Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
A Special Edition Team Dream Bicycling Team Cielo Base Racer – Kyle Kelley
Team Dream Bicycling Team and Cielo Base Racer

A Special Edition Team Dream Bicycling Team Cielo Base Racer
Photos by Kyle Kelley and words by John Watson

Chris King’s 40th anniversary is this year and with that, a whole queue of celebratory events, products and collaborations have taken place. From that coveted olive drab kit, to an Open House tomorrow (details pending) and even working with Team Dream Bicycling Team on a kit design, with a corresponding Cielo Base Racer frame.

Team Dream’s Sean Talkington was asked to design a kit for Chris King, using some of his signature colors and designs. Known for their brightly-colored apparel and unique use of stripes, the resulting design featured a red, white and blue paint job, with stripes that look like torn masking edges.

The accompanying kit has been in stock at both party’s web shops but this Base Racer has been kept under wraps for a bit, so enjoy! Thanks to the team at Golden Saddle for the build and look for this bike going up for auction shortly!

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Follow Kyle on Instagram, Team Dream on Instagram and Chris King on Instagram.

Dec 2, 2016 9 comments
Jesse’s Curve Cycling GMX Drop Bar Rigid 29’r
Jesse's Curve Cycling GMX Drop Bar 29'r

As an integral part of Curve Cycling, Jesse Carlsson has taken on various endurance races on their titanium machines, including Trans America and the Australian self-supported Race to the Rock. The latter called for something a bit more rugged than his TransAm Curve Cycling Belgie setup. While climbing wasn’t much of an issue in Race to the Rock, deteriorated roads, potential flash rainstorms and endless miles of washboarded roads meant he needed a bit more rubber under his bike. Luckily, Curve had just the rig for this race… The GMX is a rigid 29’r with drop bars and a proprietary suspension-corrected fork. You can see how Jesse set his up for Race to the Rock at Curve’s blog.

In its current form, the bike has been stripped of the many accessories and components needed for a multi-day, self-supported endurance race. Jesse loaned it to our troupe for the week, where it landed under Scott, my riding mate here in Tassie. It suited our needs just fine, as equipped. Well, perhaps minus that massive front chainring. Scott found himself hurting on many of our climbs as they teetered past 18%!

Some of my favorite details on the GMX include the yoke and the seat tube cluster. Others interested might also be turned on by the pricing: $2,999 for a frame or $3,790 for the frame and Curve carbon fork, in various sizes. I’m not sure how the USD conversion alters the pricing, but it’s worth the query if you’re keen on this design. Personally, I can say that I’m intrigued!

Nov 29, 2016 30 comments
My Bush Blasted 44 Bikes Ute Rigid MTB Tourer
My Bush Blasted 44 Bikes Ute Rigid MTB Tourer

Custom bikes are often the result of a person’s opinions formed by their lifelong experiences. Oftentimes, a custom bicycle does its best to address many problems or functions, resulting in a Swiss Army Knife of vehicles, aka jack of all trades, master of none. Personally, I’ve always tried to work with a builder to design a bike specific to one job, rather than fit in a slew of other functions. Over the years, I’ve relied on scalpels, versus cluttered, do-it-all devices to take on whatever kind of riding I’m interested in and while I’ve got a few mountain bikes, none of them were ideal for the kind of bikepacking or off-road touring I enjoy. (more…)

Nov 23, 2016 72 comments
A Shifter Bikes 1990 Team Z TVT Carbone Lemond with C-Record
A Shifter Bikes 1990 Team Z TVT Carbone Lemond with C-Record

For Lemond fans, few models hold the same cult-classic appeal like the 1990 Team Z TVT Carbone race bikes. Made in France by TVT these aluminum and carbon machines were made famous by their bright fluorescent paint jobs, Team Z insignia and Scott racing cockpit. Yes, these bikes are legendary. There are even Lemond fansites walking collectors through the process of building up this very bike.

Dan at Shifter Bikes took on this project for a customer, who sourced Campagnolo C-Record, the Scott bars, NOS hubs and hoops, allowing dan to assemble this bike over a two-year timeline. As you can imagine, projects like this are not cheap and are labor-intensive but like all good projects, they’re worth the wait.

The finished project is road-worthy, with latex filled tubies, allowing for peace of mind on a Sunday spin.

Nov 18, 2016 25 comments
A Shifter Bikes Gilded Eddy Merckx Professional with Campagnolo 50th
A Shifter Bikes Gilded Eddy Merckx Professional with Campagnolo

It’s been over years since I’ve been to Australia, so I made a point to connect with a few of my mates in Melbourne while en route to Tasmania. One of which being Dan Hale at Shifter Bikes, a bicycle studio in South Yarra. Two years ago I shot some photos of a rare gold plated Eddy Merckx Professional at Shifter Bikes and on this recent trip, I got to document the bike, built from the ground up with a Campagnolo 50th group.

While most bikes of this rarity would end up on the wall, the owner of this Merckx enjoys riding it , hence the modern pedals and non-period correct seat post. I suppose when you come across a frame like this, you’ve gotta do what you can to make it road-worthy (just ignore the front tire) and the result is a bike with a patina that comes from years of continued use.

Nov 17, 2016 11 comments
Stephen’s Ride to the Hills Iron Maiden Plante Cycles Road – Kyle Kelley
Stephen's Ride to the Hills Iron Maiden Plante Cycles Road

Stephen’s Ride to the Hills Iron Maiden Plante Cycles Road
Photos by Kyle Kelley and words by John Watson

Everyone loves a good Maiden homage. When Stephen decided he wanted to tackle the world of custom framebuilding, he headed to Yamaguchi‘s school to learn from arguably the best. Back in 2015, he left his home of Rancho Cucamonga for Rifle, Colorado to attend Yamaguchi’s class. Along with him he brought a set of Paragon road dropouts and began learning how to cut, mitre, lug and fillet braze. The result is this “traditional” road bike. A 1″ steerer, non-oversized diameter tubing road frame, with a lugged head tube cluster and fillet brazed rear triangle.

Upon completion, Stephen sent the frame to Jordan Low with a note: make it Iron Maiden themed.

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Follow Kyle on Instagram and Plante Cycles on Instagram.

Nov 16, 2016 14 comments
Zach’s Blackened VYNL Road
Zach's Blackened VYNL Road-2

On Saturday, I received a DM on Instagram from a kid named Zach who had just built up a new VYNL road bike. It was the first VYNL to use masked decals, not stickers and from what I could see, looked to be a slick build. I told Zach to come by GSC and I’d love to shoot photos of it. Little did I know Zach would roll through at mile 70 during his ride, in the complete opposite direction he needed to be going. That’s what “new bike day” does to you though…

As mentioned earlier, VYNL is now offering masked decals, straight from the paint booth. Zach’s is built up with Ultegra and Ritchey components and is very no-nonsensical. After riding various carbon bikes over the years, he missed the way aluminum road bikes felt and started looking. VYNL was at the top of his list, so he placed an order and waited.

The end result is what many would consider a damn beautiful bicycle and clearly, Zach is loving it! (more…)

Nov 14, 2016 27 comments
Cari’s Elephant National Forest Explorer Touring Bike
Cari's Elephant National Forest Explorer Touring Bike

No bicycle is ever a completed work. At least in my opinion anyway, but sometimes a bike is at a place where you step back, look at it and smile. The other day I caught Cari doing just that. Smiling as she looked at her bike. She then said she’d like to photograph it in the forest. We were in Santa Cruz at the time and had just finished up a killer loop through the redwoods and down to the coast.

Let’s back track a bit. Around NAHBS last year, she mentioned that she’d like an upgrade from her current bike, an old Nishiki road bike that was a couple sizes too big for her. We looked at the market’s offerings and discussed what ideally she’d like in a bicycle.

Once she had a budget, it was easier to nail down exactly what her options were. I knew NAHBS was coming up, so I emailed a few builders, including Elephant to see if there would be any deals rolling around. Throughout this whole process, I couldn’t stop thinking about how the National Forest Explorer was a perfect “all-rounder” bike when I reviewed it. You could tour on it, ride trails and use it as a grocery getter. Since we have endless dirt, right from our front door, the idea of having a nice, plump tire for Cari was a plus. Anyway, John at Elephant told me he’d have a size small, complete, at NAHBS for sale after a customer backed out at the last minute.

NAHBS came and went, we picked up the bike and began riding all over Los Angeles. Fast forward a few months, a few part swaps and here it is. (more…)

Nov 10, 2016 52 comments
Royal H Cycles: The Road to Technology and the Prova Ti / C Road
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Photos by Eric Baumann

It’s always fascinating to hear people’s perception of framebuilders and its alignment is usually something like: bearded dude, welding steel together in a garage. While that might be somewhat true, for brands like Royal H Cycles, embracing technology is one of the challenges of maintaining a successful company. Consumers like titanium and carbon, two materials that are easily joined together… With the right experience. Seven, Firefly and other Boston-area builders have mastered this art, making it possible for others to ride the road to technology.

Head over to Royal H Cycles’ blog to read about the Prova, a ti and carbon road bike.

Nov 9, 2016 2 comments