Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
It’s the debate for the new millennia: carbon or steel for a mountain bike. But what about both? Sure, others have ventured into putting rigid carbon forks on a steel hardtail before, but you don’t catch sight of the reverse too often. Since signing with Specialized to produce his latest hair metal band’s new album on minidisc, Poppi acquired an S-Works Fuse 6Fattie to take on the Baja Divide route. While this was by far the lightest bike he’s ever owned, Bene decided early on that the Öhlins fork wouldn’t cut it for the desert rampage that awaited. As hard as it was to part ways with such a sweet bit of suspension technology, Poppi knew it’d be an issue hauling the amount of water needed for the Divide on a squishy fork with no braze-ons.
Not knowing what to do, he sent psychedelic waves through the internet, where they were received at Sklar Bikes‘ HQ in Montana. From there, Adam and Bene began chatting about a rigid steel fork for what would ultimately become one Romantical Baja Buggie.
With braze-ons for days, US currency as the fork ends and a thrü axle, Popi would be able to haul his extra stuff and still have the compliance offered by steel on washboard roads. The King Cage Many Things Cage and Andrew the Maker bags provided the extra cargo capacity needed. Even though many on the Divide ran into problems with their racks and cargo cages breaking, Bene found the extra time to reinforce his the best he could on the trail with pipe clamps and zip ties. Whatever works for his S-Works! These bags, in combination with his downtube storage solution, Swift Industries Fabio’s Chest front and rear bags on Crust Bikes Leather 66.6cm drop bars, Benedict was able to stuff as many bags of Baja cookies and chips into his bikes’ every crevice.
Now for the biggest bit of technological advancement: His friction shifting SRAM Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. By grinding down the lip on his barcon, he was able to flawlessly shift through all screamin’ twelve gears, making this one of the most unique rigid mountain bike tourers I’ve ever photographed.
So what’s next for Poppi? Well, Nam and he are about to embark on a journey through the Los Padres mountains up to San Francisco for some Rice A Roni before heading back down south to begin his secret training for the Dirty Kanza. If you’re on the road and you see Poppi and Nam pedaling their rigs, be sure to offer up some chocolate – the darker the better – and a high five.
We all have our favorite cyclists or teams from the 80’s and 90’s. For Sean of Team Dream Team, it was the early 90’s and Greg Lemond, specifically that slick Calfee-built Team Z bike. The red to yellow to blue tri-fade has long been a favorite of Sean’s and that became the precedent for this new Stinner Frameworks road bike.
Sean’s already got a race-fit road bike, but he wanted one with a bit more head tube, partially for a less aggressive fit, but also for longevity. He wants to be riding this bike for a long, long time, even after his flexibility has been reduced due to age. Mid-life crisis bike? Maybe, but I commend Sean looking at the long-term lifespan of this bike. It literally is all he could ever want in a road bike and more.
The bike was spec’d with Campagnolo Super Record 11, a NOS Flite saddle, with ENVE parts and Mavic Ksyrium R-SYS SLR wheels and built by the capable hands at Golden Saddle Cyclery. If you’re going to NAHBS, look for it there, and expect a photoshoot of this bike and the original Team Z Calfee in the near future.
A few months back, the guys at Team Dream Team came up with the idea of doing a bicycle show during their next swap meet. The call went out to all of Los Angeles for cyclists to bring in their best bicycle for display. Coinciding with a swap meet, people would be able to haggle for new parts, BBQ, and ogle the many noble steeds that would parade their way to South Pasadena for the show.
On Saturday, the event went down, bringing in some serious beauts. Including, but not limited to Tinker Juarez’s old Klein, a resurrected De Rosa Joe Bell restoration, a 1993 Chris Carmichael Motorola Merckx TT bike from the Tour, road bikes, all-road bikes, vintage road and kooky, one-of-a-kind show stoppers.
Many thanks to the folks at the Cub House for throwing this shindig and to everyone who made it happen!
A while back, Kyle reviewed the mostly stock complete Log Lady before sending it back to All-City so they could use the bike in their demo fleet. Truthfully, I, like many of the readers who commented on that post, were bummed to see that bike go. As a photographer, I love shooting with Kyle when he’s stoked on something and that bike was perfect on our local trails, for him especially.
In an industry where many people want more travel, not less and even more gears, not one, the Log Lady stands out as an archaic, living fossil of the mountain bike evolutionary timeline. For some people, riding a bike like this down technical trails would be a nightmare, but for dudes like Kyle, it’s a buckin’ good time. (more…)
Nicholas’ Bruce Gordon Rock ‘n’ Roll Road
Photos by Kyle Kelley, words by John Watson
Bruce Gordon has been making off-road, drop bar bikes for a long time. Back when he started, there weren’t many options for road bikes that could take fat tires, so Bruce began making his own. Fast forward to modern times and every major bicycle brand has at least one “gravel bike” in their catalog. With the ubiquity of these bikes, very few have the style of a Bruce Gordon Rock n Road frame.
Nicholas‘ bike is a prime example of just how rad these bikes are. He built his with a 1x setup, Paul Mini Motos and it’s ready for shreddin’ as Kyle was witness to as he took Nicholas out on the Local’s Only ride here in LA. Filled with bandit singletrack and secret short-cuts across town, this ride is a good test for not only a rider’s capabilities but a bike’s.
Follow Kyle on Instagram and Nicholas on Instagram.
“One sees clearly only with the heart, anything essential is invisible to the eye.” This quote is from the novella the Little Prince and really resonated with Pat, the owner of this new Firefly disc road. What a fitting mantra for a bike that is designed to climb and descend mountain passes in Los Angeles by utilizing Shimano’s flat-mount disc brakes, White Industry 30mm spindle cranks, a beautiful segmented wishbone seatstay, a Parlee fork and supple Compass tires. Raw titanium bikes don’t usually do it for me, but this one sits like a dream.
Congrats to Pat and the team at Firefly for building up yet another Beautiful Bicycle for the mountains of Los Angeles!
For the past few months, all I’ve been reading and hearing about is the Baja Divide. Lael and Nicholas created a route last year that would take riders on a 1,700 mile journey from the US-Mexico border down the length of the Baja Penninsula, almost entirely on dirt. Well, dirt and sand. They are two completely different riding substrates. The grand depart took place last week and over 100 cyclists embarked on the journey, two of which being Tom and Sarah Swallow.
In order to prep for their 45-day ride – they’re going out and back on the route – Tom and Sarah rode for two weeks along the Baja Divide route in December. Afterward, they both described their ride as “the hardest thing we’ve ever done.” But at least they now know exactly what they needed in terms of gear. For instance, they left their filter at home, because there is no fresh water on the route, only bottled and filtered water. They’re also confident in their setups, which are very similar, save for Tom is riding a Hunter Cycles 27.5+ hardtail and Sarah is on a carbon S-Works hardtail.
Tom’s bike just looked so damn good all loaded up with Revelate bags the day before they left, so I had to shoot some photos of it. Not only to give Rick props for building such amazing frames, but I rarely get the chance to shoot loaded down hardtails. All of Tom’s little hacks – like those killer King Cage USBs – to make this a proper tourer simply add to the bike’s character.
I want to wish everyone who’s out on the Divide’s course good luck. You can follow Tom and Sarah’s trip on their Instagram.
Just because ‘cross is over, doesn’t mean you can’t ride a cross bike year round. Blue Lug’s latest build from Massachusettes-based Geekhouse Bikes is easy on the eyes, and on maintenance. Check out more photos at the Blue Lug Flickr.
“The ROMANCEÜR is a swashbuckling tender heart of a fantasy warrior, who not only seduces its rider, but acts as a psychedelic aphrodisiac on the psyche. Together you become thee Romanceür, a sacred, lustful partnership rendering all riding surfaces swooned out and speechless, pining for an intimate evening including a tray of rosé Jell-O shots.” – Ultra Romance from his Crust Bikes Diary
Recently, Los Angeles was invaded by some of cycling’s biggest celebrities and no, not Wiggo, Sagan, Vos, or Bryceland. The cyclists that found themselves hanging out at Golden Saddle Cyclery are from a different walk, er, roll of life all-together. These nomadic raconteurs favor dirt to pavement and fully-loaded bikes to ultralight carbon. Not to mention, they’re always on the hunt for the latest cycling expedition, which brings me to Los Angeles… (more…)
Call it what you will, but 2016 was an interesting year and I’m not just talking politics! There were a lot of incredible bicycles featured here on the site, many with even more interesting stories and some were even affected by the events of 2016. We’ll get into that a bit later. Grading these beautiful machines is anything but easy and usually requires a few days of data compiling, including but not limited to social media chatter, visits, comments and time spent on that particular page. Since all bikes can be beautiful, this list includes both custom and production bicycles. Some of these will be a no-brainer, others even surprised me. Without further adieu, here are the Radavist’s Top 10 and Then Some Beautiful Bicycles of 2016, in no particular order. (more…)