Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
Steel and Hardwood
Steel and hardwood

Nao at Tomii Cycles posted this photo on his Flickr the other day and it really struck me as both a unique photo and construction method. The juxtaposition of the cold, hard steel and the warm, rich hardwood, coupled with precision tools really speaks a lot about framebuilding. To top it off, the simple wood screw at the fork end shows a no-nonsense approach to the builder’s m.o.

I see a lot of framebuilder’s process photos, yet this one really did it for me.

Now it’s time to get over to Tomii cycles to shoot some photos, don’t you think?

Feb 18, 2015 2 comments
Shredding the All New Santa Cruz Highball CC 29r MTB
Santa Cruz Highball 29r Hardtail XC MTB

Contrary to popular belief, you can shred a 29r – even a XC race-ready 29r. Those big wheels have a bit of a stigma attached to them and while they may not be as flickable as popular opinion would suggest, there’s a lot to be said about a lightweight rig being just as happy on flat as it is with a bit of rubber side up action.

Santa Cruz has kind of neglected their Highball over the years, not intentionally, but with the popularity of their Nomad, Bronson and even the Tallboy, they’ve been busy working on their all-mountain and trail bikes, while leaving the Highball sitting in the corner – void of dunce hat at least.

While the main silhouette of this bike reads the same – hey, it’s a hardtail, how different can it really be? – the Highball got a revamp from the ground up, including a new 27.5 wheelsize – more on that to come. For now, let’s just look at the 29r…

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Feb 18, 2015 22 comments
A Resurrection of the Santa Cruz Stigmata Cyclocross Bike
Santa Cruz Stigmata Cyclocross Bike

The original Stigmata marked its territory inside the well stacked lineup of Santa Cruz mountain bikes in 2008. Made in the USA from Easton EA6X tubing, these ultra light race machines were quite the hit. Although, at the time and into the near future, ‘cross was and would be going through some changes. Disc brakes, through axles, pressfit 30, tapered head tubes and other technological advancements were on the horizon, many of which being already implemented by various companies.

This constant evolution and the crossing over of Easton’s tubing no longer being available in smaller batches made the guys at Santa Cruz a bit weary. They decided to sit out from a few cross seasons…

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Feb 17, 2015 39 comments
Three Appropriate Bikes for Eroica California
A tryptic of beautiful, vintage bicycles.

Selecting the appropriate bicycle for an event like Eroica California can be daunting if you don’t know what you’re doing. While these three bicycles don’t represent your only options, they do present some interesting notes. Ranking these noble steeds in rarity (i.e. cost) helps put things in perspective. As stated however, these are not your only options…

You’ve got exactly two months to find yourself a bike. Start by looking local. Craigslist, your local shop, swaps, flea markets, classifieds and eBay. Don’t go overboard. If this is going to be a one-time deal for you, why not ask a collector friend to borrow their bike? Or, if you want to go down the vintage bicycle rabbit hole, there are two options in this trio that are sure to whet your whistle. Or bell…

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Feb 9, 2015 18 comments
Mark’s Team Telekom Eddy Merckx MX-Leader
Mark's Team Telekom Merckx MX-Leader

A few people have asked what bike I was pedaling around on the Eroica California course. While it doesn’t meet the pre-1987 guidelines, it’s vintage enough for my tastes. The MX-Leaders have always had a soft spot in my heart. Arguably the most significant bikes to ever leave the Merckx factory, these were race-ready, pedigree machines. Made with Merckx’s proprietary lugs and Columbus MXL tubesets, they were some of the stiffest steel frames at the time.

Perfect for the US team Motorola, or in this case, team Telekom. This frame in particular was Brian Holm’s and while a majority of the MX-Ls were raced with Dura Ace 7400, the bike’s owner, Mark Riedy, decided to go a bit more practical – and classy IMO – with a 10-speed Campagnolo gruppo. He then topped the cockpit off with an ITM stem.

There’s something about the Telekom paint jobs that always did it for me. Flashy, yet classy and an undeniable style. I’d love to add one of these to my collection some day.

Feb 6, 2015 31 comments
Dan Chabanov’s Van Dessel Hellafaster Frame is Made in the USA
DSCF7373


Photos by Dan Chabanov

The Van Dessel Hellafaster caught me off guard when it launched. It, along with the Aloominator, boasted performance-minded precision with a phrase you don’t see too often for a $1,500 frameset: made in the USA.

These bikes are made in Portland and are ready for anything. With Di2 compatibility, 28mm tire clearance – fenders! and a sick, black anodized finish, it’s no wonder the Hellafaster is a prime choice for a training or race bike.

Perhaps that’s why Dan Chabanov picked one up? For whatever reason, I’ve had these photos for a while, but totally blanked on posting them, until Dan just called me out – albeit for the 10th time.

Frames like this are important to the US-made cycling industry, so shame on me for blanking on posting these photos. Van Dessel, you’re doing it right.

See more of Dan’s photos below and if you have ANY questions, Ask Dan at his Tumblr.

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Feb 5, 2015 10 comments
Saila Bikes Titanium Cross with SRAM Rival
Saila Titanium Cross

Simple, straight forward and built with no nonsense parts, this titanium cross is just one example of Lauren Trout’s frames built by hand in Austin, Texas at Saila Bikes. With so many people building with 44mm head tubes, curved stays and disc brakes, it’s nice to see one with a 1 1/8″ fork, straight as an arrow stays and canti brakes. That’s the beauty of custom thought: you get what you want.

Even with SRAM, ENVE and Chris King, you’re looking at a custom, handmade, titanium bike for under $5k as shown, which is a damn decent pricepoint for a frame that will most likely last you for decades and while others charge near that for a frameset, Lauren Trout learned how to weld and wield titanium at Seven Cycles.

Shooting builders in their workspaces is one thing, but their craftsmanship shines when you can photograph the finished product. Just look at those welds… stacking dimes.

Feb 3, 2015 29 comments
Trackosaurus Rex: Calivinka
KalavinkaTracko-3

Photo by Kyle Kelley

If there’s one thing Kyle loves, it’s track bikes. Oh and pizza and coffee and karoake… And California and this Kalavinka. Check out more photos of this beaut at Tracko!

Feb 3, 2015 3 comments
Winter Bicycles: Quiscale Touring Bike
Winter-01

Photos by Anthony Bareno

Eric from Winter Bicycles‘ newest bike to roll out from his shop is this gorgeous touring / randonee bike. The Quiscale is an all-rounder, meant for exploration, touring and is perfect for a daily rider. This frameset features thin lugs with accented window cuts and is built from traditional, classic diameter tubing. Accompanied by internally-routed lighting, fenders, custom racks – with removable low-riders – and specially-made RuthWorks bags.

The parts group is nothing short of choice with White Industries, Paul, Cane Creek and Shimano Ultegra, yet one of the cleanest details is the “French point” winter stem with bell mount.

The Quiscale’s class is elevated by Keith Anderson’s impeccable paint. See more at the Winter Flickr.

Feb 2, 2015 1 comment