Remember that sick Black Sheep we shared last week? Well, the owner of that bike, Sam, has been tinkering in his garage and building some really unique bikes. Granted, he calls them “hunks of steel” and “kinda weird” but as a cycling photographer I couldn’t pass up shooting his 135mm spaced Rohloff fatbike.
Stayer Cycles, a framebuilder from East London makes bikes of the off-road variety from production models like their Groadinger and Chigzag to full-on custom project like this. This is Raoul’s second bike from Stayer. This bike was built around two items: Bontrager 3.0” Chubacarbra tires and a front rack duffle bag from Dan at Envelope Bagworks. What Stayer sculpted from those two items is really something else. See more below, check out a more in-depth look at Raoul’s dirt drop bike, and read about more of their custom builds at Stayer!
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.
Alliance Titanium 29er
Erik from Alliance makes some damn fine bicycles, yet they have flown under the radar for me and I’m not sure why. Perhaps because I’m often overwhelmed at NAHBS and don’t spend enough time really vetting the display booth. Each year, when Erik has displayed, I’ve missed his booth. But what I will say is after shooting this bike and watching Erik shred it in Bozeman, those days are over. Alliance is perhaps one of the most underrated, or maybe “unknown” is the correct nomenclature, titanium frame builders in the US.
Look, this bike doesn’t use plus tires, or the latest fancy mountain bike group, or carbon wheels, and that’s why I like it so much, because all that flashy stuff isn’t there to distract from Erik’s impeccable craftsmanship. Also, how cool is that Fix It Stix holder?
Adam Sklar has been building bikes for five years now. Among his first customers was Sam, a good friend from high school. Sam had Adam build him a single speed 29er, but Sklar #4 has since been through many iterations over the years. Recently, Sam was feeling like his original Sklar, while abundant with character and nostalgia, was ready to give way to a new Sklar. Adam’s style has certainly developed over his time building bikes, and Sam wanted to honor his friend’s success by commissioning another frame.