One of the highlights of trips like this is bumping into people whose work you’ve admired and being able to see the fruits of their labor in person. For me, finally meeting Matthew of Saffron Frameworks at the Karoobaix was one of these moments. Matthew’s work is clean, precise and artful, as embodied in this disc all road bike, built especially for the Karoobaix. (more…)
I’m here in South Africa, documenting the Karoobaix, a 400km race through the Karoo Desert and naturally, while here, I’ve been documenting a few bikes from the event. While I’m compiling photos from the race itself. The first bike is Stan’s Mercer Bikes…
Stan is the organizer of the Karoobaix and the Tour of Ara, both races explore the vast Karoo desert outside of Cape Town. For South Africans, there are enough mountain bike races, but no dedicated “gravel” races, where dropbar exclusivity looks to separate these races from other, XC MTB-oriented stage races like the Cape Epic.
This bike was made by a South Africa builder named Mercer Bikes. Stan wanted an all-road bike, complete with rear rack mounts, clearance for big tires and a beautiful custom rack, which utilizes the face plate drilling of the Thomson stem. Stan then modified a bag he found online to fit on this race. While the rack is one of the most unique of its kind I’ve ever seen, by far, my favorite detail is the most low-fi, the amazing hand painted decoration by local artist Black Koki.
While there’s much more to come from my time in South Africa, including my Karoobaix Reportage, I wanted to give you something to whet your appetite in the meanwhile…
Yes, those astute readers of this website will recognize this bike. Kyle photographed it at Grinduro Scotland already, along with the bikes of other builders. It was the only mountain bike in the bunch and it coincidentally won the People’s Choice award at Grinduro Scotland, which is why it’s here in California right now. Adeline makes Mercredi Bikes in the UK. Her torch time is usually spent on road and ‘cross bikes, but this mountain bike was her first, in terms of building and the first MTB she’s owned. A serious cyclocross racer, it didn’t take much for Adeline to adjust to racing this mountain bike at Grinduro, where she won. I’ve always been of the opinion that riding mountain bikes will enhance your ‘cross skills and she’s quickly finding that to be true. (more…)
Listen up, if you’re in the market for a US-made “all road” or “g-road” bike, tune into this post right now. Breadwinner Cycles have been working hard on a limited edition frameset, along with Chris Igleheart. These framesets have a classic, segmented, Igleheart fork. Chris Igleheart arguably created the segmented fork, so this is a chance to own a piece of classic cycling design, with the modern performance of a Breadwinner. These bikes are sold as a complete only and start at $6395 as shown. As with every Breadwinner, you can add as many custom options as you’d like. Simply head to Breadwinner to see more information.
The Tomii Cycles CANVAS “all-day” production road bikes are finding their way to new owners as we speak, with the latest being built up at Mellow Johnny’s by Jonathan. This build in particular checks all the boxes, while keeping to the CANVAS’ mantra of being a fast, long distance bike with the ability to pack a few items for the journey. This is a credit card tourer’s dream bike for a route like the Pacific Coast. See more at the Tomii Flickr!
Available in either Columbus Zona 4130 alloy steel or 7005 aerospace aluminum alloy tubing, the Weis Hammer Track is a race-tested machine, fit for the velodrome, alleycats or track crits. These framesets feature an asymmetrical rear triangle with the extra stiff, proprietary designed Speed Stay driveside chainstay, ensuring direct power transfer from the pedals to the pavement. Pricing starts at $1250.00 for the Steel Frameset and the Aluminum Frameset comes in at $1450.00. Check out more information at Weis.
Over here in the wild wild west, people build their Space Horse discs up in all kinds of ways. From dirt drops, to upright Nitto Albatross bars, to flat Bullmoose and everything in between, these bikes are incredibly versatile commuters and tourers but perhaps Kyle’s is one of the most unique builds I’ve seen. Sure, it’s got 27.5″ wheels, with Maxxis Refuse tires, Salsa dirt drops, Sim Works stem, Sim Works post, Sim Works Paul Klampers, Sim Works Paul skewers, a Berthoud saddle, a SON hub, White Industries Cranks, Camo Cinelli tape, Velocity Cliff Hanger rims, Pass and Stow rack and Gevenalle shifters, but the thing that was the veritable cherry on the cake, or milkshake, or whatever is the rudeboy rockabilly Outer Shell rack bag.
How can you look at this bike without seeing that loud-ass leopard print?!
Finding a way to describe bikes is one of my favorite parts of this whole process and usually my initial reaction is the way to go. With this bike, I wanted to fight the rockabilly label so bad, yet it just fits. It’s like a pair of creepers at a Cramps show. In fact, it’s like a bike Poison Ivy would ride. Kyle, you’ve really outdone yourself with this one.
If you want a custom build like this and live in Los Angeles, hit up Golden Saddle Cyclery.
Things don’t always go as planned. That’s what I have to tell myself all the time. Last winter, Clayton from WTB and I planned on doing the Tahoe Rim Trail, the week of Interbike, not with any political agenda in mind, just that it worked for both of our schedules. It was the only week where neither of us had anything penned in our calendars.
While you can do the TRT on a rigid bike, you’ll probably have more fun on at least a hardtail. Clayton’s route includes a lot of singletrack on the eastern side of the lake and like everything up there, it can be rowdy at times. I planned on bringing my Stinner Frameworks, with a few component upgrades, which would make the long days and high elevation gain a bit easier. All I needed were some bags.
I’ve been using Porcelain Rocket bags for quite a while now and while my trusty frame bag fits my road or cross bikes, even my 44 UTE quite well, it wouldn’t cram into my hardtail. Around the time I was planning for this, Scott from Porcelain Rocket launched his sealed waterproof bags, with the first special color offering being “Prolly Gold,” or Coyote as the rest of the world calls it. I was honored and slightly amused at the playful nod to my obsession with various shades of tan, so I reached out to Scott, with the emphasis on the byline: nothing special, just want to buy a bag. (more…)
We’re all fanboys of cycling and our heroes depend on accolades ranging from athletic prowess to straight up style. My guess is, Sean from Team Dream looks at the early 90’s era of Lemond’s Team Z with a bit of the latter. Their bright, tri-tone fade bikes caught the eyes of everyone tuning into the Tour in that era. Fluoro was and still is, all the rage in pro cycling. Sean loved the Team Z livery so much that he even painted his Stinner roadie as an homage to its design, hoping one day to finally add an actual Team Z bike to his stable.
Last month, magic happened. Our good friends Mick and Ave were at the Encino Swap meet when low and behold, Éric Boyer’s Team Z LeMond 1992 Tour Bike sat there with a price tag on it. Unbelievably, it was in Sean’s size and within his budget, even after opening the new Cub House space drained almost all of his assets. Hey, retail spaces cost real money to open up.
As for the bike itself, it came from a renown collector who apparently had too many classics piling up and decided to let this bike go. He claimed that this is the bike Éric actually raced during the 1992 Tour and for the most part, it remains as-raced. For Sean, this was a dream come true and for me, getting to document such a pristine example of a Team Z was a pleasure.
I’ve long admired the work of Rick Hunter, yet have never been able to get ahold of one in my size. Especially since he has closed his order queue. My thoughts were, one day a frame would pop up in my size and I’d have to swoop on it. That’s what happened, in a nutshell, when I drove up to Chico, California to hang out with Paul Component Engineering for a few days. The trip coincided with the recent Paul Camp, a media gathering at the Paul shop, featuring eleven bikes, built by select framebuilders, all around a joint theme: a monster cross or mountain bike. Oh, and the bikes had to use the same color scheme: red, white and blue. As a group, these bikes were marvelous and I had a blast both riding and photographing them, especially this very frame… (more…)