Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
There’s a bigger story to be told here, mostly surrounding Black Mountain Cycles’ owner Mike Varley and his history not only regarding bicycle design, but also his impact on the Point Reyes community as a whole. I figured this Beautiful Bicycle gallery would serve as a segue to that in the future. For now, let’s chat about this bike…
Point Reyes is a beautiful coastal town in Northern California on the Adventure Cycling Association’s Pacific Coast route and is a bastion of bicycle-friendly roads, trails and tracks. Because of its plentiful offerings in terms of riding routes, Black Mountain Cycles emerged, catering to not only the wayward bicycle tourist, but also locals and SF weekend warriors looking to get their feet dusty.
Black Mountain caters to all forms of roads, but enjoys riding dirt the most, which is why their in-house frame company will always fit a bit bigger of a tire, even when it comes to their “road” frameset. Their Road V3 frame fits a 33mm tire with ease, while offering up the option for either downtube mounted barrel adjusters with road shifters or retro downtube shifters. These frames are made overseas but are affordable, meant for everything from dirt road rides to centuries and even, as evident by Bob’s build here, commuter setups.
Bob’s Black Mountain tackles all the necessities: a SON generator hub, a Wald basket for transporting work clothes, a nice, supple tire and a comfortable riding position. While the frame itself might be production, Bob’s custom build shows character and utilitarianism we all can identify with. For those wanting a little more cushion for their rides, Black Mountain also offers a Cross V5 frameset, as well as the Cameron Falconer-made MUSA frames!
As I said before, hopefully this isn’t the last you hear of Black Mountain on the site, because this story needs to be told!
Photo by Morgan Taylor
In between reviewing mountain bikes, I still get to ride some of my own from time to time. After reviewing the 44 Bikes Marauder, I decided to buy the frame from Kris and built it up with MTB parts I had laying around, which resulted in a really rad build. Every time I throw my leg over this bike, I’m always smiling ear to ear, even if I look serious in this shot. Thanks to Kris for making such shred-worthy bikes!
This spot is my favorite dive in LA!
One of the highlights of our time in Bozeman with Adam Sklar was being able to see not one, but two complete bikes come back from powdercoat and be delivered to their new owners. I already posted a gallery of Sam’s powder blue 29er, on which he then rode a good chunk of the Colorado Trail in what I take to be quite inclement conditions.
The other bike to be delivered is one that you probably noticed in yesterday’s gallery from Sklar’s shop. This gleaming white 27.5+ hardtail was commissioned by a customer from Sklar’s home state of Colorado. Elliot is a former downhill and 4x racer with what sounded like a fairly big set of dirt jumps in his front yard. (more…)
Death Spray Custom and Stanridge Speed Volume 2
Photos by Jason Sellers and words by John Watson
Back in 2012, Adam Eldridge from Stanridge Speed was obsessing over the Red Hook Crit and the unique form of track bike evolving from these races. Unlike traditional track frames who only make left turns in a velodrome, the design of track crit frames need to be more dynamic. You’ve got to be able to pedal through all corners, even chicanes and do so with dozens of other racers around you. As a result, many of the track crit frames rely on steeper angles and higher bottom brackets for increased maneuverability. As we’ve seen in the past, it takes a bit of luck and a lot of skill to make it through one of these crits unscathed, not to mention winning a few back to back.
That’s where Adam’s interest piqued. Dan Chabanov had been on a winning streak and Adam wanted to put a Stanridge under him. The two were connected, via Squid, an OG bike messenger in New York and they began working together. Knowing this would be a big deal, Adam reached out to David at Death Spray Custom to make the project extra special. The rest is history, and David’s paint design made for an interesting story. Adam even got a matching kit made from a sales rack Voler skinsuit he then sublimated the design upon. (more…)
Bikepacking the Huascarán Circuit
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson
Last time I was in Peru, the main focus of the trip was centered around circling the highest mountain in the country, Nevado Huascarán. The route has that perfect combination of spectacular scenery, challenge, and culture, so I knew I’d have a hard time resisting going for it again on my way south this time. The fact that the forecast called for clear skies the whole time sealed the deal. Last time I was here, the mountains were engulfed in rain clouds virtually the entire time, so I never really got to see many of the massive glacial peaks that dominate the route. (more…)
Holy. Shit. This. Bike.
HSTB. The Crema Duo changed Los Angeles’ riding for me. In fact, it changed how I feel about the potential for ‘cross bikes to be the most versatile bike in your stable. Take everything you love about your bike and turn it up to 11. Big tires, disc brakes, lightweight, snappy geometry and the ability to hold your own in a pace-line, while still being able to crush singletrack and fire roads all in a tight package. (more…)
These days, with bicycles being so specified in their usage and design, it’s easy to forget that literally any bike can become a touring bike. Now bear with me, I’m not insinuating that your carbon race bike will suddenly sprout rack or fender braze-ons and grow in its tire clearance, or your 6″ enduro mtb will grow calcium deposits, rendering its suspension moot, but every bike has capabilities for multiple day, long distance riding. It’s just a matter of what you’re willing to compromise or cope with.
Aaron wanted a Rosko ‘cross bike. He was living in Brooklyn at the time and was enamored with the idea of a dude making bikes in his garage. Much like the surfing world he grew up in, Aaron liked makers and the idea that a person can make a vehicle for fun, by hand, really resonated with him. So he placed an order for a ‘cross bike from Seth Rosko and waited for the frame. (more…)
Back when denoting that a ‘cross bike was a “disc cross,” I had the pleasure of shooting Jen’s custom Igleheart. Now, most people don’t need an introduction to whom Chris Igleheart is, or on a seemingly similar path of the industry, the significance of what Jen (and Chas) did with No Garmin No Rules, it’s best to be noted that these two people have contributed to the cycling universe in their own unique ways. (more…)
Riding the Oregon Outback on the Ren Cycles Ivan
Photos and words by Gabe Tiller
Earlier this summer I set out for my fourth journey on the Oregon Outback. Each time I had ridden a different steed ranging from touring bike to plus bike and this round was no exception: I had the chance to borrow REN’s titanium cyclocross race machine: the Ivan. It’s an adaptable beast, perfect for those masochists who like to race singlespeed as well as Cat A/B. Luckily I was doing neither, and instead going on a 360 mile jaunt through Oregon’s famous Outback. (more…)
Cameron Falconer makes some of the nicest hardtails. What they lack in ostentation, they make up for in construction and thoughtfulness. RJ‘s bike is no exception. His 27.5″ hardtail is straight as an arrow, with a few key details to make life on the trail easier. Take for instance the asymmetrical chainstay yoke. Cam uses a plate yoke on the drive side and a smooth, non-crimped bend on the non-drive. This ensures ample tire and chainring clearance. He also uses stealth routing for a dropper, leaving a lot of interestingness going on at the bottom bracket cluster. The nice weldline at the seat tube cluster is so he can step down the seat tube diameter to fit a standard size dropper, without having to go super oversize or use a shim. Even the thru-axle and disc brake support just looks beautiful. All these details were then coated in a sparkle gold powder and vinyl decals, which as you can tell, show plenty of use!
We all know that the frame is only part of the bicycle. RJ selected some tried and true components to keep his bike rolling with minimal upkeep. Including a Shimano XT drivetrain, Race Face ring, XFusion fork, Giant dropper and a specially-machined dropper remote that began as an XFusion trigger, hacked to work with the post. It’s hard to explain… but it works! For wheels, RJ is testing and providing feedback on some carbon MTB wheels for Ritchey. That’s all I can say about those.
Yeah, this bike rules, it looks great sitting here, propped up in the Los Angeles morning sun, but looked even better during our weekend of trail riding!