Amy shows us how to load a Straggler with a frame bag and the things you can carry in it.
With the world of ‘cross bikes taken almost completely over by 44mm head tubes, oversized tubing and thru-axles, it’s nice seeing a 1 1/8″ steel fork, 135mm option out there, made from Columbus Zona. Factory Five’s new ‘cross frames are looking good and they only cost $525 USD for a frameset. They’ve got a few sizes in stock now, so head over to check them out.
Cue the speech from Independence Day, mashed up with Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA with a few fireworks and explosions, playing on a bluetooth speaker aboard a Ritchey from the 90’s (any one will do, just not those Lite Beam frames.) That was what inspired the newest from Stinner Frameworks and Golden Saddle Cyclery.
When I returned from Spain with that Monster Cross Crema Duo, rolling on 27.5 wheels and Maxxis tires, Kyle’s eyes opened wide, sparking a conversation. “Do you like those wheels?” Or something of that nature. After a few rides together, he called Aaron at Stinner, just as they were about to get started on his ‘cross bike and told them to hold off on design and construction. The following few days were spent problem solving how to fit that size tire and a traditional 1x crank. It ain’t easy and there isn’t Boost available for road / cross yet, making it difficult to get the chainstay clearance you need.
Why would you want those wheels anyway? See, Kyle and myself enjoy riding our ‘cross bikes on singletrack and dirt roads probably more than racing itself. What is essentially an XC tire fits in with this riding more, especially in LA, where the sandy and loose trails need as much rubber contact as possible. With a tubeless tire, you can run a low pressure and still have a large contact patch. So the 27.5 platform allows that, with some extra cushion too, but it’s nice to have an option to race. That’s what’s so versatile about a bike like this. It’ll fit a 700 wheel with up to a 45mm tire for racing ‘cross or it’ll fit a 27.5″ mtb wheel for thrashing trails and fire roads. The bottom bracket is designed to ride similarly with either wheel size. Coupled with the SRAM 1x system and its 10-42t cassette, you don’t spin out while you’re riding to the trail either. For wheels, I’ve been riding the WTB Horizon Road Plus system on my Firefly on and off, so I wanted to let Kyle get some time in on it too.
So what about that paint? Well, why not? That frame is made in the USA and today is the 4th of July! Stinner’s in-house design and paint team killed it with this one. My mind was blown when I saw this one…
Enjoy your 4th!
“By chance, ten years ago, I interviewed Brian Vernor, a filmmaker based in California who was shooting bike flicks on Super 8 film. It was his seminal but gritty ‘cross feature ‘Pure Sweet Hell‘ which instantly grabbed my imagination and that interview sparked my journey back into cycling, leading deep into the filthy, glorious world of off-road riding and racing.”
Check out more at Grit.cx!
After yesterday’s gallery, I received a number of emails requesting more photos of this bike!
Within yesterday’s epic gallery by Stan Engelbrecht, you might have spotted this blue beauty, albeit covered in a bit of dirt, dust, mud and Apidura bikepacking bags. This Stelbel Nina is something special. Made in Italy from one of the oldest tig welding builders in the world, the Nina is at home on the ‘cross course with 33mm tires as much as it is in the backcountry, rolling on 40mm rubber and unlike many of the frames on the market today, this one comes from a legacy.
Stelbel has arguably brought more to the tig-welding alignment table than anyone else. When Stelio Belletti first founded the company in 1973, there weren’t a lot of builders out there experimenting with tig welding and not just with bicycle frames. Belletti was responsible for improving the chassis for the Grand Prix monster machine, the Honda 500 GP as well as a fuselage for the P19 Scricciolo, a small plane and the vehicle of choice for the Aero Club d’Italia. This knowledge spilled over onto the Stelbel name and to this day, the workshop is creating impeccable examples of tig-welded steel. See more of this beaut in the gallery and for more information on the Nina, head to Stelbel!
Breadwinner’s presence in Japan is huge. At the Gourmet Century Asuke, I saw so many Breadwinners, from the Lolo to the Holeshot, just about every group of riders sported at least one of these made in Portland frames, all built to the same general spec: Chris King everything. This one just looked so good after a morning rain that I had to shoot photos of it.
Our buddy Jeff Curtes is an exceptional photographer and part of the Speedvagen family. Living in Sydney means ‘cross season is here and this season he’s racing for MAAP, an Australian apparel company. When Jeff told me about his new team bike, I requested some photos. It sounded like an awesome build with Di2, a race geometry and no bottle bosses. Yeah…
I can’t even begin to paraphrase Jeff’s words, so check them out below, along with more photos! (more…)
Big tires, disc brakes and thru-axles. Those parts of the equation are pretty standard issue these days when it comes to production bikes. Yet when you want something different. Something special and something with, I dunno, steez, sometimes you just gotta go custom. In the world of ‘cross and off-road bikes, there are many options out there, especially in California yet Nathan contacted Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster to build him his new bike.
Why? Well, Rock Lobsters have a certain appeal, or legacy if you will and having feasted his eyes for years upon Paul’s handywork, when he finally had enough money for a deposit, Nathan could only think of one man for the job…
Granted he didn’t request a standard issue racing machine. He wanted something a little more unique. Again, steez. Fluro yellow, magenta and big. This bike pops after the sun goes down and screams down dirt roads with ease but style isn’t everything. Paul had to design a rigid steel fork with disc mounts and a thru-axle, something he doesn’t do a whole lot of.
Great custom bikes fit not only the rider themself, but their personality and riding style. When you meet Nathan, there’s no doubt that this bike is in fact a chip off the old block.
Kinfolk Bicycles began making track frames in the mid-2000’s. They tapped into the Japanese Keirin community and began working with Kusaka-san to make frames for the US market. Years passed and rider’s interests grew to road and finally ‘cross bikes. Now Kinfolk primarily works with geared bikes and in Japan, they employ Akira, who finds himself in LA usually once a year during Japan’s “Golden Week.”
This year, Akira brought this super slick Kinfolk ‘cross race bike. As you flip through this Gallery, don’t miss that Shimano crank beausage photo. I think that, along with the Paul skewers are my favorite details on this bike.
It’s been fun having Akira in town and I look forward to seeing him in Japan soon!
You can never have too many options for a steel disc ‘cross frameset in my opinion, especially when they come in affordable completes like the new Brother Cycles Kepler. Head over to Brother Cycles for more information!