrine’s versatility.
There are no color changes planned for 2012. The current frame is designed for use with up to 26/36/46 triple chainrings. The second-generation frames will have hourglass shaped chainstays to accommodate road cranks with a narrower Q-factor and larger chainrings.
If you’re into the retro aesthetic and are looking for a comfortable ride to for crushing miles of gravel, or just want a versatile bike to tackle a variety of terrain, the Peregrine could be a wise choice.
- Price: $725 (frame and fork)
- Weight: 24.24lbs. (as built)
- Sizes Available: 50, 53, 56, 59 (tested)
- Country of Origin: Taiwan
- Age: 32
- Height: 6’2”
- Weight: 185lbs.
- Inseam: 34”