The work of John Slawta is a lifelong pursuit of not only creating wild paint jobs but of bicycle design and engineering. Landshark is one of the most iconic custom framebuilders and even though they have moved away from steel frames, the spirit is still out there. One of the great things about Facebook – yes, I just said that – is the way in which communities come together to show support for others and in this case, appreciation for the work of Landshark. This Facebook group is all about Landsharks and is well worth the click-through to see some truly unique and well-used bicycles.
Mike DeSalvo makes absolutely beautiful steel and titanium frames, with some of the best welds in the business. In fact, his construction is so wonderful that he teaches tig-welding at UBI. While Mike’s frames are gorgeous in terms of construction, he’s admittedly not the most creative in terms of paint designs. His job is to focus on the frame’s engineering, leaving the designs up to the owners. Truthfully, I’d never seen a DeSalvo painted until coming to Japan and seeing the Circles customer’s personal rigs. Titanium is great and all, but sometimes paint really makes the frame pop!
When it comes to pop, if I were to ask you who designs the most outrageous paint jobs for bicycles, you might answer “John Slawta of Landshark.” John’s a living legend and his paint designs have long burned the retinas of their owners and anyone who has feasted their eyes upon these bikes. John and Mike began talking and decided to make six frames with insane paint jobs. This is the first, for Circles Japan and if you’re wondering what the inspiration was, Mike told John to be “very aggressive…” See John’s full design below, which features street art and pop culture references from Warhol, Keith Haring and Banksy, with a balls to the wall spin. If you’re in Nagoya, make sure you swing by Circles to check it out in person!
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!
Photo by Kyle Kelley
Slawta has created some of the most unique and ostentatious frame designs under his moniker Land Shark. Every time I see one of his works of art, I’m completely mesmerized, especially when neon paint is involved. Kyle recently shot this unique triple triangle track and I don’t wanna give too much of it away, so you’ll have to head over to Trackosaurus Rex to see the rest.
John Slawta’s work is easily some of the most recognizable in the world. While many have attempted to emulate his paint jobs over the years, even a subtle coat like this one is still strikingly unique. Landsharks are known for one thing: their paint, which is a shame. It’s only a disservice in the sense that Slawta’s fillets are undeniably clean.
Whereas some builders need to cover their work with flashy paint (called the pig with lipstick phenom), Slawta could walk away with a single color just fine. Yet, his bikes are all wild. Even when it comes to just two or three shades of blue (don’t mind the gypsum road residue splatted on the seat tube).
Spencer bought this frame off eBay and began to scrounge up parts. While it appears to be a balleur build, it was still done on a budget. The wheels were gifted to him by his dad (the bike would have still looked great with a box section rim), who also rides, the bars and stem were from his local shop’s spare parts bin. The SRAM Red though, that was purchased new.
Taking a vintage steel frame and dressing it up in a modern component group is by no means anything new, but there’s something special about seeing one done so tastefully…
See more in the Gallery!
This is a bit of a strange bird. Usually, when you see 650c road bikes, they’re used on small frames, not a 56cm. Like Strawberry and Serotta, Landshark also dabbled in the niche trend of 650c wheels on their road bikes in the early 90’s. Joshua’s road bike has some interesting details, akin to Slawta’s work but the wheels just take this bike over the top. Such funky proportions and yet, it works. Unfortunately, it’s not working for Joshua, so he’s selling it. Hit him up in the comments if you’re interested.
Check out more by clicking the photo above or here to open in a new tab.
Landshark Bicycles will always have a home on PiNP. I just love what Slawta has done in his time as a framebuilder. Now, to celebrate a new website and a partnership with Gnar Lube, Slawta will be building a limited number of hand-built, rigid carbon 29’rs called the Gnar Shark.
I received a FedEX tube today and this print was inside, along with some Gnar Lube. How stoked am I? Pick up one of these prints at Gnar Lube and try out their lube. If you’re a baller, you better scoop one of those bikes and let me photograph it.
This thing is a beast. I just saw it at King Kog yesterday and was amazed at how great the paint job looks in person. Not to mention that head badge is the best, ever. Wilis’ Landshark pursuit has all kinds of little details that will make your mouth water, as much as your back quiver. Check out more at Milk Money!
Chari just posted photos of Wilis’ new Landshark pursuit track bike. When he told me he got this (which matches his tandem), I didn’t think it’d be so over the top. Pretty bad ass huh? Check out more at the Chari blog!
Photo by Mattie Davitt
Mattie is one bad-ass dude. He races at the track, takes photoz and has one fucking sick Landshark! There’s no other word to describe this pairing other than awesome. He posted up this photo of his new Landshark and a Sachs road bike to the NYC boards and my mouth is watering! Wanna see his Landshark alone? Click on below.
While I was at Superb today shooting the shop, I took a few minutes to photograph Jason’s Landshark roadie. I’ve always wanted a Landshark. Slawta’s work has spanned decades of cycling history and his bicycles, although garrish to some, scream personality to me.
Check out a few more photos below.
Here’s another bad-ass illustration by Halfanese. For this photo shoot, he met up with Rambo and Orange 20 lent him their precious Landshark. What a killer reference! I’d love to see what he would do with the Jess Versus and Her Lurker images! Check out more detailed illustrations at Halfanese.
Slawta‘s creations for Landshark enable the owners to build them however the hell they want and they still look absolutely stunning. Michelin pro races in purple? White Spin wheelset? Sure. Why not? One day I’ll own something garish like this!
Today, we’ve got an extraordinary treat in our Vintage Bicycles series, brought to you by Mike Wilk with photographs by John Watson. At Sea Otter, John photographed a stunning 22″ 1992 Yeti Ultimate. This one-off bike has such a unique story; aside from being the only bike this size made in that era, it also has a Tioga Disk Drive rear wheel. It’s not every day you get to feature such a rare bird as this Yeti Ultimate, so read on for an in-depth look at what makes this bike so unique!
This year’s Chris King Open House chose 18 builders from all over the world to display their new colors for 2020: Bourbon and Violet. Thanks to ENVE, Santa Cruz Reserve, SRAM, Brooks, and Spurcycle. these bikes were built out appropriately for such a showcase. Below is a gallery of half the bunch, in alphabetical order for your enjoyment, with each builder’s description of the bikes. Make sure you comment on your favorite because there is some gold in these galleries!
What McGovern Cycles is bringing to the carbon fiber road bike market is not necessarily a new concept, but seeing it made in California is a first for me. His 27.5 carbon fiber road bike will fit a 27.5 by 2.1″ tire or a 700 by 45mm, is light as hell, features beautiful details, and has the stance of a race thoroughbred machine. These frames are built using tube-to-tube construction, not a mold, so a completely-custom geometry is possible. The 3T Luteus 2 fork gives ample clearance, without drastically increasing the ATC measurement. Last but not least, can we talk about that paint job? Outstanding work by John Slawta of Landshark!
Landsharks appear to be quite common in Southern California, especially in the San Diego area where David picked up not one, but two of these beautiful steel frames. The first being his own Track Shark and the second, a Road Shark for his brother. After scooping up the frame for a mind-melting deal, he built it with the spare parts he had from previous track builds, including some black Campagnolo Shamal wheels. In its current rendition, David’s got a platform pedal and foot strap so he can comfortably ride the bike in whatever sneakers he pleases. Fret not, pista purists, he also has a set of Campagnolo Pista pedals to completely dial it in… Personally, I think it’s awesome to see this bike being ridden still, with tons of potential for inner and outer city rides.
Also, that paint! Slawta never disappoints!
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…