Category Archives: frame builders
These frames. These freaking frames. Godzilla doesn’t have a chance against Moth Attack. With a little help from Black Magic Paint, Megan Dean’s new ‘cross team’s bikes are some of the most beautiful team bikes I’ve had the pleasure of documenting. We saw a frameset at the Portland Bike and Beer Festival, but this is the first complete I’ve seen in person and I’m glad it’s Erica Schwanke‘s! She’s a super rad woman and has been enjoying racing ‘cross in the Bay Area this season on this bike.
I caught up with Erica last week in Los Angeles, prior to the UCI race in Long Beach and stole her bike for a few minutes for photos. I love seeing people’s reactions to custom bikes like this! Enjoy…
Please join Mission Workshop, Andrew Low and Dustin Klein for an evening of bicycle talk!
Andrew started Low Bicycles, a small manufacturer of high quality, handmade aluminum racing frames, located in San Francisco, CA in 2010. Hear about his history, his take on aluminum, and questions from the crowd. Introduction by Dustin Klein, of Cadence Collection.
6pm Doors open
7pm Talk starts
Close when the beer’s gone
Broadcasted live on TheRadavist.com Starting at 7PM PST.
Hosted at Mission Workshop San Francisco
541 Valencia St. SF, CA
Hit up [email protected] for entry.
Golden Saddle Rides: A Carbon Fiber Calfee Tandem Project
Words by Thomas “Woody” Wood, photos by John Watson
An old friend and accomplice in many of past ventures into the cycling world approached me a couple of months ago about a rather “large” project he was embarking on. At the time he was getting ready for another crack at a national championship on the velodrome. His schedule had cleared up after a very successful run of coaching our women’s olympic track cycling team to two silver medals in London. With the mind a little more free to roam, and a very fast wife to be, he wanted to do a full custom Calfee tandem. Ben had already chosen Calfee for its reputation and known ability to deliver a quality product that would meet his race ready standards. The bike had to be versatile. He wanted it to be a time trial bike and a road race bike. With the intention of racing both at Masters “old man” National Championships next year.
We both started doing some research on parts for the bike. He wanted lightweight and strong. Holding to the old aphorism by Keith Bontrager “light. strong. cheap. Pick two”. We had our work cut out for us. First was the drivetrain. Gates Belt drive and Shimano Ultegra DI2 would be a solid performer. Since the bike is a standard threaded english BB with and eccentric in the captain’s chair. Finding a modern light carbon crankset was a bit of a chore. Luckily Calfee had a couple sets of FSA SLK-SL cranks left and we were set in that department.
A big bike like a tandem requires good brakes. We went with Shimano road hydraulic disk. Once I was able to source a rear 203 IS disk adapter we were good to go. Since they are running an Enve road disc fork in front most of the braking power will have to come from the rear. Hence the larger rear disc.
Next was the cockpit. They were looking for versatility with the bar setup. So they went with the 3T Zefiro LTD option, It has a removable aero extension for use both as a TT bar and a straight road bar. And since we were using DI2 you can just unplug the climbing shifter that will be glued to the extension (the photo shows zipties), making for a quick and easy change.
Seatposts are FSA K-Force Light with internal battery holders.
For wheels we wanted durable. We have had a lot of success with the H+SON Archetype rims laced to DT Swiss 240s. The bike is thru axle and 142mm in the rear. A simple way to stiffen up the bike just a little.
All said and done this tandem is one hell of a machine. I took a couple of laps around the block on it and I must say it was one snappy bike. Out of the saddle accelerations were controlled and rather fun!
Cheers to the fun projects!
Follow Woody on Instagram and visit Golden Saddle Cyclery in Silverlake, Los Angeles.
Photos by Keith Trotta
If there’s one race machine that’s been worshipped by the cycling industry, it’s the old Martini Porsches and if you’re the kind of person who’s into that sort of thing, why not get your custom steel road bike painted as an homage to that classic livery? That’s what Cory did with his custom Bishop road. The results are stunning, perfectly executed by Bryan Myers of Fresh Frame. See more at the Bishop Flickr!
The Travelin’ Man’s Firefly!
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
Yo! What time the plane leaving?
I met Nick at LA River Camp Coffee a few months back. He was traveling through California on a true cyclist’s holiday, riding anything and everything that the state had to offer. While in LA Nick was staying at another cyclist’s Airbnb, which is how he heard about River Camp Coffee. I have never used Airbnb personally, but if I do, this sounds like the way to go. Nick had access to a local’s endless knowledge of events, rides and the best local bike shop to have a beer! Long story short, Nick knows what he’s doing when it comes to travel and I don’t just mean in the way of booking accommodations. He applied his knowledge to building his ultimate travel bike, too.
Nick’s base was a stainless steel Firefly road bike with S&S Couplers. He chose stainless steel because of the coating that naturally forms when the chromium in the steel mingles with the oxygen in the atmosphere. The passive film protects the stainless from rust and corrosion without the necessity for paint. A smart choice in my book because traveling with a painted bike almost always ends poorly. Nick also chose to use as many Ti and alloy parts as possible because of their ability to take a beating and hide scratches from afar. Even though this bike was purpose built, in no way did Nick skimp on any of the components. From the cult classic Campy gruppo to the skewers used with the White Industries wheelset, this bike is dialed.
Any travel bike is going to get beaten up, but Nick has planned ahead and I imagine his bike will look almost exactly same when we meet again. I’m just hoping it’s not in Los Angeles. I’d prefer for it to be at Shifter Bikes, where this bike was built, while I’m on my own holiday staying at a cyclist’s Airbnb in Melbourne!
Follow Kyle on Instagram.
I’m always stoked to see more domestically-produced bike frames popping up, especially in aluminum. VYNL Bikes are a relatively new company out of San Jose, California offering road “racing” frames for $1900 with a standard powdercoat and a wait time of a week, or you can go custom colors and tack on a few more weeks. While there’s no information where exactly they’re made or who is making them, with the number of sub-contracting frame building companies around, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s frame building pedigree producing them. Expect the same large-diameter tubing you’ve come to love from US-made aluminum frames. If you’d like to see them in person, head over to Sugar Cycles in Missouri City, Texas or Red Lantern Cycles in Menlo Park, California.
Check out more at VYNL Bikes.
As the final lap bell rings, Breadwinner Cycles drops this Holeshot Disc build on us. The Portland framebuilding duo have a few opinions about racing bikes, how they should handle and what components work for the Pacific Northwest’s muddy races, as evident in all those great Cross Crusade videos… Head over to the Breadwinner Flickr to check out more detail photos and as always, holler at the boys for ordering information.
Brooke is an experienced cyclist and when the time came to order a custom ‘cross bike for not only racing but everyday dirt riding in San Francisco, she contacted Aaron and his team at Mosaic Cycles to get her fit on a custom XT1 disc ‘cross.
You see, for someone with Brooke’s proportions, it’s hard to fit on a stock bike from many of the big-named companies, so a custom bike which would be tailored to her body seemed like an obvious choice. She didn’t just want to fit on a bike, she wanted the bike to fit her. The end result was a confidence inspiring feel without toe overlap and enough standover to make unexpected dismounts easy. Key build details are the SRAM Red 165mm cranks (since Force CX1 doesn’t come in that length, that new and fancy TRP thru-axle ‘cross fork and some great I9 to Pacenti wheels.
When Brooke and her friend Tessa were in Los Angeles for a wedding, I met up with them to go on a quick ride and couldn’t resist documenting this bike, but bringing my camera along for a little sunset ride…
I love this so much. The drive-side is murdered out and the non-drive has logos. Such a clean execution on what appears to be a rippin’ hardtail 29’r from the crew at Firefly. See more details at their Tumblr.
Look. I’m not a super über tech geek. I don’t really care about stiffness or compliance in terms of data or coefficients but I do like riding bikes and developing stories about them, in terms of my personal experiences. When Argonaut and Chris King asked if I wanted to come along for a very informal launch of a new bottom bracket standard, I had a few questions:
-Do we need another BB standard?
-Where is this launch?
-Will there be booze?
Two out of the three answers met my standards, so I agreed. (more…)