David’s Land Shark ‘Cross Commuter

John Slawta is as much an artist as he is a frame builder. It’s rare to see any one of his custom bikes from the late 80’s or early 90’s with the same paint job. Sure, he went on stints where he developed paint themes, but each Land Shark frame was truly unique. It’s for this reason that I’ve often found myself on a Land Shark kick, where I’ll scour ebay or Craigslist, hopeful of finding a bike that would fit me.

That’s how David, a Stumptown employee, found this bike in particular. Truthfully, he actually scored two bikes when he replied to a Craigslist ad in Los Angeles. This one in particular just happened to fit him a bit better. Turns out, this was Harrison Ford’s son’s bike. Oh SoCal…

Not needing an actual cyclocross racing bike, David converted it to more of a commuter. Since it lacks fender mounts, he has clip-on fenders that he’ll swap on and off depending on the unpredictable Portland weather. Wide, uncut riser bars and a 1x drivetrain, thanks to a Wolf Tooth, give this bike a rally-like feel as he zips around town going to and from various Stumptown locations.

Dedacciai Zero tubes offer a unique silhouette, especially for a cyclocross bike. Check out the bi-oval, shaped, top tube’s flat profile for shouldering and the downtube’s diameter as it butts into the bottom bracket shell. A true custom selection for a bike that, at the time, was a ripping race machine. Hell, it would still roast a cyclocross course. For now, it’s pretty content as a commuter and David is stoked. Win/win if you ask me.

  • http://www.neilbridge.co.uk/ Mr_Bridge

    I’ve got a lot of time for this.

    • Frank

      Not gonna lie, I love flat bars and 1x setups.

  • mywynne

    Would kill for an old Landshark…

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      You don’t have to harm another human for a frame. Just set up an RSS feed for eBay… ;-)

      • mywynne

        On a librarian’s salary, that only gets me partway :p

        • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

          There’s a librarian conference in Portland this weekend. Random.

          • mywynne

            Yeah, choked I couldn’t make it down for that… Librarians know how to party.

          • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

            I saw some of that last night. Kinda wild! haha

          • mywynne

            Books + Bourbon, man…

      • arlcyclist

        Or troll Craigslist. I scored a mint ’98 Road Shark with original steel fork and an old King headset for $600. Interestingly enough, one headset cup has no logos (pre-95-96) and one cup has the old etched logo. Edited to say the silver spots aren’t paint chips. The paint is blue, silver, purple, and black. This pic doesn’t do it justice.

    • tanner

      There is a nice road one on las Cruces,nm cl for like 6 months…with ultegra 9 speed I think a 56cm. Surprised it hasn’t sold yet. Decent price.

  • Jonathan McCurdy

    Love the idea of a hardcore commuter like this. That drivetrain! That autograph! What an odd piece of memorabilia.

  • http://www.theRadavist.com/ Morgan Taylor

    Such an oddball build, yet so sick.

  • Eric Brunt


  • Tim Donahoe

    Clutch derailleurs rule.

    • boomforeal

      off road for sure. but the shifting is really heavy feeling, and a n/w front ring would seem to make a running the clutch on a commuter superfluous, or at least overkill

      • Tim Donahoe

        I run that same Zee on my full rigid 29er with a normal ring and no chain retention and have never dropped the chain, so maybe a little overkill. But peace of mind while thrashin’ isn’t a bad thing.

        • .,`

          I’m running saint on my pacer commuter. totally over kill but it makes the daily commute more fun.

          • boomforeal


          • .,`

            how what?
            I’m running flat bars.
            how fun?
            mildly more fun than the same commute everyday without a bike at all.

          • boomforeal

            sorry, i understood your post as saying the saint derailleur made your commute more fun…

          • .,`

            well yeah, its a really enjoyable derailleur. crisp shifting. that really good mechanical feeling. the ocasional ping sound you get when really pedaling hard. I never noticed it when it was set up for dh, i guess thats the point, but on a commute it keeps me company.

          • boomforeal

            be even crisper if you turn the clutch off. think of the clutch mechanism like a suspension damper: it provides control and support, but in doing so it encumbers the free movement of the spring

          • .,`

            pro tip

  • Márton Sógor

    There are so many cool bikes and I am so sad I can’t have them all…

  • boomforeal

    bike’s got a tonne of character: paint, construction and details on this thing are incredible


    this is the kind of early american cross bike that just doesn’t do it for me, for the simple reason that the bb is too high, and the chainstays too long. they make decent off-road bikes, because stability and pedal clearance are good. but i (personally) don’t like the way they ride, especially on the road, which is where it looks like this thing spends most of its time

    • Some Kid

      you obviously don’t know the beginning of “early american cross.”

      • boomforeal

        Or care!

  • David George

    Hey, I happened to be commuting on this the day I ran into John, but it’s my cyclocross bike. Hence the clutch and Wolftooth. Raced it last season and looking forward to more fun this year.

    • Michael Biornstad

      Saw you downtown and picked out the bike immediately from across the intersection. I had seen the post this morning but it was a treat to gawk at it in person.

      • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

        Haha nice!

  • http://evilsockmonkeysinc.com CyclingNerd

    I bet ebay saw a 5000% increase for the search of “Land Shark” today…very rad bike!

  • Bruno Moreno

    Very cool bike, lots of personality.

  • James Valiensi

    When I started riding with the San Fernando Valley Bike Club in 1985 it seemed everyone had a Landshark. John S. was located in Pacoima at the time. I eventually bought one from a local shop. It was made from Tange Prestige tubing and was extremely smooth riding. I sold it and the new owner wrecked it, but I’d wish I kept it. Mine had the stars & stripe paint job that was kinda common.

  • Nick Valdes

    One of the best you have featured!

  • Trev

    A commuter you can still get rad on. I can dig it

  • ninja

    nice, looks a whole lot of fun!