Category Archives: frame builders
Retrotec Disc All Road
Retrotec Disc All Road

Grinduro was a weekend-long event, filled with music, food, booze and a killer ride (or race, depending on how you party) but one of my favorite features was the expo, which featured a series of California-based frame builders, all designing what would be the ultimate “Grinduro bike.”

The first one to be featured here on this site is a unique Retrotec “all-road” which was built using signature Inglis details like a double, curved top tube, a seat tube cluster gusset, a hotrod-inspired paint job and extra sexy thru-axle dropouts.

It’s easy to swoon over a bike with such curves, but once you look at the build kit, the practicality really shines through. By using SRAM’s massive 10-42 cluster cassette and the CX-1 long cage rear derailleur, this bike can tackle anything, including China Grade’s intimidating average grade.

For the client, a Whisky thru-axle fork and wheels topped off the build… Which he then took right off the display shelf and rode the next day. If only I had gotten a post-race portrait.

Oct 15, 2015 14 comments
Leave it on the Road and Speedvagen

Speedvagen and Leave it on the Road have once again teamed up for a charity ride down the PCH. They’ll be riding from Portland to Los Angeles in 12 days. This year, they’ll be raising money for City of Hope’s cancer fighting efforts. To help support LIOTR, Speedvagen once again made custom road bikes for the program leader Michael Tabtabai and six new riders, all of which ride for the Fireflies. You can follow them on their journey on Instagram.

These new bikes are beyond gorgeous, so check out some more of Bob Huff‘s photos below and if you’d like to order one of these special edition frames, holler at Speedvagen.


Oct 15, 2015 9 comments
Dario Pegoretti by Derek Yarra for Above Category

Photo by Derek Yarra

Dario Pegoretti is a true artist. A builder who’s known for his elaborate paintings as much as he’s regarded for his frame design and construction. His work evokes varied reactions spanning from awe to confusion and yet, there’s a beauty in each brush stroke.

Derek Yarra from Above Category recently visited Pegoretti’s shop in Italy and took some great photos, including this portrait. Head over to the AC Blog to see the rest!

Oct 14, 2015 2 comments
Velo Cult Customs Ahearne and Igleheart Dirt Tourer
Velo Cult Customs Ahearne and Igleheart Dirt Tourer

I can’t help it. I love touring bikes with big, fat, high volume tires and funky stances. This project in particular was born from the mind and abilities of three important individuals, residing in the Portland area under the Velo Cult Customs umbrella.

This Ahearne Dirt Tourer is a collaboration between three people: Sky from Velo Cult, Chris Igleheart and Ahearne. We’ll start with the most obvious hand: Chris Igleheart‘s segmented fork, which is complimented by the Ahearne rack and frameset. These bikes are 100% custom, can be built with 26″ or 27.5″ wheels, have an optional upgrade of Honjo 90mm Fenders and are rugged enough for even the toughest dirt touring and bikepacking expeditions. One of my favorite details are the braze-ons hidden below the top tube for a strapless bag install.

This is the first in a series of Velo Cult Customs, the line will grow to include road, randonneur, cross and a gravel racer in the coming months.

Contact Velo Cult for pricing and availability.

Oct 14, 2015 16 comments
Lucas’ Zebra Stoemper Singlespeed ‘Cross
Lucas' Zebra Stoemper Singlespeed 'Cross

Singlespeed ‘cross bikes on a course like Grinduro are no joke. For Lucas, the painter at Stoemper, the pain is part of the fun. The way he sees it, you’re grinning no matter what. Whether you’re spinning on the downhill or hiking up a steep kicker like China Grade, you might as well be enjoying the ride.

This SSCX was easily the wildest bike I saw the entire weekend. So. Much. Character. As I’m setting up the bike to photograph it, Lucas interrupted me, asking if he wanted me to remove the beer holster. “You’re riding it like that right?” “Yeah” “Then leave it!”

Races like Grinduro are best kept light and energetic in spirit. There’s no point in tearing yourself apart on a singlespeed, because you still have to make it to the finish!

Oct 13, 2015 21 comments
Adam’s Sklar Singlespeed Disc Cross

I hope you’re ready for a complete overload of awesome rides from this past weekend’s Grinduro event in Quincy, California. We’ll start this avalanche of unique bikes with Adam from Sklar Bikes‘ own singlespeed disc ‘cross. But before we dive in, let me put this out there: this was Adam’s first tig-welded bike and there’s a reason it’s his personal rig. The welds on anyone’s first tig bike ain’t gonna be pretty.

While the welds might not be delicately overlapped beads of perfection, I can’t get over how clean and elegant this frame is. Even with what Adam refers to as a “parts bin build” with mis-matched rotors, this singlespeed has so much character and yeah, he completed Grinduro on it.

Run what you brung…

Oct 13, 2015 22 comments
Colby’s Stinner Disc ‘Cross
Colby's Stinner Disc 'Cross

Colby has one of the best jobs in the cycling industry. He works for ENVE, where he’s the liaison for frame builders. Basically, if you’re a builder, he sets up your account and ensures that you’ve got everything you need to get your latest project or show bike rolling.

When it was time for a disc cyclocross bike, Colby reached out to Aaron Stinner in Santa Barbara for an OD green and orange race-paint-inspired shred sled that would pack a fat tire and blast the surrounding dirt roads of Ogden, Utah with ease.

Naturally, this bike was Colby’s go-to for Grinduro…

Oct 12, 2015 29 comments
Charlie Cunningham Medical Relief Fund

This mountain bike and frame building legend needs a helping hand here, folks:

“In early August, 2015, Charlie Cunningham, bicycle builder, inventor and all around amazing person, fell off his bike and sustained several serious injuries.

Charlie suffered broken bones, bruises, and trauma to his head. At the time, he didn’t feel his head injury was significant. Unfortunately, six weeks later, the head injury manifested into a subdural hematoma, a life threatening condition that resulted in emergency brain surgery.

Currently, Charlie is in the hospital, recovering. His condition is stable, semi-conscious, but he cannot walk, talk or safely swallow food yet. He is making very slow steps to regain very basic tasks. The road to recovery is going to be long and involve many specialists to help him get back to his former self. Charlie’s wife Jacquie Phelan, racer and ladies cycling advocate, is teaching him basic speech, in tandem with his speech/swallow therapists. Their home will need modifications to allow him to live there. It is unknown know how long he will be wheelchair bound. Your donations will help to offset the costs of his rehabilitation and the “ramping up” of his home (Offhand Manor). Thank you for your generosity.”

Help out at Charlie’s Go Fund Me!

Oct 8, 2015 5 comments
Garrett’s Blackened Zombie Hunter Disc ‘Cross
Garrett's Hunter Disc 'Cross

One of the best qualities of steel is its ability to be resurrected from disaster.

In-home or in-workshop bicycle storage is essential and while many of the systems we use to hang our bikes might be bomb-proof, sometimes the building itself is a little janky. Last year, Garrett from Strawfoot‘s bike rack fell off the wall at his shop, crushing his beloved Hunter ‘Cross bike.

Devastated, he called up Rick Hunter and put the bike in queue for repair. A few weeks later (he and Garrett are best buds, hence the fast turnaround,) Garrett’s bike was ready for powder. The color he chose was fitting for this resurrected zombie bike: matte black.

This will be Garrett’s Grinduro bike, but with a 40mm WTB Nano setup tubeless, which coincidentally is what I rode and will be riding this weekend in Quincy.

If you’re rolling through this weekend, swing through the Strawfoot booth and say hey to Garrett!

Oct 8, 2015 22 comments
Inside the 2015 Bike and Beer Festival
Flatland Demo

Last weekend, I made the short flight up to Portland, Oregon to attend the Bike and Beer festival at HopWorks Urban Brewery. While there, I was greeted with that I found to be a really pleasant and easy to digest show. There was just about anything a bike nerd could hope for: around 20-30 vendors, food, cheap beer, entertainment and lovely weather. Part of the draw for me to attend this show was to see builders who might not go to NAHBS and might not be right inside the Portland Metro area. We’ve already seen many of the bikes on display, so lets check out the show itself in a quick gallery…

Don’t worry, there’s more to come!

Oct 7, 2015 15 comments