Drawing cycling portraits admittedly started as a self-serving venture. Looking for a breather from the largely geometric aesthetic I gave my illustration work, I dug down deep to my formal college Drawing 2 class and after a seven-year hiatus, I gave realistic portraiture another shot. After some hesitation, I decided to publish them but still didn’t have the courage to tag the people referenced. The internet can be a small place and they were quickly tagged for me but this served as the little form of validation I needed. I figured if people could be recognized, then they couldn’t be that bad right?
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a lot of negative internet chatter when bike brands release hardtail trail bikes that are not overly slack, steep, or otherwise geometrically boundary-pushing in some way. My suspicion is that many of these comments come from riders that prefer lifts over pedaling uphill but nonetheless cast a shadow on mid-travel hardtails that are intended for folks that aren’t spending their days in terrain parks.
The story of this bike starts before it entered my life. It starts with a place, a center of creativity and bike culture. It starts with Citizens warehouse. In 2007 my sister Cailin joined a newly formed youth cycling club called El Grupo through her high school. The club centered around a DIY ethic and she built herself a bike at a then 18-year-old bike collective called BICAS. BICAS lived in the basement of a haggard old warehouse called The Citizens Transfer Warehouse affectionately known as Citizens. Cailin quickly fell in love with cycling and being my best friend she built me a single-speed road bike and encouraged me to come to see what El Grupo and BICAS were all about.
Each year I like to look at our content in its entirety and reflect back on bikes that took you, the readers of this website, by storm. Back in the mid to late 2000’s it was all fixed gears, then came the gravel bikes, the tourers, the MTBs, and the kooky, eccentric builds you’ve come to enjoy checking out in full-res detail. We’ve got some incredibly talented individuals contributing to this site and their hard work is something I cannot express my gratitude for enough. Going back through the 2020 content here at the Radavist, I am amazed at what we were able to accomplish all things considered.
For this year’s Top Beautiful Bicycles of 2020, we have compiled a great list of ten bikes, ranging from rim brakes to fixed gears, basket bikes, and more. This list is based on web traffic, commentary, and social media chatter, and each of these builds really brought something unique to our content. We omitted bike reviews here but included production bikes. Oh and I hope you like baskets!
Let’s jump right in!
Since moving to Santa Fe, I’ve ridden my mountain bikes almost exclusively, which is a stark contrast to how much time I would spend on my drop bar bikes in Los Angeles. It’s not that there isn’t gravel in our area, it’s just that mountain biking is so accessible, so remote, and so sheltered from the wind and the sun, it’s a no-brainer.
Another major difference is whereas I’d drive to the trailhead in LA, I find myself riding to the trails here 99.9% of the time, even on my Starling Cycles Murmur, which is a really big bike to pedal across town, up the foothills, and into the mountains.
These miles spent on my full suspension had me spending a lot of time adjusting the coil system this bike was built on. Some days, I’d pedal with only a hip bag, while others, I’d lug a heavy camera bag around. This 10+ pound differential made it somewhat awkward to adjust the coil shocks as I found myself smack dab in the middle of the two coil weight zones. While the ride quality of the coil system is undeniably noticeable, it felt like I needed something less finicky.
So, when Fox reached out, asking if I wanted to try out their new fork and rear shock, I jumped on the opportunity. Little did I know I’d gravitate back towards air after vibing so hard on the coil shocks’ ride quality…
I first met Jacqueline at Breadwinner Cycles, while I was shooting a Shop Visit of their café. Since then, we’ve featured the Untitled gravel bike from the Philly Bike Expo and I’ve been keeping tabs on Jackie’s endeavors. Well, recently Untitled Cycles officially launched and Jacqueline has a press release announcing a fundraiser for the brand, so read it in full below.
Let’s just say I didn’t expect any less than greatness from Moots when it came to the Womble, the latest creation from their shop in Steamboat Springs. From previous experiences, I knew how well Moots’ titanium bikes rode and was looking forward to trying out their take on a modern 29er.
A few years back, I put the Baxter 29er through the wringer on the Steamboat to Fort Collins Ramble Ride, and during my project with SRAM in the Inyo Mountains, I pedaled it high up in the Mojave Desert and through Death Valley, across miles of washboard roads.
If I learned anything from those experiences it’s that titanium is the greatest frame material, especially when it’s wielded by the Masters of Metal. I’ve had the Womble 29er for a few months now, throughout the dusty ‘n’ dry end of summer, well into the snow-filled fall, and am finally ready to make my thoughts official, so read on below.
Prior to Sunday’s announcement here on the Radavist about Crust Bikes taking a breather to reorganize, I set up a date to shoot Kris’ Evasion Lite. Kris had just picked his build up from Sincere Cycles where Bailey spent time selecting the right components for his budget, while not skimping on functionality…
The mid of March is usually a time where you think about the upcoming season and what kind of adventures you are going to tackle during springtime. Suddenly, the world is closing down, throwing everyone into the status of the unknown. Leaving us with restless and raving minds. Diving into the world of bikes has always been a great way of escaping reality for me. Let it be physically or virtually – if you don´t have the chance for some saddle time.
I was blessed to have the chance of getting my first taste of ultra-cycling at the Atlas Mountain Race last February. The harsh brutality of the Morrocan rock fields brought up the first ideas for this project. Rocks and smaller stones hitting my frame and rims for hours let me think about how I would repaint my bike after the race.
Crust Bikes and RonsBikes.com have a fundraising raffle going on to benefit families separated and detained at the Southern Border. All you have to do is donate what you can to ActBlue and email your receipt to RonsBikesRaffle@gmail.com to enter the raffle.
This raffle will end at 7pm EST on December 7th.
for pitching in parts for the build.
A little while back, our friends at Swift Industries worked with Kona to create a collaboration Rove ST Special Edition touring bike. If you recall this project’s release, it looked really appealing for those wanting a classic touring bike package with bags and everything, ready to hit the road.
My bud Kyle Klain picked one of these up from the Broken Spoke here in Santa Fe when they first dropped. It’s been his bikefishing mobile and commuter before upgrading a few crucial components this year. To test out my new camera setup (more on that later) I met up with Kyle at his office and took his bike for a quick shoot…
The almighty basket bike. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Doesn’t need flashy components. Just build it out for practical uses… like wallrides!
Earlier this year, Bailey got the idea to convert this older Rocky Mountain Hammer frame into a basket bike. His intent with the bike was to have a no-nonsense, do-it-all beater that he could lock up anywhere and not worry about it. Yet, because it’s Bailey, there was a twist to this bike’s use…
Our friends at Firefly have teamed up with Silca to make a titanium bodied, Silca Pocket Imperio Pump. By switching the construction of the pump from aluminum to titanium, it offered a new palette for Firefly to offer a few of their finishes on. These pumps are made-to-order at Firefly’s shop, come in a high-voltage anodized fade (pictured), a brushed, or blasted finish.
-Fully butted titanium construction
-Premium leather piston gasket and brass check-valve
-Length: 8 in
-120psi maximum pressure
-Finished in Blasted, Brushed or Ultra-high voltage anodized fade
-For presta valves only
-Pumps are all made-to-order. Lead times are 2-3 weeks.
-Retail $220 for brushed/blasted $300 for anodized fade
Head to Firefly to see more.
My first taste of full suspension came when I was working as a wrench at a shop in Quakertown PA just after graduating from college and not really having a plan. On mornings off, I’d take out a demo and ride the local trails up on South Mountain in Emmaus. Those bikes were terrible. But at the time, I was young and loving any bicycle I could get my hands on. That was 1998. A degree project when I went back to school confirmed I didn’t have a clue about geometry, handling, let alone suspension kinematics. Fast forward to 2012 when I hung my shingle out starting 44 Bikes, I became solely focused on honing geometry and understanding fit. But deep down, I wanted to build a full suspension bike but I knew I wasn’t ready. Which brings us to the here and now. Things began to click after building hundreds of bikes and dozens of prototypes where I finally felt like I had a grip on geometry and handling. I wanted a new challenge. So in the Spring of 2019, I started acquainting myself with a platform I had largely ignored.
Sometimes a bike is worth more than the sum of its parts. You know, that feeling of home that isn’t just about having your favourite bars and saddle in the right place. My Kona Unit began life as a $999 single speed complete – a heck of a good value, and a bike I never knew I’d come to love so much.
My normal yearly schedule usually includes a visit or two to Portland, Oregon, a mecca for bicycle framebuilders. Over the years, I’ve been a part of documenting the projects that come out of the Vanilla Workshop, so when a sweet project like this comes along, I like to elevate it to the Reportage section of the site. Sure, this bike isn’t going to be for everyone, nor is it by any means accessible, but as cyclists, we should be able to appreciate beautiful pieces of craft and thoughtfulness. At least that’s how I look at it!
Anyway, this Vanilla Classic road bike build with custom CycloRetro Engraved Shimano Dura Ace is a blast from the past… and that’s its intent! Read on below for more words and beautiful photos from the Vanilla Workshop.
As I drive home to Barcelona from a photoshoot in the South of Spain, I dream about the next three days. They will be calm and tranquil while I worked from home. Then, my phone buzzes with a message from Mike, a friend and owner of a bed and breakfast in the Pyrenees Mountains in France. He needs help with a last-minute photoshoot further north in the Basque Country. By last minute, he means tomorrow. No time for a rest. I live for photoshoots. It’s my job. My passion. The lure of home will have to wait, as the car stays packed and continues northward toward France.
A few hours later I am in the French Basque Country, in the town of Saint Jean de la Luz. Mike has brought me to his friend, Julien’s house. It is like the rest of the neighborhood, an etxea, in typical Basque construction with white walls crossed by solid timber beams, covered with a clay terracotta roofs. And there in this iconic French village sits the subject for the day. It’s a fresh, stainless steel 2-11 Cycles. So fresh that it’s barely been out on the road yet.
Our International Singlespeed Day post brought out some real gems, including Brad‘s Curtis S1 singlespeed MTB. This one’s a real beaut and Brad supplied a great rundown on the bike’s inception, so read on below for the full report!