Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
All About the Process: Sturdy Cycles Scrap Pile All Road

It’s always the unintended creations that receive the most attention. That’s the case with this Sturdy Cycles all-road. Tom Sturdy is an instructor at the Bicycle Academy and this bike was intended to be an experiment of sorts. He wanted to show students that building a frame isn’t rocket science and intended to build the bike complete in less than 24 hours. That included painting it. Then, to make it even more interesting, Tom used scrap tubes and pieces of steel that had imperfections of various sorts. That includes crimps, dents and even buckling. In short, this bike is far from perfect and far from the level of craftsmanship Tom and Sturdy Cycles is capable of. Yet, this bike receives loads of attention wherever it rolls. All it takes is a detail-attentive eye to notice the dented and buckled steel.

About the bike itself. Tom wanted to make an all-road bike that was closer to a road bike than a mountain bike. Lots of bikes today align themselves on one side or the other and Tom felt that running a higher volume, lower pressure tire, along with a very flexy frame would achieve “passive suspension” versus relying on other forms of technology making the rounds. Now, this bike mostly takes Tom to and from his job at the Bicycle Academy. Since building the bike, he’s put both it and himself to the test, learning from not only building but riding his creation.

For Tom, this process of making, testing, refining is what building bikes is all about.

May 29, 2017 40 comments
Coming Next Week: all the 2017 Paul Camp Bikes

Not since NAHBS have I seen such a sick collection of bikes in one place. Yesterday I photographed all 11 of the Paul Camp bikes, in great detail. And yeah, as you can see, each bike was to adhere to a red, white and blue palette with builders having the option of a monster cross bike, or a hardtail.Expect a mega gallery next week after the holiday weekend…

May 25, 2017 14 comments
Passing the Torch: Rusby Cycles All-Day Road With Dura Ace

Jake Rusby is a framebuilding instructor at the Bicycle Academy and one that specializes in beautiful fillet brazed construction. In a way, through teaching students this artistry, he’s passing the torch of knowledge to the next generation of framebuilders and since the Bicycle Academy’s student reach is worldwide, his impact will only have positive results in the industry as a whole. This is Jake’s personal bike. It’s an all-day road frame, built with Dura Ace, with a more relaxed geometry when compared to a crit racing machine. Jake wanted a bike he could spend every waking moment on, soaking in the sun in the British countryside outside of Bristol, where he recently just relocated from in London.

What is most impressive about all of this is that Jake painted this bike himself. He wanted the contrast of a single color, with areas of intensity in the details. After masking off dozens of dots, he began the painting process, resulting in a halftone-inspired final product which achieves his intention quite well. Other details I found intriguing are the split seat stay bridge and head badge, both acting as a reflection of the other.

Bikes like this are all about the little details, adding to the overall composition. Hopefully, that’s a message conveyed to the students Jake teaches as well. See more of Jake’s work at the Rusby Cycles website.

May 25, 2017 14 comments
The Bicycle Academy’s Old Skool New School Tom Ritchey 27.5+ Hardtail

Before we jump into the coverage from my visit to Somerset, England’s the Bicycle Academy, I thought I’d share a very special bike. You might recognize this hardtail from the video I shared a few months back. It made its debut in the Tom Ritchey Old Skool New School video. It was built by Tom, while he was at the Bicycle Academy and has been ridden by various guests of the school. This fillet brazed hardtail features some unique cable routing, clean fillet brazing, a clear coat over the raw frame, 27.5+ wheels and tires by Ritchey, Shimano XT components, RockShox Reverb, Pike and Ritchey Bullmoose bars.

If you’re thinking the frame looks a bit small, Tom purposely made it a size medium, hoping to allow a number of people the ability to ride it. The Old Skool New School program is a great idea and this particular project made for a great first round. Look forward to more coverage from the Bicycle Academy this week and even more Old Skool New School news in the coming months.

… and if you haven’t watched the Ritchey video, you really should!

May 22, 2017 19 comments
Adeline and Her Mercredi Cross Bike

Mercredi translates to Wednesday in French, the day of the week when many school children have time off from their studies and are encouraged to play outdoors. I thought that was a very clever and insightful name for Adeline’s framebuilding company. Only a year into building and only three years into riding bikes, this wasn’t the only time Adeline’s perspective impressed me. She’s had an interesting experience with bicycles in that time, many of which have shaped her outlook on not only the industry but what she would like to do with her brand.

Adeline began framebuilding at the Bicycle Academy. A small, yet thorough school that teaches the skills needed to build a frame. Adeline was one of these curious cadets, who signed up and began her first bike. A few months later and Bespoke Bristol landed on the calendar, prompting Shand Cycles to win the Columbus Award. At which point, Shand contacted Andrew from the Bicycle Academy, asking if he had any hopeful students who would benefit from the tubeset. Someone immediately came to mind.

Once Andrew gifted Adeline the tubeset, she rented a small space and was able to begin building frames for her teammates. Only a year later and she too found herself at Bespoke Bristol, where she won the hearts of Columbus and Chris King, prompting them to award her creations.

I had the pleasure of spending a few days with Adeline, where we were able to discuss framebuilding, racing, bike rides and the UK cycling culture. I can’t wait to see where she goes and Mercredi Bikes go this year! If you’re going to Grinduro Scotland, be on the lookout for Adeline on her new MTB she’s building. She’ll be racing against Tom Donhou and Ricky Feather at the event – all in good fun – but I’m rooting for the underdog!

May 17, 2017 12 comments
A Classic Speedvagen with Silver Components

Photos by Bob Huff

Modern steel frames with classic-inspired, silver components are hard to compete with. The latest from the Vanilla Workshop proves just that. This Slate-colored Speedvagen, with Ghost Graphics sports Campagnolo’s Potenza 11-speed groupset, Sim Works bars, Industry 9 wheels and Paul Components quick releases. The build is more suited for longer rides with bigger tires and light wheels. Is this something Speedvagen will offer in the future? Details are foggy at the moment, but for now, let’s check out more crystal clear photos below. (more…)

May 16, 2017 34 comments
Paul’s Shand Stooshie with a Lauf Grit Fork

Paul Errington is part of the Focal Events crew. They put on some of the best events in the UK, like Dirty Reiver and all of these rides have a reputation of being very difficult. His race course ingenuity has undoubtedly inspired his personal bike. Before we jump into the rest of the Scotland reportage, we’re going to take a look at Paul’s beautiful Shand Stooshie all-road bike.

If you can pull your focus away from the Lauf fork, you’ll see a very simple, yet thought out build happening here. The Stooshie is Shand’s do-it-all drop bar bike. You can race cross on it, ride dirt (obvs) and even do some light touring, thanks to the rack provisions. Paul has his set up as a 1x with the Lauf fork and 45mm tires, perfect for absorbing the rough, rocky and rooty trails found on the Isle of Arran, where Grinduro Scotland is taking place.

Paul’s bike is rolling on Halo Wheels, utilizes probably one of the best adaptations of Di2 with the ability to run a long catch, clutch, XTR rear mech with road shifters. It really comes in handy when the road or trail gets steep. This bike has been in the muck, the mud and the inclement weather associated with riding in the Northern UK. Best of all, it looks like it wants more!

May 15, 2017 20 comments
Kevin’s Yipsan Disc All Road

Custom frames, like their owners, are unique. Not to say non-custom bikes or their owners can’t be unique, but there’s a beauty in seeing a bike that’s made for someone’s special physical needs. In Kevin’s case, he’s got a short stature and short legs, making finding a stock bike difficult. Over the years, he’s made his options work, but it wasn’t until reaching out to YiPsan Bicycles that he experienced true bliss on a bicycle. (more…)

May 11, 2017 25 comments
Robin’s Caletti Cycles Touring Bike

Robin from Blackburn always brings the best bikes to Ranger Camp. Over the years, I’ve showcased his steeds, most notably the Santa Cruz Highball drop bar tourer. This year, since our route is mostly restricted to roads, rather than singletrack, Robin brought his Caletti touring bike, loaded with Blackburn bags. Although, calling this a touring bike undersells it entirely. As anyone with a tourer will tell you, these bikes become commuters and occasional trail shredders. Robin’s is no different. He commutes on it, sometimes taking dirt roads and bum trails home. This week, his Caletti will serve as his Ranger Camp bike and a city bike as he and I explore the streets of Bilbao after the Ranger festivities are over.

Some of my favorite details include the segmented fork with a sensible amount of braze-ons, the simple paint, and Robin’s clever hacks like that bell mount. There’s one other ingenious hack that I won’t even point out. Perhaps you’ll notice it…

Today we’re all building bikes, preparing for our 7am roll-out from Madrid, en route to our campground high in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains…

May 4, 2017 50 comments