Wade’s Vulture Cycles Klunker

Wade from Vulture Cycles is one rad atavist. While he and I had never formally met before, I’ve long admired his work. Last year, we saw his travel bike and this year while up in Bend, Oregon at the Chris King Swarm event, I met Wade formally and shot this Vulture Cycles Klunker, modeled after a 1938 Colson Imperial. Now, klunkers are not supposed to be perfect, so turn off your detail-vision, and put on your shred spectacles.

Wade made this frame from Tange Ultra Strong MTB tubing, which he shaped and bent to fit his precedent. It was built around a Morrow hub that Cameron Falconer handed off to him years ago. Fresh Air Cycles, Travis from PAUL’s old shop, had the hub and Cam bought it from Travis, before handing it off to Wade. Remember Travis’ Falconer klunker-inspired MTB? The rest of the parts Wade had “laying around” like all builders and makers do, including the 1980’s Ashtabula forged steel cranks – who coincidentally made tons of components for Schwinn back in the day – and a S&M Redneck stem. The pedals are Suntour XC Pro and those bars are custom made by Wade. Oh and a Campy hub… just because.

Yeah, this bike just oozes cool, style, and the Vulture Cycles ideology. Wade’s a pretty cool guy too. We talked about Death Valley, core samples in Dry Bone Canyon, White Top Mountain, park rangers finding dead tourists and other tales from the desert. Exactly the kind of conversation I like having at a bike event. Party on Wade!


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  • Daniel Powell

    Oh man, detail-vision makes this one even better!

  • This is Mountain Biking at it’s finest. Thanks for sharing John!

  • Ted Barbeau

    The sag on that chain is oh-so-perfect.

    • Thomas Malcolm Macleay

      The chain sag worries me. With retro pedal brake and a skip-tooth chainring I’d be snugging it up a bit. Great spirit though.

      • Wade talks about how the ring isn’t completely round, so in some parts of the rotation, it’s slack, in other positions, it’s tight. This is the sweet spot.

  • Crmsnghst

    Ahhh my favorite cycling name “Ashtabula”. Right up there with “J.P. Weigle” and “Djamolidine Abdoujaparov”

    • Peter Chesworth

      Crust Bombora.

  • Klunkers and old S&M stems were meant to be! Why did I ever sell my ratted out Kona Humu?!

    • Nicholas Petersen

      That stem is the perfect choice for this build.

  • merlinvoodoo

    Looking good Wade! streighty

  • Kerry Nordstrom

    Hoping that “Assabula” was an intentional typo as that’s a pretty accurate way to describe them!

  • Tom G.

    Squint and it’s the saddle-back Schwinn I had as a kid in the 1970’s. It was SO! uncool though – every kid wanted a Peugeot PX10. Mistreated the Schwinn daily and never more fun with a bike. We hated those old coaster brakes – can’t back peddle and too much friction!

  • Sam Scavo

    i’m in love.

  • Chris Valente

    Just spectacular.

  • Daniel M

    Those tube bends put Retrotec to shame!

    • vulturewade

      I wish, nothing on this bike is anywhere as precise or as good as what Curtis builds. I kinda just eyeballed it out for fun.

      • Daniel M

        Maybe that’s why I like them. Curtis’s are too perfect… these have the right character

    • Curtis’ bends are just different. A little more intentional, exact. Wade strikes me as someone just having fun on a project like this. Curtis reproduces the bend over and over again.

  • DamagedSurfer

    This bike could easily grace the cover of Acid Roach or Gnar Bone Monthly

  • Morrow/Campy combo is too cool.

  • Does it do wheelies?

    edit: what I mean is- it’s awesome.

  • CJones

    Love it — maybe the coolest bike ever posted on this site!

  • Avuncular

    Turbo or not turbo, that is the question! – King Chris

  • Peter Chesworth

    A bike with no technological features what so ever. Beaten up, rusty and hangdog. In short, magnificent. Will certainly appear on my Top Ten for 2019.

  • bikenerd

    I recognize that downtube, I have a whole cross bike built from that – including the stem.

  • Wade is such a rad dude! Great to see this!

  • Ashtabula! There’s a name I haven’t heard since the 70s…