It’s a fun thought experiment to try to pinpoint when the decision to buy a hardtail might factor into someone’s cycling journey. Or, it is if you spend most of your time thinking about, designing, and building bikes like Nick Neuhaus and Daniel Yang of Neuhaus Metalworks. For me, the decision came about 18 months ago when I realized that the terrain that held the most appeal—for day rides and multi-day tours—was continually falling in the underbiking category when ridden on my drop bar gravel bikes. And even though I’m still very much cutting my teeth on more technical terrain, Nick and Daniel reached out to see if I’d be interested in reviewing their second steel hardtail design, the Hummingbird. Of course, I gladly accepted the chance to see if I could keep up with this handmade steel singletrack seeker. In addition to testing the bike on a variety of Colorado terrain, during the past three months I had multiple conversations with the Neuhaus guys about the current hardtail moment; how identity and marketing affect one’s perceptions of this somewhat black sheep trail category, and where the Hummingbird fits into this evolving conversation.
Dope Tubes: Jonny Pucci’s Custom Roberson 650b Gravel Bike
Wrapping up our coverage (for now) that showcases the celebrated work and career of San Diego-based framebuilder Rob Roberson, today we take a look at one of Rob’s most recent builds – a custom gravel bike for his friend and co-worker Jon Pucci. Rob and Jon worked together for years in Joe Bell‘s storied paint shop and conspired together for a chunk of that time planning what would become Jon’s dream bike and one he could adorn with an equally fitting paint job. As with all of Rob’s builds (and Jon’s paint, too), there’s a lot to take in so let’s get to it!
To Switch Infinity and Beyond: A 27.5″ Yeti SB135 with SRAM Transmission Review
Curiosity. It’s a great trait to have as a cycling journalist. An inquisitive nature is what first prompted me to throw a leg around subculture-spawned bikes, like steel full-suspension 29ers and titanium hardtails, years ago. Sometimes, you have to pedal something for an extended period to whet that appetite for the occasional oddity that arises. If you’re lucky, those experiences challenge your preconceptions, too.
Working in bike media, it’s pretty easy to get cynical about all the marketing hype and the constant push for model years by the bigger brands, particularly regarding ever-changing drivetrain technologies, incremental gains, and complex suspension designs. I still value riding a rigid 29er as much as riding a vintage 26″ wheeled steel chariot through compromising terrain: the almighty underbiking ride keeps you honest, allows for honing your skillset, and can be damn fun.
Yet, on the flip side, I am attracted to high-tech, modern carbon bikes in small doses. Hence the allure of this Yeti SB135.
Before testing out the SB135, it had been a while since I’d ridden a carbon full suspension as, in the intervening years, I’ve been enjoying sampling the steel offerings out there from smaller, bespoke builders. Yet, the appeal of the high-tech is palpable—lighter, faster, smoother-shifting sounds fun, right? Mix in Yeti’s 27.5″ platform for the SB135, and my curiosity was piqued. The last 27.5″ wheeled bike I reviewed was the Santa Cruz 5010 and the previous 27.5″ wheeled bike I’d ridden was the Transition Scout that was loaned to me for a Moab trip. It was on that very trip I realized that while I admired the 27.5″ wheel platform, it wasn’t necessarily for me nor for the terrain I enjoy riding.
Yet, the SB135 was just strange enough, foreign enough, new-and-techy enough to have me put my steel sled with cable-actuated shifting aside for a few weeks and spend some time riding Yeti Turq and SRAM T-Type shifting…
Zach’s Custom Roberson 650b “Dopesmoker” Touring Bike
Today, we’re continuing our coverage of bicycle frame builder Rob Roberson with a detailed look at Zach Small‘s touring bike inspired, in part, by stoner doom band Sleep’s album “Dopesmoker.”With hand-carved lugs, custom racks, and perfect paint courtesy of Jon Pucci, there’s a lot to take in so let’s get right to it!
FYXO Builds: The Surly Big Fat Dummy e-Cargo Bike AKA “Lane Cruiser TURBO”
FYXO is back with another e-bike conversion: meet the Surly Big Fat Dummy e-cargo bike, aka the Lane Cruiser Turbo. Andy White had to look high and low for this frame before finding one on the other side of the globe. From there, he got to work making this truly unique—and endlessly functional—Surly Big Fat Dummy build. Check out how the Lane Cruiser Turbo came out!
A Life of Custom Bicycle Fabrication: Fifty Years of Rob Roberson’s Personal Bike Collection
Yesterday, we shared a profile of Rob Roberson that traces his storied bicycle fabrication career from the 1970s to present day. Today, we’re taking a look at seven bikes Rob built during that impressive 50-year window, from early track bikes to road frames and his most recent personal all-road build. There’s a lot of intricate eye candy here, so let’s get to it!
Unicorns and Sparkles and Rainbows: Finding Joy through Art, Ecology, and Bikes
While earning, or enduring, her Ph.D in Environmental Life Sciences, Courtney Currier began spending more time on the bike as a way to further connect to the places she was studying, and as a way to just spend time outside during the very inside days of the pandemic. In a very real sense, her time on the bike was inspiring and she began making art again. Building up and custom painting a unicorn fixed gear commuter brought everything full circle! Below, as she plans for what comes next in life post-Ph.D, Courtney reflects on bikes and joy, along with Tobias Feltus’ overview of the build process.
John’s Steve Potts Signature Illustrated by Høj Art
It’s no secret that Instagram is a wonderful place to find artists. We’ve collaborated with many over the years on various designs we’ve put on t-shirts, bottles, and more. Recently John connected with cycling illustrator Høj Art, who requested drawing his Steve Potts Signature, using his photos as a reference. Daniel Rebour’s work heavily inspires their style.
Last night Høj Art sent over the final illustrations and we’re elated to share these beautiful drawings with you, so let’s check out the full spread below!
From The Pro’s Closet: Jacquie’s Singlespeed Wilderness Trail Bikes Phoenix
We’re running with an alternative format for this week’s classic bike feature from The Pro’s Closet vault! It’s one we hope you enjoy as it was penned by the original owner of this stunning singlespeed WTB Phoenix, Jacquie Phelan. Jacquie was an early MTB pioneer in the Marin constituency and along with her racing accolades is, perhaps, most known for starting the Women’s Mountain Bike & Tea Society (WOMBATS). In her own words, she hasn’t retired from racing and still loves to mix it up on two wheels. Read on for her retelling of how this bike faired at the 2008 Napa Single Speed World Championships (SSWC)…
Two Unexpected Years with the Surly Bridge Club in Review
I don’t get new bikes very often these days. I’m pretty much a one-bike kinda guy. So, when the one complete bike I had in my possession (a Tumbleweed Prospector) got stranded in Nepal for an indefinite amount of time in March of 2020, I hit up Sean over at The Cub House to see what kind of bike I could get my hands on at the very beginning of the pandemic bike boom.
I was looking for something versatile enough that would be fun for day rides on dirt roads, multi-use paths, and some singe-track. I was leaning toward a steel frame and wanted it to fit a healthy-sized 27.5” tire along with having all of the necessary accoutrements to mount up racks and bags just in case the need would arise. A SRAM 1x setup would be a nice bonus since I had some spare parts lying around. But most importantly, I wanted something that wouldn’t obliterate my bank account. After all, I didn’t know if I’d be back to my trusty T’weed in a matter of months.
When looking at all of the options, the Surly Bridge Club seemed to tick more of those boxes than any other, and it turned out that I could get my grubby mitts on a size XL, so I went for it. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I’d end up spending more than two years riding and touring on the BC in Michigan, Turkey, Peru, and Colombia. It was never meant to be my full-time touring rig, but it just happened that way.
Introducing The Radavist Edition Sklar Super Something Gravel Bikes
Today we’re elated to present our Radavist Edition Sklar Super Something bikes. We worked with Adam Sklar to create two unique and exclusive paint finishes, which we’ve dubbed “Burgundy Something” and “Super Splatter,” and have five build kits ranging from a coaster cruiser to an ENVE-clad race machine. These are available today, shipping from our parent company, The Pro’s Closet, in our Radavist shop.
There’s a lot to go over here, so let’s get to it!
Skidaway Special: Building and Racing a ‘54 Schwinn Klunker
Taylor‘s journey to rediscovering a love for bicycles included building a modern klunker from a 1954 Schwinn Hornet frameset. After plenty of experimentation with parts and modifications, an unlikely entry into a local race would prove fortuitous for Taylor and his vintage rig. Continue reading below for a detailed rundown of Taylor’s build project, racing his klunker at local events, and more from Skidway Island!
It Takes Two: John’s 1985 Steve Potts Signature
Marin County was a bustling time for the early mountain bike scene from the late 70s and well into the 80s. Names like Tom Ritchey/Gary Fisher/Charlie Kelly at the MountainBikes store, and Joe Breeze, Charlie Cunningham, and Steve Potts psychically and physically shaping the future of the then-fledgling sport with their fire-road ripping designs, torches and tig welders.
We’ve reported on Cunningham and Potts’ involvement in Wilderness Trail Bikes (known widely as WTB) over the past few years along with Mark Slate. In 1983, Cunningham, Potts, and Mark Slate founded WTB, and the trio began developing components in Marin, leaning on both builder’s fondness for innovation and exquisitely unique craft. While Steve loved to shape tubes with brass fillets, focusing on the form regardless of weight, Charlie would tig aluminum and shave grams anywhere he could. The two made for a dynamic duo of constructeurs.
By the time 1985 rolled around, mountain bikes were a legitimate tour de force within the bike industry. Even though they gravitated towards completely different frame materials and processes, Cunningham and Potts were credited with crafting some of the most iconic bikes of the era and still found the time to collaborate and share ideas.
As with many of the influential characters and pivotal moments in the early days of the almighty mountain bike, collaboration was key, and sometimes, it took two talented individuals to make a single bike…
A Love Letter from Berlin: The Rad Race Last Wo/Man Standing Fixie Crit and Custom Framebuilder Highlights from Kolektif
Back in March, as part of the Kolektif Bike Fair in Berlin, the team behind Rad Race put on the 9th annual Last Wo/Man Standing fixed gear race at the winding indoor Mobikart go-kart circuit track. Additionally, the bike fair featured a handful of stunning custom builds on display from an array of framebuilders including Drust, Omnium, Rossman, Morassi, Trout, ten:07, and Vetra. Petor Georgallou was there for it all and shares a full report and massive image gallery below.
Seeing in 3D Violet at the 2023 Chris King Guest House
This past week, in the lead-up to the annual Sea Otter Classic event in Monterey, CA, Chris King Components held their second Guest House event across Monterey Bay in Santa Cruz. The festive event showcased a variety of unique builds – all featuring Chris King components – many of which were the recently re-released vibrant 3D Violet color. Below, let’s take a look at this eclectic mix of bikes that spans categories across road, gravel, touring, and MTB!
The Paul Component Engineering, Monē Bikes, and Sierra Nevada Sierra Recycler Cruiser
For the 6th year in a row, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co asked Paul Components to build a custom one-off bike for them to show-off at Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, then give-away to raise money for a non-profit. After thinking long and hard about what’s already been done and hasn’t been done at Sea Otter, Paul came up with a wild proposition for a super fun bike that would be a conversation starter for sustainability and environmental thoughtfulness in bicycle manufacturing, the #SierraRecycler. Sierra Nevada loved this idea, being leaders in solar power, recycling, estate farming, transportation, composting, and water reclamation in the craft beer industry. Read on to learn more about how this project came together from the folks at Paul!
Archive Re-Up: Nick’s Moyer Track Bike
When we lost our 2015 image bucket back in 2018, it was a huge bummer, but over the past few months, I’ve been digging out hard drives and re-editing some photos, in the hopes of filling in the bigger holes. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been taking a deep dive into the archives, and today, I’m sharing one of my favorite track bike builds I shot while living in Austin: Nick’s Moyer Track
Check it out in all its beausage glory: Nick’s Moyer Track
I should also note that my intent here is only to upload lost photos, keeping the text and formatting intact.
Made in Philly: Shop Visit at La Marche Bicycle Co
Longtime readers of this website will know Tom La Marche, primarily due to his fame during the popularity of fixed gear riding in the early 2000s. More recently, Tom has pursued his love of framebuilding under the banner of La Marche Bicycle Co part-time while working as a stunt man for various Hollywood movies and TV shows. For the past few years, he’s been working on getting his workshop dialed in and making bikes for a select clientele. While in town for the Philly Bike Expo last year, I caught up with Tom at his new shop space and photographed his personal Town & Country gravel bike. Let’s take a look below!