Category Archives: Beautiful Bicycles
Help the Sierra Trails and Win a Bronson in this Year’s $5 a Foot Fundraiser

You don’t have to live in California, or ride trails in the Sierra, to help the Sierra Trails raise money for their efforts. This year’s $5 a foot fundraiser throws a custom, special edition Santa Cruz Bronson in the ring for a prize.

If you’re not already familiar with $5-Bucks-a-Foot, it’s the Butte’s annual fundraiser where people buy feet of trail ($5 = 1 foot) to enter themselves for a chance at win a Santa Cruz bike. Over the years, $5-Bucks-a-Foot has raised more than $300,000 in funds that have built amazing new Lost Sierra trails like Mills Peak. Enter to win at Sierra Trails and we’ll see ya at Downieville in two weeks!

Check out more photos of this handsome Bronson below! (more…)

Jul 23, 2018 Comments are OFF
Builder’s Camp in Bozeman: Sklar Titanium XC 29er Hardtail

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.

Sklar Titanium XC 29er Hardtail

Before the swoops and curves he’s known for, Adam Sklar began his cycling experience riding XC mountain bikes outside of Denver, Colorado where he was born. That was a while ago – at least when you consider Adam is 25 years old – and since then, he’s moved onto making equally capable as beautiful, curvy mountain and all-road bikes. At some point in the last year, Adam decided he wanted to make an XC frame to ride. As humans often do, we tend to revisit our past experiences.

With a tighter wheelbase, a slightly steeper head angle of 69º, and a 120mm fork, the bike might look like some of Adam’s other trail bikes, but the handling of this bike is significantly different. With the Builder’s Camp approaching, Adam took a few days to whip up this frame, in the middle of organizing the whole event. While there’s no set pricing for a Sklar, his frames start at $3,950 for titanium and $2,650 for steel.

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

Jul 20, 2018 5 comments
Builder’s Camp in Bozeman: Horse Cycles Hell Cat Hardtails

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.

Horse Cycles Hell Cat Hardtails

I’ve always loved the aesthetic of what Thomas Callahan at Horse Cycles produces in his Brooklyn-based workshop. Over the past few years, he and his team have pulled together some beautiful frames. For the Builder’s Camp, Thomas and his friend Nik came out to Bozeman with these two Hell Cat hardtails. These bikes are 27.5+ “East Coast Rippers.” With a 66.5º head angle, designed for 130-150mm forks, and room for 3” tires. Each there are options for the seatstays, downtube, and paint colors. For the stays, a wishbone with scalloped ends is an option. No matter what the tubing selection or details you end up choosing, the work of Ben Falcon Paint will give your bike a unique look with empeccable detailing.

The Hell Cat hardtails start at $2,100 for a frame, plus a fork of your choosing. Head to Horse for more details.

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Follow Horse Brand on Instagram and follow along with the #BuildersCamp hashtag.

Jul 19, 2018 20 comments
Festka’s Limited Edition Tour de France One Spectre Road Bike

I absolutely love razzle dazzle-inspired designs, the Tour, and this brand. Festka has designed a paint job for their One road bike, offered in an Ultegra or Dura Ace build, only for sale during the Tour de France, the 7th of July until the 29th. If you’re interested, or would just like to see more, head over to Festka.

Jul 18, 2018 Comments are OFF
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 17 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 42 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 41 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 21 comments