Shred on You Krusty Diamond: Travis T’s Falconer Throwback Machine

Shred on You Krusty Diamond: Travis T’s Falconer Throwback Machine
Photos by John Watson, words by Travis T

After an afternoon of looking at cool vintage bikes at Cameron Falconer‘s house, I asked him if he’d be down to weld me a single speed mountain bike frame inspired by old klunkers, with a fork inspired by a Pro-Cruiser (first production mountain bike) with a loop tail. I basically wanted all of my favorite things about a lot of historic mountain bikes, all on one frame, built for me. BUT, I also wanted to showcase as many PAUL Component parts as possible, and I wanted it to feature the new Set-N-Forget thru-axle skewers. I also wanted to ride the shit out of this bike, so I wanted it to have legit shredworthy geometry and no weaknesses or tolerance issues.

Cameron is known as a framebuilder who makes frames that RIDE really really good. The man obsesses about the differences a degree or a millimeter can make in the way a bike rides, and cumulatively his frames are intuitive and natural to ride, with no bullshit cable routing or parts rubbing. They are “riders”, not “show bikes”, so visually the frames can be a bit boring to look at if you like eye candy. But for the hard riders who put more value on practicality and the no-frills execution of durability; the simple, purposeful, and subtle innovation looks even better after the patina of 5 years of abuse with zero problems.

What I’m saying here, is that I asked a dude who doesn’t give a shit about what a bike looks like, only what it rides like, to make me a bike that looks cool. Somehow I talked him into it.

He took his time, fabricating the dropouts from scratch, custom bending the looptail and fork legs, running a tube through the downtube for easy internal rear brake cable routing without the fishing or rattling, and of course obsessing over the geometry and fit for my lanky weird body. When he was done with the bare metal, the frame looked like a rusty old cruiser from a distance, until you moved in and saw the disc tabs and threaded dropouts.

After all those years that I worked at shops building custom bikes up for customers under the constraints of time, it was really nice to just ponder every aspect of this project, take my time, and make it special.

I asked RJ Rabe for the logos and artwork files he used for the sick T-shirt he designed for Falconer, and had masks made for the logos and headtube badge. Then I began the process of trying to sweet-talk legendary local Russ Pickett into coming out of retirement to paint my frame. He did all the sweet crazy airbrush jobs on all those old Mountain Goats back in the day, and I wanted this bike to hold a lot of Chico vibes, so after a lot of local name-dropping, praise, and just straight-up begging, he agreed. I told him my rough idea of some lightning bolts, but that it would be best if he just did what he wanted with it.

Meanwhile, I started piling up parts at PAUL, had them all mirror polished by Ted here in Chico, then anodized gold, also here in Chico. These goodies went from bare aluminum bars to finished ride-able components without ever leaving town.

I tried to source as many other USA made parts as possible (Phil bottom bracket, White Industries freewheel and headset, Velocity rims, Wheelsmith spokes and nipples), and the only parts from overseas are the grips, tires, rotors, saddle, handlebars, and pedals. There isn’t a single Sram or Shimano part to be found.

The bike built up like Legos, with everything fitting great, and was finished off by a “Hite-Rong™” that Falconer made me out of PAUL parts and a titanium custom bent spring. After an inaugural rip through Chico’s Upper Park, I was blown away by how agile and natural the bike handled, and realized I better take some pictures of it clean before it gets ridden the shit out of this summer. Chico rock gardens aren’t kind to bikes around here, so it won’t be long before this thing is dirty, scratched, and banged up.

Big thanks to everybody who kicked into making what I would consider a real California Mountain Bike.

____

Follow Travis T. on Instagram, Paul Component Engineering on Instagram, and Falconer Cycles on Instagram.

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  • sturtlovinggood
    • Smithhammer

      That there’s hotter’n Georgia assphalt.

    • Andy Moore

      Bullseye! This bike is simply amazing, but I’m with you on this shot/detail!

  • alex

    Hoooly shit this thing is a GOAT contender hands down

  • Andrew Mc

    Everything about this makes me happy…

    • We had so little time to do this shoot, but it was a lot of fun!

  • Alexander Hongo

    More deets on the not-quite-height-rite please!

    • ““Hite-Rong™” that Falconer made me out of PAUL parts and a titanium custom bent spring.” The top part is a seat post-mounted Funky Monkey cable hanger for canti brakes. The bottom is a Paul QR. Cameron then bent titanium into a spring. So now Travis just loosens the QR and the seat post bottoms out to the top clamp, before snapping back to its proper height when done descending. Then he just has to tighten the QR. Make sense?

      • that was my favorite part of this bike. who needs hydraulics? XD
        this whole bike so simple and well rounded, it just makes sense

      • Alexander Hongo

        Yes, perfectly! I have an actual Hite-Rite on an old Miyata and have been wishing for something like this—more modern but still classic—for another bike. Knowing the top clamp is their canti hanger helps a lot!

      • Such a cool idea! Glad someone explained.

  • Ham Sandwich

    different strokes for different folks, but if you arent a fan of this bike, then im not sure we can be friends.

    • mrbiggs

      I was about to reply to this, then I started laughing.

    • breed007

      I believe it’s #snugd. I’m working on a t-shirt.

    • Derek

      #tukt

      • Ham Sandwich

        no thats not it.

  • Daniel Powell

    Easily my favorite bike you’ve featured on the site, John.

  • AngryBikeWrench

    This. Is. Sofa. King. Rad.

  • Papi

    Technically speaking, shouldn’t a ‘loop tail’ consist of one continuous piece of tubing that comprises the seatstay and chainstay, with the dropout welded or brazed onto the outside of that loop? These look like very gracefully bent seatstays and chainstays that may have started life as one piece of tubing.

    • Correct, although I appreciate the builder taking artistic liberty with the homage. It looks better this way, IMO.

      • joshhh

        I agree, I think the thru-axle splitting the loop is pretty amazing.

  • tb

    Thank you for making this bike. Thank you for not making it a coaster brake. The only thing I might change, would be the grips. Maybe a set of Oury’s, just cuz they’re MUSA.
    Damn, I want to ride this bike!

    • Or ESI grips!

      • joshhh

        dudes those are ODI/Vans grips which are also made in USA already! :)

  • This bike is so rad!! Also I didn’t realize that Russ painted it, that makes it even cooler.

  • joshhh

    anyone know what those eyelets on the rear of the fork crown are for?

    • Ken Neville

      Holy smokes, good eye!

      NOW I TOO AM DYING TO KNOW

    • boomforeal

      there’s also a single braze-on on the downtube, just in front of the crank, that i can’t figure out…

      • Probably for fender mounting on back of fork.. guessing that we also can’t see second boss on bottom of downtube for tool bag/stash sack type setup… or it’s an air bottle basement :p

        • boomforeal

          yeah you’re right, in pic #3 it looks like there are two bosses… they’re so low down its hard to imagine what you’d carry there, but that makes the most sense

  • Theodor Rzad

    Unbelievably rad bike!

  • Juan Cool Romance

    thanks

    • As I was making this, I thought about you in recovery from DK looking at this gallery, smoking a pipe, nodding approvingly. xoxo

      • Juan Cool Romance

        my neck is sore from nodding/head banging/riding 200 miles XOXO

  • Kerry Nordstrom

    Effing incredible…

  • Mike Spadafora

    wow!!!

  • As someone who rides a rigid singlespeed as well, this bike makes me very happy. Oh, I grew up, for part of my life, in Paradise… just up the mountain.

  • Leroy

    Too many perfect choices on this bike, style for days. That two tone seatpost ~m/

  • fermento lattico

    TOTAL!

  • Dexter

    This is insanely good

  • boomforeal

    thing is so rad

    this quote: “I asked a dude who doesn’t give a shit about what a bike looks like, only what it rides like, to make me a bike that looks cool”

  • moe

    Would love to see: “this thing (is) dirty, scratched, and banged up.” !

  • Dan Coppola

    Is the whole chain made of half-links?!

  • sehrsehr

    If the most important thing of this particular bicycle is its riding quality, why is it so important to point out that no Shimano or SRAM components can be found on it or to list which (few) components are from overseas? Is this a new kind of patriotism/nationalism starting right here? All the posts and comment sections where the redundant discussion or emphasis of whether it is MUSA or notMUSA takes place is rather annoying. I like to visit theradavist.com regularly to gaze on great bikes and read reports, but often find myself reading about MUSAism. By the way the cable housings are from Jagwire = overseas.

    • garudablend

      it’s not MUSAism, it’s CHICOism, and I heartily approve of the builder realizing his dream. He went above and beyond to source as much of his bike locally as humanly possible, and there’s something beautiful about locally built bikes for local trails, not the least of which is celebrating and supporting the local talent.

      • sehrsehr

        There’s nothing wrong with pointing out that parts from local makers were used on this bike, it’s the emphasizing of avoiding the use of oversea componentry.

        • Why is that “wrong?” Just curious for your perspective, not meaning to offend with my query.

          • sehrsehr

            Thanks for the explanation of your view, John. I totally agree with that. I will keep visiting theradavist.com, mainly because of the photographic documentation of bicycles. +++ One last thing: There might be stated German in my passport and I may often behave like what other people might describe as “being german”, but I rather feel being European if I have to classify myself.

            Anyways, keep up theradavist.com as there’s quite nothing comparable i know.

          • Apologies for the improper classification and thanks for engaging in this discussion!

        • garudablend

          I read it totally differently, but I don’t spend a lot to time in the comments, so my filter may be much less refined than yours – if the intent is to build a local bike, with local builders, paint and components, then local’s best, but if that doesn’t work, then US made is better, etc.
          In thinking about this, I realized that I follow this same kind of approach in daily purchases as well, with a preference for local producers (of food, bike parts/equipment/clothes, etc), or in our increasingly global community, I try to buy from companies that who through their actions and production methods support my values and goals, rather than one that doesn’t – it’s why I’ll save up to buy a Patagonia piece of gear, rather than buying the cheapest I can find. It’s the idea that through buying a piece of gear, I’m also supporting fair treatment of workers, sustainable resources, habitat conservation, etc. Does that make sense?

          • sehrsehr

            Makes sense. You gave a summary which is very close to my mindset. This has not changed in recent years, is not changing currently and will not change in the future.

            Thanks for the vivid discussion and clarification of things which often runs short in a few lines of comment.

            Sebastian

    • boomforeal

      conspicuous consumption as hipster chauvinism

  • Willowisp

    Long time lurker but never posted…. This bike however is very worthy of my first post…..
    Damned fine looking steed!