She’s Stroked and Bored: Foundry Auger Initial Review

I’m thinking that the next few posts will be exciting.

For starters, I hadn’t gotten around to talking a bit about the Foundry Auger that recently came in as a demo bike at North Central Cyclery.  I had an opportunity to spend a little time cranking around on it, and have some preliminary thoughts.  (Note: please excuse the demo pedals, and please also note that these pics were taken almost immediately after it was assembled…before it was cleaned up or received a final adjustment).  First, the pics:

Note the trick split seat stays:

I really, really like how nicely the frame is formed and how the joints transition smoothly.

I also love the internal cable routing.  It just makes a ton of sense for cyclocross…or even for gravel bashing.

Very, very nicely integrated brake mounts–a super-thoughtful touch.

Whisky fork.

It has a very attractive finish–not blingy, but not dead flat black, either.  I like how it catches the sun.

Velocity A23s…just like on the Vaytanium.  I did really like that these A23s did not have a brake track–they look a lot cleaner.

Initial thoughts:

Great geometry.  I really liked the overall fit of the bike.  The stem was a bit too grandpa-ish for me, but otherwise, it was great.  The bike feels flickable, but controllable.  It wasn’t too “tame”, but wasn’t darty by any means.  Hands-free riding was very comfortable.  While I haven’t had a chance to ride gravel on it (yet), I’m reasonably confident that it will be a really nice handling, predictable ride.

Light.  I’ve got to get a build weight on this…but it feels light.  It has some nice, blingy parts (Whisky bars, whisky fork) but some that could easily be upgraded to save some weight (Sram Rival, seatpost, boat-anchor-pedals, etc.)

Taut.  It accelerated sharply (even with platform pedals) and held speed well.  There was almost no palpable flex under hard accelerations–even on the road.

That same tautness also showed through on uneven surfaces.  For example, on the cobbles, the tautness came out as being a bit ‘buzzy’.  To compare the ride quality to my titanium Vaya (the above-linked Vaytanium), I can say with absolute confidence that the Vaytanium is far superior at diminishing the buzz of cobbles and uneven surfaces.  In fact, after hitting the cobbles for the first time, I stopped to check the tire pressures on the Auger, because I thought they must be sky-high.  They weren’t.  It’s a stiffer ride, no doubt.  I do expect, however, that in a race situation, it would be a more efficient ride, as well.  I’m certain that some of the compliance I pick up with the Vaya comes at the cost of at least some of the absolute efficiency that the Auger seems to show.  The Auger certainly wasn’t as harsh as aluminum…but it wasn’t as smooth as Ti, either.

The component mix on here makes a lot of sense.  It’s screaming for an upgraded seatpost and saddle, but otherwise, the specs are good.  Rival drivetrain and BB7 Road brakes just like the Vaya.  (Have you noticed that I measure all things against the Vaytanium?  It’s just that good).  I really liked the feel of the Whisky fork.  The next iteration of the Vaytanium will likely feature this fork.  The Clement LAS tires remind me a great deal of my much-loved Continental Cyclocross Speeds…albeit with a bit more aggressive shoulder tread.  That design looks like it might address my primary criticism of the Speeds (lack of shoulder tread for cornering traction on mixed surfaces).

Overall thoughts:  Very positive–moreso than I thought.  I’ve followed Foundry on Facebook, and have appreciated their enthusiastic approach to starting a new line of bikes.  I’ve also appreciated their candor in discussing issues with the production of their now-stillborn 29er carbon hardtail (and I salivate looking at its replacement that is under development).  In spending a little time with the Auger, it’s evident that a great deal of thought and consideration went into the design.  Saying that it is thoughtfully designed is about as high of praise as I can offer.  I came away from my test ride wanting to slap on some Candys, clip in, and go hammer some gravel.  It left me wanting more.  And for me to consider riding a bike other than the Vaytanium on gravel…well, that takes a pretty darn nice bike.  Hopefully, in the coming weeks I’ll get a chance to spin around a little more on the Auger, and drill down a little deeper on this review.

Oh…”she’s stroked and bored” doesn’t have any dirty connotation.  It’s the Beach Boys, for crying out loud!  (Best auger-themed title I could come up with).

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