Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
This One Goes to 12: SRAM Eagle and the Stinner Prototype Hardtail MTB
Golden hour glow!

Who gets the reference? It’s from the following: “These go to 11” – the hilarious excerpt from Spinaltap? Why not just make ten louder?

When SRAM’s new Eagle drivetrain was announced, it received mixed impressions. 12 speed on a mountain bike seems excessive and the pricepoint is pretty alienating. Needless to say, “the internet’s” opinion was divided. Personally, I find new tech when it comes to drivetrains the most interesting and relevant. Anything that can bring more versatility to my current rides is ok by me and hopefully, as we’ve seen in SRAM’s other products over the years, the tech will trickle down into more affordable groups like GX and NX.

So what does it have to do with a Stinner Frameworks mountain bike? (more…)

Aug 15, 2016 29 comments
Matt’s Gunnar Roadie with Ultegra
Matt's Gunnar Roadie with Ultegra

Made in Waterford, Wisconsin at the Waterford factory, Gunnar has something for everyone in their catalog for sometimes half the price of other US-made frames. Their bikes range from off-road tourers, to all-road bikes to classic road bikes like their Roadie model. With clearance for a 28mm tire, stainless vertical dropouts and a geometry fit for either fast rides or even racing, the Roadie is a die-hard road frame. Some people might race on it, but a majority of customers will buy it as their go-to road cycling frameset.

Matt‘s Roadie is built rather uniquely. Sure the Ultegra group is pretty standard, but his Salsa Cowbell bars, Ruffy Tuffy tires and Carradice bag imply something more. That and that funky Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman in the Michael Keaton Batman movie bar tape just adds a bit of character. It’s hard to say where I’ll see Matt on this bike, but knowing him, it’ll probably be somewhere (high) in the mountains with some burritos stuffed into his saddle pack, waving a Mudfoot flag.

Aug 11, 2016 40 comments
Inside / Out at Stinner Frameworks
Tiger Camo Stinner Road

These days, Stinners are everywhere, even all over the pages of this website and while it might feel like some kind of marketing conspiracy, with loads of money exchanged and bathtubs filled with gold coins, I can assure you it’s not. Since I moved to Los Angeles, I see more Stinners on the road and in the trails. Rightfully so, seeing as how their shop is located in Santa Barbara, just 90 miles north of LA and yeah, they make some pretty stellar bikes. (more…)

Aug 10, 2016 22 comments
Six Months of Stoke on the Retrotec 27.5+ Funduro
Six Months of Stoke on the Retrotec 27.5+ Funduro

Say what you will about hardtail mountain bikes. Die hard park rats think they’re antiquated, beginners often times think they’re hard to ride and the most common complaint I hear is that it’s hard getting bucked all over the place without rear suspension. Granted a lot of those common conceptions can have some truth to them, yet with the advent and availability of new rear spacing, dropper posts that work really well and bigger tire sizes, a hardtail can be pretty damn capable and even a lot of fun. For the past six months, I’ve been riding what I consider a new benchmark in hardtail mountain bike design: a 140mm travel, slack and low, 27.5+ hardtail, complete with a dropper post and a 1x drivetrain. This one in particular was built by hand in Napa by Curtis Inglis of Retrotec. So what does the creator of this beast call it? Well, what else? It’s a Funduro.


Aug 9, 2016 45 comments
Urgent but Rad! Kris Henry of 44 Bikes on Ryan Wilson’s 27.5+ Tourer
Frameset Photos by Kris Henry

Urgent but Rad! Kris Henry of 44 Bikes on Ryan Wilson’s 27.5+ Tourer
Words by Kris Henry, photos by Kris Henry and Ryan Wilson

Urgent but RAD! That was the start of John’s email this past April of 2016. Coffee fresh in hand, what followed was a request for commission that instantly caught my attention: A 27.5+ bikepacking frame and fork with all the trimmings for a Mr. Ryan Wilson. Was I interested? Now, I know John. He’s always up to something rad. And I’ve seen a few images here and there of what Ryan’s been up to… More radness. What followed were a series of emails and phone calls with Ryan as we put our heads together, hammered out the details discussing his set up, riding style and terrain he’d be tackling. It would be my job to listen to what Ryan wanted and distill that into what he needed. This wasn’t just any bikepacking trip. This was something different. He’d quit his job of 10 years. Pack this bike with the bare essentials. Point it south and head for an extended stay in Peru. This bike needed to be designed and built to handle the rigors that lay ahead. Of course I was in! (more…)

Aug 8, 2016 17 comments
Golden Saddle Rides: Hufnagel DSC Tiger Camo ‘Cross
Golden Saddle Rides: Hufnagel DSC Tiger Camo 'Cross

Jordan Hufnagel is one of my favorite framebuilders. Or I should say, was one my favorites. After he decided to lay down the torch, he and close friend James Crowe began West America. Together they rode motorcycles to Patagonia and documented the whole journey with 35mm film. Upon returning after a year on the road, the two began fabricating everything from more motos to furniture and eventually, Jordan began his own metal working business. Sometime prior to taking off for Patagonia, Jordan made this frame for Kyle of Golden Saddle Cyclery. Now, I don’t know if the frame was made to specifically pair with this Death Spray Custom fork that Kyle has had hanging on the shop wall, or if it was the plan all along, but soon enough, the two were mated and awaited parts.

Fast forward for literally two years and Kyle was ready to build the bike up, as a result of his Mudfoot Stinner getting side-swiped by a car. Kyle poached some parts and built it up, ready to rip the trails in Los Angeles and up until his Red, White and Blue Stinner 27.5 ‘cross bike, it’d been his go to bike for dirt riding. With a prototype 44RN ‘cross ring, SRAM Force 1x, Paul Minimotos, Chris King and ENVE bits, it’s a pretty tricked out build, but the last piece of the puzzle just landed from Japan.

Sim Works‘ Pop Up at Golden Saddle Cyclery this weekend will have literally everything from the brand’s catalog in stock and in person, including these Homage tires in Michelin green. Made by Panaracer, these tires measure 43mm on a rim like the H+Son Archtypes and even wider on a more modern carbon disc rim. They set up easily tubeless, on a tubeless rim and with the center file tread pattern, roll fast on pavement with the side knobs adding extra traction on loose corners. They are available in 650b or 700 diameters.

This bike has had a long life in the build racks at Golden Saddle Cyclery but in its short time being built up, has lived a pretty exciting life, as evident by the dirty fork crown.


Visit Golden Saddle Cyclery in Silverlake, Los Angeles and follow them on Instagram.

Aug 5, 2016 55 comments
Rie from Sim Works’ Hunter Cycles Woodrat 27.5″ MTB
Rie from Sim Works' Hunter Cycles Woodrat 27.5" MTB

Designing and building frames for shorter riders, particularly women can be quite challenging. You’ve got to ensure there is enough standover and leg extension without compromising the feel of the geometry too much. There aren’t a lot of production frames out there for 5′ tall women either, forcing many people to look to the custom market.

Rick from Hunter Cycles has had a long relationship with Sim Works, a component brand in Nagoya, Japan. So when Rie from Sim Works moved to Portland to open their US-distribution, Rick wanted to surprise her with a new mountain bike. There are, after all, a plethora of trails to be ridden in Oregon and California.

While visiting Santa Cruz en route to Los Angeles, Rick surprised Rie with this Japanese curry-colored Woodrat 27.5″ hardtail. Santa Cruz locals, X-Fusion sent over their Sweep fork and dropper post to offer all the squish needed for this rowdy hardtail. WTB’s KOM rims, laced to XT hubs with Trail Boss 2.4″ tires would give Rie plenty of confidence while cornering. The Praxis works Turn 1x MTB cranks with a SRAM GX derailleur keep those wheels turnin’. The SRAM Level TL brakes and GX shifters round out the build with the Sim Works Ronda Stem with the Smooth Booth Hunter bars would give her the control she needs.

Overall, this is a jammin’ bike and Rie has been loving it here in Los Angeles on our dusty trails! Don’t worry Rick, we’re taking care of her down here!

Aug 4, 2016 17 comments
Golden Saddle Rides: 44 Bikes 27.5+ Rigid MTB – Ryan Wilson
44 Bikes 27.5+ Rigid MTB

Golden Saddle Rides: 44 Bikes 27.5+ Rigid MTB
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

As I was planning for this trip to South America I started thinking about what bike would be ideal to tackle a broad range of terrain and would be comfortable over the long haul. I went back and forth through a number of options, but I never quite found a stock option that fit all of my criteria (and fit me). I knew I wanted a rigid steel frame that could fit a plus sized tire, have loads of mounts, thru-axles, ample mud clearances, and a good amount of space for a frame bag. I started to focus in on B+ as the happy medium between 29 and 29+. I also liked the versatility of being able to put on a standard 29er wheelset at some point in the future without it throwing the geometry way out of whack. (more…)

Aug 3, 2016 50 comments
An All-City Duo from Saddle Drive – Jarrod Bunk

Photos by Jarrod Bunk, words by John Watson.

While at Saddle Drive, Jarrod met up with Patrick and Nate, two All-City owners to shoot their bikes. Versatility is the name of the game here, with Patrick’s All-City Mr. Pink built on Zipps with Onyx Racing hubs and 32mm dirt tires. He’s built this “road” bike up with Force 1×11 as well. Meanwhile, Nate Choma’s All-City Spacehorse is a straight forward light tourer build with Hplus son TB14s, a Swift bag, Paul Mini Motos, Brooks Cambium and a SON Edelux lamp powered by a Shimano dyno hub.

These two bikes are ready for a fun weekend of dirt riding in California’s most excellent Sierra mountains.


Follow Jarrod on Instagram.

Aug 1, 2016 17 comments
The New Bike Models from Salsa, Surly and All City at Saddle Drive – Jarrod Bunk

Editor’s note: Jarrod recently attended Saddle Drive, Quality Bicycle Product’s outdoor showcase for their forthcoming products. This included components, accessories and complete bicycles from brands like Salsa, Surly and All City. Jarrod spent two days there, photographing new components on day one and on day two, complete bikes. Here’s that gallery.

The New Bike Models from Saddle Drive
Words and photos by Jarrod Bunk

Northstar at Tahoe is the perfect venue to showcase product, for day two I set aside most of my day between seminars to shoot some of the new bikes from Salsa, Surly and All City, Including the new BigBlock, Warbird Carbon/Alloy and Woodsmoke 27.5+. If I could I would’ve stayed the rest of the week just to be able to swing a leg over all of the other bikes. Check out the gallery for some of my favorites.


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Jul 29, 2016 44 comments