Category Archives: Shop Visit
Kit builds aren’t Rick Hunter’s thing. You won’t find derailleur hangers ordered from a catalog in drawers, or your every day, run of the mill 44mm head tube waiting en queue for assemblage. Not at Hunter Cycles.
Rick Hunter is one of those builders that makes what I like to call utilitarian art. Utilitarian because each of his bikes are made to tackle one or many jobs efficiently and with a dash of fun. Or the other way around. Art because each bike is unique. Or rather, each run of production frames are unique. Be it a WoodRat, a Cyclo-Cross disc bike or a road frame. Rick will design, fabricate and finish his own cable stops, derailleur hangers and head tubes. There are a lotta hours put into each bike. More recently he’s been working on some feats of engineering and reverse practicality however with his completely insane Bushmaster bikes… (more…)
Brooklyn’s Deluxe Cycles
Words by Wilis Johnson and photos by Cooper Ray (unless noted otherwise)
Deluxe was born from the experience of the mechanics and riders who work in the shop. The business itself is built around building deeper, more intimate relationships with the customers, the suppliers, and everyone down the line. Every bit of the shop has more effort and thought put into it: The focus here is quality over quantity. Being confined to a studio space improves the quality of the work and attention to detail of what is being produced – this is possible without the distraction of the storefront and what that entails. You walk into Deluxe and you realize how intimate the space is. Located in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn, the lofty studio feels more like someones living room than a traditional bike shop.
Repeating Patterns at Porcelain Rocket
Words and photos by Morgan Taylor
Spending a few hours at Porcelain Rocket’s Canadian headquarters, I got a sense of just how much Scott Felter has invested in this business – and in the culture surrounding it. Scott began stitching bags for bikes while living in Banff, at the head of the Tour Divide Route. After a few years working out of a basement in Victoria, BC, he’s been in his current shop in Calgary for three years. On this particular day, Tim was working on a production run of frame bags for Rocky Mountain Bicycles, while Scott and I perused the layers of Porcelain Rocket’s history. (more…)
That shirt. You know the one, or maybe you don’t. It’s what first piqued my interest in San Francisco’s Fresh Air Bicycles, a shop that’s been around for a while (who apparently sold a lot of Softride MTBs), yet was just sold a few years back to a new generation of Bay Area cyclists.
Travis and the dudes at Fresh Air live, breathe and eat dirt riding. With the Headlands at their fingertips and cyclocross always just around the corner, the Team Fresh Air Hunter ‘cross squadron need no excuses to get dirty.
While visiting SF, I swung through to see the guys, buy one of those shirts and take a few photos, which you can enjoy in the Gallery.
Fresh Air Bicycles
1943 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94115
Open Tuesday – Saturday 11AM-7PM
While LOW Bicycles might be known best for their made in San Francisco track bikes, for the past year or so, they’ve begun to develop road and ‘cross frames. Debuted at NAHBS, the MKI road is Low’s first geared bike offering, selling in small production runs and starting as a collaboration with Cadence, a longtime supporter of the brand.
A lot has changed at LOW since my last visit. Andrew hired Michael full-time, who aids in everything from prep to production and finishing. This enables Andrew to focus on welding and keeping up with the ever-increasing demand for frames.
When I was at the shop, Michael was working on one of the LOW MKI ‘cross frames in their new color: safety orange. These frames are being raced by TCB Courier and should be available soon for purchase.
When visiting a longtime friend like Andrew, more time is spend chatting and catching up, but I did get a few photos of the shop, the new frames and his dog, Manny. Enjoy!
If you’d like to pick up a LOW, head to their web shop or email Andrew for availability of their new MKI road and MKI cross frames.
Retail ain’t easy. Especially in the bike industry and it’s not like San Francisco doesn’t already have a large number of bicycle shops already, so if you’re going to start up something new, you better take a unique approach.
City + County Bicycle Co is a new shop in SF. Well, new to me! I’ve known the owner, Jon for a few years and first met him at Box Dog Bikes years back. The shop is located off Clement Avenue, right en route to GGP via the Presidio. If you know the area, you’ll note that it’s intravenous in the vein that is the route to the Golden Gate Bridge. i.e. one of the main access points to the Marin Headlands.
“I don’t have a studio, I have a workshop. I’m not an artist, I’m a fabricator…”
We were talking about the mystique surrounding custom frames and the public’s perception, or in many cases the perpetuation of preciousness associated with “bespoke” frames. Cameron Falconer isn’t an artist, he makes straight forward, utilitarian machines meant to shred. Sure, they’re tailored to fit and Cam’s years of racing and riding influence a lot of their nuances (water bottle cage placement for example) but these are bicycles, not art…
Faster than the Wind at RIH in Amsterdam
Words and photos by Kevin Sparrow
“From riding through the sands in Baghdad to fighting thieves in Istanbul, Kara Ben Demsi ventured all around the world without ever leaving the saddle of his horse” – Rih.
It’s said that the stories of Karl May are the inspiration of the near-century old RIH Sport. And though Demsi is considered a German legend, RIH Sport is a legendary name in the global cycling community.
RIH, in Arabic, means faster than the wind. And RIH Sport racing bikes has lived up to the name. RIH Sport riders have combined for 63 Olympic and World Championship titles dating back to the 1940s. Among them is Gerrie Knetemann – winner of the 1974 Amstel Gold Race and of the 12th stage in the 1975 Tour de France. (more…)
Free Coffee at Heritage General Store
Words and photos by Kyle Kelley
Earlier this year when I was visiting Louisville for NAHBS I met Mike Salvatore, the owner of Heritage in Chicago. I had heard of his operation through the special edition collaborations he’s done with builders like Stinner and Humble, but honestly didn’t know much else about the business. Mike filled me in a little bit on his past, what he is working towards and invited me to stop by for a visit before my flight out of Chicago.
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.