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Golden Saddle Rides: Purple Pachyderm Elephant Tourer

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Golden Saddle Rides: Purple Pachyderm Elephant Tourer

As a bike shop owner, you see a lot of interesting customer projects roll through the doors. For Kyle, Woody, David and Ty at Golden Saddle Cyclery, it’s this steady influx of unique projects that keeps them engaged in the day to day shop routines. Once and a while, however, something rolls through that catches your eye.

How could you miss it? A purple pachyderm. An Elephant in the room…

The customer acquired this bike in a deal from its original owner, who rode it for a few years. It has a bit of beausage after extensive use. Once he acquired the frame, he began buying components piece by piece. Personally, I like the seemingly random parts including: made in the UK Middleburn cranks, a raw Haulin’ Colin rack, SON Edelux, Berthoud saddle, White Industries rear hub and Nitto cockpit.

If you’re thinking this frame looks familiar, John from Elephant used this platform as a beginning for the National Forest Explorer. They’re strikingly similar, save for the use of cantilevers on this bike, versus disc brakes and that color.

After Woody, the head mechanic completed this build, the guys at Golden Saddle Cyclery fell in love with it… and it’s easy to see why!

Golden Saddle Rides: Sean’s Fast Boy 650b Singlespeed

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Golden Saddle Rides: Sean’s Fast Boy 650b Singlespeed

Photos by Kyle Kelley

After passing away a few weeks back, Ezra Caldwell‘s work keeps popping up all over, miles away from his home studio in New York City. In fact, this bike was first built up by Golden Saddle Cyclery years back for Sean, a loyal customer living in Santa Barbara.

A singlespeed commuter is really all most people need. 650b tires provide a smooth ride and for medium sized frames, they look well-balanced proportionately. Exra had a way of proclaiming his approach with frame design by not really saying anything. While this bike may seem very straight-forward, the details in the metalwork are what first caught my eye.

The chainguard is attached by two 5mm bolts that actually pass through the down and seat tubes. Then the guard itself is incredibly elegant, especially when matched with the White Industries ENO cranks.

Stainless lugs and raw steel tubes make up the frame’s materials, with a good amount of patina forming on the steel. It must be the salt in the air. Santa Barbara is coastal, you know. The rear rack is custom, with wooden planks, which even out the overall build, especially when compared to Ezra’s signature wooden handlebars.

In a lot of ways, this bike is void of ostentation, yet meticulously detailed. Something that seemed to spill over from Ezra’s personality onto everything he touched.

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Follow Kyle on Instagram and visit Golden Saddle Cyclery in Silverlake, Los Angeles.

Joshua’s Bryant 650b Fatrob Dirt Road Tourer

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Joshua’s Bryant 650b Fatrob Dirt Road Tourer

Joshua Bryant is a frame builder out of Portland (who looks an lot like this dude Franco650b on Instagram). He specializes in road / touring / randonneur / dirt tourers and coincidentally builds out of the old Hufnagel studios off Burnside.

This frame in particular, dubbed the Fatrob, is a special bird. Built as part of a collaboration with Matt from Folly, it’s a 650b, tubeless, neon pink, SON-powered “get rad machine” – although I didn’t see Joshua get rad on it during this ride. We’ll have to follow up at a later date.

Why do I like this frame? How could you not? It’s pink and a playful mix of old and new school components. Oh and with the Plug, Joshua can keep his iPhone charged to get the ‘gram mid-ride…

FOES Shaver 27.5 FXC MTB

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FOES Shaver 27.5 FXC MTB

FOES‘ newest revamp to their line actually dropped back at Interbike this year and by dropped, I mean a few pounds. While keeping to their monocoque aluminum construction, Brent engineered a new, lighter tubeset and reshaped the rear swingarm, shaving almost a whole pound off the rear alone.

This 27.5 Shaver FXC is a cross country racer’s dream bike. Coming in around 23lbs complete, laced with SRAM’s XX1 group, Fox Float CTD shock in the rear and the trusty Rock Shox front fork, this 4.5″ to 5″ travel bike has adjustability built in at the rear shock. Sliding the bolt down the gusset at the linkage can change the front end.

I’ve ridden a fair amount of modern mountain bikes and I can say, this is one of the first 27.5 machines I was visibly salivating over. How can you go wrong with that color? Retail will be around $2,400 for the frameset… Expect these to drop later this spring. For now, see more in the Gallery!

I Get a Lot of Rad Guests in Austin

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I Get a Lot of Rad Guests in Austin

Yesterday Hubert D’Autremont rolled into town, after spending a month in Arizona. As he was unloading his road bike (more on that later), I looked in his truck and saw this singlespeed 27.5 hardtail. The first words out of my mouth were “oh shit! we’re gonna go shreddddddding tomorrow!”.

Shred is exactly what we did and post sess, I shot some photos of this incredibly simple, yet elegant bike.

Expect more soon!

Bishop Bikes: Ryan’s 650b Randonneur

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Bishop Bikes: Ryan’s 650b Randonneur

Photos by Shannon Ayres

So… if Chris Bishop isn’t going to NAHBS this year, who’s going to win it? I’m partially joking but Chris’ latest work is mind-boggling. Ryan’s 650b Randonneur frame is absolutely stunning and I still can’t believe how many details are packed into this bike. Head over to the Bishop Flickr to see more!

Prolly is Not Probably’s Top 10 Beautiful Bicycles of 2013

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Prolly is Not Probably’s Top 10 Beautiful Bicycles of 2013

As I sat down to scroll through all of the Beautiful Bicycles I photographed this year, I quickly realized how diverse PiNP has become. Previous year’s lists never had a MTB, much less two and even though the site has begun to embrace dirt riding more and more, there are still three track bikes in the rankings. Most of these bicycles were made in the USA by small frame builders, but two overseas-manufactured bikes made the cut.

This year for the Top 10 list, I looked at site metrics, social media ‘chatter’ and my own favorites (which were remarkably in-line). All of these bikes got at least 100 Facebook likes and over 20,000 visits within the first week of posting. The latter two requisites were necessary to bring it down to ten bikes, from the dozens of my personal favorites. Also, I omitted my own bikes from this list.

I like to think of PiNP as a showcase for Beautiful Bicycles and how they get put to use. See the full Prolly is Not Probably’s Top 10 Beautiful Bicycles of 2013, in no particular order, in the Gallery!

Hahn’s Rossman 650B Dirt Tourer

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Hahn’s Rossman 650B Dirt Tourer

This bike has a long, jaded history, beginning with the early days of the Rapha Continental. I’ll let the story be told by others, because I’ll surely miss some important detail. The short of it is, this frame sat in two separate basements for over 10 years before finally being powder-coated and built up to be ridden on the last Brovet here in Austin (literally, he built it up the day before).

650B, tubeless-ready, Shimano 105, single speed convertible, off-road geometry and a bright orange paint make this Rossman a very unique and strange machine. Is it a “gravel grinder”, a tourer, or a cross bike? Who knows.

Hahn Rossman‘s builds have past the rigorous testings of Bicycle Quarterly and I have to say, this is my favorite bike of Hahn’s to date! Catch it at the Seattle cross races as Hahn thrashes it in the single speed division!

See more in the Gallery!

Map Cycles and Steelman: S&P Randonneur Project

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Map Cycles and Steelman: S&P Randonneur Project

When Mitch from Map Cycles first told me about this project, I was beyond stoked. So many people want to pick up a classy, made in the USA touring bike but can’t completely break the bank. Not saying this project will be cheap by any means, but it’s a pretty good deal. Here’s the deal from Map:

“Collaboration between Steelman Cycles and myself (Steelman & Pryor, hence S&P). Frame, fork, racks and wet paint from $3000. Stock sized, custom fit and finish. We have a 53, 55, and 57 cm left in our first batch and more to come soon.”

Join the email list at mapbicycles.com/ for full details.

Seth and His Rosko 650B MTB

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Seth and His Rosko 650B MTB

Now, I won’t say the following tidbit of information was all that surprising to me. I’m not really a numbers person when it comes to running the site, but I do like to pay attention to what you, the readers, respond to. Not necessarily traffic, per say, or comments, or trackbacks, or whatever but when a bike gets as much love as Seth’s 650B MTB did, I take notice and as I said, I wasn’t surprised. This thing has pizzaz in a world of mediocrity.

While the serenity of a solo bike photo shoot is nice, sometimes I like to get the builder to hold their work of art and pose for a few photos. Case in point: Seth and his Rosko 650B MTB! Check out more in the Gallery!

Tools of the trade:
Mamiya 7ii / 80mm / expired Kodak Portra 400

Seth Rosko’s 650b Single Speed MTB

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Seth Rosko’s 650b Single Speed MTB

The problem with going to New York City is that I spend more time photographing bikes, then I do actually riding them. Which, in this most recent trip, wasn’t as much as I’d like. Being behind a lens, staring down a unique beaut like this does have its merits. Especially when you’re so familiar with its builder and owner.

Seth Rosko was one of the first builders in Brooklyn that I spent a good amount of time profiling years back. We first met at Brooklyn Machine Works, where he was a designer and fabricator. He and Joe worked extensively on the Gangsta track back in the day, before setting out on his own.

Rosko builds unique, yet utilitarian, yet lightweight bicycles made for racing. Each year, more and more fledgling racers find themselves on a Rosko and that means that Seth has less and less time to work on his own bikes. Case in point: this 650B single speed MTB. It took Seth years to finish this bike but he managed to complete it in time for this year’s season.

Using the ultralight True Temper Supertherm tubing, Black Cat dropouts and Stan’s tubeless wheels, this thing is light. It comes in at 20 lbs with XT pedals.

Brooklyn Machine Works 650B Hardtail

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Brooklyn Machine Works 650B Hardtail

From a company whose name resonates in the NYC downhill and street scene comes a new bike model, suitable for the modern rider. If steel is real then Brooklyn Machine Works are as authentic as they come. BMW’s history lies heavily in tried and true mountain bikes, so it should be as no surprise that when Joe decided it was time to develop a few new models, one of the first on the agenda would be a 27″ or 650B.

This bike is literally 10 days fresh and it’s already been put through the works. Fresh off the mountain, I was able to not only photograph this beauty, but take it for a spin around the block. I’m a sworn 29’r rider, through and through but even I was impressed at the zippiness and tight, responsiveness of this Made in Brooklyn masterpiece.

Don’t let the mix of parts distract you, Joe wanted to ride it as soon as he could get it built up. With the tapered fork, even with the smaller diameter wheel size, the 650B comes in 9 ounces heavier than the 29’r. It’s still a prototype, so some specs are to be tweaked but I think it’s safe to say “so far so good”… Check out more in the Gallery.