The Speedvagen Urban Racer. How can I even begin here? These bikes are… uh. Well, they’re kinda completely ridiculous. They’re not a traditional commuter bike, a cruiser, or a touring bike. They’re not meant to be loaded down with gear, or to be casually ridden around a park. Like a cafe racer of the bicycle world, these rigs are stripped down machines, meant to be ridden like a rocket… on 27.5 wheels and 43mm tires. Skids anyone?
Heritage is not something that can be bought, or self-prescribed. It’s grown and nurtured over time. Heritage is not a by-product of the self aware, or the overly ambitious. It can’t be self-stated either. Not unless your company began in 1946 and the whole time, has had a presence both locally and internationally in this world we so often call the cycling industry.
De Marchi apparel was started by Emilio De Marchi shortly after WWII. It began as a motorcycle and cycling store in an era where there were no cycling-specific jerseys. If you cycled, you wore the same jersey that you played futball in, or wore while you rode your motorcycle.
It wasn’t until the late 1980’s that De Marchi stepped away from motorcycle apparel to focus solely on cycling. This was after multiple cycling brands had offered to buy De Marchi for a hefty profit, yet Emilio stuck to it. Again, heritage.
The allure of the eBay score is strong, especially after so many Landsharks have been recently featured here on the site. Such temptation was too great for Andre. After looking on eBay for a few months, he finally scored this Road Shark with Shimano 600 for $400. It came as shown, minus some dry-rotted tires and no saddle, which were easily replaced. It’s in ok overall condition, just don’t look too closely at the bar tape!
The future of this bike is uncertain. There’s been talk of long-reach calipers, 650b conversion with porteur bars, or a modern 10-speed group, and my vote goes to keeping it as-is, just overhaul the damn thing a bit. For now, Slawta’s crazy personal touches shine regardless as to how much patina is present. My favorite detail is the chomping shark mouth on the internal cable routing exit…
Vacation. Holiday. 3-day weekends. From Memorial Day until Labor Day, the road is wide open and the sun is putting in overtime. Taking advantage of those days is key to sucking the last drop from life and its possibilities.
Last summer, I bought a 4 banger Tacoma pickup in Portland and it kickstarted a whole series of road trips. Most of which centered around cycling-related themes or events but it was the interstitial spaces and moments that I remember vividly. Sunsets, sunrises, rain, fog, wind. All of these had a specific scent and sensation. Most of which were captured visually throughout those long summer months.
I carried my Mamiya 7ii with me on every trip, loaded with Portra 400 220 film. It wasn’t until recently that I finally sat and dug through it all, compiling a Gallery of these moments and vignettes. They’re mostly in the correct order, beginning in Portland and traveling down south.
A lot of these spots are well-known, others not so much but they all serve one purpose: to inspire you to travel to the West Coast and see what you’re missing. Pardon the succinct nature of this intro, but there’s not much to say. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Slack and low, with bigger tire clearances this time. That’s the main difference between this bike and its predecessor. As noted in the previous bike’s gallery, the first version of this bike wasn’t what I wanted. Luckily, Seth Rosko is a good friend of mine and a very capable frame builder. He’s also human and humans make mistakes. What makes a human a great human and a great framebuilder is their ability to rectify those mistakes.
We had a miscommunication, and there was a fabrication error that resulted in a frame with clearance for 2.0 29’r tire in the rear. It’s something that happens from time to time. Framebuilders make mistakes. Chainring clearances, missing or incorrect cable stops, off-square rear triangles. You’re getting a functional piece of art and art has character. Right? Maybe not so much. It needs to function, above all.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move onto what I’m calling my “Agave Slapper” hardtail. This version clears a 2.4 Ardent on the rear, has a 69º head tube angle, a mid-range BB drop and an option for a 2x or 3x front ring. It’s easy to get it low through corners and in Texas, that means the occasional run in with the blue agave plant, where its color was inspired.
Fluoro and functionality. That’s what caught my eye when I first saw Justin‘s Serotta T Max mountain bike. That and the big ol’ Columbus Max OR sticker (I have a crush on that tubeset). Justin took what many would consider an obsolete 26″ frame, added mustache bars to it, a rack with a Wald basket and flat pedals, resuscitating it back to daily use. Of course it still shreds dirt, but it also shreds to and from work. Now we gotta find you a front derailleur dude.
Bum tracks, fire roads, singletrack beware, this Serotta T Max is looking for lunch!
Taking on the #FlowShiv
Photos and words by Chris Riekert
Here in the hallowed halls of the big red ‘S’; you know, the Death Star of the cycling world… you might be surprised to see there are some real people roaming around. Real people that are, first and foremost, big fans of bikes.
People like my buddy John Friedrich, the only man I know who would happily talk about the different weights of DOT brake fluid and what they offer to the rider, literally, until you’d choose water boarding over continuing the conversation… Or like our mechanic Patrick “Tree” Miller who seems like someone delivered to earth in one of those rescue pods shot through space as the planet Krypton went through nuclear collapse. Patrick is the NICEST most willing to help person I’ve ever met… and yes, he is a bicycle mechanic! How about that?
It’s not everyday that you see a cyclocross bike with Campagnolo Chorus 11 speed. I suppose it’s not too common to see a Geoff McFetridge-designed bike either, unless you’re in Los Angeles, which is Mudfoot territory.
Jason, like a lot of us, likes to use his cyclocross bike for road rides, dirt rides, trail rides and even a bit of ‘cross racing. These days, he’s got road wheels on his bike for heading into the hills and mountains surrounding LA. Yesterday, he took a leisurely spin up Griffith Park en route to getting a bite to eat.
I’ve seen countless Stinner Frameworks x Mudfoot bikes, but his was set up differently than others. Things I like about this bike: the white housing, GSC Steal Your Shop stem cap, the Prologo saddle, juxtaposed by the white bar tape. Things I don’t like about this bike: that it’s not dirty enough! Get out and ride that damn thing more Jason…
The Samuel Hillborne is Rivendell’s self-proclaimed “Country Bike”, meaning while it’ll do just fine around town it’s best at home touring the countryside. Actually, that’s not true at all. Not that bikes need rules, or stigmas for that matter, but the Hillborne is one of the most beautiful bicycles to be included in the Rivendell lineup. A veritable “do it all” bike. Road rides? Sure. MTB singletrack? Yep. Touring? You bet. It’ll do all the above with an uncanny elegance.
So elegant that you really can’t photograph this bike in a cityscape. It needs the sunbleached, parched rolling landscape as a backdrop. Whether its Walnut Creek’s rolling hills, or in this case the terrain of Los Angeles where it currently resides.
As far as the build is concerned it’s very Riv-esque with shellac’d Nitto Albastache bars, Schwalbe Little Big Ben tires, Nitto M1 rack, the IRD quill stem shifter mount and a brand new Brooks saddle.
Built originally for a rider who later determined it was a bit too long for him (hence the short stem), this bike is now at Golden Saddle Cyclery in Silverlake, Los Angeles with a price tag of $2,200 as shown. If you ride a 58cm and want a killer deal on a like-new complete, holler at the shop. Otherwise, just ogle this Beautiful Bicycle in the Gallery.
Vintage mountain bikes can provide just as much excitement as modern mountain bikes on your local trails. Sure, modern tech trumps clapped out forks and squishy brakes, but any trail shaman will show you the way to the wakkiness if you know how to summon your inner Tomac.
Not that DJ is going hucking anytime soon on his Dirt Shark frame, but in the meantime, it’s making a meal of his local one-track. Even if it’s hobo trails lined with syringes and scratch tickets, there’s still a good amount of dirt to be found in between Long Beach and Los Angeles for jibbin’.
Duder picked this bike up for a song and with that Kooka Stem and blue Sid fork, it’s one that I’d tune my ears to hear. With that paint, those components and the vintage fit philosophy, this bike will offer a truly unique experience on the trails. One that even your lightest 1x setup would have a hard time to rival.
You see, it’s not always about smashing KOM’s or blasting berms, sometimes it’s about just making it down in one piece… Keep her pretty DJ, but let her rip!