Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
When designing and conceiving my Firefly all road bike a few years ago, I wanted to be able to fit a 43mm tire, while maintaining a road geometry. “It’s not a cyclocross bike, rather a road bike with bigger tires and disc brakes” I’d tell people. Inadvertently, what I found was by allowing clearances for such a large 700c tire, I’d opened the door to even larger 650b tires.
I first used WTB’s “Road Plus” platform shortly after they released the 47mm Horizon tire. They sent the tires mounted to their Ci24 rims, built to White Industries hubs. While the wheels fit with enough clearances on my Firefly, I wasn’t a fan of the Horizon tires. Sure, they looked great and rode even better on sealed roads, but I found them to be less-than-ideal on the fire roads and singletrack I frequented in the mountains of Los Angeles.
Jump forward a year and WTB’s newest “road plus” tire, the Byway is now available and I’ve been riding them for a few weeks. The difference between the Horizon and the Byway is simple: there’s slight tread on the sides of the Byway, meant to give traction on loose corners. Well, does the Byway live up to the marketing jargon? (more…)
In its time, the Sequoia has had three authors. Three designers whose own vision of this bicycle’s intent would be realized as a large-scale production model. The Sequoia opened the doors for those with a love for touring. It was an off-the-shelf, do-it-yourself, vessel to the outdoors and freedom. You can wax poetic all day about the joys of touring and how in the 1980’s, it was all the rage in America. Touring forever changed the face of cycling.
Yesterday morning I had a date with a framebuilding legend from the American West. Like DiNucci, Strawberry, Bruce Gordon and others, Jim Merz was a key figure in promoting the production of custom frames in the ’70s and early ’80s. He was a machinist first, turned cyclist, turned builder. He was also an endurance cyclist, pedaling from Portland to Panama in 1970, logging over 8,000 miles. He also toured extensively in South Africa.
Jim brought his knowledge of loaded touring and trekking to his own operations, designing, fabricating and in a lot of ways shaping the world of touring bikes forever. So why haven’t you heard of Jim Merz? (Or perhaps you have, no assumptions here.) Well, Jim’s a unique guy and one that didn’t necessarily seek out the limelight like others in his day. That didn’t mean Jim wasn’t busy. In fact, in his ten years of solo framebuilding from 1972 through 1982, he built around 400 frames from Columbus and Reynolds tubing; he was the first US-builder certified to use Reynolds 753. (more…)
Caren Hartley recently completed a track bike for Juliet Elliot to take on the Red Hook Crit Brooklyn this weekend with. Made from Columbus HSS Spirit, with a Columbus Futura fork and custom paint, done in-house at Hartley Cycles, complete with gold leafing and fiery red candy fade. See more details at Hartley Cycles and keep your eyes peeled at the Red Hook Crit for this bike in action!
Photos by Chris Riekert
The Red Hook Crit Brooklyn is coming this weekend, April 29th. Each year, the designers at Specialized look to outfit their racers with limited edition Allez track bikes. This year, the design was inspired by the process and design of the BMW art car series with a composition made by puzzle-pieced decals on top of the frame’s paint as a collaboration with Rocket Espresso, the team’s co-sponsor.
This process makes these uniquely-designed bikes production-ready, unlike previous versions of the RHC Allez race frames. If you’re looking to acquire one of these, the bad news is the track frames are for the athletes only, but there will be 300 road frames available in July. See the Allez track frames in action this weekend at the Red Hook Crit and check out more photos below. Thanks to Dylan Buffington for sending these over! (more…)
Lucas’ Orange Camo Cannonball Stoemper SSCX
Photos by Kyle Kelley and words by John Watson
Lucas works the paint gun at Stoemper and if this bike looks familiar, it’s because the predecessor to this particular frame was featured here on the site two years ago. Back then, Lucas’ SSCX was zebra striped and it demanded visual dominance by the contrast of the patterning. This round, Lucas has a new SSCX bike. One with a thru-axle front, XT hydro disc brakes, wider bars and a bright, orange camo paint job.
A month ago, Lucas was in town to soak in some sun and shred the local trails with Kyle. They took off to the upper Chilao trail network where Lucas rode everything on this bike. Now, I should mention, Chilao isn’t a walk in the park and doing it on a flat bar SSCX is quite the accomplishment.
“Lucas is like a cannonball” Kyle exclaimed when I reviewed his photos and yes, it shows.
Follow Kyle on Instagram, Lucas on Instagram and Stoemper on Instagram.
The Ritchey Logic is one of the cleanest-looking steel road framesets on the market, ATMO. With classic lines, and standard tubing profiles, it has all the looks of a vintage road bike with the performance of modern steel, all with a carbon fork. I’ve seen many fine examples of these affordable frames built up over the years, but David‘s is one of my favorites. Built with Ultegra and Ritchey Super Logic Zeta wheels, David’s kept it lightweight and nimble, perfect for the crushing road climbs this cycling sadist enjoys on the regular.
“The top is just around this bend…”
I’ve heard it many times. David’s enthusiasm for road exploration brought all of us on the Clouds to Cactus ride last year and at the recent Team Dream shoot in the Eastern Sierra, his love for stupid hard routes had him already pining for more exploration. Without a doubt, this bike will bring David places and most importantly, back home in one piece.
Gunnar Cycles has had some pretty tricked-out bikes featured here on the Radavist over the years, but Jay’s bike holds a special place in my heart. First, you need an introduction to Jay. He’s worked at Topanga Creek Outpost for a few years now, and in his spare time spends hours upon hours exploring the neighboring State and National Parks as part of the Unpredict Your Wednesday outings. Jay is a lover of nature and the magic herb our Mother produces here in California. He’s a smiling soul with love and stoke always present.
Jay’s bike has that special something that stops people in their tracks and requires further visual inquiry. In a world of disc-brake dominated bikes, Jay’s is a Paul Cantilever-equipped machine, with clearance for a 40mm tire and a relaxed road geometry. If it had provisions for racks, it could even pass for a lightweight tourer. That hasn’t stopped him from strapping bikepacking bags on it in the past, however.
This bike looks like a carton of American Spirits, or an old hotel sign in the southwest. It oozes Americana without being overly ostentatious. Like Jay, this bike is best observed and engaged with when you’ve got the time. Jay is moving up to the Bay Area and we’re all gonna miss him down here in Sunny So-Cal. That means it’ll be time to fender up this bad boy, right, Jay?
Second Time Around: 74 Allez Road
Photos and words by Erik Nohlin
In 2014, Specialized and Mark DiNucci released 74 numbered framesets as a celebration of its heritage of Specialized’s 40th anniversary. Each of these frames were auctioned to benefit the World Bicycle Relief. The red throwback frameset came with a custom designed kit including wool jersey, saddle, bar tape, bottle cages, bottles and a flask with the level of detail a company can only afford for something like its 40th anniversary. Mark DiNucci was rewarded Best Lugs and Best in Show at Nahbs for the work on this project. Nothing was saved to make this into a state of the art steel bike. Bryant Bainbridge, the other mastermind behind the 40th anniversary Allez, has described the project as “a black hole of cost” where both the tube set and lugs were designed and engineered from scratch. (more…)
I love Paul Sadoff’s creations. You know the ones. Rock Lobsters always grab my attention, especially special ones like this one. Max is special. In his own way and so when he decided he wanted another road bike, much less, another Rock Lobster, he contacted Paul to build him an S&S travel road bike that could fit a chubby tire. Since he’d be cramming this beaut into an S&S case, Max didn’t want to put anything super precious on the bike, so he went with a tried and true Sram Red 10-speed group that he had pulled off an old race bike of his, along with some alloy Zipp wheels. Ok, so maybe that’s not exactly the cheapest group for this bike, but what can I say? Roadies that race crits have all kinds of trick road gear just waiting to be bolted onto frames.
Max, thanks for being a good sport and for supporting a rad guy like Paul. I think it’s time you order another Rock Lobster… ;-)