Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
It happens every year. Frame builders get the request for a new ‘cross bike and while it’s not necessarily a bad thing, there’s always that one caveat: “can I have it in time for this year’s season?”
Last year around this time, the Mudfoot team was clamoring for their new bikes and one of the rider’s wife, Crystal, really wanted to get one as well. After some thought and a brief conversation with Megan from Moth Attack she decided to support not only a female builder, but an ex-LA frame builder. Megan re-located to Colorado a few weeks back, but her and Crystal stayed in touch.
The docket was easy: discs, 44mm head tube, an english bottom bracket and red paint! Megan delivered on all fronts and Crystal built up her new bike with Shimano Ultegra, Chris King, an ENVE CX fork and Easton parts.
Personally, I’d like to think this is the kind of ‘cross bike most people would want to order currently and It’s one of my favorites I’ve seen this year. There’s something about its size, simplicity and I love the various logo hits on the bike. Great job, Megan and Crystal, ENJOY!
Jordan Hufnagel took a short sabbatical from bicycle frame building to take on his transcontinental motorcycle trip with West America partner James Crowe. Before taking off on the road, or dirt rather, he produced a run of porteur bikes. These bikes may look similar, clad in their matte black with gumwall 650b tires, but each one was specially tailored to his client’s needs and potential uses. Hufnagel has an aesthetic he likes to hit, ever-so precisely.
As I was flipping through Instagram, I noticed an newly-built olive-drab disc bike on Jordan’s Instagram. No less than a few minutes later, in rolls Jason with his Hufnagel.
Jason snagged one up as soon as he saw the pre-order go live and to be completely honest, it’s my favorite one I’ve seen. Having shot a few for the Radavist already, I was impressed with the detailing that went into Jason’s build: clean lines, custom fender brackets, custom racks, custom stem, matte black paint, clean generator routing and that awesome pannier…
See for yourself in the Gallery!
In Los Angeles, a ‘cross bike’s limitations are self-prescribed. You can ride just about everything on one, as long as you’ve got the right equipment and the willpower. Bigger tires and appropriate gear range are paramount. Things like blinged-out componentry are just added bonuses to the spice of life. And in LA, the spice must flow.
Kelli‘s not necessarily new to cyclocross but this is her first legitimate ‘cross rig. Her husband Ty reached out to Aaron Stinner to make a bike that would embody race pedigree but still be at home in the hills and mountains of Los Angeles county and beyond. When she’s not running her women’s cycling team, LA Sweat, she’s trying to take on more off-road riding and this bike is more than enough motivation to do so.
PAUL Components, 3T, and a Luxe Wheelworks Chris King to H+Son Archtype wheel build all compliment the absolutely mind-fucking beautiful AirGlow paint job by Hill Clarke. If you like to geek out on painting procedure and process, make sure you check out Hill’s Instagram.
Before the comments open up, YES, technically the tires are on backwards here and yet the bike didn’t explode upon hitting the dirt. ;-)
It’s not every day that you see a track bike coming from the Boston, Massachusetts shop of Firefly Bicycles. Especially one with such panache. Check out more of this track machine at the Firefly Tumblr.
A bike that’s at home with 2.5″ or 3″ tires, that is curvalicious as a rigid, yet able to accept a suspension fork and sports a mean green coat of wet paint is about to be unleashed upon the singletrack of Ft. Collins thanks to Sklar Bikes. Scott’s bike is looking great. See more at Sklar Bikes.
As a bike shop owner, you see a lot of interesting customer projects roll through the doors. For Kyle, Woody, David and Ty at Golden Saddle Cyclery, it’s this steady influx of unique projects that keeps them engaged in the day to day shop routines. Once and a while, however, something rolls through that catches your eye.
How could you miss it? A purple pachyderm. An Elephant in the room…
The customer acquired this bike in a deal from its original owner, who rode it for a few years. It has a bit of beausage after extensive use. Once he acquired the frame, he began buying components piece by piece. Personally, I like the seemingly random parts including: made in the UK Middleburn cranks, a raw Haulin’ Colin rack, SON Edelux, Berthoud saddle, White Industries rear hub and Nitto cockpit.
If you’re thinking this frame looks familiar, John from Elephant used this platform as a beginning for the National Forest Explorer. They’re strikingly similar, save for the use of cantilevers on this bike, versus disc brakes and that color.
After Woody, the head mechanic completed this build, the guys at Golden Saddle Cyclery fell in love with it… and it’s easy to see why!
Off-road machines like this are so smart and having been a long fan of Ocean Air Bicycles, I was anxious to see how Blue Lug in Japan’s first Rambler build would turn out. So far, so good! Built using Phil Wood, White Industries and a SON generator system, this all-road vehicle is ready for anything. See more at the Blue Lug Flickr.
Photos by Chris Riekert
The thing I admire about bicycle painters and designers in general is the ability to look at life’s struggles, or challenges as inspiration. In competition, it’s easy to get lost in the ferocity of rivalry. You can let it psyche you out, or take it as it comes. Here’s a back-story to this frame:
“Whats the point of racing without rivalry? In 2014, Dan Hughes of @sunfloweroutdoorandbikeshop and Yuri Hauswald (@yhauswald) were introduced as the “Mothra and Godzilla of cycling”. This weekend Dan and Yuri are going head-to-head at the Unofficial Gravel World Championship in Nebraska and to commemorate Dan’s winged persona, @swiznooski, dreamed up this metal-flake clad motif. Good Luck to the guys this weekend! And Yuri, you’re going down!”
See more photos of this insane project below… (more…)
Mark’s Black Cat Gatto Disc All-Road
Photos by Derek Yarra, words by John Watson
Grinduro, the timed segment gravel race in the Sierra Nevada mountains approaches (10.10.2015) and for people like Mark Riedy, it’s the perfect opportunity to get a California builder to construct a dream bike for the event. An race like Grinduro will bring about polarizing opinions regarding what the ideal equipment might be. Some would say a hardtail or a rigid mountain bike, since the descents are technical and the last 12 miles of the course is singletrack.
Others would say a disc “all-road” or ‘cross bike because of the timed road segments and the 20-mile climb. Mark Riedy, Giro’s longtime PR guy, is clearly in the drop bar camp, so he looked to Santa Cruz’s Black Cat Bicycles to build him a bike.
Now, for those of you who know Mark, you can attest to his love of the Gios Torino road frames. They’re classics and Mark is always on the lookout for one in his size. Perhaps this was his motivation when contacting frame painter Keith Anderson, or perhaps he just wanted to have the word “Gato” on his head tube.
I reached out to Mark and asked him what he was trying to accomplish on Grinduro weekend. To which he replied, “I’m riding Grindruo just for fun and to be able to get in a weekend of camping with my family, so it doesn’t matter to me if I win or finish last, but I do want to have the most fun.”
SRAM 1x, Zipp and yes, white bar tape with a white saddle topped off this very modern bike inspired by an iconic classic. A guy who spends most days riding the dry, gravel fire roads of Marin County, Riedy wanted a bike that handled exactly like a performance road bike, but featured clearance for up to 38c tires and disc brakes. For most rides, Riedy runs Continental 28C Gatorskin Hardshell rubber, but for Grinduro he’ll definitely go with something bigger, like a Conti CycloXKing.
See you at Grinduro, Mark! I’ll be on my rigid…
Grinduro still has spots available, so head over to check it out.
Thanks to Above Category‘s Derek Yarra for the photos!
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Rust Never Sleeps on Sofia’s AWOL Touring Bike
Words by Erik Nohlin, photos by John Watson
TRUST ME, I’M A DESIGNER
As a designer of bicycles I try to stay on top of things like material development, new alloys, paint pigment, flakes, pearls, platings and whatnot. It’s in my interest to stay updated in an ever-changing world. What you see on the floor in a bike shop is not just a bicycle with a random color: it’s the result of hundreds or thousands of hours of trial and error behind the scenes at any one man bike shop or huge bike brand with a fleet of designers.
That one color started out as 666 other potential colors and in the end, only one made it. For the one man operation or smaller brand in a well-defined niche it might be easier to do cool and crazy shit to please that one customer with that weird request of a thermochromatic dead matte black that fades to metallic peach with a pride parade pearl to top it off. I design bicycles for a global brand and need to create a bike that pleases a global rider and as you all know, trends and cultural differences around the globe vary, fluctuate and make my day pretty complicated.
I’ll be honest with you: it’s frustrating to rarely ever be able to bring the raddest and weirdest stuff to you. One example is the one off Full Nuke Rainbow AWOL I created for the Transcontinental Race, a bike that almost blew up the internet when John posted it. So much stoke and love was thrown on that bike but the reality is that it would be impossible to produce it, guarantee the surface quality, get a decent price and distribute it to you. Doing rad stuff is easy but mass producing it is a completely different story. So, I try a lot of surface treatments and materials but most often these tryouts, experiments never leave the design studio as more than dirt on my hands, stains on my jeans and once in a while, a painted one off bicycle that I can tell you about.
The Rust AWOL is my wife Sofia’s bike and it used to look quite different. A super glittery rainbow flakey touring bike that was left in the hands of Garrett Chow on a journey to the heart of Death Valley early last winter. The washboard and dirt in Death Valley eat bikes for breakfast and the beat up bike that was returned to her had a couple of scars too many so I promised to bring it back to its “old glory”. The frame is one of the first nickel plated frame samples for the Transcontinental Edition AWOL we did and a perfect canvas to be creative on since the nickel makes it completely sealed for corrosion – ironic isn’t it? Rust is corrosion and in this case impossible to achieve without some chemical magic from a UK paint company called Rustique.
My colleague Barry Gibb had previously used it to create a fantastic surface on a carbon bike and I wanted to try it to, on steel this time. We ordered some paint and decided that Sofia’s nickel plated bike would be the victim for this experiment. The month of June is usually pretty mellow at work (read: not as completely fucking crazy as July and August) and I spent some afternoons in the workshop and paint booth to finish off this creative experiment in an effort to bring real organic life back to a surface that’s dead. In a step by step series on Instagram, I told a transparent story about the process of the #rustawol and here it is and for the first time, a somewhat finished bike. The project was crowned with a Brooks Cambium rust saddle and bar tape where the fabric matches the bike and the vulcanized rubber matches the tan wall tires nicely.
As a last step I gave the Supernova headlamp and the Tubus rack a kiss of iron oxide. The humid and cold San Francisco summer will continue to corrode and oxidize the surface even though it’s been sealed with a clear coat as I surprisingly discovered after picking up the bike today. I learned a ton on this project, got my hands dirty and created a bike that Sofia really seems to like. I love that I sometimes can show you the hands-on process of being a designer at a big brand when 90% of my work never leaves the design studio. Confidentiality keeps us all from sharing what I know a lot of you like seeing and know more about.
Personally, the making-of-dvd in the Indiana Jones DVD box is far superior to the movies themselves and getting dirty is the only way to learn something new.
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