While the Rouge Roubaix and coincidentally, the Rouge Roubaix Builder Challenge were both huge successes this year, there were a few things that I felt needed recognition. These can best be broken into a few groups: Chris Diminno’s hard work keeping us all fed, Mosaic’s team of ladies that crushed it, Will Jones’ dedication to the safety of racers and last but not least, the vernacular found in the Deep South.
For Boulder, Colorado’s Mosaic Cycles, the Rouge Roubaix Builder Challenge was the perfect epilogue for the 2015 North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Many of the bikes featured at NAHBS found their way to the RRBC and rightfully so. Why build something if it’s not meant to be ridden… Into. The. Ground.
The Mosaic line is divided into a number of specific uses. There’s a binomial nomenclature of sorts, or a key, to deciphering what bike is made for what and out of what material. Each member from Team Mosaic chose a bike that best fit their riding style. Be it steel or titanium, disc or rim brake, each of these bikes were built specifically to reflect their own preference.
As for the application process and the overall team, Aaron selected Boulder shredmeister Brandon Newcomer on an RS-1 (road steel), Velo Magazine correspondent Spencer Powlison on an RS-1 and finally, Derek Yarra, the RRBC winner on an RT-1d (road titanium disc), which matches Aaron’s own bike selection.
Derek and Aaron’s bikes will fit a fat, plump tire and because titanium is a naturally forgiving material, they offered a bit of compliance during the 100 mile race. If you’d like a further break down on each of these riders and their bikes, head to Mosaic to read up.
… there’s more coming soon on what else Mosaic brought with them: a wild card group of ladies…
As for Derek’s RT-1d, it’s built with Shimano Ultegra Di2, R685 hydraulic road disc brakes, Shimano Pro Vibe cockpit, and Shimano RX80 tubeless-ready wheels. My personal favorite detail: the Shimano mtb pedals!
Breadwinner Cycles was one of the brands that took up the torch, or tig welder rather, for the Rouge Roubaix Builder Challenge. Ira Ryan came out to St. Francisville with a stacked team, including Bicycling Magazine’s head editor Bill Strickland and a loyal customer Jake Rosenbloum from Asheville. Their selection was pretty much a shoe-in. When Ira began sifting through the applicants, he selected Hurl Everstone from Minneapolis.
With the Rouge Roubaix’s 40-ish miles of gravel and horrible road conditions, Ira and Hurl began discussing which bike would make the most sense for the race. Truthfully, both the Lolo and the B-Road would be ideal steeds for such an undertaking with their bigger tire clearances and geometries dialed in for all-road terrain.
Hurl selected a disc B-Road with Shimano Ultegra, Mavic Ksyrium Pro disc wheels, Pasela 28mm tires and Thomson bits.
… and as demonstrated, the bike shreds just fine.
The guys had an exceptional placement in the 3/4s, with Jake finishing 6th on his Lolo and Ira Ryan coming in 20th on his Lolo.
Part of my job during the Rouge Roubaix was to document the Rouge Roubaix Builder Challenge, or #RRBC2015 as the internet likes to catalog things. Last year, in a late night hot tub session, somewhere in SoCal, Ben from Argonaut, Billy from Echos, Aaron from Mosaic and myself were discussing NAHBS. Part of the frustration Ben was voicing was that he had infinitely more fun riding bikes with people, than sitting in a tradeshow booth for three days.
The idea expanded, phone calls were made and soon, the RRBC was born. Sort of. You see, it couldn’t be just one team, so a few were invited. Out of 5 teams, three committed: Argonaut, Breadwinner and Mosaic. Each team would send out a call for entries and select a team mate from the applicants, build them a bike and race the Rouge Roubaix with them.
For Argonaut, they chose Stephan Kincaid, a power house from Pennsylvania.
Since Ben had never met Stephan, who goes by the nickname Geronimo, the RRBC was just as much about the bike as it was new-found camaraderie. We arrived in Baton Rouge on Thursday and had two days to gather course intel, shoot photos, drink and prepare for the race on Sunday. This gallery represents those days in St. Francisville, Louisiana.
Stephan’s bike is an Argonaut disc road with Shimano Dura Ace, Chris King, Reynolds Wheels and ENVE cockpit.
Last year, Argonaut Cycles, Brian Vernor and myself traveled from our cushy locales to the Deep South for one of the United States’ most unique races. Since 1999, the Rouge Roubaix has been a classic tough man’s race. Coming in around 100 miles, with approximately 3,000′ of elevation and 40 miles of loose, unforgiving dirt, this course challenges even the most experienced of cyclists.
Fast forward a year and we’re back. This time with three framebuilder teams and a women’s team from Boulder, Colorado. The course stayed mostly the same and the stage was set, with a new cast of characters. In the time since the last race, the event itself has grown. Larger sponsors came on board and yet, the roots of the race remain the same. I noticed an increase in internet chatter as everyone’s anticipation grew.
While this is hardly the last you’ll hear of this year’s race, or the builders and their teams, this gallery offers a unique vignette into a truly unique race. You’ll see true back-country roads, lots of dirt and dust, with all the pain and anguish of a truly difficult race. Expect coverage of each of the Rouge Roubaix Builders Challenge teams, as well as galleries of the bikes.
For now, enjoy this selection of photos…
You don’t often see track bikes like this at NAHBS. Fixed gears, sure. Street-track bikes, yeah, you bet. But a Czech national track star’s personal race machine? That’s a first for me. Repete Cycles brought this stealthy beast to NAHBS and it won me over.
AX Lightness bar, stem and post, along with Mavic Comete track wheels and an SRM system. This isn’t your typical track bike. Raced by Jan Kraus for Repete, the 21 year old Czech Team Representative has quite the number of accomplishments under his belt. Do they wear belts with skinsuits? See Jan’s track record at the Repete Cycles Facebook.
Now, I’ll admit that the Yo Eddy! 29’r had me pretty stoked but I was more drawn to the 27.5″ version. Not that the 29’r doesn’t look like a great bike, it was just missing something… Something signature and iconically Chris Chance.
Segmented forks made the older Yo Eddy! frames in my opinion and after seeing the rigid 27.5 version at NAHBS, I knew what was missing with the 29r. My rigid Indy Fab was modeled after the old Yo Eddy! frames and it’s long been my favorite MTB. It has an iconic look that feels very Somerville.
Personally, if I were to buy a new Yo Eddy! frame, I would spring for the rigid fork option. Just look at that damn bike! It’s a perfect balance of modern components with just the right amount of throwback style. The build kit rounds out functionality nicely with XTR, a dropper post, brand spankin’ new WTB carbon rims, White Industries hubs and those nice n plump WTB 2.25″ Trail Boss tires.
While the 29r could tackle my local trails with ease, this rigid would make things a lot more interesting. Then, when your wrists and back start hurting, throw a Rock Shox on it and jam on.
Like the big brother of this frame, this one’s a prototype. Custom drawn stays are on the way and the geometry might take a bit of tweaking. Hopefully, me and Mr Yo Eddy! can spend some quality trail time together soon. Keep up to date on all things at Fat Chance Bicycles.
For Mosaic Cycles, they don’t grind gravel, they just go on road rides. Roads that are mostly dirt, so when Aaron decided to make a bike for ‘all-road’ conditions, he didn’t have to change much, aside from tire clearances. He did however add a few braze-ons for versatility reasons. Fender and light rack mounts are the most obvious additions. This particular frameset includes the new Ethic Industries fork. The GS1 is offered both as a steel bike, built from True Temper S3 tubing, or a titanium frame, with a geometry slightly tweaked for off-road or all-road riding.
The GS1 is designed to ride better on those long days in the saddle on dirt. This is one bike that has intrigued me and I’ll be able to actually ride it in the near future as part of a long-term review. Stay tuned…
If you’re intrigued, holler at Mosaic, where they’ll be more than happy to answer your questions or build you a bike of your own.
This bike is a wedding gift for a woman named Sarah from her husband Josh, who coincidentally bought a Shamrock cross a few years back. Sarah and Josh met at a cross race, and there were exactly 585 days from the time they met, until the day they got married.
Individually painted paper airplanes each represent a day and you guessed it, there are 585 of them on the bike. Sarah wanted a bike that was a race machine during the season and a commuter the rest of the year. Throw some race wheels, swap out a few parts and you’ve got a bike ready for mud.
“The bike is just a vessel in a sea of play” is Machine Cycles’ mantra. Builder Kyle Ward is left-handed, an architect and an artist who happens to enjoy building bicycle frame. From the few moments we spent discussing design and custom bicycles, I could tell Kyle has that special spark that motivates people to do great things. Or at least really beautiful things…
This bike wowed me at first and continued to with each new detail that I discovered. That paint? Inspired by a pair of socks Kyle was wearing the day he painted the bike. The navy blue fork and saddle are beautiful touches and the turquoise notes accent the matte brown. For tubing, there’s a lot going on: True Temper OX Platinum with stainless stays and a custom titanium stem.
Days get long photographing bikes at NAHBS, but this one was a pleasure. That bike has a mean stance, yet a soft and playful demeanor. Machine Cycles has a really great website, so head on over and check it out.