If we’ve got our international date times correct, you should be reading this as one of the first emails in your inbox for the day. That means, according to pharaonic mythology, the sacred scarab, or dung beetle (Scarabaeus sacer), has adhered to his daily routine of pushing the sun god Ra across the sky.
The pain of pedalling against gravity, whether it’s across town or up an Alp, often feels like we’re pushing a big ball of dung up a hill. But what a sense of satisfaction we feel when that sphere comes to rest. It’s a sense of accomplishment and relief that we have created something new.
On that note, we present the Scarab, which may well be the ultimate vehicle for daily pushing.
From our good friend Rangga Panji at Pancalen Cycles: “The Scarab is the brainchild of collaboration between PIAS Cycles and Pancalen Cycles. PIAS Cycles is a steadily emerging bicycle company in Indonesia, while Pancalen Cycles is a bicycle shop based on Jakarta, Indonesia.
Scarab is an attempt to create the ultimate ‘do-it-all’ bicycle frame, something that will fulfil almost all needs and purposes: enabled to be built into different configurations, to be ridden on almost any terrain and different locations, the right tool for every job, a jack of all trades.
We started with cyclocross geometry. A good cyclocross bicycle will happily munch any terrain thrown at it. Fit skinny slick tires and you’ll have a bicycle suitable for tarmac, put on knobbly fat tires and it will go where the tarmac ends. This is the closest a do-it-all bicycle can be.
We wanted this frame to be able to be built into many configurations possible. We’re using adjustable vertical rear dropouts, because sometimes people just want to run a single cog and chainring. We put a healthy amount of eyelets so people can put racks and/or fenders on them, so you can take it for commute rides or overall global explorations.
We’re making this frame disc-specific to provide consistent braking performance. Its 135mm rear dropout spacing will accept regular mountain bicycle hubs, or even internal-geared hubs if you want to. If you decided to build it without fenders, you’ll have plenty of clearance to fit fatter tires up to 40c.
This Scarab, owned by Endiyan Rakhmanda, is different in its own kind of way: not only it was set up in a different way than others, it’s also become the only Scarab to spend its life in Europe — Germany, to be exact. The initial plan was to have the 51cm-sized frame shipped to Germany, where Endiyan would have bought the parts and have it built there. But then the plan was scrapped and instead we ended up shipping a box with full-built bike nestled inside.
The brief was simple and sounds typical: build a bike that can be used on almost every terrain, especially during winter. Also we needed to use reasonably-priced parts that can bring balance between budget and performance. We obliged by fitting an almost-complete Shimano 105 groupset, apart from the 12-30T Tiagra cassette to provide better low gearing, KMC X10 chain that we proved to have better rust resistance than its Shimano counterpart and Tektro Lyra disc brakes.
The wheels were built from Velocity Aerohead rims, plain gauge spokes and unbranded MTB hubs, weighing in at 1.780 grams and shod with Schwalbe CX Pro cyclocross tires, ensuring they will still roll confidently even in the muck or snow. A bit different from any cyclocross setup that we’ve built before, a set of Civia fenders were then fitted to keep road slush out of bay.”
The mechanics are all there. Combined with that day-lighter paint, the result is a bike that I bet even the holy scarab beetle would bring out for his daily exercise. You can see more iterations of the versatile Scarab, and enquire about your own, on the Pancalen Cycles blog.