Something happened down in the Sonoran Desert this winter. Maybe it was Ronnie’s influence but people began riding gravel roads on fixed gear bikes. These bikes aren’t like the street track bikes, popularized by MASH and the like in the mid-2000s, yet they utilize a gravel bike’s geometry, down to the tire clearance, yet they just don’t have gears, or in this case, brakes. This type of machine is great for developing a smooth pedaling cadence and perhaps its the long and low rolling hills of the grasslands found around Patagonia, Arizona. Yesterday we looked at Ronnie’s Madrean and today, we look at Adam Sklar‘s own bike.
That suntanned, SUNTOURist, king of the grandiose, the beausage factory himself, Mr. Ronnie Romance, aka Ultra Romance, really knows how to put a bicycle together, even a simple one such as a fixed gear. Yet we’re not talking a Kierin bike, those NJS-stamped sparkle machines, or even a British Path Racer. This is a bike designed specifically for a plump, rough and tumble tire, with a relaxed fit, eons past the aggressive saddle-to-bar drop bikes of yesteryear, yet somewhere in-between the monster-truck abilities of a tracklocross bike. This Madrean Fabrications ‘country fixed’ is unlike anything I’ve seen in recent memory… or maybe it’s just my old age.
Yesterday, we took a peek inside Flat Track Coffee and Cycleast. While hanging out there, getting caffeinated and catching up with the shop employees, I got to chatting to Corey, one of the mechanics at Cycleast. Specifically about the sword on his Crust Bikes Evasion…
When I say Cervelo, chances are your mind doesn’t jump right to off-road bikes. It’s probably something aero like a time trial bike or an aero road bike. Big graphics, thiccccc downtube, lots of spandex, and other images pop into my mind. I’m sure I’m not alone. While it wasn’t exactly a surprise when the brand launched the Áspero – heck, everyone is putting out gravel bikes – I was taken back by how good the bike looked. The Áspero has a lot going on visually but delivers one hell of a ride. I’ve been putting in miles on one for a few weeks now and am finally ready to discuss what I like and what I don’t like about it so if you’re curious about the dirtiest bike in Cervelo’s catalog, read on…
Today at the Radavist we’re featuring a very unique bike, from Bellé Cycles and the Service Course, for the Atlas Mountain Race. With the recent debate about patina and faux finish on custom bicycle frames, I think you all will enjoy this one!
“A one-of-a-kind beast, hungry for scratches and scars.” – Enrico “Kico” Bellé
“Where’s your Dreamer?” “What happened to the green Dreamer?” “Do you ever ride your Dreamer?”
Since posting up the gallery of my Crust Bikes Dreamer, it’s been the bike people email me about the most. I get various questions, ranging from the ones I listed above, to questions on the Microshift and how I like the Dreamer platform. When I first got the bike, Crust Bikes and Darren Larkin, the builder of the Dreamer frames, were working on a few details. What I ended up with was a bike that was in-between versions and a few things weren’t working out so well. This prompted me and Darren to talk about the bike in detail and him offering to take it back to update and fix a few things. Read on below to find out what happened between these two models.
We have such amazing bikes this week here on the Radavist. The thing I’ve really enjoyed about this website over the years is running into unique humans with bikes that share the same character. Justin rolled this Kermode Cycles through the door at Golden Saddle Cyclery literally the same week that you, the readership, requested more bikes with beausage and fewer show bikes.
I really felt like as a community, we put out the energy and thoughtfulness into documenting more everyday bikes with character and it made me think about New Thought philosophy. In short, this line of thought falls in with the Law of Attraction, which is the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life. Well, you wanted well-used, patina machines and it’s like the cycleverse was listening because this bike has plenty of patina to go around!
So I had been meaning to shoot Colin’s Salsa Marrakesh 650b conversion for a while and when Brandon arrived in Tucson off bike tour on his 650b converted Trek 990, I knew it was time. To boot, both bikes were decked out in all black with sprinklings of delightful gold bike nerdy bits. We went for a sunset shred around the Fantasy Island trails in the southeast of Tucson and touring bikes don’t hold either of these fellas back on the trails!
I would like to assume readers of this site are familiar with the name Koichi Yamaguchi. If not, let me offer a quick intro. Yamaguchi began his career as the master builder for 3 Rensho in Japan during the early 1980’s. Most of his frames went between the legs of professional Keirin riders. They had to be light, durable, and fast! Keirin frames have to withstand the trials and tribulations of track racing. If one were to break, the builder would lose their NJS license and that would mean the end of the company.
Los Angeles’ Golden Saddle Cyclery is a hive for unique bicycles. From classic Miyatas to vintage MTBs and even work from framebuilders, if you hang out enough, you’ll see all kinds of bikes roll through. Blake’s Gretlein Cycles is a perfect example of some of the stunning beauties that roll through the shop.
As it goes in the pleasant winter months in Los Angeles, we get a lot of cycling tourists, rolling through town like a tumblin’ tumbleweed. Last week, my friends Brad and Rhys were in town, soaking up the sun and riding all the dirt roads LA county has to offer. Rhys was riding on this Pioneer Valley ‘cross bike and I had to document this noble steed.
Nesting projects. While some families go crazy building out and decorating a “nursery”, we mostly tried to figure out how to continue our bike lifestyle once our baby arrived. When Stephanie was pregnant, we fawned over Larry vs. Harry’s Bullitt, tried out the very-Euro Riese and Müller Packster, and bought into the front load aesthetic right away.
But, long term practicality was never too far away, considering the astronomical cost of an electrified front-loader. As it turns out, our friend Adam, whose Bullitt we borrowed for a couple months in 2018, let us know that his daughter was in fact outgrowing the bike’s kid canopy at only 4 years of age. Not only was her helmet hitting the top of the enclosure, but she was losing interest in riding in the “trailer” on the front of the bike.
High costs mixed with the prospect of the bike possibly lasting only three years before its primary cargo turned on it meant we were wary of dropping into an electric box bike. When the opportunity came along to review the first Surly Big Easy to make its way into Canada, we were very, very stoked. The dream of a car-lite lifestyle was alive!
I immediately swept out and scored an older Yepp seat with the requisite (and obsolete) adapter off the local buy and sell, and we got scheming on how to adapt to the longtail lifestyle.
For five years, Speedvagen has designed elaborate Surprise Me paint schemes, offering them for a short window before closing their orders for good. Starting this year each Surprise Me year will be available until the day the following year’s scheme is released. That widens the ordering window for everyone who would like one of these elaborate paint designs on their Speedvagen.
For this year’s design, the crew at Speedvagen looked to old hot rods, rat rods, and garage-built, patina racers. The new design offers up a Detroit Agate-inspired multi-layered paint marring as well as crisp and sharp graphics. Other upgrades people can order include painted to match hubs, a stainless chainstay protector, and ee Cycleworks brakes. Check out all the details at Speedvagen.
I’ve been a fan of Cjell Moné‘s bikes for some time, from seeing his custom TDR bike on the wall at Adventure Cycling HQ to him writing about brazing alongside masters for his production run of frames. Until recently, I had only thrown my legs over Kirsten’s personal frame at infamous Brush Mountain Lodge waiting out snow on the TDR. Cjell and I have quite a disparity in size thus making his personal bikes out of the question. A few weeks ago, Cjell let me know that Nate from Blue Dog Bikes in Tucson was purchasing his “demo” bike that was my size and that I should take it for a spin. I jumped at the chance, I was always too self-conscious to ask an operation as small as his to put together a bike solely for me to rip and review. But since someone else already had the bike and was nice enough to let me rip it for a few days, shred I will.
Hanford Cycles calls Philadelphia their home and as home town heros, at this year’s Philly Bike Expo, they brought a subtle and subdued fendered road bike, when compared their ornate and attention-grabbing classic randonneur bike from last year’s show. Simon of Hanford Cycles worked for Bilenky for 14 years, before leaving to launch his own enterprise, Hanford Cycles. As you can see from the lugwork on this and all of Simon’s bikes, it appears to be working out for him just fine.
The details on this long distance road bike are stunning! It’s equipped with a SON hub for a generator lamp eventually, fenders, cantilever brakes for extra clearance around the fenders, and a geometry tuned for the long road ahead.
Mert Lawwil had already been a legendary motorcycle racer for years and was building and selling Harley Davidson flat-track racing frames with Terry Knight when they got the idea to weld up a batch of BMX bicycle frames. But Don Koski of the Cove Bicycle Shop in Tiburon, California (hangout spot of mountain biking progenitors, The Larkspur Canyon Gang), convinced them to make a production run of “mountain bikes” in batches of 50 at a time instead. Mert and Terry had to label and sell these bikes as “cruisers” because most other bicycle shops didn’t understand or want to sell “mountain bikes”…yet.
Remember last week’s story about the Coaster Brake Challenge? Well, this was the bike that Kyle from Golden Saddle built up post-haste for the last race of the year. At the time, he wanted to save up for something special but with a race rapidly approaching, he had to go quick and easy…
Custom bikes with custom paint are one thing but the work of Richard Diebenkorn is on another level. Scarab Cycles is based in the Andes Mountains of Colombia, where cycling is taken very seriously! I found this story behind their RAUCH paint job on the Santa Rosa road model very interesting.
SC: What did you want the paint scheme to be based on? Why?
JR: …I had been kicking around the idea of a bike interpretation of “Ocean Park #79” by Richard Diebenkorn, and once I floated the idea by the team some additional inspiration started to bubble up, namely Omar Rayo’s geometric work. For a Colombian-made frame that was going to live in the California hills, the conversation around incorporating elements around these two artists seemed a natural fit.
Check out the full bike and interview at Scarab Cycles.