Category Archives: photography
Brooklyn’s Deluxe Cycles – Cooper Ray
Brooklyn's Deluxe Cycles - Cooper Ray

Brooklyn’s Deluxe Cycles
Words by Wilis Johnson and photos by Cooper Ray (unless noted otherwise)

Deluxe was born from the experience of the mechanics and riders who work in the shop. The business itself is built around building deeper, more intimate relationships with the customers, the suppliers, and everyone down the line. Every bit of the shop has more effort and thought put into it: The focus here is quality over quantity. Being confined to a studio space improves the quality of the work and attention to detail of what is being produced – this is possible without the distraction of the storefront and what that entails. You walk into Deluxe and you realize how intimate the space is. Located in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn, the lofty studio feels more like someones living room than a traditional bike shop.

(more…)

Sep 1, 2015 3 comments
Endless Summer
Vernor droppin' in!

The dog days of summer have landed in Los Angeles. After a completely amazing time in SF, I hopped on a plane and found myself in LA with an agenda unlike anything before: find a place to live and hopefully, an office to work out of. The stars aligned and my dirt sacrifices to the Necronomicog paid off. For the most part anyway. A new home base, somewhere to explore roads and uncover new experiences, or just spend time on the roads and trails with friends, old and new.

Los Angeles will be my new home town and this past trip was stunning on many levels. While this is by no means a story, it is a paraphrased visual showcase to just some of the rides we went on, many of which I’ll expand upon relocation to the west coast.

Coincidentally, because I can’t ever seem to leave for a ride without a camera, I managed to pull together some random photos, which make for a perfect distraction on a Friday afternoon.

Enjoy…

Aug 28, 2015 34 comments
Jason’s Hufnagel Porteur City Bike
Jason's Hufnagel Cycles Porteur Bike

Jordan Hufnagel took a short sabbatical from bicycle frame building to take on his transcontinental motorcycle trip with West America partner James Crowe. Before taking off on the road, or dirt rather, he produced a run of porteur bikes. These bikes may look similar, clad in their matte black with gumwall 650b tires, but each one was specially tailored to his client’s needs and potential uses. Hufnagel has an aesthetic he likes to hit, ever-so precisely.

As I was flipping through Instagram, I noticed an newly-built olive-drab disc bike on Jordan’s Instagram. No less than a few minutes later, in rolls Jason with his Hufnagel.

Jason snagged one up as soon as he saw the pre-order go live and to be completely honest, it’s my favorite one I’ve seen. Having shot a few for the Radavist already, I was impressed with the detailing that went into Jason’s build: clean lines, custom fender brackets, custom racks, custom stem, matte black paint, clean generator routing and that awesome pannier…

See for yourself in the Gallery!

Aug 26, 2015 22 comments
Kelli’s Stinner ‘Cross Bike with Airglow Paint
Kelli's Stinner 'Cross Bike with Airglow Paint

In Los Angeles, a ‘cross bike’s limitations are self-prescribed. You can ride just about everything on one, as long as you’ve got the right equipment and the willpower. Bigger tires and appropriate gear range are paramount. Things like blinged-out componentry are just added bonuses to the spice of life. And in LA, the spice must flow.

Kelli‘s not necessarily new to cyclocross but this is her first legitimate ‘cross rig. Her husband Ty reached out to Aaron Stinner to make a bike that would embody race pedigree but still be at home in the hills and mountains of Los Angeles county and beyond. When she’s not running her women’s cycling team, LA Sweat, she’s trying to take on more off-road riding and this bike is more than enough motivation to do so.

PAUL Components, 3T, and a Luxe Wheelworks Chris King to H+Son Archtype wheel build all compliment the absolutely mind-fucking beautiful AirGlow paint job by Hill Clarke. If you like to geek out on painting procedure and process, make sure you check out Hill’s Instagram.

Before the comments open up, YES, technically the tires are on backwards here and yet the bike didn’t explode upon hitting the dirt. ;-)

Aug 25, 2015 41 comments
Rust Never Sleeps on Sofia’s AWOL Touring Bike
Rust Never Sleeps on Sofia's AWOL

Rust Never Sleeps on Sofia’s AWOL Touring Bike
Words by Erik Nohlin, photos by John Watson

TRUST ME, I’M A DESIGNER

As a designer of bicycles I try to stay on top of things like material development, new alloys, paint pigment, flakes, pearls, platings and whatnot. It’s in my interest to stay updated in an ever-changing world. What you see on the floor in a bike shop is not just a bicycle with a random color: it’s the result of hundreds or thousands of hours of trial and error behind the scenes at any one man bike shop or huge bike brand with a fleet of designers.

That one color started out as 666 other potential colors and in the end, only one made it. For the one man operation or smaller brand in a well-defined niche it might be easier to do cool and crazy shit to please that one customer with that weird request of a thermochromatic dead matte black that fades to metallic peach with a pride parade pearl to top it off. I design bicycles for a global brand and need to create a bike that pleases a global rider and as you all know, trends and cultural differences around the globe vary, fluctuate and make my day pretty complicated.

I’ll be honest with you: it’s frustrating to rarely ever be able to bring the raddest and weirdest stuff to you. One example is the one off Full Nuke Rainbow AWOL I created for the Transcontinental Race, a bike that almost blew up the internet when John posted it. So much stoke and love was thrown on that bike but the reality is that it would be impossible to produce it, guarantee the surface quality, get a decent price and distribute it to you. Doing rad stuff is easy but mass producing it is a completely different story. So, I try a lot of surface treatments and materials but most often these tryouts, experiments never leave the design studio as more than dirt on my hands, stains on my jeans and once in a while, a painted one off bicycle that I can tell you about.

The Rust AWOL is my wife Sofia’s bike and it used to look quite different. A super glittery rainbow flakey touring bike that was left in the hands of Garrett Chow on a journey to the heart of Death Valley early last winter. The washboard and dirt in Death Valley eat bikes for breakfast and the beat up bike that was returned to her had a couple of scars too many so I promised to bring it back to its “old glory”. The frame is one of the first nickel plated frame samples for the Transcontinental Edition AWOL we did and a perfect canvas to be creative on since the nickel makes it completely sealed for corrosion – ironic isn’t it? Rust is corrosion and in this case impossible to achieve without some chemical magic from a UK paint company called Rustique.

My colleague Barry Gibb had previously used it to create a fantastic surface on a carbon bike and I wanted to try it to, on steel this time. We ordered some paint and decided that Sofia’s nickel plated bike would be the victim for this experiment. The month of June is usually pretty mellow at work (read: not as completely fucking crazy as July and August) and I spent some afternoons in the workshop and paint booth to finish off this creative experiment in an effort to bring real organic life back to a surface that’s dead. In a step by step series on Instagram, I told a transparent story about the process of the #rustawol and here it is and for the first time, a somewhat finished bike. The project was crowned with a Brooks Cambium rust saddle and bar tape where the fabric matches the bike and the vulcanized rubber matches the tan wall tires nicely.

As a last step I gave the Supernova headlamp and the Tubus rack a kiss of iron oxide. The humid and cold San Francisco summer will continue to corrode and oxidize the surface even though it’s been sealed with a clear coat as I surprisingly discovered after picking up the bike today. I learned a ton on this project, got my hands dirty and created a bike that Sofia really seems to like. I love that I sometimes can show you the hands-on process of being a designer at a big brand when 90% of my work never leaves the design studio. Confidentiality keeps us all from sharing what I know a lot of you like seeing and know more about.

Personally, the making-of-dvd in the Indiana Jones DVD box is far superior to the movies themselves and getting dirty is the only way to learn something new.

____

Follow Erik on Instagram.

Aug 19, 2015 38 comments
The Lowdown at LOW Bicycles
Michael placing a decal.

While LOW Bicycles might be known best for their made in San Francisco track bikes, for the past year or so, they’ve begun to develop road and ‘cross frames. Debuted at NAHBS, the MKI road is Low’s first geared bike offering, selling in small production runs and starting as a collaboration with Cadence, a longtime supporter of the brand.

A lot has changed at LOW since my last visit. Andrew hired Michael full-time, who aids in everything from prep to production and finishing. This enables Andrew to focus on welding and keeping up with the ever-increasing demand for frames.

When I was at the shop, Michael was working on one of the LOW MKI ‘cross frames in their new color: safety orange. These frames are being raced by TCB Courier and should be available soon for purchase.

When visiting a longtime friend like Andrew, more time is spend chatting and catching up, but I did get a few photos of the shop, the new frames and his dog, Manny. Enjoy!

If you’d like to pick up a LOW, head to their web shop or email Andrew for availability of their new MKI road and MKI cross frames.

Aug 17, 2015 4 comments
The New Guys: City + County Bicycle Co
City+County-4

Retail ain’t easy. Especially in the bike industry and it’s not like San Francisco doesn’t already have a large number of bicycle shops already, so if you’re going to start up something new, you better take a unique approach.

City + County Bicycle Co is a new shop in SF. Well, new to me! I’ve known the owner, Jon for a few years and first met him at Box Dog Bikes years back. The shop is located off Clement Avenue, right en route to GGP via the Presidio. If you know the area, you’ll note that it’s intravenous in the vein that is the route to the Golden Gate Bridge. i.e. one of the main access points to the Marin Headlands.

(more…)

Aug 17, 2015 4 comments
My Independent Fabrication Deluxe Redux 29’r Loves California Sunsets
My Independent Fabrication Deluxe Redux 29'r Loves California

With all the Fat Chance love and rigid MTB shenanigans as of late, I thought it’d be a good time to share the current status of this bike, which has seen its share of changes since I acquired it in 2013.

For those who haven’t seen it before, the story is simple. Indy Fab wanted to build a modern Yo Eddy! with 29″ wheels, disc brakes and an original Chris Igleheart fork (who worked at Fat City Cycles back in the 80’s). The bike was part of a small run and named the Deluxe Redux. I picked mine up at NAHBS in a firesale and it’s one of those bikes that I’ll forget about for a bit, then start riding it and remember how much I love it.

This latest rendition came after I sent back the Black Cat Thunder Monkey, leaving me with an 1×11 XX1 group and its super wide gear range. Shortly afterwards I picked up a pair of the Industry Nine Velocity Blunt SS wheels and decided they’d be perfect for the Deluxe Redux. Then, I got the bright idea to put Blue Lug’s Nitto Bullmoose bars on it with a new Paul seatpost and a Brooks C15.

The thing about rigids, and hardtails in general is you want a nice, fat tire you can ride at lower pressures to ease some of the rough and rugged terrain you’ll find yourself hammering down. The Maxxis Ikon 2.35″ tires balloon out to a nice 2.5″ on the Blunt SS rims. Perfect for NorCal’s sandy singletrack. I have been very impressed with this tire choice. They’re great if you find yourself riding through a city en route to the trails…

For the past week, I’ve taken it camping and have been steadily shredding it in the Headlands, Sutro, Golden Gate Park and parts of Mt. Tam. With the rocky conditions of Austin, I always forget how much fun fast and flowy trails are. Granted, there are still a few moments where I feel like a 27.2 dropper post would come in handy, but I’m also comfortable dropping way behind the saddle to make room.

I’m not sure what it is about the bike, but since it weighs in at 23.5 lbs on the dot, I don’t have a problem keepin up with dudes on cyclocross bikes and with the bigger tires, I can blast the descents just fine. It’s snappy and with the saddle to bar drop, I don’t feel like I’m always riding upright like I do on my hardtail or full sus.

After last night’s talk with Chris Chance at Mission Workshop and hearing his comment about him being the grand dad of the segmented fork, I can really appreciate the ride quality this homage bike has delivered for the past few years. There are a few products on it that’ll get a review eventually, but if you have any questions, drop them in the comments.

Aug 16, 2015 32 comments