Inside Caletti Cycles: Bikes Made In Santa Cruz From Ti and Steel

Santa Cruz, California, is home to many wonderful framebuilders and many of which we’ve documented here on The Radavist over the years. From Rock Lobster to Black Cat, and Hunter Cycles, there’s no shortage of Shop Visits from the area to browse. However, one shop I’ve long wanted to document is Caletti Cycles, so when the Chris King Guest House event happened earlier this month, based out of the Caletti Cycles shop, I made sure to photograph this wonderful space along with one of John Caletti’s recent personal builds.

Let’s check out what goes on Inside Caletti Cycles below!

Background: About Caletti Cycles

In the years since 2004 when John Caletti began building frames, he’s developed his own unique style, aesthetic, and fit philosophy. From his flat bar Scrambler, to rigid 29ers, gravel bikes, and yeah, rim brake road bikes, the Caletti name adorns the whole gamut of handmade bikes. He designs each of his client’s bikes to suit their specific needs and offers up a delicious finishing menu for these custom steeds.

Check out the full titanium finishes options to whet your creative whistle!

Caletti specializes in steel and titanium, with the latter offering many opportunities to elaborate anodizing finishing opportunities. Inspired by vintage moto and skate culture, the in-house designed Caletti finishes are colorful, vibrant, and elaborate; they fully transform raw framesets into rideable works of art.

Foreground: Caletti Scrambler with Ingrid Components and Chris King Wheels

I reviewed the Caletti Scrambler a few years ago, so it was nice seeing this titanium showpiece up close and in person. Scramblers are designed to be around town rippers – capable machines for taking on gravel roads, bike paths, and cutty singletrack options. They’re kind of nestled in between a gravel bike and a commuter bike, but with their own personality.

John’s bike got the full treatment, with a Gator-inspired paint scheme, Ingrid Components, and flashy Chris King Wheels. John and I ride the same size bike, so taking this one for a rip around the parking lot added to the documentation process. You know, for scientific reasons!

What I like the most about this bike, in particular, is the consistent color motifs, the stance, and the proportions of such a big frame. It’s not easy to make a large bike feel balanced, but something about this one’s presence just feels right. Even that beefy fork looks well proportioned here!

Set and Setting: Inside the Shop

Some shops are dusty, filled with buckets of tubing scraps, with walls covered in posters, while others are organized, clean, and minimal. While both are a joy to document photographically, it was nice to have such contrast between Paul Sadoff’s Rock Lobster shop and John Caletti’s space. One isn’t necessarily better than the other photographically, but I can appreciate them equally.

I love it when the frame queue is on display, for starters, both as a visual reminder of the production timeline and as an aesthetic feature. Seeing frames lined up with different sizes, finishes, and usages speaks to the variety of bikes John builds.

Visual cues sprinkled throughout the space showcase where John finds inspiration for his paint designs. Here’s his Ducati and his ’round town Scrambler on full display.

Ocean themes, reflecting the beach vibes of Santa Cruz, in vibrant colors and motifs are repeated throughout this shop space.

Zach, Alex and John Caletti

… and the reminder that bikes are fun!

Thanks to John and the Caletti Cycles crew for hosting the Chris King Guest House event, and thanks for letting me poke around the shop!