Bike of the Week: Rodeo Labs Flaanimal 4
We’ve been on a kick lately, showcasing some of the amazing bike builders coming out of Colorado. This week we are featuring the newest release from Rodeo Adventure Labs, their Flaanimal 4. This is the fourth iteration of this bike and it has been consistently improved.
Rodeo Labs doesn’t claim to make the fastest bike, nor do they claim to have the next-big-thing. They just pride themselves on making machines that are just plain fun. If you look at what they’ve done with their Trail Donkey and the Flaanimal, you can see they are all about the journey… not getting your next PR. Their logo (left) exemplifies this sentiment. You can see a combination of mountain bike, cyclocross, and road tires around the outside and in the center are the mountains waiting to be explored. Yeah, we like everything this logo and Rodeo Adventure Lab embodies.
This bike gets its inspiration from the “diversity, ruggedness, and beauty of the animals of Flanders,” hence the name. The idea of a steel bike equally capable of tackling the cobbles and the trails began with the geometry of the Trail Donkey, but was tweaked to be more of a classic road bike. Additionally, they strayed from the carbon construction of the Trail Donkey and opted for Reynolds 725 Chromoly steel. This isn’t a road bike, though. In fact, it’s not a bike that can really be classified as any specific discipline, except maybe an adventure bike, because you can turn this frame into anything you desire.
Flaanimal 4 Frameset
The Frameset is a work of art, but it’s one that looks even better covered in mud!
The steel tubing is custom butted allowing Rodeo Labs to retain strength and cut weight. Overall, the frameset will weigh between 2,000 grams for the 48 cm frame and 2,500 g for the huge 61 cm frame. This is a weight savings of nearly 800 grams over the Flaanimal 3. Additionally, steel frames usually require special care to prevent rust, but the Flaanimal has a anti-rust coating on both the inside and outside of the tubes. So when you’re taking this thing out in the rain or splashing through mud, you can do it without worrying about having to disassemble your bike to spray more Frame Saver into the tubes.
As for the geometry, the head tube angle is fairly slack compared to a standard road bike, but you get a fairly steep seat tube angle. This keeps up pedaling efficiency while making sure you remain stable when things get a little rougher. Similarly, the chainstays are a bit longer than a road bike, but at 425 mm remain 10 mm shorter than those on the Trail Donkey. If you put a pair of 700c x 25 mm tires on this bike, it will ride much like a road bike. This isn’t a bike for someone just wanting a road bike, though. Putting new rubber on those 700c wheels, you could fit up to 45 mm tires on the Flaanimal–47 mm if you decide to build your bike around 650b wheels. To see full geometry specs, see bottom of the page.
Rodeo Labs included plenty of extras as well. On the frame you get three water bottle mounts, plus another two on the
fork Spork (more on the Spork, later). The cable routing is internal with different frame plugs to accommodate Di2 or even a dynamo light. This will keep your bike looking tidy regardless of how you choose to build it up.
The rear comes with a 12 mm thru axle and flat mount disc brakes. The dropouts are pretty impressive. Rodeo Labs built the Flaanimal with replaceable, sliding dropouts. With this setup you can run single speed, an internally geared hub, a Gates belt drive, or any 9, 10, or 11-speed drivetrain. They made this bike so that you can choose exactly how you want to build it.
The Flaanimal frameset comes in three color options: Pine Cone, Bleaux Deaux, and Chocolate Creamsicle. You can see examples below.
This bike is sold as a frameset, but Rodeo Adventure Labs will help you choose and fit your custom spec, if you so desire.
With the Flaanimal 4 frameset, you do get the Spork 1.2. To complement the steel frame, the fork is full carbon and compatible with 15 mm and 12 mm thru axles. The brake cable is routed internally to prevent snags and keep the look clean. In addition, there is internal routing for a dynamo hub and even a USB stem cap. These guys really thought of everything. Want racks and fenders to go with it? Sure! It’ll hold up to 12.5 kilos.
Rodeo is also offering their carbon disc wheels to pair with this build. They’ve extensively tested their wheels and found that a internal width of 24 mm is best for the bigger tires likely to be fitted to your Flaanimal. They are 30 mm deep to balance aerodynamics with crosswind performance and the Bitex hubs are claimed to rival hubs twice the price. For $1,300, these look like one hell of a wheelset.