The Radavist’s Top Beautiful Bicycles of 2014

The stick that held up the bikes in this Gallery…

I shot a lot of bikes this year. In fact, I shot more Galleries this year, than any other two years combined. From April 1st’s launch of the Radavist, until last week, the entire team worked hard on bringing a full photo gallery just about every weekday, sometimes twice. Pulling in those metrics took some time, but rather than limiting this year’s selection to just ten, I found the following bikes to be all within the same realm.

Some of these bikes never dropped a chain in terms of year-long momentum, still churning in pageviews and social media chatter to this very day. Surprisingly to me, a few were completely stock bikes. These were all chosen for their Facebook likes, social media engagement, comments and overall traffic. I feel like there were a lot of bikes that were flops as far as traffic was concerned, but I wanted to be fair in selecting the list.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s back up a bit.

We began the year with a few big stories, all leading up to one of the busiest weekends of the year, NAHBS. After record-breaking traffic, the world of Beautiful Bicycles culminated in the 2014 NAHBS Drive Side Gallery. From there, it was onto traveling for stories and documenting Beautiful Bicycles along the way… We’ll start off in Prescott, Arizona for the Whiskey Off Road.


Robin’s Santa Cruz Digi Camo Highball Dirt Dropper

What’s not to love about someone taking creative control over an otherwise stock frameset, both in functionality and design. Robin from Blackburn’s Santa Cruz Highball got a digital camo wrap, dirt drops and racks, making this one hell of a bikepacking rig.

Allen's Hunqapillar Dirt Tourer

Allen’s Hunqapillar Dirt Tourer

Designed by Team Wooly Mammoth for Rivendell, Allen’s Hunqapillar touring bike was one of my all-time favorite bikes of the year. After his entire collection of bicycles were stolen from his Austin, Texas home, Allen decided he only needed one…


Lauren’s Casati Ellisse Got an 11 Speed Campagnolo Athena Upgrade

Classic Italian steel, made more functional – for my fiancé anyway – by modern Italian componentry. Oh and, that dreamy mechanic building ‘er up!

Garrett Chow's Custom XCR Cinelli Road

Garrett Chow’s Custom XCR Cinelli Road

One trend I noticed was an increase in social media chatter for bikes like this. They’re hardly in the same realm as a frame builder, yet they’re far from a Taiwanese production. Garrett’s XCR Cinelli road is made by hand in Italy.

Clement Chevrier's PRO Trek Madone with SRAM Wireless

Clement Chevrier’s PRO Trek Madone with SRAM Wireless

Coincidentally, Clement’s Trek Madone was also from the ATOC, yet this bike’s reach exceeded far beyond the mountains of California. This bike was one of the first to break the 20,000 visits in a day for the year.


Joshua’s Bryant 650b Dirt Road Tourer

As preparation for the Oregon Outback, Joshua from Cycles J Bryant did a ride up to the top of Diablo with a group of us during the ATOC. It’s hard to not want to shoot photos of a bike like this, especially after spending all day being blinded by the paint job!


Hanson’s Fairdale Goodship Road

What’s so special about this, you ask? Well, I really think Fairdale knocked this bike out of the park. It’s got that custom, framebuilder aesthetic with the pricepoint of a production bike, because it is a production bike. Hanson’s Goodship surprised even me!


First Ride on the Cielo Road Racer Ultegra Di2

For me, seeing a bike like this spread like wildfire over the extents of the internet, was huge. From car, to firearm, running and yes, even fishing blogs and forums, the Cielo Road Racer had a far-reaching impact for this year’s Beautiful Bicycles. Oh and it rode damn nice too!

Erik's Poler Edition AWOL Touring Bike

Erik’s Awol x Poler Outback Tourer

Another, completely stock, well-ridden machine. Erik’s AWOL x Poler touring bike jettisoned the launch of this complete bike with record breaking numbers.


Jonathan’s Falconer Cross

I could tell cross season was coming with all the love Jonathan’s Falconer got. Oh and, it doesn’t hurt that it’s so easy on the eyes.

1989 Moots Zerkel MTB

1989 Moots Zerkel MTB

Jah blessed, with a story. This Velo Cult bicycle had pizzaz to spare and it’s not even scratching the surface of what that shop has flying in its rafters…


Spencer’s Icarus Forest Service Green Light Tourer

Ambiguous, all-rounder bikes have become quite popular these days, especially with all the gravel grinding, bike packing, cross racing you can do on them. Some of which, I’ve been able to see first hand on this brilliant bike by Austin’s Icarus Frames.


Golden Saddle Rides: Sam Potts Modern Classic Road

Kyle’s contributions to the Radavist are always good… this one was exceptional though!

Chunks' Nagasawa

Chunks’ Nagasawa

These next two bikes of the year were interesting to me in that they’re both converted to cargo machines. Even if it’s just toting a few kilos (that’s kind of like a pound in Canada), Chunks’ Nagasawa had so much character. It also marked the first contribution for the Radavist’s newest contributor, Morgan Taylor.

Robert's All City Junkyard Dog SS MTB

Robert’s All City Junkyard Dog SS MTB

Now, I would never have guessed this bike would have had everyone so happy. All-City’s rigid, non sus-corrected, singlespeed MTB was marketed as an all-around shred sled, not a Los Angeles courier Cadillac!

My Team Mudfoot Stinner Cyclocross Bike

My Team Mudfoot Stinner Cyclocross Bike

Last year’s list ended with a Mudfoot Stinner, so it should be no surprise that this year’s list would too. These bikes are some of the most unique team bikes I’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing and I’m thrilled to be able to ride this one.

  • Brent Knepper

    Such a rad year for bike lust on this site! Loved watching your methods for shooting them evolve, dude.

  • professorvelo

    the bikes are nice, but that stick is next level

  • GioFio

    That Falconer is still my favorite bike that’s probably ever been on here. I don’t know what it is, or why i’ve gone back to look at it so much, but there’s something about it that just keeps you looking. So clean.

  • -Steven

    I hope you used a bike to hold up the stick

  • primotapia

    the JYD is my personal fav!

  • Tommaso Gomez

    Is the AWOL x POLER Outback Tourer available at Urban Outfitters yet? Does is come with the POLER Rainbro Napsack Sleeping Bag? I have no issue with product placement on this site as long it’s coming from legitimate companies that produce moderately functional outdoor/cycling apparel. Specialized is a legitimate company and the stock AWOL Comp is a very capable touring rig. POLER is a fashion label known for sending clueless hipsters into the woods with cute accessories. John, you can’t possibly believe that bike belongs on the same list as an Icarus. It’s a fine list otherwise.

    • John Watson

      Weird. That’s a stock bike and we did the Oregon Outback on it. We were “clueless hipsters?” Look, I stayed true to the parameters set out to make this list. I think you’re being a bit harsh. At least Poler gets people outside, I can think of far worse consequences from buying products made by a “fashion label”. This bike is one of the best collaborations I’ve ever seen and besides, it’s not the only made in Taiwan bike on the list.

      • boomforeal

        what are your favorite aspects of the collaboration?

        • John Watson

          Personally, Erik’s PVD AWOL was my favorite, but the Poler edition did better as far as metrics, which I’ve found to be a pretty fair and unbiased way to rank bikes. It shifts the “selection process” from one person’s choices – which I’m trying to sway from – to the sites’ choices.

          With the Poler AWOL, I think people liked the pricepoint, the paint, the pizza rack, panniers and overall “adventure-ready” setup. Erik literally took a production model out of a box and rode it for the entire Oregon Outback.

          I know there are countless other bikes similar to this, but I like it’s style and the people involved. Benji from poler and Erik from AWOL are seriously awesome people.

          • boomforeal

            erik’s custom awol was ridiculously rad; interesting that the polar/awol bike generated more hits. i guess you couldn’t really have featured both. it’s interesting to know that you try to formulate the list democratically, though i wonder if the popularity of the polar/awol bike says more about how people responded to it and its appeal, or the combined strength and size of specialized and poler’s marketing machines

          • John Watson

            Neither company directed people to the site for the coverage.

          • boomforeal


      • Tommaso Gomez

        Not trying to stir trouble – that’s @boomforeal:disqus ‘s job, although he’s been behaving himself lately;) I know you don’t appreciate negative comments but I think they can drive an honest conversation and keep the site focused, when necessary. Next time I’ll throw some high fives to even things out. Keep up the good work:)

      • Jason Chiodo

        FWIW, Madone 7 Series frames are still handbuilt in Wisconsin, although that model’s days are numbered.

    • charlesojones

      While I’m not a customer of other POLER products, that bike legit IMO.

  • Doug Landers

    Moots is the coolest bike I’ve ever seen

  • kasual

    Props for the Icarus light tourer for reals.

  • boomforeal

    there’s something(s) about that hunqapillar i absolutely adore. i don’t know how well they would work with drop bars in the larger sizes, as the top tubes seem meant for flat/north road style bars. but this one just looks awesome

  • Gavin Adkins

    The Cinelli for me, but the Casati is a close second. I really enjoy this feature every year.

  • nissim

    I was really hoping Paul’s orange Tonic from Oregon Outback would be on the list. That thing looked so badass.

  • Matt

    Gotta say the falconer and the stinner are my favorites

  • nspace

    The Sam Potts bike wins it for me! I wish that Majaco road bike with Ultegra made the list, that was a really nice bike!

  • Leslie

    I will never get over how much I love Spencer’s green tourer.

  • Matthew Meyer

    I know there were metrics in place to help narrow the list, but I think that the Breadwinner B-Road had to be up there. I’ve seen that bike everywhere on the internet. I could see one being added to my stable one day as well.

    • John Watson

      Yeah that was in the NAHBS coverage, which was on PiNP and mentioned in the opening paragraph. Started with April 1st. That was one of my favs too!

  • dan chabanov

    Long live stick!

  • Noel Smith

    Only bike missing for me was the Breadwinner gravel grinder with the amazing mango paintjob (and maybe the badass baremetal 650b ’80’s Trek). Awesome bikes though all around.

  • Brian Cottrell-Thompson

    That Santa Cruz tipped me into buying a MTB with hopes of setting it up similarly for touring this summer. That Rivendell makes me want to play the lottery because everything about Grant and Rivendell says, “F the nonsense, let’s ride bikes! WEEEEEE!” I mean that in the most flattering way. Then again, your site says the same thing. Thanks. Keep up the great work!

  • James

    Thanks for the great site John! Keep up the good work & have a great 2015! I can’t wait to see what comes next year on your site! PS – I think Signal Cycles deserved to be on this list!

    • John Watson

      I loved Ian’s bike and I wish it had the metrics. Honestly those photos were some of my favorite.

  • Seferino Alonzo Castillo

    The fairdale goodship was definitely my favorite. Can’t wait to get mine in.

  • writertype

    I’m a totally jaded serial bike owner/seller and was lucky enough to get to put some rough-stuff miles on the pinko Bryant here around the PNW and it’s amazeballs. Gorgeous regardless of color, but it rides way better than it looks. Incredible handling, fast and lightweight [tubeset spec’d just right for performance off-road], huck ‘n’ grind machine. Want one bad. He’s currently building these bikes [FaTRoB] and the fattie Nat’l Forest Devs as his 2015 models.

  • Brian Sims

    That Bryant is it for me. Followed by the Hunqapillar.

    I like big tires and I can not lie. When A bike rolls by with an itty bitty waist and big round things in your face you get sprung…

  • Ace Metric Cycles

    Great job dude! I want an XCR.

  • Brett O. Walker

    Awesome list! I wish I would have seen this before I bought my current bike!.

  • Nick Valdes

    I think the single greatest component of this list is the stem on the Casati! I’m not wild on the Trek but all the bikes are pretty amazing. I love that some real workman’s bikes and classic rigs like the Moots made the list! I have to say the 650b dirt road tourer tops my list though…as someone who despises pink, that bike is too damn sexy!

  • Mokmu Le Levrier

    All beautiful bikes, but wish there were more mountain bikes on the list #RubberSideUp!!!

    • John Watson

      I just need to shoot more. The main issue is the lack of custom MTBs I get to photograph.

      • Adam Sklar

        I can help!

  • redhead322

    I loved Cole’s carbon fiber campy 11 equipped Rossin… Favorite road bike on the radavist this year. Too bad it didn’t make the list!


    All damn fine bikes. Thanks for the daily inspiration and the har work Mr Watson and a very happy new year to all. Now I need to go get me a stick.

  • Naz Hamid

    Great selection. The bikes that have stuck in my mind this year are all here: the digi-camo Santa Cruz, Garrett’s Cinelli, Jonathan’s Falconer and surprisingly, but not, that All-City Junkyard. My favorite may be the Falconer though. Just something about it.

  • mjsenz

    Call me crazy, but your buddy Jonathan’s Surly Disc Trucker was memorable because it looked like so much damn fun. The rides on this post are all supermodels, while that bike is girlfriend material.

  • Dustin Hopkins

    Chas’s Cinelli and anything that Garrett rides is still my fave. I still must say I was hoping to see a Wraith or Stanridge Speed on the list. Love Adam’s work in Ohio.

  • Bradley


  • Yngvar Brynildssen

    Yeah, these are pretty nifty, but none of them compare to my Shamrock Cycles “Ulfberht” shown at 2014 NAHBS. How could you leave that one off the list?? Happy New Year : )

  • Zdeněk Zapata

    Nice bikes but i miss this hand-made rocket:

  • Harley Raylor

    I saw that Garret’s bike was stolen and I was like: I know I saw that bike somewhere before. And this is where. I hope they find the bastard!

  • Flavio Colker

    I like the Casati. I have a mid 80s lugged thin tubing italian racer and these things have a “right now” feel w/ quick handling, fast acceleration and briliant cornering at high speeds. I even took it to singletrack w/ 23in tires..