Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
Four Unique Second Spin Mountain Bikes

Yesterday we took a look inside Second Spin Cycles and Martin’s stock of vintage mountain frames and accessories. Today, we’re going to look at four of his bikes in detail, all of which I felt were very unique. I’ve done my best to include Martin’s synopsis for each bike, along with some details which surprised even me. As with everything in this gallery, you can head to Second Spin Cycles’ blog for more information. (more…)

Feb 1, 2017 16 comments
Sean’s Stagecoach 400 NS Bikes DJAMBO 27.5+ MTB

This time of year, all types of ramblin’ riders roll through Los Angeles. Many of which are of the bikepacking cyclotourist variety, seeking to take on some of Southern California’s most infamous desert routes. One route that has always piqued my interest is the Stagecoach 400. As you might have guessed, this 385-mile, mostly dirt route with a bit of singletrack mixed in, is best tackled in the cooler months. Usually the winter is a prime choice, yet with all the rain we’ve been having as of late, even a well-traveled route such as the Statecoach can quickly turn into a muddy mess as Sean and his friends found out. While they made it through the entirety of the course, it wasn’t easy. For the past week Sean’s been in LA soaking in the local riding without the weight of his bikepacking bags on his NS Bikes DJAMBO 27.5+ hardtail, including our group ride on Saturday morning.

His rig utilizes Porcelain Rocket, Revelate, Shimano and Race Face to ensure he’s not left on the trail with broken or town parts. As for the lightweight aluminum frame, it’s perfect for bikepacking, with a good amount of front triangle space and a built-in handle at the seat tube cluster for when the going gets tough!

Sean’s on his way up to NorCal, via a route that Benedict and Nam plan to tackle as well through the Los Padres National Forest. If you see this trio on the road, give them a high five!

Jan 26, 2017 27 comments
Benedict’s 2020 S-Works Fuse Ultra Baja Buggie

It’s the debate for the new millennia: carbon or steel for a mountain bike. But what about both? Sure, others have ventured into putting rigid carbon forks on a steel hardtail before, but you don’t catch sight of the reverse too often. Since signing with Specialized to produce his latest hair metal band’s new album on minidisc, Poppi acquired an S-Works Fuse 6Fattie to take on the Baja Divide route. While this was by far the lightest bike he’s ever owned, Bene decided early on that the Öhlins fork wouldn’t cut it for the desert rampage that awaited. As hard as it was to part ways with such a sweet bit of suspension technology, Poppi knew it’d be an issue hauling the amount of water needed for the Divide on a squishy fork with no braze-ons.

Not knowing what to do, he sent psychedelic waves through the internet, where they were received at Sklar Bikes‘ HQ in Montana. From there, Adam and Bene began chatting about a rigid steel fork for what would ultimately become one Romantical Baja Buggie.

With braze-ons for days, US currency as the fork ends and a thrü axle, Popi would be able to haul his extra stuff and still have the compliance offered by steel on washboard roads. The King Cage Many Things Cage and Andrew the Maker bags provided the extra cargo capacity needed. Even though many on the Divide ran into problems with their racks and cargo cages breaking, Bene found the extra time to reinforce his the best he could on the trail with pipe clamps and zip ties. Whatever works for his S-Works! These bags, in combination with his downtube storage solution, Swift Industries Fabio’s Chest front and rear bags on Crust Bikes Leather 66.6cm drop bars, Benedict was able to stuff as many bags of Baja cookies and chips into his bikes’ every crevice.

Now for the biggest bit of technological advancement: His friction shifting SRAM Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. By grinding down the lip on his barcon, he was able to flawlessly shift through all screamin’ twelve gears, making this one of the most unique rigid mountain bike tourers I’ve ever photographed.

So what’s next for Poppi? Well, Nam and he are about to embark on a journey through the Los Padres mountains up to San Francisco for some Rice A Roni before heading back down south to begin his secret training for the Dirty Kanza. If you’re on the road and you see Poppi and Nam pedaling their rigs, be sure to offer up some chocolate – the darker the better – and a high five.

Jan 25, 2017 72 comments
A Team Dream Stinner Frameworks Lemond Homage Road

We all have our favorite cyclists or teams from the 80’s and 90’s. For Sean of Team Dream Team, it was the early 90’s and Greg Lemond, specifically that slick Calfee-built Team Z bike. The red to yellow to blue tri-fade has long been a favorite of Sean’s and that became the precedent for this new Stinner Frameworks road bike.

Sean’s already got a race-fit road bike, but he wanted one with a bit more head tube, partially for a less aggressive fit, but also for longevity. He wants to be riding this bike for a long, long time, even after his flexibility has been reduced due to age. Mid-life crisis bike? Maybe, but I commend Sean looking at the long-term lifespan of this bike. It literally is all he could ever want in a road bike and more.

The bike was spec’d with Campagnolo Super Record 11, a NOS Flite saddle, with ENVE parts and Mavic Ksyrium R-SYS SLR wheels and built by the capable hands at Golden Saddle Cyclery. If you’re going to NAHBS, look for it there, and expect a photoshoot of this bike and the original Team Z Calfee in the near future.

Jan 18, 2017 36 comments
The Cub House Swap Meet and Bicycle Show

A few months back, the guys at Team Dream Team came up with the idea of doing a bicycle show during their next swap meet. The call went out to all of Los Angeles for cyclists to bring in their best bicycle for display. Coinciding with a swap meet, people would be able to haggle for new parts, BBQ, and ogle the many noble steeds that would parade their way to South Pasadena for the show.

On Saturday, the event went down, bringing in some serious beauts. Including, but not limited to Tinker Juarez’s old Klein, a resurrected De Rosa Joe Bell restoration, a 1993 Chris Carmichael Motorola Merckx TT bike from the Tour, road bikes, all-road bikes, vintage road and kooky, one-of-a-kind show stoppers.

Many thanks to the folks at the Cub House for throwing this shindig and to everyone who made it happen!

Jan 17, 2017 30 comments
Kyle Sending it On His New All-City Log Lady Singlespeed MTB

A while back, Kyle reviewed the mostly stock complete Log Lady before sending it back to All-City so they could use the bike in their demo fleet. Truthfully, I, like many of the readers who commented on that post, were bummed to see that bike go. As a photographer, I love shooting with Kyle when he’s stoked on something and that bike was perfect on our local trails, for him especially.

In an industry where many people want more travel, not less and even more gears, not one, the Log Lady stands out as an archaic, living fossil of the mountain bike evolutionary timeline. For some people, riding a bike like this down technical trails would be a nightmare, but for dudes like Kyle, it’s a buckin’ good time. (more…)

Jan 12, 2017 46 comments
Nicholas’ Bruce Gordon Rock ‘n’ Roll Road – Kyle Kelley

Nicholas’ Bruce Gordon Rock ‘n’ Roll Road
Photos by Kyle Kelley, words by John Watson

Bruce Gordon has been making off-road, drop bar bikes for a long time. Back when he started, there weren’t many options for road bikes that could take fat tires, so Bruce began making his own. Fast forward to modern times and every major bicycle brand has at least one “gravel bike” in their catalog. With the ubiquity of these bikes, very few have the style of a Bruce Gordon Rock n Road frame.

Nicholas‘ bike is a prime example of just how rad these bikes are. He built his with a 1x setup, Paul Mini Motos and it’s ready for shreddin’ as Kyle was witness to as he took Nicholas out on the Local’s Only ride here in LA. Filled with bandit singletrack and secret short-cuts across town, this ride is a good test for not only a rider’s capabilities but a bike’s.

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Follow Kyle on Instagram and Nicholas on Instagram.

Jan 10, 2017 48 comments
Pat’s Little Prince Firefly Disc Road

“One sees clearly only with the heart, anything essential is invisible to the eye.” This quote is from the novella the Little Prince and really resonated with Pat, the owner of this new Firefly disc road. What a fitting mantra for a bike that is designed to climb and descend mountain passes in Los Angeles by utilizing Shimano’s flat-mount disc brakes, White Industry 30mm spindle cranks, a beautiful segmented wishbone seatstay, a Parlee fork and supple Compass tires. Raw titanium bikes don’t usually do it for me, but this one sits like a dream.

Congrats to Pat and the team at Firefly for building up yet another Beautiful Bicycle for the mountains of Los Angeles!

Jan 9, 2017 38 comments
Tom’s Hunter Cycles 27.5+ Hardtail Loaded Up for the Baja Divide

For the past few months, all I’ve been reading and hearing about is the Baja Divide. Lael and Nicholas created a route last year that would take riders on a 1,700 mile journey from the US-Mexico border down the length of the Baja Penninsula, almost entirely on dirt. Well, dirt and sand. They are two completely different riding substrates. The grand depart took place last week and over 100 cyclists embarked on the journey, two of which being Tom and Sarah Swallow.

In order to prep for their 45-day ride – they’re going out and back on the route – Tom and Sarah rode for two weeks along the Baja Divide route in December. Afterward, they both described their ride as “the hardest thing we’ve ever done.” But at least they now know exactly what they needed in terms of gear. For instance, they left their filter at home, because there is no fresh water on the route, only bottled and filtered water. They’re also confident in their setups, which are very similar, save for Tom is riding a Hunter Cycles 27.5+ hardtail and Sarah is on a carbon S-Works hardtail.

Tom’s bike just looked so damn good all loaded up with Revelate bags the day before they left, so I had to shoot some photos of it. Not only to give Rick props for building such amazing frames, but I rarely get the chance to shoot loaded down hardtails. All of Tom’s little hacks – like those killer King Cage USBs – to make this a proper tourer simply add to the bike’s character.

I want to wish everyone who’s out on the Divide’s course good luck. You can follow Tom and Sarah’s trip on their Instagram.

Jan 5, 2017 34 comments