Category Archives: frame builders
Map Bicycles: Brooks C17 with Schmidt SON Tail Light
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This is pure genius. Mitch Pryor from Map Bicycles modified a Cambium saddle to mount a Schmidt SON tail light. He first removed the Brooks plaque, then disassembled the saddle and tapped threades to hold the Schmidt light. The wiring enters the seat post and seat tube through a hole drilled in the PAUL Tall n Handsome post head, before traveling through the frame. Then Mitch used beveled washers on the backside of the light allows it to be mounted to the curved surface. I kind of want to try this one out…

Apr 27, 2015 3 comments
Meet Your Maker with Above Category and Aaron Barchek of Mosaic
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People have a lot of misconceptions about the frame building process and even the builders themselves, which is why I value a good interview. Above Category conducted one such interview with Aaron Barchek of Mosaic Cycles on their blog and it’s worth the read.

If you’d like to meet Aaron yourself, he will be visiting Above Category in early May. There will be a group ride on the 9th of May at 8.15am. More information to follow on AC in ‘The Broomwagon’ and their Facebook.

Apr 27, 2015 No comments yet
Speedvagen Surprise Me Rugged Road with Campagnolo EPS 11
Speedvagen Surprise Me Rugged Road with Campagnolo EPS 11

For one of this year’s new paint designs, Sacha White of Vanilla / Speedvagen worked with Japanese customer and brand buddy, Masashi Ichifuru, or Ichico as he’s called by friends. Ichigo initially helped Sacha design their Speedvagen National Kit for Japan.

When asked to describe the end result, Sacha White relayed the following:
“What he designed was quintessentially Japanese insofar as it had aspects that were refined and represented high craft, but it also had all of this killer, super cute Japanese pop culture vibe.”

The resulting kit that Ichico designed was a pattern of text alternating between Katakana and English, spelling out Speedvagen in the two alphabets. Mix in Speedvagen’s signature colors and it was so good it had to make its way on a bike frame, resulting in a visual representation of where Speedvagen is right now.

This Surprise Me paint scheme will make an appearance during this year’s CX season and it won’t be alone. Speedvagen will be releasing the desesign in new colors, that will be accompanied by some very special, traditional Japanese goods.

On to the build itself, we’re looking at a Rugged Road model, which is essentially a road bike with larger clearances and disc brakes. This particular bike was built using ENVE, Chris King bits and Campagnolo EPS 11 speed. Some notes of interest are the battery charging port at the bottom bracket cluster, the newly-designed Speedvagen disc dropout and that elegant seatpost topper.

On a personal note, this was one of my all-time favorite bikes from Vanilla…

Apr 24, 2015 33 comments
Caletti Giro Grinduro Edition Titanium Cyclocross Bike
Caletti Giro Grinduro Edition Cyclocross Bike

October will be here before you know it and with it, comes Grinduro, a different kind of bike race. After my pre-ride photoshoot, one thing became evident: the best rig for this race is a cross bike. Don’t even try to ride a road bike, because you’ll be walking and if you ride a MTB, you might clock in a better time on the descents, but there’s a 25 mile climb.

When Giro announced the Grinduro, Santa Cruz framebuilder John Caletti of Caletti Cycles began working on a cyclocross bike for the event. With bent seat stays, clearances for a 40mm tire, disc brakes and no-rattle housing, this bike is the ideal weapon for a day filled with Sierra Nevada gravel and crag.

My favorite detail on this frame in particular however is the Geoff McFetridge artwork. The evil mountain awaits and Grinduro is coming… Best get your rig ready.

Apr 23, 2015 29 comments
Reminder: Next Week is the Speedvagen Fit Tour!
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Next week I’ll be embarking on a trip with Speedvagen as we cruise the Cali coast, stopping at key spots and fitting customers for the 2015 Speedvagen Fit Tour. Which, I might add, still has a few spots open. Sign up for a Speedvagen Fit today.

Even if you’re not going to get fit by Sacha, you can come hang in SF on May 2nd and Los Angeles on May 5th at a few choice locations. Our host shops are the Rapha Cycles Club in SF, Mission Workshop’s Valencia store and Golden Saddle Cyclery in Silverlake. There will be group rides leaving from these shops, with special parties at night. Come check out some Speedvagens and artwork from Chris McNally on display.

Check out the full details below.

(more…)

Apr 23, 2015 3 comments
Team Dream Designed Mavic Crossmax SL Stinner Hardtail MTBs
Chad's 27.5 Team Dream Designed Mavic Crossmax Stinner Hardtail MTB

For the 2015 Sea Otter Classic this year, Mavic wanted to showcase a few influential designers as a platform to display their newly-branded and redesigned Crossmax SL Pro wheels. They contacted Sean Talkington of Team Dream Team who led them to Aaron Stinner of Stinner Frameworks and Jordan Low Custom Paint.

For Sean, he wanted a do-it-all 29’r hardtail, setup for minimal bike packing and everyday trail riding. For Chad, his 27.5″ hardtail is a straight-forward XC race machine. Once Aaron Stinner knew the silhouette, Sean began designing the frames. The resulting designs were inspired by 90’s era fluoro paint jobs, using Mavic’s signature yellow color as a starting point.

These two bikes were unveiled tonight at a Mavic event in Monterey, California on the first day of Sea Otter. Swing by their booth at #559 to see these beauts in person.

Apr 17, 2015 15 comments
Speedvagen’s New Rugged Road Model
Speedvagen's New Rugged Road Disc Bike

Over the next few weeks, Speedvagen will be rolling out a few new bike models, the first of which being the Rugged Road. Like a cross bike, but with some geometry tweaks, the Rugged Road is closer to a road bike than a cross bike, as the name implies. It’s meant for gravel descents with rutted corners and ​long days in the saddle, rather than an hour of being raced in a cyclocross course.

This frame in particular utilizes the Speedvagen new HollaText scheme with a cream base color; a color we’re the brand will be working with for 2016​. It’s built with Di2 and hydraulic discs with room for 40mm tires. As for the geometry tweaks, the most notable is the lower bottom bracket, making it super agile while cornering and keeping the rider’s center of gravity low, despite the larger tires.

To lighted the bike up a bit, customers can opt for a carbon seat tube, which sleeves into the bottom bracket and seat tube cluster. When painted, you can hardly tell, yet it shed substantial weight off the frame. The paint work on the DT Swiss hubs is an accent that Speedvagen has been doing since 2008.

There’s more information on the Rugged Road to come, so stay tuned at Speedvagen.

Apr 13, 2015 21 comments
Lori’s Tomii Cycles Disc Cross
Lori's Tomii Cycles Cross Bike

When you ride a 44cm cyclocross bike, there aren’t many options out there. In fact, a lot of riders will opt for a 26″ mountain frame, which limits tire selections for ‘cross. For Lori, she wanted a cyclocross frame that would fit a fat tire and most importantly, fit her, while keeping true to the 700c wheel.

Builder Nao Tomii of Tomii Cycles wanted to take advantage of the extreme sloping top tube by making this cross bike look like a drop bar 29r mountain bike. Since a lot of people prefer their cross frames a bit smaller than their road frames, this one comes in a tad under 44cm. With 150mm Rotor cranks and Shimano Ultegra hydro disc brakes, Lori has absolute control over her bike. In fact, she’s already started riding trails on it here in Austin.

Personally, this is where custom frames triumph and when they look this good, who can argue with that? Check out this testimonial on Lori’s Instagram account.

Props to the mechanics at Mellow Johnny’s for building such a stellar rig for Lori and a huge high five goes to Nao at Tomii Cycles for building such a rad frame.

Apr 10, 2015 20 comments