I’ve long admired the work of Rick Hunter, yet have never been able to get ahold of one in my size. Especially since he has closed his order queue. My thoughts were, one day a frame would pop up in my size and I’d have to swoop on it. That’s what happened, in a nutshell, when I drove up to Chico, California to hang out with Paul Component Engineering for a few days. The trip coincided with the recent Paul Camp, a media gathering at the Paul shop, featuring eleven bikes, built by select framebuilders, all around a joint theme: a monster cross or mountain bike. Oh, and the bikes had to use the same color scheme: red, white and blue. As a group, these bikes were marvelous and I had a blast both riding and photographing them, especially this very frame… (more…)
Nate from Monkey Wrench Cycles’ Hunter Commando Tourer
Photos by Kyle Kelley, words by John Watson
Nate and the entire Monkey Wrench Cycles gang have done a lot for US framebuilders over the years, as evident in their in-house museum where you can find vintage Moots MTBs, alongside Steve Potts’ creations, while a modern Hunter Cycles might be hanging out as well. The thing I can appreciate about what I’ve seen coming from MWC is all their bikes have the same modus operandi: fat tires, practicality and a stance that commands trail time. I mean, honestly, a vintage MTB is still an ideal touring bike and in a lot of ways, the bikes the MWC team are always building up are just “modern” vintage MTBs. Take for instance this Hunter Cycles from 2013 NAHBS in Denver. (more…)
Paul Camp is a magical week where Paul Component Engineering invites journalists from all over the US to check out their day to day operations through a series of hands-on workshops. Each journalist is assigned a CNC machine, or workstation and is taught the skills needed to machine brakes, stems, and other components. From there, they camp out on the property, eat sandwhiches and run the machines 24 hours a day, in shifts. This gives the employees of Paul a chance to ride during the week. Everybody wins!
Just kidding. In reality, Paul gives the journalists a tour of the shop, where he walks them through the process of fabricating everything in the Paul Component Engineering catalog. From there, they are able to select a bike from one of eleven builders and go on a ride in the hills of Chico. Swimming usually ensues, along with a Sierra Nevada Brewery tour, some dinner and then everyone goes home. It’s a rad time, or at least I’ve heard it is, because each year, for one reason or another, I cannot attend this Bicycle Journalist Spring Break.
Feeling like I owe Mr. Paul something, not only because we’re friends, but because he had these eleven bikes just hanging out, waiting for a proper photoshoot, I planned on heading up to Chico once I got back from my European travels. Last week, I loaded up the truck and drove straight up California for 10 hours until I reached Chico, Paul and these bikes. (more…)
For the past few months, all I’ve been reading and hearing about is the Baja Divide. Lael and Nicholas created a route last year that would take riders on a 1,700 mile journey from the US-Mexico border down the length of the Baja Penninsula, almost entirely on dirt. Well, dirt and sand. They are two completely different riding substrates. The grand depart took place last week and over 100 cyclists embarked on the journey, two of which being Tom and Sarah Swallow.
In order to prep for their 45-day ride – they’re going out and back on the route – Tom and Sarah rode for two weeks along the Baja Divide route in December. Afterward, they both described their ride as “the hardest thing we’ve ever done.” But at least they now know exactly what they needed in terms of gear. For instance, they left their filter at home, because there is no fresh water on the route, only bottled and filtered water. They’re also confident in their setups, which are very similar, save for Tom is riding a Hunter Cycles 27.5+ hardtail and Sarah is on a carbon S-Works hardtail.
Tom’s bike just looked so damn good all loaded up with Revelate bags the day before they left, so I had to shoot some photos of it. Not only to give Rick props for building such amazing frames, but I rarely get the chance to shoot loaded down hardtails. All of Tom’s little hacks – like those killer King Cage USBs – to make this a proper tourer simply add to the bike’s character.
I want to wish everyone who’s out on the Divide’s course good luck. You can follow Tom and Sarah’s trip on their Instagram.
Bumping into Rick Hunter in Santa Cruz, you never know what you’re going to get. In terms of his bike anyway. You’ll always get a smile, a handshake, an offer of a beer or a piece of fruit. Rick’s full of surprises and sometimes, that means he’s riding a beast you’ve never seen before. One made from steel, in his shop, where he painstakingly hand mitered the tubes and milled out random bits of hardware. This rusty singlespeed cruiser has been around the block over the years, first being handed off to Cameron Falconer and eventually it rolled back into Rick’s possession where he recently just rebuilt new wheels for it.
It looks like a hunk of metal from afar, but upon further inspection you can really see the thoughtfulness that went into its design. My first thoughts were how even though this was one of Rick’s early bikes, it still looks strikingly similar to the Bushmaster we saw last year around this time. Ok, maybe it’s not that similar, but the lines of these two bikes are undeniably a Hunter Cycles creation.
Thanks for the nectarine and chats Rick! See ya again soon.
Edit: the gallery is fixed. Sorry about that!
Road bikes. They’re still a lot of fun, especially when you can fit a chubby tire like the Rivendell Ruffy Tuffy in them. Garrett from Strawfoot wanted a new road bike when his daughter Olive was born, thinking it’d be a fun and easy way to get in a ride between daddy duties. A while back, he bought a fork from Rick Hunter and contacted Cameron from Falconer to build a road frame around the fork, resulting in one of the slickest and most subtle road bikes I’ve seen. Painted in creamsicle Orange – or Molteni orange if you prefer sausages to ice cream snacks – this beaut was built with Sram Force 22, DT Swiss to H+Son Archetype wheels and Sim Works parts.
Living in the hills of Santa Cruz means easy access to beautiful road riding. It’s easy to drop everything and hit the road for an hour. Unfortunately, all this bike really ended up seeing was the rollers. Garrett didn’t have a lot of time to actually ride the thing when Olive was born, so while she was napping, he’d hop on the rollers and sweat it out for an hour or two.
As a small business owner however, sometimes projects need to be sold to make way for other, more important purchases. Strawfoot is in constant need of materials, machines and extra revenue,
so Garrett is selling this beaut for $3,000 shipped anywhere in the continental USA. As is. Complete. The size is 55cm top tube and 54 seat tube. Center to center. Just to sweeten the pot, if you purchase this bike, I’ll throw in a Radavist Sage Jersey… just mention this post in your email. Holler at Garrett for more information. SOLD!
Designing and building frames for shorter riders, particularly women can be quite challenging. You’ve got to ensure there is enough standover and leg extension without compromising the feel of the geometry too much. There aren’t a lot of production frames out there for 5′ tall women either, forcing many people to look to the custom market.
Rick from Hunter Cycles has had a long relationship with Sim Works, a component brand in Nagoya, Japan. So when Rie from Sim Works moved to Portland to open their US-distribution, Rick wanted to surprise her with a new mountain bike. There are, after all, a plethora of trails to be ridden in Oregon and California.
While visiting Santa Cruz en route to Los Angeles, Rick surprised Rie with this Japanese curry-colored Woodrat 27.5″ hardtail. Santa Cruz locals, X-Fusion sent over their Sweep fork and dropper post to offer all the squish needed for this rowdy hardtail. WTB’s KOM rims, laced to XT hubs with Trail Boss 2.4″ tires would give Rie plenty of confidence while cornering. The Praxis works Turn 1x MTB cranks with a SRAM GX derailleur keep those wheels turnin’. The SRAM Level TL brakes and GX shifters round out the build with the Sim Works Ronda Stem with the Smooth Booth Hunter bars would give her the control she needs.
Overall, this is a jammin’ bike and Rie has been loving it here in Los Angeles on our dusty trails! Don’t worry Rick, we’re taking care of her down here!
Bicycles. They’re only as great as their owners, and custom bikes, being as special as they are, still follow this rule. I’m sure every framebuilder has completed a project like this at some point. Specific, yet versatile, made for multi-surfaces and designed for a short in stature, big in personality owner.
Rick Hunter of Hunter Cycles takes on projects like this frequently. Or at least it appears that way. I don’t know what it is about some of Rick’s bikes, but they seem to be an exercise in problem solving, while delivering upon their specific use with confidence. A master of the touring bike, custom racks and creative designs, Rick’s finished products are some of the most unique in the industry.
Chari means bike in Japanese.
Rie’s “Super Coffee Bike Tourer” came to be when she decided to tour Europe, after her friend Mortimer from Keirin Berlin urged her to do so. Rie decided she wanted to attend various bike events, make new friends and pour coffee from her bike, something she had been doing since 2010 at her job while working for Circles and Sim Works in Nagoya from a singlespeed city bike. This trip however, would require something more capable, so she contacted Hunter Cycles and began to plan for her trip.
She started her journey on July 15, 2013 at Keirin Berlin and finished on October 28, 2013 for her birthday in Portugal at Cabo de São Vicente, aka “the end of the world”, the Southwesternmost point of European Continent. A bike’s use doesn’t die once its job has been completed though. For the past few years, Rie has tackled singletrack in Santa Cruz and various other bike tours, including our recent trip to Mount Fuji and Izu Oshima.
My job surrounds me with Beautiful Bicycles, of all shapes and sizes, sometimes desensitizing me to just how insane they can be, yet I can’t get over how rad this bike is… See more from Rie’s trip or her bike at her blog and be sure to check out her Instagram for more photos from her life of bikes!
This bike is so Japanese. Well, it’s a Hunter Cycles frame, so technically it’s American but the build, the character, the colors and the size are very indicative of the scene at Circles. Sim Works parts, Chris King and that bag, which believe it or not, was the reason I wanted to shoot the bike.
Akiyoshi is an architect who makes bags in his spare time. Like the tensile structure from an Olympic stadium, this bag relies on a chord’s tension to maintain its stability. The most interesting detail for me however is the tie-down bottle boss bolt. When the bag is loaded and the chord is pulled tight, the bag doesn’t sway at all. It’s a pretty impressive design and it’s a bit of added character to an already beautiful frame.
Thanks for letting me shoot your bike!
As fate, or at least the press circuit would have it, I’m back in Santa Cruz for the Blackburn Ranger Camp. I drove up from Los Angeles a night early and crashed with my friend Garrett, from Strawfoot Handmade.
This round, time was precious, but I managed to get a few photos of his new bikes, the first being this Team Fresh Air Hunter Cycles ‘cross with a carbon seat tube. Garrett built this bike up as a strictly race machine. SRAM Force CX1 and PAUL Mini Motos with a DT / Pacenti wheelset will deliver all the reliability needed for racing in Santa Cruz, while a Sim Works’ cockpit and WTB saddle on a Sim Works post top the build off.
Balance is key for a ‘cross bike and this bike has it, both aesthetically and in terms of weight. Oh and I love the Fresh Air Cycles blue!