Breadwinner’s presence in Japan is huge. At the Gourmet Century Asuke, I saw so many Breadwinners, from the Lolo to the Holeshot, just about every group of riders sported at least one of these made in Portland frames, all built to the same general spec: Chris King everything. This one just looked so good after a morning rain that I had to shoot photos of it.
If you look at each and every Cielo‘s non-drive chainstay, you’ll see the phrase “Built by Chris King” but if you look at a select few, it’ll read “Built by me, Chris King.” This happens to be one of those bikes. Chris King is too busy these days to build frames but there are a few rolling around, including this one that happens to be his own. If you’re skipping to the photos now, you’ll be returning to read all about it.
Chris wanted to run a 1 1/8″ steerer on a 1″ head tube so he could run a more modern cockpit but maintain the elegant lines in the frame. The way he achieved this was by running a stainless steel headset with the skirts cut off. He then counter bore the cups and silver brazed them onto the headtube.
He used Reynolds 953 on the front triangle, NOS Campy fork ends and dropouts, Columbus SL stays from the early 80’s on the rear. After it was built, the frame received a post-build heat treat tempering process to strengthen the brazing points of the stainless tubing. This caused the stainless cups to patina with the headtube, which was then clear coated to maintain this finish.
This bike was built prior to Cielo offering stems and as far as Chris is concerned, if the current cockpit works, why change it out? The same goes for his saddle, his pedals and that saddle bag from 1977…
Mike DeSalvo isn’t known for flashy paintjobs, or crazy-shaped tubing, instead, his titanium frames attract attention with a different kind of detail: precision. These bikes are made from a ti welder’s dream with their meticulously-laid beads and cable stops. Not every detail needs to be observed with a macro lens however. Step back and look at the ever-so-elegant bend to the top tube for shouldering in cross races and the bendy, swoopy stays for, ya know, looks!
This bike was on display at the Circles Japan Personal Bike Show and Mike’s Japanese customers spent plenty of time nerding out!
I’ve documented a lot of bicycles in my day and I’ll be honest here when I say, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen something as clever or unique as this bike.
At first glance, this Dobbat’s commuter looks like you’re run of the mill 1x road bike. Then you notice the flat, stand-off headbadge, which leads your eyes to the asymmetric brake routing in the top tube, which you then notice is actually quite confusing in terms of construction. Stepping back from that detail, you begin to notice the light support rack simply dies into the fork blades and it takes a moment to find the set screws.
Details like this are NAHBS-level in terms of concept and execution, yet Takayoshi has never been to NAHBS and he doesn’t spend time on the internet looking at other bikes. In fact, when we asked him what inspired these details, he said “it just popped into my head.”
If Japan keeps rolling out bikes like this, my shutter finger is going to get tired!
Dobbat’s is one of the local Japanese builders who displayed their handywork at the Circles Japan Personal Bike Show. While this small builder might not be known in the Western world, he’s been building bicycle frames since the late 80’s and man, let me tell you, his experience shows. This Succeed fillet road has some of the cleanest lines I’ve seen. Everything just lines up elegantly and nothing feels forced. Not even that fastback seat stay cluster, with its top cut precisely along the seat stay line. While the seat cluster initially caught my eye, it was the stem that really made me appreciate his work. It’s like a delicate flower petal embracing the bar like some wild orchid. I couldn’t get enough of it!
Check out more DIY framebuilding goodness at the Dobbat’s blog and wait til you see his other bike!
I’m in Nagoya, Japan visiting Circles, a local bike shop and quintessential bicycle mecca. I’ll dive into that more in the near future, but for now, I wanted to feature this unique bike…
California framebuilders have found a home at Circles. In turn, lot of the family, friends and community surrounding the shop have found California framebuilders. DeSalvo, Sycip, Retrotec, Hunter and Black Cat frames hang from the rafters and line the bike racks outside the shop. One of which being Keita’s Black Cat disc road. Keita runs Early Birds, the breakfast cafe attached to Circles and it was the first bike of the day that really caught my eye due to its loud, reptilian-inspired paint job.
There’s something very Weedian-inspired about this frame with its hand-painted scales and color blocking. Todd paints each frame he builds with unique patterns and designs, leaving the owner more than enough inspiration to decide how to kit their bikes out. With this paint job, Keita upped the ante with a painted Sim Works stem and green King bits.
As I said, this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of Circles coverage… so stay tuned!
For those of us who are taken by steel frames and appreciate their ride feel and longevity, the idea of a “lifetime” bike is a familiar one. In practice, however, the idea that a bike could last a lifetime is often just that – an idea – and for some reason or another bikes don’t always stay with us as long as we’d initially envisioned. Not so with Karen’s Merckx.
Karen bought her Eddy Merckx brand new when she was living in Edmonton, AB, in the ’80s. It was originally equipped with a mix of Dura-Ace AX and Campy Record, 6-speed downtube of course. She rode it for a number of years before hanging up the road bike in favor of mountain bikes in the mid ’90s.
Now based in Kelowna, BC, Karen and her husband Chris run a full service repair shop for vintage and modern European cars, with a focus on the details that those machines deserve. Chris took this attention to detail to Meshkat at The Lions Cyclery in the form of a restoration project, and Karen was inspired to dust off the Merckx.
To retain the bike’s classic aesthetic, a silver Campagnolo Veloce group was installed from front to back. The tan sidewall Strada LGGs look perfect on the polished Weinmann rims. The stem, bar, and headset are all that’s left of the original build; with its bombproof new groupset, Karen’s Merckx is ready for its next 30 years.
Our buddy Jeff Curtes is an exceptional photographer and part of the Speedvagen family. Living in Sydney means ‘cross season is here and this season he’s racing for MAAP, an Australian apparel company. When Jeff told me about his new team bike, I requested some photos. It sounded like an awesome build with Di2, a race geometry and no bottle bosses. Yeah…
I can’t even begin to paraphrase Jeff’s words, so check them out below, along with more photos! (more…)
You might recognize this one… When Nils got hit by a car, totaling his Chumba, he had to convert his Cycle Fab Surly LHT Cargo machine back to a 700c touring bike for every day rides. Now, it’s his ride for Aids Life Cycle.
Before heading out of town, he swung by to say hello and pick up some last minute provisions. I took his bike out for two photos (you’ll have to excuse the printer, it happened to be on the sidewalk and worked as a perfect prop for this fully-loaded bike.) My two favorite details are Nils’ self-made frame bag and how he mounted the Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion directly to his rack mounts, rather than the seatpost. Nicely done!
Follow Nils on his trip at @FrankWithoutBeans!
It has been scientifically proven that if you add a Death Spray Custom fork to any bike, it’s destined to get even more attention, even when it comes to a slick bike like this. Morgan’s Stinner Frameworks is brushed stainless, kitted with Jones wheels, PAUL Skewers, Chris King, Dura Ace and ENVE. A completely tricked out road bike by all accounts, yet he wanted to do something to spice up a completely mono-tone build so he contacted David at Death Spray Custom to do something special.
Visibility doesn’t have to end with your apparel, as evident by this 80’s geometric-inspired fluorescent disruptive pattern coated fork.
Suddenly this bike went from being a 10 to an 11! Nicely done fellas and great meeting you, Morgan!