Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
Morgan and Stephanie’s Soma Wolverine Dirt Tourers – Morgan Taylor

Words and photos by Morgan Taylor.

There are many ways you can build a bike for traveling and all of them have their virtues; striking a balance is not as much a universal truth as it comes down to where you want to make sacrifices. When Stephanie and I set out to build these bikes, we had the long term in mind. Not just the fact that we intended to spend all summer riding them around the western United States, but that we wanted bikes that would be useful beyond that trip.

For us, the guiding principle along the way was that we wanted bikes that would be fun around town and commuting bikes when we came home, which is really what determined the frames we chose. We were building bikes for a honeymoon adventure but the lasting legacy was a bike that would fit in to our daily lives when that chapter came to a close. To put it simply, we didn’t want to tour on touring bikes. And after 4,000 kilometres of fully loaded riding, we’re happy we didn’t. (more…)

Sep 29, 2016 68 comments
Golden Saddle Rides: Jesse’s Argonaut Disc Road with Di2
Jesse's Argonaut Disc Road with Di2

After owning a tri bike for years, Jesse finally decided to treat herself to a new road bike. It’d been a while since she had made a new bike purchase and after a lot of internet research, she decided on an Argonaut.

The frame selection, like the parts, came only after a lot of thought. Jesse went with Shimano Di2 hydro to make braking easier on long descents or steep canyon roads, King R45 Disc hubs laced to the super solid H+Son Archetype rims ensure her wheels will be solid and new 3T components offer a sleek look to this beautiful bicycle.

Since Argonaut is doing paint in house now, they can do just about anything you’d want, yet Jesse decided on a few color hits in the inside of the stays and fork leg. Since Golden Saddle is an Argonaut dealer, they made everything painless, from the ordering process to the final build.

Yes, bikes like this are easy to nerd out on, but even easier to ride. Oh and they’re terrifying to photograph on a windy day!


If you want a custom build like this and live in Los Angeles, hit up Golden Saddle Cyclery.

Sep 28, 2016 18 comments
Jump Around with Kyle and His Niner RIP 9 RDO
Jump Around with Kyle and His Niner RIP 9 RDO

Bounce, bounce, bounce. Every time I’ve ridden mountain bikes with Kyle over the past year, he’s barely had both wheels on the ground. He’s been riding a carbon Niner RIP 9 RDO, with Shimano XT and all the dressings of one of Niner’s three-star build. It’s still an expensive bike, when compared to something like a hard tail, yet the $5,700 pricetag doesn’t pinch as much as some other full suspension bikes featured here on the site in years past. (more…)

Sep 27, 2016 23 comments
Jimmy and His Bridgestone XO-3
Jimmy and His Bridgestone XO-3

Jimmy, like many readers of this blog, have an appreciation for the work of Grant Petersen. Whether it’s his current work at Rivendell, or his work for Bridgestone in the late 1980s and ’90s. An XO series had been on Jimmy’s list for some time and when an XO-3 popped up in his size on eBay, he bought it without hesitation.

With a frame like this, there are so many possibilities in terms of overall build and parts selection, yet I feel like many people approach their bikes from a similar angle. Jimmy chose some Velo Orange Left Bank bars, along with the VO Grand Cru Drillium cranks to give the bike a vintage tourer feel and chose White Industries hubs, laced to Pacenti PL 23 650b rims for their resilience and ease of maintenance. My favorite detail is the Yanco Ramblin roll and Banjo Brothers bag, supported by a rear rack.

The rest of the kit just falls together and this bike is Jimmy’s round town machine. Thanks for swinging by Golden Saddle yesterday dude!

Sep 25, 2016 49 comments
The Rawland Cycles ULV Is a Bikepacking Slayer
The Rawland Cycles ULV Is a Bikepacking Slayer

Rawland had a reboot recently, resulting in two frames, the RAVN and the ULV. While the ULV is a 27.5+ drop bar bikepacking rig, the RAVN is an all-road, meant for more traditional touring. Both of these bikes use chunky rubber tires and drop bars and are part of Rawland’s Berserkerverks line, featuring a porteur rack with light mounts, and 12×148 Thru-Axle disc brakes. Both the ULV and RAVN look like tanks, but I was impressed with the weight, or lack thereof. A lot of bikes like this are light on the eyes, yet heavy on the hands, but not these Rawlands.

Both the ULV and the RAVN are available for pre-order now at Rawland, as both a complete for $2,999 and a frameset for $950*. Expect more to come as samples become available for review. I’m stoked to see Rawland back at it.

*kickstand not included. ;-)

Sep 23, 2016 28 comments
Emily and Her Squid Bikes Barrel of Monkeys B3 ‘Cross
Emily and Her Squid Bikes Barrel of Monkeys B3 'Cross

When your bikes are made by Sherwood Gibson of Ventana, who’s been constructing frames since 1988, you can spend all your time on marketing, designing and applying their paint jobs. For Squid Bikes co-owner Emily Kachorek, paint design and implementation happens in a whimsical way. All it takes is some inspiration, a precedent and she’s out in her paint booth with spray cans blazing. For her latest race bike, she chose the childhood game Barrel of Monkeys to be the theme. Then, to up the ante, she gave the monkeys neon pink sunglasses, save for one, who has black shades on.

This bike was at the WD-40 Interbike booth, built up with Zipp components, wheels and a fresh SRAM gruppo with a TRP fork. It’ll be thrashed in various UCI ‘cross races around the US this season and as with any cross bike, it’ll look so much better all muddy.

Thanks to Emily and Squid Bikes for making bicycle paint design look easy and fun! If you’d like a Squid of your own, check out their offerings at

Sep 22, 2016 37 comments
Golden Saddle Rides: Tod’s Two Classic Cielos
Tod's Two Classic Cielos

Returning customers are a true testament to a brand’s quality. A few years back, Tod ordered a Cielo Cross Classic frame through Golden Saddle Cyclery and had the guys build it up to act as an inner-city singletrack machine and commuter. He went with Ultegra, a SON hub, an S3 lamp and Paul Mini Moto brakes. In the time that’s passed, Tod’s put a good amount of beausage on this bike, showing first hand how much he’s been riding it. When the time came for him to order a road bike, he looked at the Cielo Sportif, a classic road bike with clearance for bigger tires. Again, he chose Ultegra and Chris King for the components, with Velo Orange Gran Cru brakes and those nice n plump Compass 32mm Stampede Pass tires.

Photographing two bikes like this, one new and one that has been loved and ridden for years is a special occasion for me. Especially when you can flip between the two drive-side photos. I can’t wait to see how Tod’s Sportif looks after a few years of use!


If you want a custom build like this and live in Los Angeles, hit up Golden Saddle Cyclery.

Sep 21, 2016 17 comments
Winter Bicycles Ambassador Porteur

Timeless design and modern technology pair up nicely with the latest from Winter Bicycles. The Ambassador is a fillet brazed frame, with a disc-specific lugged fork and made-to-measure “French Point” stem. For gearing, the Ambassador relies on an internal Alfine Di2 hub. The lighting is integrated to the frame with a SON hub powering Edelux lamp and the Velocity wheels roll on Compass tires. Braking relies on XT hydraulic discs and White Industries tops out the build. As for the paint, it was laid down by Todd Eroh.

Check out more details of this lovely project at Winter.

Sep 19, 2016 29 comments
Carter’s Glitter Dreams Straggler – Morgan Taylor
Carter's Glitter Dreams Straggler – Morgan Taylor

Photos and words by Morgan Taylor.

In the time we spent in Los Angeles, Carter’s Straggler was one of the bikes in for service at GSC. Now, as a bit of a background, the Glitter Dreams paint on the first year Straggler was actually part of the inspiration for the builds that ended up becoming our Wolverines. So when I first saw Carter’s bike leaning against the wall waiting for its turn in the service queue, with its pink King hubs and purple valve stems, it had already caught my eye.

Then, the work began. One day, the Straggler was hanging out with the new Sim Works Homage 43c tires in that throwback green. Whoa! I immediately deemed it a clown bike – not in a bad way, but in the way that there was no way this thing would come together in a subdued and complementary fashion. It was going to stand out, that was for sure. (more…)

Sep 16, 2016 38 comments
Bang for Your Buck: the Ritchey Timberwolf 27.5 Hardtail MTB
Bang for Your Buck: the Ritchey Timberwolf 27.5 Hardtail MTB - Photo by Kyle Kelley

When I first saw this frameset, I was in love. Why? Well, when a company like Ritchey makes a hardtail mountain bike that only a few months prior was something you had to order from a framebuilder, you know they’re paying attention. Before the Timberwolf, Ritchey’s mountain bike offerings were built with cross-country geometries. Personally, I like slack front ends and longer travel forks. They still climb great but the difference in descending is noticeable, especially after getting bucked for hours on end while riding our Southern California trails. Yeah, the Timberwolf is a new breed of mountain bikes, from a company founded by one of the forefathers of the sport. The best part is, you can get rowdy on this bike for hundreds less than a custom frame.

At $899, the Timberwolf comes as a frame with bright orange paint and classic Ritchey logos. Or you can buy it complete, as equipped here for $3,499 (minus the dropper post.) When people email me asking what mountain bike frame they should start out with, if buying used isn’t an option, I point them to the Timberwolf. Why? Let me break it down… (more…)

Sep 14, 2016 67 comments