Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia: Llewellyn Custom Bicycles Road

2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia
Photos by Andy White, words by John Watson

Darrell from Llewellyn‘s work was first introduced to me by Andy White of FYXO on one of my first trips to Australia, somewhere around 2010 or so. I had never heard of his work, much less had seen it in person, so at the time, I was completely blindsided by Darrell’s craftsmanship. If you were to ask me for US-based frame builders who share a similar craftsmanship, Chris Kvale, DiNucci and others come to mind but there is something different about a Llewellyn and it’s not easy to put a finger on it. (more…)

May 7, 2018 18 comments
2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia: Devlin, G Duke, Gellie, Goodspeed, H Tech, Mooro

2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia
Photos by Andy White, words by John Watson

Today we’re continuing our coverage of the Handmade Bicycle Show Australia, with six builders, many of which might be completely new names to you, as they were to me. Photographer and owner of FYXO, Andy White was at the show, documenting each of the maker’s bikes, under the spotlight, and on the stage at the event. We’ll have a few big galleries up over the next few days from each of the builders present at the show. Let’s continue the coverage with… (more…)

May 7, 2018 12 comments
2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia: Bastion, BAUM, Bikes by Steve, Curve, Damu

2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia
Photos by Andy White, words by John Watson

One show that has been on my radar over the years is the Handmade Bicycle Show Australia. This year’s showcase was located in Melbourne, Australia, and featured a mix of makers and companies, who bring a selection of custom bicycles and components to display. Photographer and owner of FYXO, Andy White was at the show, documenting each of the maker’s bikes, under the spotlight, and on the stage at the event. We’ll have a few big galleries up over the next few days from each of the builders present at the show. Beginning with… (more…)

May 6, 2018 6 comments
Pepper’s Tumbleweed Prospector Rohloff Peru Divide Touring Bike

Instagram. It opens the door to people’s lives. Their existence, their motivations, their day-to-day routines, and their ambitious undertakings. With some, this transparency and subsequent stoked, is not only exciting to follow along, but highly motivating. Pepper is one of those people on Instagram. The ones you see on their bike, in beautiful places every post, and sharing a positive mental attitude all while promoting cycling. I had never met Pepper before yesterday, yet I’m sure the feeling is mutual when we acknowledged seeing each other’s lives unfold online. One of the bigger undertakings of her cycling life was an ambitious bikepacking route with the Tumbleweed Bikes team. The end product of their trip is a beautiful film by Jay Ritchey, which premiered here in Los Angeles last night, coinciding with an opportunity for me to meet Pepper and document the very bike that she pedaled, pushed, and crashed on the Peru Divide.

We’ve looked at Dan’s Tumbleweed before on the site, and while the frame details are the same, the build differs, particularly with Pepper’s use of a basket for touring – not pictured here, a Fabio’s Chest by Swift Industries and Ultra Romance has replaced it – for that, head to her Instagram to check it out, and be sure to catch the film El Silencio: Cycling the Peruvian Andres if it comes to your city!


Follow Pepper on Instagram and Tumbleweed on Instagram.

May 4, 2018 27 comments
A Santa Rosa Frame Building Flashback: 1990’s Rigid Kostrikin SSMTB

Santa Rosa – and all of NorCal for that matter – has a rich history with frame builders. From Eisentraut to Salsa, Sycip, and Retrotec, the names and faces of this little realm within the cycling industry have such great stories to tell. While I’m working on a few more posts from my recent trip to Santa Rosa, I thought I’d share this unique build with you.

High in the rafters at Trail House hangs this 1990’s Kostrikin rigid single speed mountain bike. These days, bikes like this are still rolling around, converted with “limp dick” stems, baskets and flat pedals, these once race-ready bikes have found a life living as commuters, bar bikes, tourers, and grocery getters. There was a time, however, when these were the pinnacle of racing technology. Although the single speed market was and seemingly still remains a small percentage of this population. (more…)

Apr 29, 2018 25 comments
Ryan’s Rootbeer Rivendell Rosco Bubbe

Ryan might not be known too well in the cycling scene. Unless of course, you’re at Golden Saddle where he’s a regular to the shop, tweaking things on his bike, or figuring out where to bicycle camp, and just ride. He’s an accomplished skateboarding photographer though, which is the realm where he’s best known. Ryan traded his previous bike for this Rootbeer colored Rivendell Rosco Bubbe, which he swapped out a few parts on to make it his own. The details on this thing are exceptional, as are all Rivendell frames, but it’s the build kit that really stands out.

From the Sugino triple, to the JJJ Bars, to the Red Monkey Grips, Pass & Stow rack, a Bell Tower to raise his Spurcycle bell up, PAUL brakes, and Swift Sugarloaf bag, this bike is highly functional but looks damn good at the same time. Remarkably, Ryan was able to cram in those 50mm Cazadero tires into the frame, making it a perfect off-road machine for LA’s fire roads.


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Apr 27, 2018 45 comments
Inside / Out at Retrotec Cycles in Napa, California

I’ve never owned a bike that receives as much attention from non-cyclists as a Retrotec. With comments ranging from “can I fit big tires like that on my cruiser?” to “how’d you put disc brakes on that cruiser?” Once I follow up with an explanation, they quickly lose interest, yet are still entranced with the bike itself. That connection is not too far from the reality of the Retrotec brand, however. Back in 1992, a builder named Bob Seals wanted to race his old cantilever cruiser frame. This frame, the Retrotec number one, still hangs in Curtis’ shop to this day.

Bob’s intent was to make modern-day cruisers, designed to be ridden and raced. The look of Bob’s builds really resonated with Curtis and in 1993, he moved to Chico, CA to work for Retrotec. In 1995, Bob had exhausted his framebuilding efforts, prompting Curtis to take over, relocating the business to San Francisco. This presented a problem for Curtis, who quickly realized that cruiser bikes weren’t really a thing – yet – and work was slow. Curtis chugged along in San Francisco, building frames part-time and experimenting with new Retrotec designs, while sharing a shop with the Sycip brothers.

In 1998 Retrotec moved to Napa, California and everything changed. (more…)

Apr 25, 2018 25 comments
Curtis Inglis’ 2010 Oregon Manifest Retrotec City Bike

Way back in 2010, an event called the Oregon Manifest pinged a selection of frame builders to solve common usage problems with bikes. This included cargo carrying specifications ranging from the large and out of the ordinary, to the simple task of carrying a change of clothes. It just so happened that in 2010, the Oregon Manifest’s task was to carry just that. For Retrotec and Inglis Cycles‘ Curtis Inglis, he approached this challenge by first looking for inspiration within his own shop.

Curtis had this Salsa quill stem, back when they were made in California in the shop of Ross Shafer, whos shop, and employees, like Sean Walling influenced Curtis’ own frame building operations. We’ll look at that more in-depth tomorrow. For now, let’s focus on this bike. So there he was, with this stem that needed a home. He had an idea of what the frame was supposed to look like and pinged his buddy Jeff Hantman to make some half wheel fenders with the Retrotec “guy,” smiling on the back and a halftone fade.

As for the frame, well, that’s the easy part for Curtis. He got to work, knowing the design challenges of the frame including the need to carry a spare change of clothes for the party after the show, perhaps harkening to the need for commuters to have nice “work” clothing once they’ve rolled into their office job. Curtis brought white loafers, a pair of plaid pants that he converted into nickers. He then had Travis at Freight Baggage to include the scraps of plaid into the rack bag still being used on the bike today. Curtis even painted the Pass and Stow rack to match! Chuey even made a cycling cap of this material. Bottom line: Curtis thought out all the details for this bike, including many of his friend’s work in his final product.

This bike has a new use now; Curtis carries their dog Coco around town with his wife on their city cruises. I wish I could have gotten a photo of that during my stay, but Curtis had his hands full with unexpected life events.


Follow Retrotec on Instagram.

Apr 24, 2018 23 comments