Category Archives: frame builders
Steve Potts’ Personal Titanium All Road Bike

Jumping back a bit here, to this Steve Potts that was on display at the Chris King Swarm event in Bend

Bikes like this stir the turd that is cycling purists’ perceptions about a lot of things. Take for instance, what the definition of “comfort” means, and truthfully, there is no finite, objective definition of the word “comfort.” Look at everyone from Grant Petersen to Coppi and you’ll see various approaches to cycling fit and enjoyment. Some road racers are more comfortable with enormous stems, slammed to the head tubes. Endurance bikepackers and record breakers often prefer the aero TT-style bar extensions for long hours on the bike. Meanwhile, even in mountain biking, bike fit and comfort varies from 110mm drop stems to 35mm ill lil shorty stems. What I’m trying to say is this is Steve Potts‘ personal titanium all-road bike and this is comfortable to him.

Now I have no idea how old Steve is, but he is one of the original 1970’s Repack renegades who is largely responsible for the sport known as “mountain biking.” He’s been building for over 35 years and to this day, develops some of the most intriguing designs I’ve seen to date. At first glance, this bike might look “weird” but when you lower your broad scope and refine your vision, you can see some truly unique and beautiful details here. Bear in mind, Steve’s fit is probably different than yours, and if you’re like me, I wonder what this bike would look like with a more race-fit geometry and sizing. Even the fork is a thing of mystery. Ask Steve about it next time you see him, he rambled off so many engineering numbers to me that I could barely wrap my head around his design process. In short, it flexes just enough to make even the most washboarded roads a little more comfortable… Hell, when I’m Steve’s age, I hope I’m still riding and I hope my bike looks like this!

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Follow Steve Potts Bicycles on Instagram.

Jun 22, 2018 12 comments
Shige and His Monotone Sklar Monster Cross

Shige is in town for the Sim Works pop-up at the Cub House. Normally, he works at Circles, the bike shop that created Sim Works in Japan. His job is to work in the “custom lab” at the shop, where various frame builders display their creations and the Circles customers can choose components and frames to make their dream bike. Remember our Shop Visit? Circles is a beautiful shop!

After the Chris King Swarm event, Shige made his way slowly down to Los Angeles, where we rode bikes and I shot his Sklar Monster Cross, which as the name implies, fits a massive 2.2″ 27.5 tire. The rest of the build is quite balleur, so excuse the excessive bling, but when you’re in the business of selling custom bikes for Circles, your bike has to look this good!

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Follow Shige on Instagram, Sim Works on Instagram and Sklar on Instagram.

Jun 12, 2018 17 comments
Golden Saddle Rides: Ryan and His Avery County Cycles Light Tourer

It’s always fun to see projects like this unfold. A few years back, Josh from Avery County Cycles built this 650b light tourer up for a customer, who returned it shortly after due to it not fitting the size tire they wanted to ride. It’s a bummer for a builder to deliver a product that doesn’t please their client, but it happens. For a while, Josh just kept the frame as it hung in his shop. Eventually, Josh decided to close Avery County, and posted the frame up on his Instagram with a note saying it’s for sale.

Ryan is a customer at Golden Saddle and a regular. You’ll often find him ripping around on his Ritchey or hanging out at the shop on a Saturday afternoon. When he expressed an interest in building up a light tourer, Kyle showed him the Avery and they made it happen. Ryan built this bike with a mindful component selection, ranging from the rare Paul Component Van Halen Mini-Motos, to a Pass and Stow rack, Sinewave Beacon light, running from a SON hub and various other tried and true components. He wants to take this bike on a tour this summer, once he can get some time off work, but for now, he takes it all over the dirt roads surrounding this bustlin’ city.

Builds like this are really special, especially with the backstory on this frame.

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If you want a custom build like this and live in Los Angeles, hit up Golden Saddle Cyclery.

Jun 11, 2018 29 comments
Join Us at the Vanilla Workshop Build-Off

The concept, parties involved and backdrop for this event is great!

A one-night bike show and party featuring 6 unique Speedvagen builds that will determine Speedvagen’s next Ready Made model. Join us for tours of The Vanilla Workshop, drinks, food, and to vote on your favorite build. See all the details at the Vanilla Workshop’s Facebook!

Builds from:
@TheVanillaWorkshop, @GoldenSaddleCyclery, @PrettyDamnedFast, @TheAthletic, and @Mcfetridge

Presented by:
@chriskingbuzz , @whiteind, @paulcomponent, @philwoodandco, @Simworksusa, @SunandAir, and @thevanillaworkshop

Jun 8, 2018 1 comment
Wade’s Vulture Cycles Klunker

Wade from Vulture Cycles is one rad atavist. While he and I had never formally met before, I’ve long admired his work. Last year, we saw his travel bike and this year while up in Bend, Oregon at the Chris King Swarm event, I met Wade formally and shot this Vulture Cycles Klunker, modeled after a 1938 Colson Imperial. Now, klunkers are not supposed to be perfect, so turn off your detail-vision, and put on your shred spectacles.

Wade made this frame from Tange Ultra Strong MTB tubing, which he shaped and bent to fit his precedent. It was built around a Morrow hub that Cameron Falconer handed off to him years ago. Fresh Air Cycles, Travis from PAUL’s old shop, had the hub and Cam bought it from Travis, before handing it off to Wade. Remember Travis’ Falconer klunker-inspired MTB? The rest of the parts Wade had “laying around” like all builders and makers do, including the 1980’s Ashtabula forged steel cranks – who coincidentally made tons of components for Schwinn back in the day – and a S&M Redneck stem. The pedals are Suntour XC Pro and those bars are custom made by Wade. Oh and a Campy hub… just because.

Yeah, this bike just oozes cool, style, and the Vulture Cycles ideology. Wade’s a pretty cool guy too. We talked about Death Valley, core samples in Dry Bone Canyon, White Top Mountain, park rangers finding dead tourists and other tales from the desert. Exactly the kind of conversation I like having at a bike event. Party on Wade!

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Follow Vulture Cycles on Instagram.

Jun 7, 2018 29 comments
Team Scrapin’s Rock Lobster Relationship Accelerator – Amanda Schaper

Team Scrapin’s Rock Lobster Relationship Accelerator
Words by Amanda Schaper, photos by John Watson

Some people might call tandems divorcycles, but I like to call them relationship accelerators. Wherever your relationship is headed, a tandem bicycle will get you there faster.

The Lost and Found Bike Ride is always one of my favorite weekends of the year. The camping, the riding, the lake, the people, the beer…it all just makes for one heck of a good time. But this year was extra special. My fiancé Scott and I toed the line for the 100-mile gravel race on our amazing Rock Lobster tandem in the first of the Triple Crown events. We’re planning to race the full Lost Sierra Triple Crown on the tandem as our form of premarital counseling. What could go wrong, right? There was some competition in the tandem category at Lost and Found, with two other teams giving us a run for our money. After about 6.5 hours of racing and getting both wheels off the ground more than once, we crossed the line in victory! It wasn’t easy, but it was a heck of a lot of fun. Our relationship and the bike survived 100 miles of gravel grinding, and now we start prepping for the gnarly technical trails of the Downieville Classic. (more…)

Jun 5, 2018 31 comments
Pining over the Pinion Drivetrain System – Adam Sklar

Words by Adam Sklar, photos from Sklar Bikes, diagrams from Pinion

The Pinion Gearboxes have been around for a long while now but their popularity in Europe is just now starting to break its way into the US bike scene. Last Fall Sklar Bikes started receiving orders for frames built with the mounting system for these gearboxes and as someone who had eyed them for years, with only a little riding experience, I was pretty excited. Being that Sklar builds all custom bikes, it feels great to offer something that is really special and harder to get. These frames have mostly seen use as commuters, “bikepacking bikes” and everyday trail bikes for customers who are maybe less maintenance-inclined or just intrigued by this neat system. So far all of those customers have been psyched on their bikes and I am happy to build with Pinion, though there are certainly pluses and minuses that come with it. At the end of the day, it is pretty easy to overthink a bike, but of course, overthinking bikes is my job and so what follows are my thoughts on Pinion from the perspective of someone who builds bike frames for a living and also spends a whole lot of time riding them. (more…)

May 22, 2018 14 comments
The Breadwinner G-Road 27.5 Road Bike

While our first introduction to Breadwinner’s G-Road bike here on the Radavist showed the frame built up as a dirt-shredder, the latest builds from the Portland-based frame building outfit have these bikes built up as all-day endurance road or randonneuring bikes. Even though I live in a dry and arid environment, I’ve always loved the way a fendered 650b or 27.5 bike looks. Breadwinner is able to build these bikes to custom spec, including provisions for racks, fenders, generator lamps, or just stripped down and ready to get dirty off-road rigs, all with a sick Igleheart segmented fork. Head to Breadwinner Cycles to see more information.

May 14, 2018 2 comments
2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia: KUMO RADdonneur Dirt Tourer

2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia: KUMO Dirt Tourer
Photos and words by Andy White

It wasn’t that long ago that Kumo first took his flame to the flux and gave birth to steel machines. Keith has always had a distinctive style, and while early framesets focused on road and track, the frames he is most passionate about producing are a reflection of his first true love. Riding out into the bush, self-supported and free of distractions. (more…)

May 10, 2018 24 comments
2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia: Llewellyn Custom Bicycles Road

2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia
Photos by Andy White, words by John Watson

Darrell from Llewellyn‘s work was first introduced to me by Andy White of FYXO on one of my first trips to Australia, somewhere around 2010 or so. I had never heard of his work, much less had seen it in person, so at the time, I was completely blindsided by Darrell’s craftsmanship. If you were to ask me for US-based frame builders who share a similar craftsmanship, Chris Kvale, DiNucci and others come to mind but there is something different about a Llewellyn and it’s not easy to put a finger on it. (more…)

May 7, 2018 18 comments