Santa Rosa – and all of NorCal for that matter – has a rich history with frame builders. From Eisentraut to Salsa, Sycip, and Retrotec, the names and faces of this little realm within the cycling industry have such great stories to tell. While I’m working on a few more posts from my recent trip to Santa Rosa, I thought I’d share this unique build with you.
High in the rafters at Trail House hangs this 1990’s Kostrikin rigid single speed mountain bike. These days, bikes like this are still rolling around, converted with “limp dick” stems, baskets and flat pedals, these once race-ready bikes have found a life living as commuters, bar bikes, tourers, and grocery getters. There was a time, however, when these were the pinnacle of racing technology. Although the single speed market was and seemingly still remains a small percentage of this population.
Kostrikin frames were run by two brothers; Nick and Billy. Nick built the bikes and Billy raced them. These bikes were commonplace in the NorCal MTB racing circuits, with a few frames still popping up here or there, yet I’ve never seen one in such great condition as the one at Trail House, built up with a plethora of vintage Paul Components.
While Nick and Billy had a brief falling out with the cycling scene, Billy is still racing, mostly cyclocross, and Nick is still building from time to time. Nick’s new “brand” is called Highland Cycles, although his Instagram account is pretty slim on content.
As I was shooting this bike, I kept thinking how, despite being almost 30 years old, this bike would be an absolute joy to ride. That’s the thing about rigid single speeds like this; they evoke a sense of sketchy fun. Plenty of bikes like this are still being made today, albeit with disc brakes and bigger tires, but the intent of the bike remains in spirit. I’d personally love to know more about Kostrikin’s work, so if you have stories or photos, please share them in the comments!
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