Category Archives: Shop Visit
With a number of high-end component manufacturers and brands to choose from, I find it helpful to narrow the decision by knowing where and how the products are made. I’ve ridden the Schwarzwald Giro the last three years and each year I’ve wanted to visit the Tune factory, but never could until just a few weeks ago.
The story of Tune started in 1988, when Uli Fahl lived in Munich. He wanted to lighten his mountain bike and began prototyping parts in his kitchen. In 1989, the company was established and Tune’s first product, a lightweight quick-release skewer, was born. Fast forward to today and Tune has a portfolio of different lightweight components for road and mountain bikes. And now, nestled on the edge of the Black forest, it’s near some of the best testing grounds in the world.
Cycling isn’t a new thing for Oakley. As a company, they didn’t see a potential market and invent a legacy or shift marketing dollars in order to tap into it. From supporting Greg Lemond back in the day to working with Mark Cavendish on modern eyewear. They’re an iconic staple heavily vested in creating not only performance eyewear for professional athletes, but supporting scenes and dare I say cycling’s outlying “cultures.”
Their In Residence spaces are designed around a specific use or program. It began in Los Angeles with a Studio, which centered around the art surrounding LA skateboarding and has now moved onto London, where the In Residence Workshop operates as a hub for cyclists.
Nestled on Exmouth Market, a small one-way street that shuts down to vehicular traffic at night for the pubs and restaurant patrons to enjoy, the Workshop is an ideal pre or post-ride meet up. There’s coffee by Prufrock, exhibitions by Spoke London, free Seabass Cycles-operated mechanics area, maintenance workshops with the London Bike Kitchen, weekly rides by East London Fixed, movies by the Bicycle Film Festival and yes, free wifi.
For over 25 years Chico, California has been the home base for Paul Component Engineering. During the Speedvagen Fit Tour we swung by to check in on their operations and to get a sense of what the team, the city of Chico and Paul Price himself are all about…
While en route to Eroica California, we took a pit stop by American Cyclery in San Francisco for some last minute vintage componentry. You know, essentials like 14-28 freewheels, toe straps, toe clips, bar tape and bottles. There were a lot of bikes that needed to be built up for Eroica, each requiring necessary minutiae.
American Cyclery has two shops across the street from each other. One is a bit larger and has mostly new, modern bikes for sale, while the rafters are filled with vintage mountain bikes ranging from Cunningham to Steve Potts. The other is almost entirely vintage road and track bikes, with various bits of cycling memorabilia strung about.
The real honey hole in AC is the basement where the owner Brad keeps all of his various cycling publications. Ranging from the original Fat Tire Flyer zines to his old newsletter, the Bicycle Trader.
We only had a few minutes at American Cyclery, but I liked what I saw and can’t wait to return with a bit more time to shoot some of Brad’s amazing bicycles. Check out a few quick photos in the Gallery.
The Long Haul with Humble Frameworks
Words and Photos by Kyle Kelley
A lot of people asked me why I was flying into Chicago for NAHBS this year when the show was another 5 hours away in Louisville, KY. Well… the answer was easy for me. I wanted to get the party started up north and keep it going all the way down south. There were friends to see, hot dogs and pizza to eat, bike shops to visit and dogs to be walked (my dog lives in Chicago). And last but not least I wanted to spend time driving down Interstate-65 through my home state of Indiana with Michael Catano from Humble Frameworks.
Sacha White and the Vanilla Workshop has been around for over a decade and in that time, they’ve shaped what it means to be not only a frame builder in the US, but what it takes to be a successful brand. Whether it’s a custom, hand-built by Sacha, Vanilla frame or an in-house production Speedvagen, you’re going to get the best frame possible.
The growth of a brand from an idea on social media to a brick and mortar store is always inspirational. For Portland, Oregon’s the Athletic, their brand began with a simple idea; designing socks, and has transformed into an entire retail space nestled in NorthWest Portland. In the few years the brand has existed, they’ve released dozens of designs online. Their most notable being a pair of turquoise 6″ tall socks embroidered with the PDX airport’s carpet pattern.
While their PDX Airport Socks might be their most famous work, the Athletic has worked with a number of small companies, as well as cycling teams to create that last essential piece of their cycling wardrobe. While most of their stock just so happens to be, you guessed it; socks, a lot of what the Athletic is doing reaches beyond that.
As the name implies, they are showcasing a particular façade of sports. Not necessarily the most current team’s rankings or franchise gear, but the art and culture that is inspired by athleticism. With zines, posters, bags, jump ropes and even a few pairs of Nike shoes on display, the Athletic’s storefront is more of a gift shop for the sporting enthusiast than it is a standard-issue sock store.
See some photos of their space in the Gallery and swing through their shop if you find yourself in Portland, or browse their stock online.
925 NW 19th Ave
M-Fri 12pm – 6pm
Sa-Sun 12pm – 5pm
For years I’ve admired the Vanilla and Speedvagen dropout design and yesterday, I finally got to visit their home at the Vanilla Workshop in Portland. While I work on the photos of the space and the bikes, I’ll share with you a photo I took of an in-progress Vanilla road bike.
Expect more to come…
On the eve of NAHBS, Zipp invited a handfull of journalists to visit their facilities in Indianapolis, Indiana. Back in 1988, Zipp first launched their products with a disc wheel at Interbike, which back then was in Anaheim, California. Over the years, Zipp has stayed true to their roots, constructing both disc wheels and aero sections by hand in their facility.
Having moved from Speedway to Indianapolis a few years back, Zipp’s facilities themselves are far from space-aged, yet the technology used to cut, mould and form their carbon fiber aren’t that dissimilar from military-grade carbon facilities. Everything is precise, clean and for most of the process, done in secret.
While Zipp will gladly open their doors to media, a lot of the how’d they do that remains a secret.
Austin has a certain magnetism when it comes to framebuilders relocating here from Boston. Icarus, Tomii Cycles and now Saila Bikes have all made Texas their new home, bringing with them their successful framebuilding practices.
Lauren Trout began working at Seven Cycles, where she cut, prepped, welded and finished frames over the course of her employment there. If you’re going to learn how to work with titanium, Seven ain’t a bad place to learn. At some point, Lauren decided it was time to work for herself and began Saila Bikes. Specializing in titanium road, track, touring and cross frames.
Saila’s shop is nestled in an industrial complex a few miles from the Radavist HQ on the East Side of Austin. Inside her roughly 600 square foot space, Lauren has set up shop over the past few months and is currently building a queue.
I swung by Saila after all the Cyclocross Nats buzz had simmered and photographed Lauren working in here space, as well as a complete cross frame. More on that to come…
Saila’s frames begin at $2,400 for titanium and $1,300 for steel. Find out more information at Saila Bikes.