The Project Is Moving Ahead
I don't want to go into specifics until I can post photos. But, the new project is progressing.
There is a style of bike I have tried to build up, for the past few years, called the "all-rounder". Seven or eight years ago, when I was first getting interested in this style of bike, I leaned in the direction of a 700c wheeled cross bike, which could also be ridden on the dirt. The alternative would be a 26" wheeled mountain bike, which could also be ridden on the road (like my red RockHopper that I use for around-town use, right now).
Each of these bikes, while usable in any condition, leans really hard in one direction, and has less usability in the other. The cross bike is terrific on the road, but only partly competent on the dirt (when compared to a dedicated mtb). The mountain bike is terrific on the dirt, but leaves much to be desired on the road (when compared to a dedicated road bike).
So, for years, an all-rounder really was a compromise, pretty good at one thing and merely passable at another. At least, that's how it worked out for me. Your mileage may vary.
And, if your friends and riding partners are all on the same style bike, there's no problem. But, for me, I found that if I showed up for a mountain bike ride on my cross bike, I was constantly chasing the guys on mountain bikes. No one else was riding my style of bike.
Years passed, and something happened which changed everything, when it came to all-rounder bikes. The 29er mtb tire (and, to a smaller extent, the 650b) changed the rules completely. Now, there was a platform which allowed the same bike to run anything from racing-style road tires to big, fat, off-road rubber. If you like riding a full-rigid mtb, things get even simpler.
I think, by now, you have an general idea of what I'm working on. Details to follow (hopefully, soon).