Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
Builder’s Camp in Bozeman: Squid’s Fuck Off Johnny SSMTB

Each year at NAHBS, a selection of builders at the show lament on how we should actually ride bikes together more, not just talk about them once a year at the show. I get it. Sitting in a convention center, under that horrible lighting, discussing how a bike rides is worlds apart from actually riding out on the trails. This year, Adam Sklar took the initiative to plan a weekend and then some of fun times in Bozeman and sent out an open invite to numerous builders. His idea was to expose people to the culture here, the town’s local builders, eats, drinks, and shops, in an event playfully dubbed the “Builder’s Camp.” Squid, Breadwinner, Retrotec, Falconer, Horse, Alliance, and Strong, along with a few other locals, all prepared for 5 days of non-stop riding and relaxing in this beautiful mountain town.

Squid Bikes: Fuck Off Johnny Single Speed Mountain Bike

Squid owners Chris Yoshio Namba and Emily Elaine Kachorek brought their newest frame platform, the Fuck Off Johnny. These hardtail mountain bikes were serendipitously named by Paul Price, owner of Paul Components when he expressed “So what’s going on with your new bike? The Screw Off Susie? Or the Fuck Off Johnny?” to which Squid replied, “you mean the Shred to Eds?” So when the time came to name their new mountain bike, they knew what to call it.

These hardtails fit a 3.0″ 27.5″ tire or a 2.2″ 29″ tire, are designed for a 120mm travel fork, use stealth dropper routing, and come in at a pricepoint of $1,400 for the frame. From there, buyers can pick up some cans of Spray.Bike and go to town, designing their own custom paint jobs. For Chris and Em, they take their painting jobs to heart, designing elaborate schemes in vibrant colors.

Chris used random scrawl from his travels to cover his frame, wheels, and bars in a green color scheme, while Em focused more on pastels. Each bike has loads of character and it was damn impressive watching them crush these steep mountain rides on single speeds.

The Fuck off Johnny will be in stock early August. You can make a deposit and see more details at Squid.

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Follow Squid Bikes on Instagram and follow along with the #BuildersCamp hashtag.

Jul 17, 2018 3 comments
Rule the Mountain on the Kingdom Vendetta X2 Titanium 27.5+ Hardtail

One of the challenges of writing about and riding bicycles is finding your flow. Sometimes both just seem to propel themselves, and other times you hit a dead end. Luckily, my time on the Kingdom Vendetta X2 was not the latter. Rather, upon the first shakedown ride, I knew I was going to love riding this bike because of one reason: specialization.

Now, hardtails, while simple in their form, come designed for many specific uses. Within this realm of mountain bikes there is an endless combination of design and geometric tweaks, resulting in a bike that can either be tuned for a broad spectrum of riding, or a very specific niche. All this goes without saying, but you can design a hardtail that will climb exceedingly well and descend like a three-wheeled skateboard. Or descend like a banshee and climb like a one-legged pig. While most of these experiential data is subjective, a few key features are just straight up objective.

Currently, the cycling industry is at an all-time low, as in, the bikes are longer and lower – which is a good thing, but there’s a tipping point. A bike that rides well going up as well as going down, is going to have to strike a balance to reign supreme on the mountain. Luckily, that’s where the Vendetta rules in the Kingdom of mountain bikes. (more…)

Jul 10, 2018 27 comments
Vote for Your Favorite Speedvagen from the Workshop Build Off

Being a part of this project, if by only being the person who shot the photos of each bike, was a lot of fun. The Vanilla Workshop was brainstorming about what the next bike should be in their Ready-Made program when someone had the bright idea of including the public vote in the decision. That’s when the #WorksShopBuildOff was born. The idea is simple; ping some people/personalities/bike shops/artists to design their bike of choice, with or without concept, be it merely style, or art canvas. Then, Vanilla would build the bikes up and YOU, the public would get to vote on each, determining which will be part of the Ready-Made program.

You can do this a few ways; take to social media, use the #WorksShopBuildOff hashtag and post one of these photos of the bike of your choice, vote at our Instagram, or you can simply vote in the comments here, by saying 01, 02, 03… for your vote, and last but not least, you can head to web and vote at Speedvagen. Let’s get it started! (more…)

Jul 9, 2018 69 comments
Skip Town on the Speedvagen GTFO

I’m up in Portland to document the Vanilla Workshop Build-Off bikes and hang out in town for a few days. We’ll go into the event in-depth later, but the gist is, there are six bikes on display designed by various brands and individuals, of either completely new concepts, or simply a new paint scheme. The attendees and web-users will get a chance to vote on the best bike and that will become the next ready-made bike.

One of those bikes is perhaps the most unique builds to come from the Speedvagen brand. The team began with the idea of the Urban Racer – a stripped down, fast-paced, innercity bike – and expanded on its usage to the city and beyond. After design meetings and prototype, the GTFO was born, a bike designed to get you out of the city as fast as possible for an overnighter.

The GTFO will come with Syntace dropouts, making it easy to run either geared or singlespeed, in two models; the PRO model will come complete with Andrew the Maker bags, a painted to match bullmoose cockpit, and ZIPP wheels, or the normal package, which comes sans bags, a standard painted to match stem, and EA70ax wheels.

If this bike gets the “people’s choice” vote, it’ll join the ranks of the OG-1 and Urban Racer in Speedvagen’s Ready Made program and price will be determined then. We’ll be posting at a later date with details on how to vote!

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Follow Speedvagen on Instagram.

Jul 6, 2018 41 comments
Golden Saddle Rides: Andrew’s Fairdale Rockitship Chubby Road Bike

This build, like many that arrive as a box of parts and roll out the door of Golden Saddle a beautiful, functional completes, is just filled with great details and components but the thing that ties it all together is the fork. The fork was made by our friend Carlos, aka Weld Street Loco / Dark Moon Fab Works. Carlos lives in Los Angeles, where ha has worked for numerous fabrication companies over the years, before switching to work full-time on frames for Aaron Stinner, and finally, setting up his own shop. Andrew wanted a steel fork for his steel Fairdale Rockitship and Carlos built one to the same spec as the stock fork, but with a few added bits of functionality. He was planning on building it up as a chubby road bike but equipped for light touring and bikepacking. Hence for the need to have bosses on the fork to carry a rack or cargo cages.

The rest of the component selection is on-par with a lot of builds rolling out of GSC’s doors. Not because of the trend but because these are made by people like you and me, who really love bicycles. They love them so much that they want to make the best parts to their abilities, right here in the USA. … and Japan!

Andrew plans on taking on the Oregon Outback route this fall, so wish him luck!

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If you want a custom build like this and live in Los Angeles, hit up Golden Saddle Cyclery.

Jul 5, 2018 37 comments
Riding Mountains on the New Santa Cruz Bicycles Bronson and 5010 in Los Angeles

Tyler wanted to get a limited slip differential installed in his Volvo 142. The problem is, Tyler lives in Santa Cruz where he works for Santa Cruz Bicycles in the design department, and the Volvo experts were down in Long Beach. No one wants to drive from Santa Cruz to Los Angeles on the weekend, and the shop was closed then anyway, so what’s a dude with a slick Volvo to do? The genius of this whole ordeal was that Tyler, and David – two design department dudes at Santa Cruz Bicycles – were able to convince their bosses to let them ride the newest bike models down in Los Angeles, allowing Tyler’s car to get worked on while we shredded some of the area’s best trails. I’m sure it didn’t hurt to have me offer to show them around, ride the new bikes and obviously tell a story about the whole shindig. Sure, this is about the bikes, as much as it is about showing Tyler and David Los Angeles’ best trails in a condensed, two-day experience.

Playing host in Los Angeles is as much fun as it is hard work. Hard in the sense that these are my local trails that I ride quite frequently, so seeing the “new” in the familiar can be photographically challenging. Add to that, technically I’m injured. I found out right before the guys rolled into town that my pinky was indeed broken from a collision with a Prius’ side view mirror one day while I was riding home. That incident happened almost a month prior. Bummer for me, my bike control, and the potential to have a full-on shred fest, but I was so excited to ride the new 5010, so I sucked it up, taped my finger, and clipped in… (more…)

Jul 3, 2018 20 comments
The SIQuoia Tandem – Erik Nohlin and Dylan Buffington

The SIQuoia Tandem
Photos by Dylan Buffington and Words by Erik Nohlin

Tandem’s always been like Fat bikes to me, I don’t really know why but I want one. They’re easy to fall in love with I guess, cartoonish and rad/dorky looking, raising questions about how it would be chasing the sunset on one. Ever since I designed the Sequoia at Specialized about three years ago, I’ve been thinking about how to make a tandem. As a designer and bikeaholic, I always have a million ideas and projects around, 99% never seeing daylight. A Sequoia tandem, however, would be a project fairly easy to pull off if made the right way. (more…)

Jun 28, 2018 22 comments
Breadwinner’s Rowdy Prototype 27.5+ Hardtail

For brands like Breadwinner, nothing is ever 100% finalized in terms of bike geometry and design. Particularly when it comes to Tony Pereira’s pursuit of the perfect hardtail. With already three hardtails – the Goodwater, Bad Otis, and JB Racer – in their catalog, Tony is always looking towards the future of hardtail design, oftentimes experimenting with tubing, geometry and other details to set Breadwinner’s bikes apart from others in the market.

Last month, we took to Bend, Oregon for the Chris King Swarm event, and Tony was riding this new Breadwinner Prototype. Built with Veriwall stays, a vintage Zona downtube – hence the bend at the head tube junction; modern mtb forks don’t hit the downtube like vintage ones used to – PAUL Klampers, PAUL Boxcar stem, and SRAM Eagle GX. Tony has always been a Shimano guy, but was interesting in trying out a lot of new parts, as well as some geo tweaks on this 150mm travel hardtail mountain bike. Then, to top it off, the chassis is rolling on Sugar Wheel Works wheels!

Breadwinner, like all small brands, wants to avoid stagnant bikes and one way of keeping the waters moving is experimentation. From the looks of this prototype, they’re moving in the right direction.

Keep an eye on Breadwinner for more updates! Got any comments or critiques? Let’s hear them!

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Follow Breadwinner Cycles on Instagram.

Jun 26, 2018 14 comments
David’s Merckx Corsa Extra Extra, Read All About It – Sean Talkington

David’s Merckx Corsa Extra Extra, Read All About It
Words and photos by Sean Talkington

There is something about mixing a classic steel bicycle with modern components that usually ends up looking either REALLY cool or REALLY “meh” for some reason. It’s a definite hit or miss thing that happens whenever mashing two different generations of anything together, but when done correctly it can be great. From an aesthetic standpoint, traditional steel bicycles are hands down the prettiest to look at and modern components offer a much more “civilized” choice of gear ratios. All of that steel beauty can easily be lost when paired with a build that is too busy with space-aged looking parts. if you disagree, then your opinion most likely sucks (in my personal and not so humble opinion.) Regardless of how it looks this trend of old with a touch of new is continuing to grow and understandably so. The idea of modern functionality on rolling piece of art/history does sound quite appealing. (more…)

Jun 25, 2018 24 comments
Steve Potts’ Personal Titanium All Road Bike

Jumping back a bit here, to this Steve Potts that was on display at the Chris King Swarm event in Bend

Bikes like this stir the turd that is cycling purists’ perceptions about a lot of things. Take for instance, what the definition of “comfort” means, and truthfully, there is no finite, objective definition of the word “comfort.” Look at everyone from Grant Petersen to Coppi and you’ll see various approaches to cycling fit and enjoyment. Some road racers are more comfortable with enormous stems, slammed to the head tubes. Endurance bikepackers and record breakers often prefer the aero TT-style bar extensions for long hours on the bike. Meanwhile, even in mountain biking, bike fit and comfort varies from 110mm drop stems to 35mm ill lil shorty stems. What I’m trying to say is this is Steve Potts‘ personal titanium all-road bike and this is comfortable to him.

Now I have no idea how old Steve is, but he is one of the original 1970’s Repack renegades who is largely responsible for the sport known as “mountain biking.” He’s been building for over 35 years and to this day, develops some of the most intriguing designs I’ve seen to date. At first glance, this bike might look “weird” but when you lower your broad scope and refine your vision, you can see some truly unique and beautiful details here. Bear in mind, Steve’s fit is probably different than yours, and if you’re like me, I wonder what this bike would look like with a more race-fit geometry and sizing. Even the fork is a thing of mystery. Ask Steve about it next time you see him, he rambled off so many engineering numbers to me that I could barely wrap my head around his design process. In short, it flexes just enough to make even the most washboarded roads a little more comfortable… Hell, when I’m Steve’s age, I hope I’m still riding and I hope my bike looks like this!

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Follow Steve Potts Bicycles on Instagram.

Jun 22, 2018 19 comments