Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
RJ’s Golden Falconer 27.5″ MTB
RJ's Golden Falconer 27.5" MTB

Cameron Falconer makes some of the nicest hardtails. What they lack in ostentation, they make up for in construction and thoughtfulness. RJ‘s bike is no exception. His 27.5″ hardtail is straight as an arrow, with a few key details to make life on the trail easier. Take for instance the asymmetrical chainstay yoke. Cam uses a plate yoke on the drive side and a smooth, non-crimped bend on the non-drive. This ensures ample tire and chainring clearance. He also uses stealth routing for a dropper, leaving a lot of interestingness going on at the bottom bracket cluster. The nice weldline at the seat tube cluster is so he can step down the seat tube diameter to fit a standard size dropper, without having to go super oversize or use a shim. Even the thru-axle and disc brake support just looks beautiful. All these details were then coated in a sparkle gold powder and vinyl decals, which as you can tell, show plenty of use!

We all know that the frame is only part of the bicycle. RJ selected some tried and true components to keep his bike rolling with minimal upkeep. Including a Shimano XT drivetrain, Race Face ring, XFusion fork, Giant dropper and a specially-machined dropper remote that began as an XFusion trigger, hacked to work with the post. It’s hard to explain… but it works! For wheels, RJ is testing and providing feedback on some carbon MTB wheels for Ritchey. That’s all I can say about those.

Yeah, this bike rules, it looks great sitting here, propped up in the Los Angeles morning sun, but looked even better during our weekend of trail riding!

Aug 24, 2016 4 comments
The Adventure Cycling Association Bikecentennial Salsa Marrakesh Touring Bike – Kyle Kelley
The Adventure Cycling Association Bikecentennial Salsa Marrakesh Touring Bike - Kyle Kelley

The Adventure Cycling Association Bikecentennial Salsa Marrakesh Touring Bike – Kyle Kelley
Photos by Kyle Kelley, words by John Watson

When June and Greg Siple teamed up with Dan and Lys Burden to found the Adventure Cycling Association, I doubt they anticipated their impact on the bicycle touring world. Now, 40 years later and the ACA helps cyclists from all over the world navigate the trails, roads and dirt tracks all over North America with their route maps and magazine.

The ACA exists solely to grow the spirit of cycle tourism and a large portion of its funding comes from memberships and the sales of their maps, along with donations. Some of those come in the form of projects like this: the ACA Bikecentennial Edition Salsa Marrakesh. Between now and December 31st, 2016, each cyclist that you refer to ACA will land you a chance to win this bike.

While in Montana at the Bikecentennial celebration, Kyle got access to one to photograph it in an attempt to stoke the fire for the ACA and bicycle tourism! Head over to ACA’s Share the Joy website to find out more information and to enter for your chance to win this bike.

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Follow Kyle on Instagram and Adventure Cycling on Instagram.

Aug 23, 2016 3 comments
A Pair of Honeymoon Hunqapillars – Morgan Taylor
A Pair of Honeymoon Hunqapillars – Morgan Taylor

Photos and words by Morgan Taylor.

Being out on tour for the past six weeks Stephanie and I have met a lot of other people traveling by bike. The different ways people travel on two wheels has become a point of interest for us: despite the fact that we can get caught up in gear nerding and finding the perfect setup, it’s so rad to see all the different approaches to problems that anyone traveling by bike faces.

Troy and Jen were part of the larger group of people who descended on Missoula for the ACA’s 40th. It turned out that they, like us, were also on their honeymoon, on matching bikes. Since they’re from Nutmeg Country their tastes trend toward traditional aesthetics, and their Rivendell Hunqapillars are all class – and pieces of flair. These bikes were shaken down on east coast toodles through backroads with good friends before setting out on tour. (more…)

Aug 22, 2016 12 comments
Golden Saddle Rides: Matt’s Blackened and Dirty SOMA Wolverine
Golden Saddle Rides: Matt's Blackened and Dirty SOMA Wolverine

It should come as no surprise that this is the third SOMA Wolverine to roll out of Golden Saddle Cyclery and onto this website. These bikes are a great value, extremely versatile and they look damn good, especially in the murdered-out matte black option.

Matt has wanted to build a 27.5″ dirt tourer for exploring the fire and frontage roads in the Angeles National Forest for some time now. The Wolverine fit the bill, with massive clearances, rack mounts and an affordable pricepoint. He pulled the trigger and began ordering components through GSC, including a SON hub, Velocity Blunt SS wheels, Maxxis Crossmark tires, E3 lamp, a JANDD bar bag, Haulin Colin rack, PAUL Klampers, Thomson bits, Cowchipper bars and a Sram 1x drivetrain.

This beast is more than capable to climb the steep and loose roads in the local mountains and rip like a rocket back down. Earlier this week, I took Matt up on my favorite morning ride to shoot this bike in action. Enjoy!

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Visit Golden Saddle Cyclery in Silverlake, Los Angeles and follow them on Instagram.

Aug 18, 2016 65 comments
Mark’s Crust Bikes DFL 26+ Dirt Tourer – Morgan Taylor
Mark's Crust Bikes DFL 26+ Dirt Tourer – Morgan Taylor

Photos and intro by Morgan Taylor, words by Mark Reimer.

Does bike travel in the backcountry have to look a particular way? No, of course not. As you can see by the range of bikes being ridden in Spencer’s gallery, the #DFLtheDivide crew was a group that largely did not fit the mold of bike touring or bikepacking. That ride was all about doing things differently, living on the fringe and pushing the ideas of what traveling by bike looks like.

The Crust Bikes DFL occupies that space: not quite a touring bike, not quite a mountain bike – simply a bike built for traveling over whatever terrain you want to cover. John looked at Matt’s early version of this bike – at the time called the Evasion – and over a year later the DFL remains an intriguing idea that gets people asking questions and thinking about how they might build their own adventure bike.

Mark’s DFL hosts a great mix of domestically produced hard and soft goods, with a parts bin build kit carefully collected and selected over the years. The 9-speed XTR derailleur is hooked up to an indexed 10-speed Dura-Ace bar end shifter, using a Wolf Tooth road link to help the derailleur wrap around the SunRace 11-42 cassette. The Schmidt dynamo and Nitto racks and Carradice bags, so many details to pore over…

I’ll leave the rest to Mark because he captured the essence of this bike so well… (more…)

Aug 17, 2016 30 comments
This One Goes to 12: SRAM Eagle and the Stinner Prototype Hardtail MTB
Golden hour glow!

Who gets the reference? It’s from the following: “These go to 11” – the hilarious excerpt from Spinaltap? Why not just make ten louder?

When SRAM’s new Eagle drivetrain was announced, it received mixed impressions. 12 speed on a mountain bike seems excessive and the pricepoint is pretty alienating. Needless to say, “the internet’s” opinion was divided. Personally, I find new tech when it comes to drivetrains the most interesting and relevant. Anything that can bring more versatility to my current rides is ok by me and hopefully, as we’ve seen in SRAM’s other products over the years, the tech will trickle down into more affordable groups like GX and NX.

So what does it have to do with a Stinner Frameworks mountain bike? (more…)

Aug 15, 2016 29 comments
Matt’s Gunnar Roadie with Ultegra
Matt's Gunnar Roadie with Ultegra

Made in Waterford, Wisconsin at the Waterford factory, Gunnar has something for everyone in their catalog for sometimes half the price of other US-made frames. Their bikes range from off-road tourers, to all-road bikes to classic road bikes like their Roadie model. With clearance for a 28mm tire, stainless vertical dropouts and a geometry fit for either fast rides or even racing, the Roadie is a die-hard road frame. Some people might race on it, but a majority of customers will buy it as their go-to road cycling frameset.

Matt‘s Roadie is built rather uniquely. Sure the Ultegra group is pretty standard, but his Salsa Cowbell bars, Ruffy Tuffy tires and Carradice bag imply something more. That and that funky Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman in the Michael Keaton Batman movie bar tape just adds a bit of character. It’s hard to say where I’ll see Matt on this bike, but knowing him, it’ll probably be somewhere (high) in the mountains with some burritos stuffed into his saddle pack, waving a Mudfoot flag.

Aug 11, 2016 37 comments
Inside / Out at Stinner Frameworks
Tiger Camo Stinner Road

These days, Stinners are everywhere, even all over the pages of this website and while it might feel like some kind of marketing conspiracy, with loads of money exchanged and bathtubs filled with gold coins, I can assure you it’s not. Since I moved to Los Angeles, I see more Stinners on the road and in the trails. Rightfully so, seeing as how their shop is located in Santa Barbara, just 90 miles north of LA and yeah, they make some pretty stellar bikes. (more…)

Aug 10, 2016 22 comments
Six Months of Stoke on the Retrotec 27.5+ Funduro
Six Months of Stoke on the Retrotec 27.5+ Funduro

Say what you will about hardtail mountain bikes. Die hard park rats think they’re antiquated, beginners often times think they’re hard to ride and the most common complaint I hear is that it’s hard getting bucked all over the place without rear suspension. Granted a lot of those common conceptions can have some truth to them, yet with the advent and availability of new rear spacing, dropper posts that work really well and bigger tire sizes, a hardtail can be pretty damn capable and even a lot of fun. For the past six months, I’ve been riding what I consider a new benchmark in hardtail mountain bike design: a 140mm travel, slack and low, 27.5+ hardtail, complete with a dropper post and a 1x drivetrain. This one in particular was built by hand in Napa by Curtis Inglis of Retrotec. So what does the creator of this beast call it? Well, what else? It’s a Funduro.

(more…)

Aug 9, 2016 45 comments