Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
The Whisky Six Select Frames
Photos by Jarrod Bunk, words by John Watson
Photo via Whisky
Each year at Frostbike, Whisky builds bikes, both custom from frame builders and production from one of the QBP brands. This year Whisky had six builders and brands at the Frostbike booth to show off their new rims, bars and seatposts. Dubbed the Six Select, the collection debuted a variety of veritable dream bikes, including: Rock Lobster, 44 Bikes, Retrotec, Moth Attack, Salsa and Engin.
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Big guys have big headtubes. How big? Bigger than a tallboy? Depends, but if you’re a Texan like Josh Hines, everything’s bigger there, so why stop with a bicycle?
Joking aside. Josh and I are buddies from Austin. He’s in Los Angeles this week to take on some mountains and break in his new Icarus Frames road bike. After being fed up with stock sizing and carbon fiber, he wanted something with more longevity so Josh turned to Ian Sutton to make him a special road bike… and special it is.
Ian’s not one to turn down a challenge. Well, that’s not true, I’m sure everyone has their limits but let’s just say Josh’s request piqued his interest. While Icarus has made carbon and steel bikes before, he hadn’t spent much time working with carbon seat tubes, which is what Josh wanted. Will Ian do it again? Probably not, as it turned into quite the challenge. Does it look rad? Of course!
Josh wanted a road bike for long days in the saddle. His full time job of being a chef doesn’t offer much free time, so when he has a day off, he wants to spend it all on the bike. He wanted the frame to be painted to match his older Beat the Clock Cycling kit, which has geometric patterns all over it and while the frame is about a month old, the parts were all bought used. Even those Bontrager Aeolus wheels! In fact, all he’s waiting on is a new stem, painted to match the Ben Falcon-paint job and he’ll clean up that steerer-area asap.
Til then, Josh has been enjoying Los Angeles’ killer road climbs. Yesterday he rode Mt. Wilson and we’re trying to convince him to take on Cloudburst… We’ll see! Even if he doesn’t, that bike will be happy regardless.
Oh yeah, how’s that new Will Bryant-designed Beat the Clock Cycling kit? So good!
Here’s a soft and bright photo from Firefly that’s sure to liven up your Tuesday afternoon. Jordan Low has been killing it over at Hot Tubes Paint!
Gunnar and its parent company Waterford don’t get a lot of attention in cycling media, unfortunately. In fact, I rarely see one here in California or if I do, it’s in passing and there’s no time to shoot photos of it. So when Pat rolled this beaut into Golden Saddle one afternoon, I wanted to do something special with it. I knew exactly what Pat was going for when I saw this bike. It has a body language, a certain air of confidence. It screams, “I can tackle Mt. Lowe on dirt and still be fun descending back down the smooth, paved curves of Highway 2.”
In Los Angeles, big tires and disc brakes can completely alter your everyday rides. We’ve got legit mountains here, breaking 10,000′ but between the ocean and these giants, there are tons of intermittent trails, some of which were cut by cyclists, or hikers, or hobos. These trails can offer more than enough entertainment right out of your front door if you can’t commit to a huge day in the mountains. That became the backdrop for where Pat and I would ride, shoot photos and eventually document this Waterford.
Initially, Pat didn’t want a Waterford. He wanted a Gunnar Grand Disc but after discussing all his add-ons and customization, they recommended he just get a Waterford. Their frames begin at $1,500 and go all the way up to however much accoutrement you’d like to add. Custom geo, check. Pump peg, check. 44mm head tube, check. Disc brakes, check. Custom paint, check. Clearance for a 40mm tire, check. When Pat gave them his list, the team at Waterford got to work and a few weeks later, the frame showed up, ready to rip Los Angeles and beyond.
The build kit is smart, without being flashy. An Ultegra long-cage wraps around the 32t cassette and White Industries VBC cranks make up the right amount of gear inches. King Hubs to HED Belgium + rims, fit with Teravail Cannonball tires keep the bike rolling and a Cambium atop an ENVE post offers some compliance on the saddle. A Thomson stem and 3T bars hold the Ultegra shifters. Yanco outfit this rig with some custom bags, including the DT stash pack and handlebar bag.
Now, Pat’s lived in LA his whole life, but only recently became interested in riding dirt. Perhaps you remember his bright LOW track bike? Yeah, he wanted something a little different than that for his new geared bike. As for his dirt riding, I think he’s got the hang of it.
Thanks for riding, shooting the shit and skidding around loose corners, Pat!
Nick’s Hub and Spoke Cycleworks Track
Photos by Kyle Kelley, words by John Watson
Just as news of the Southern California framebuilder and painter Brian Baylis’ passing made its way to Los Angeles, this bike rolled in through the doors of Golden Saddle Cyclery, immediately grabbing Kyle’s attention. Its owner, Nick Brock races for team Dos Llantas in the San Diego-area. When he wanted a custom frame to fit his obviously very tall stance, he contacted Hub and Spoke Cycleworks in National City who took the important measurements and got to work.
Once the frame was complete, it was painted by Brian Powell, an owner of Hub and Spoke who also paints at Joe Bell’s paint shop. From there, Nick built it up with a Chub hubset on H+Son rims, with a Sugino crankset, FSA cockpit, seatpost and a Fizik Antares saddle.
With NAHBS coming up this week, a bike like this truly embodies what small-time frame and paint shops embody: creativity and customization. You can have all the flash without burning all your cash. Even though we lost Brian Baylis, his legacy lives on with every new builder or painter that pops up in Southern California. If you ever get the chance to see a Baylis in person, take some extra time examining it and you’ll see what I mean.
If you live in the National City area, make sure you swing through Hub and Spoke Cycleworks to check out their shop!
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It’s never too early to think about your next and hopefully lifelong road bike. Speedvagen’s 2016 Road Guidebook is now live on the Vanilla Workshop site. Inside you’ll find various paint options, build kits and other details on how to make a Speedvagen your next, and possibly only road bike.
The 2016 Speedvagen road framesets begin at $3,450 (frame/fork/ISP) for a stock geometry, with full custom beginning at $4,650 (frame/fork/ISP). That’s including one of the many paint options. Custom upgrades are available including carbon seat tubes, full Di2 battery integration, and color integration on components like hubs, stems, headsets, you know, the works.
Also coming in 2016 is the Speedvagen Asia Fit Tour. Check out all the info you need at the Vanilla Workshop.
I’ve got a few bikes in the review queue coming up, but I had to share these two photos… Don’t worry, there’s more to come soon. Now get out and ride your bike this weekend!
Painting for Poppi: A Black Metal AWOL for Ultraromance
Process photos by Dylan Buffington, bike photos by Beth Welliver, words by Erik Nohlin.
Painting a bike is equal parts preparation, painting and cleaning. With a good mise en place, strategy and focus, things will go more smoothly but hardly never 100% according to plan. Especially not if you’re an explorer in paint like me. The outcome of a paint proccess, in my eyes, is much about sticking to your initial vision but be prepared for some professional improvisation. I love to see shows like How it’s Made, Mega Factories or any behind the scenes show and I’d thought should walk you through the steps of my latest paint creation: the over- the-top, worldclass weird, Black Metal informed, Manowar infused Heart of Steel AWOL Comp for our friend @ultraromance (Poppi).
On a crappy phone connection from a desolate south eastern Mojave desert town, the conversation started something like this: (more…)
When it comes to custom steel road bikes, It’s safe to say that Speedvagen produces some exceptional machines. Many of these bikes are “Holy Grails” for their owners, who treat these bikes with the utmost care, while riding them every chance they get. In Los Angeles, those rides can take you from Sea Level to 7,903′ at Dawson Saddle and back in one day. There are few places in the USA where you can do that… And you can finish the evening at a museum or sipping on a cocktail.
Jaybe‘s Speedvagen would inspire anyone to get out on the road and push it as hard and as far as they could. With Campagnolo Record 11-speed, Chris King and ENVE wheels, this machine has more than enough performance to take on any ride in LA…
This particular paint scheme was one of my favorites to come from the Vanilla Workshop last year. There’s just something about the Masashi Ichifuru, or “Ichigo”-designed typography, especially with that color palette.
Eric Bones is an artist. One you may know of through his collaborations with Firefly Cycles in Boston. “The Bones Project” bikes featured a high-contrast black and white design which was almost entirely done with a paint brush and a sharpie. As I said, Eric is an artist and artists need creative outlets so Eric began OCEAN, a team of sorts, focusing heavily on expanding from Boston where Eric is based, to the US and beyond. It might not seem like much, but that’s the point. Not every “team” needs to boast about conquests, some just need to look really, really good.
The Ocean Kit is an eye catcher and when you pair it with this Circle-A painted Cervelo S2 road bike, you’re bound to turn heads.
People of Boston fly west for the winter and I found a whole flock of them this week. One evening while we watched the sun set, I grabbed a few photos of this unique bike against an ombré sky…