Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
Seven Rider Portraits from a Winter Overnight – Morgan Taylor

Photos and words by Morgan Taylor.

Here in Vancouver we’ve been experiencing one of the coldest winters in decades, with more days below freezing than I can ever remember. Over the past six weeks, since firing up #coffeeoutsideyvr, there’s been much talk of packing up and getting out for some overnights. And lately, with sunset already an hour later than it was at solstice, it was imminent that the talk become action. (more…)

Feb 16, 2017 21 comments
My Retrotec Funduro is Rollin’ Again with SRAM GX, Level ULT Brakes and Terrene Chunk Tires

It’s a damn shame. Yeah, it really is. It’s a shame that this bike sat in my storage room, with no drivetrain or brake parts for so long. After reviewing this Retrotec Funduro 27.5+ hardtail a few months back, I couldn’t send the frame back to Curtis. I just loved it so much. After some emailing, he agreed I could buy the frame, but I had to send the Shimano parts back to Retrotec HQ in Napa and buy him a new Chris King 40th group.

Months later, Chris King asked to have the bike for their 40th Anniversary show, so I cobbled together a partially working build with a new SRAM Eagle group and sent it to Portland for display purposes only. Partially working? Huh? You see, SRAM and Shimano do chainring offset very differently and SRAM’s Eagle ring isn’t available in 0mm offset, like their other drivetrain systems are and like Shimano’s XTR cranks are designed, so even though it looked damn fine with all that glistening gold on it, the chainring wouldn’t clear the stay… (more…)

Feb 13, 2017 31 comments
Jon’s Sabrosa Dirty Drop Bar Travel Tourer

As with any fabrication job, resolving design challenges creatively is just part of the job. When Jon at Sabrosa Cycles wanted a travel touring bike, he didn’t want to order an S&S or Break-Away kit, he wanted to design something from scratch that would be special and unique to his brand. The result is clever and hardly noticeable unless you know what you’re looking for.

When I first saw the details, I asked Jon if he had seen Rick Hunter’s Bushmaster. He hadn’t. Yet, whereas Rick’s design was used to resolve the problem of chain tension, Jon designed his so you could unbolt the rear triangle from the front, making it easy to travel with.

If you love details, this frame’s got’em, since just about everything on this has been hand machined and made from scratch. The segmented fork and stays harken back to Fat City Cycles and Jon’s roots as a MTB fanboy, where he grew up admiring the early creations from Salsa and the like. The Paul Neo Retro Cantis have plenty of stopping power and a good, ol’ fashioned triple gets Jon up and over mountain passes in the St. George area.

This bike is unique without being overly ostentatious and capable without being overbuilt. Photographing it was sheer pleasure! Don’t forget to check out our Shop Visit at Sabrosa Cycles and give Jon a follow on Instagram!

Feb 10, 2017 27 comments
Josh from Angry Catfish’s Oddity 27.5+ Hardtail

We’re here in Southern Utah, soaking in all the red dirt we can and riding some of the area’s finest trails. While Kyle and I had a short drive to St. George, Parker and Josh from Minneapolis’ Angry Catfish had a staggering 24 hours of driving on icy, winter roads to reach our meet-up point. The boys finally showed up and Josh unpacked his Oddity Cycles 27.5+ hardtail.

Josh commissioned Sean from Oddity to build it up last year, where it was displayed at NAHBS and he’s had it on display at Angry Catfish ever since. He’s ridden it throughout Minneapolis’ trails but this is the first road trip this bike has seen and man, what a trip it’s been so far.

I love seeing show bikes being shredded, especially against such a wonderful backdrop.

Feb 6, 2017 16 comments
Jaybe’s Kirk Frameworks Road with Campagnolo Record 11

I shoot a lot of road bikes and these days, it’s very rare you see one without a 44mm or tapered head tube. Whereas most people that want a steel frame with oversized tubes, Jaybe from Team Too Late wanted something more classic, something that would dance with him as he climbs and descend like a race bike from the 90’s. He spent a lot of time browsing NAHBS galleries, looking at various framebuilders and was attracted to the work of David Kirk, the Bozeman, Montana builder known for his impeccable fillet and lugged frames.

Jaybe didn’t want your typical, straight-tubed frame however. He requested curvy stays and the result is one of the most beautiful road frames I’ve ever photographed. Built with Chris King’s 40th-anniversary olive drab hubs and Campy Record 11, Jaybe’s David Kirk is sure to perform and look damn good while riding in the hills and mountains of Los Angeles.

David from Kirk Frameworks will be at the 2017 NAHBS in Salt Lake City, Utah and personally, I can’t wait to see what he brings with him.

Feb 2, 2017 34 comments
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 74 comments