Category Archives: Austin
Jonathan’s S-Works Epic 29r Burry Stander Edition
Jonathan's SWorks Epic 29r Burry Stander Edition

When South African, World Cup champion Burry Stander suffered a tragic death on a training ride in 2013, Specialized lost not only one of their riders, but one of their family members. To honor his death, they released an S-Works Epic 29r under their Specialized Projects line.

Based on their FACT World Cup geometry, this flashy frame is covered in a sparkly orange paint, adorned with African art and features a graphic inspired by the South African flag and Stander’s unique personality. The resulting product makes for an orange blur that glows in the late-afternoon sun (and is rather hard to photograph).

As far as tech is concerned, this S-Works Epic frame features a FOX/Specialized remote Mini-Brain with AUTOSAG, pushing 95mm of travel and a Rock Shox Sid Brain. Built with Sram XO1 and rolling on Roval Control SL 29 with Maxxis Ardent gumwalls set up tubeless, this thing is ready for blast off.

While I’m sure it’d take a while to truly grasp what this frame represents, Jonathan has taken quite a liking to it. All I can say is damn, look at those chain stays!

Feb 23, 2015 19 comments
Saila Bikes’ Titanium Frames Are Made in Austin
Saila Bikes: Handmade in Austin Titanium Frames

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.

Feb 2, 2015 8 comments
Chris’ Davidson Impulse Road with Campy 10-Speed
Chris' Davidson Impulse with Campagnolo 10 Speed

In Seattle, a local staple has closed its doors. Back in September of last year, Elliott Bay Bicycles, home of Davidson Cycles, shut down. Luckily the in-house brand of frames, made by hand since 1973, by Bill Davidson lives on.

Even though Davidson is a Seattle-based framebuilder, his work can be seen from coast to coast, from vintage steel to modern composite. Although Bill only currently offers road frames, he makes them in a variety of materials. As a Davidson customer, you can chose between composite, steel or titanium, all of which are done in house. While the modern bikes have their own character, there’s something about a frame from the late 80’s and early 90’s. They all have a certain finesse that’s harder to achieve these days with modern materials.

This particular frame was most likely made in the mid to late 1980’s, if the 1″ threaded steerer and internally-lugged unicrown fork is any indication. Chris scored it off eBay as he was looking for a traditionally lugged frame to kick around town on. Fit with a mix of Campagnolo 10-speed, the bike looks like a classic road from the 80’s, yet has the technology from a modern road group.

Bottom line, she’s a looker. See more in the Gallery.

Jan 26, 2015 20 comments
Benedict’s Romantical Clockwork Bikes Dirt Droop 29’r
Benedict's Romantical Clockwork Bikes Dirt Droop 29'r

Yes, that says “dirt droop”, rather than “dirt drop.” You see, there are magical and medicinal qualities to the fabled “LD” stem – pardon the acronym, we don’t need to spell it out for you.

Benedict, aka Poppi, aka @UltraRomance is a wild one. One that cannot be tamed by modern ideologies, or technologies for that matter. His Clockwork Bikes frame is a time capsule of the old days of yore when men would gather or hunt for their food in the woods. Even when something appears to be modern, it’s executed in a way that harkens back to the early days of klunking. Disc brakes? He slices fresh mushrooms on them and truthfully, he only uses them to stop for a tanning session. The throwback version of the narrow wide chaingrings is just a “narrow narrow” ring. An outer “bash guard” ring pressed up against an inner ring with a spare “rabbit” personal massager holding it in place. Even his “marsh mud” tubeless setup is pulled from nature. Literally…

(more…)

Jan 20, 2015 44 comments
Cross Nats Were Cancelled So We Threw Our Own Event
Podium!

Sunday morning came faster than I had anticipated this week. With all of the Cross Nats madness engulfing my town of Austin, I found myself chasing my friends around bars, drinking until 2am, or at least staying up until then, catching up and watching movies at our now AirBnB home for wayward cyclists.

Anyway, I awoke Sunday, to Jeremy Dunn – who wrote a recount at the Athletic – rapping on my door, saying, “dude, you’re missing the biggest news of the year!” “nats is cancelled!”, with emphasis on that word, ‘cancelled’…

(more…)

Jan 15, 2015 24 comments
The 2015 Cyclocross National Championships in Austin
Lean

Even Disappointment is Bigger in Texas

There’s a lot to be said about the events that occurred on Sunday morning here in Austin, all of which have been stomped to death elsewhere, so what I’ll say is, for a race that was almost killed off, this was one of most beautiful and challenging courses I’ve ever witnessed. That’s coming from someone who has never traveled overseas, of course, but still.

Look, Austin is a growing city, trying to keep things “weird” and maintain its small town vibe, while it’s bursting at the seams with new construction and lots of new, self-important money. Events like SxSW, ACL and Fun Fun Fun Fest have been destroying the same parks over and over again, so when people see their beautiful Zilker and its hillsides being “destroyed”, they tend to overreact. Especially when they’re not briefed as to what “cyclocross” is.

I can say, It upsets me that this is what the ‘cross world will forever remember us by, not for the ripping course and supportive local scene. We all love cross and it kills us just as much as it kills you. Anyway, onto the story…

For the past week, I’ve been figuring out how to document this event and let me tell you, it was a lot easier before the organizers changed the course up. I had spots for each lap and ideas about how to tie in the women’s and men’s races, all of which was out the window when Sunday’s race was cancelled and the course underwent major work, eliminating many of the vignettes I had planned.

Shooting ‘cross isn’t easy, but it sure is challenging and as a photographer, I learn something new each time. Having raced on Wednesday, I felt like I had a good understanding of where to go and when. Throughout the entire day on Monday, unridable mud slowly transformed into 100% hero dirt. The lines were worn in and even the most technical section – a ribbon of off-camber mud-gutter with a 10″ drop off into one of the old course’s lines – was ridable. For most anyway.

At the end of the day, I experimented, caught some moments and pulled together one of my favorite galleries to date. I hope you enjoy… and remember, Austin loves ‘cross, let’s try to forgive and forget.

Jan 13, 2015 44 comments
Face Plants and Frito Pies at the Crash Nationals Night Race
Switch backs

Face Plants and Frito Pies at the Crash Nationals Night Race
Photos by Gideon Tsang, Kevin Sparrow, Chris Lee and John Watson
Words by John Watson

When the 2015 Cyclocross National Championships (R.I.P.) were announced here in Austin, our local club, Beat the Clock Cycling and I decided to throw a bandit race out in the woods on the far East side of town, away from all the sanctioned races on Thursday night. We wanted it to be technical and tough, and best of all, at night.

(more…)

Jan 12, 2015 7 comments
A Sunny First Day at the 2015 Cyclocross National Championships
Tailwind

Over the past few days, with all the events that came to Austin surrounding the 2015 Cross Nats, it’s easy to guess that I’ve shot a lot of photos. I’ll do my best to work them into various galleries, each with themes. Or something like that…

The first day at Cross Nats was not nearly as warm as previous days. One day, it’s 60º and the next, 30º. Granted, it was still sunny on the course. As both a racer and a documenter of this event, I felt that Wednesday captured a different energy than I’ve experienced so far.

That energy lies in the camaraderie of racing with your peers. Whether your age group, or the cult-like following of zipping around on a singlespeed bike – which is the most hysterical hole shot to ever witness – 130+ racers spinning super fast, going half the speed of a “normal” holeshot. Whatever it is, people were stoked to race en masse and anytime people are having fun, I’m into it.

For me, shooting these past two days have solidified how I want to shoot the Pro men’s and women’s races… See a selection from day one in the Gallery!

Jan 10, 2015 8 comments
Tomii Cycles: Scott’s Tourer
Tomii-tourer

One of the first Shop Visits of 2015 on the radar over here is Tomii Cycles’ new workshop and the best news is, it’s located only a few miles from the office. Nao and his family moved to Austin at the end of the summer and Scott’s touring frame is the first bike to be made here in Texas. Tourers are usually viewed as utilitarian machines, until you see a bike sculpted like this.

See more of Scott’s tourer at Tomii Cycles’ Flickr.

Jan 6, 2015 2 comments