My friends at Chumba Cycles have had a truly inspirational story since re-launching the brand in early 2014. While the name Chumba Cycles has been around for some time in the mountain bike world, this is an entirely different company when compared to the brand that launched in California during the early ’90s. Without going into the details too much, Vince and Mark purchased the brand a few years back and began making their tig-welded steel bikes in-house in Austin, TX. Around that same time, they moved shops, and on a recent trip to the Lonestar State, I swung through to check out their new digs and see some of the bikes they were building up for customers.
My first experience with Nao Tomii from Tomii Cycles was via his old brand, 3RRR, which focused on small components like chainrings, developed in part with industrial design office 44RN. While in Boston, he learned to build bikes under the instruction of Ian Sutton, from Icarus Frames. When he moved to Austin shortly after, I began seeing his bikes pop up all over town, each beautifully constructed and specced, with color palettes so unique to the cycling industry’s normal flashy vibrancy. Nao has an eye for design, proportions, and a willingness to strive for perfection. His work is wildly underappreciated in the saturated market of handmade frames.
I lived in Texas for five years and since moving away, there has been an explosion of MTB trail building in Hill Country. Jeff Kendall-Weed takes us on a ride through the Longhorn State and its new ripping trails…
There were a lot of practical and well thought out bikes at this year’s Super Stoke Weekend and if time had allowed – short days and long ride agendas always make it hard – I would have shot them all. My methodology was to try to capture some of the themes present in the stable of steeds. With Gideon’s bike, I was able to shoot a 333 Fab. One of four present at the ride. With Spencer’s bike, it was about a similar approach to frame design but from an overseas production perspective. Black Mountain Cycles is a shop in Point Reyes Station, California. Mike Valey who owns the shop designs bikes for the brand after he spent years designing bikes for other companies in the industry. He and Sean from Soulcraft worked on this frame, dubbed the MCD, or Monster Cross Disc, with specially-designed dropouts for the thru-axles. While this bike is a departure from the traditional monster cross ideologies (700x45mm ish wheels with wide dirt drops,) it gets the point across and thrives off the ambiguity of mainstream monster cross definitions.
Sawyer’s Dirt Drop Miyata Sportrunner
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor
Bicycles need not be complicated. They need not be expensive. Yet it sure is nice when they have character. Sawyer’s Miyata is a simple reminder that a Craigslist find and a few easy mods can revive the joy of having a rad bike on a shoestring.
Editor’s Note: When I lived in Austin, Texas, I wanted to bring my friends who were accustomed to racing a training on a weekend outing of camping and riding dirt roads. Since this time of year in Texas, the parks are often crowded, I decided that Super Bowl Weekend would be ideal, since everyone in Texas would be glued to their televisions and not driving their RVs to campsites around the state. Over the past few years, the ride has continued, further morphing into this year’s Seattle-Austin exchange program… Check out the first Super Bro Weekend photoset in our archives.
Part I: Central Texas Excursion (Code name: Vitamin D)
In the past few years, a tradition has formed in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, where the adventurous souls of Beat The Clock Cycling go out to explore the far edges of the cycling universe. This year’s edition brought with it a special layer of stoke. Through a conversation between delegates from Seattle-based Swift Industries and Austin-based Beat The Clock, an idea began to percolate. The delegates were discussing a future trip up to Washington when the idea of a cycling exchange program was born. For the Northwesterners, the pull of the warm Texas winter was too much to resist, and it was decided that the Cascadia contingent would join forces with the Texans. This idea turned into Super Stoke Weekend, where the visitors could experience firsthand what the Texas Hill Country had to offer. Anticipating a sprightly and somewhat daunting 300 miles of mixed surface riding for the weekend, the Seattle crew began an intense training regimen of weekly randos/taco cleanses.
If the Greek god Zeus rode a touring bike, it’d be a Rivendell and most likely, it’d be a Joe Appaloosa. Rivendell is straight forward with the Joe Appaloosa. First off, it’s named after a rather unique breed of horse, then, they took their two most famous touring bikes, the Sam Hillborne and the Hunqapillar, combined them and made one bad-ass road touring bike. These bikes are confidence-inspiring works of art, chiseled from stone and as timeless, or legendary as mythology. Ok, maybe that was too much… They’re just damn sexy!
Those frames scream fully-loaded confidence with a fist-sized gap between the rear tire and seat tube, ensuring that even if you want to dive into a turn, this frame will take its own, secure and smooth line. Which is great for a touring or city bike. Loaded on descents, this long wheelbase makes for a predictable and comfortable ride.
Or, to be more concise, the Appaloosa is:
“It’s not for stunts, boulder-bouncing, or loaded expeditionary off-road touring, but as a trail bike for sober non-yahoos who weigh less than 215lb, it’s ideal, perfect.. That 215lb isn’t a scientifically-derived number, just a hipshot suggestion based on the Joe having a heavier fork than Sam’s and lighter one than Hunqapillar’s.”
So, when Jonathan was looking for a new bike, meeting the above description, he went with a complete Appaloosa. After a few upgrades, namely Paul skewers, Paul brake levers, a Brooks Cambium saddle, SOMA rack, Swift saddle bag and a Tomii bell, this bike is ready for anything… For $2,600 complete, this is the best looking complete touring bike on the market. Find out more at Rivendell!
Wolfpack Hustle: Austin Finale Crit
Words and photos by Chris Lee
A group of 30 or so men straddled their bikes as they looked around for their teammates in coordinating outfits. All of the sudden a voice rang out over the large amplifiers near the opening of the smoothly paved racing track.
“Men’s track please come to the staging area!”
This was the beginning of the last race that would close out the Unified Title Series, hosted by Wolfpack Hustle, and the season for fixed gear criterium racing around the world.
Austin, Texas hosted the finale race at The Driveway, a paved race track normally used for cars and kart racing, this past weekend. While it’s usually used for motor sports, The Driveway does see it’s fair share of bicycles as Holland Racing, an Austin based business that organizes and facilitates bicycle races, hosts a weekly crit series every Thursday during road season. So with the Unified Title prize on the line, this crit drew racers from all over the US and it’s territories, from New York and California to Puerto Rico.
Yes, you should support your local bike, record and coffee shop forever and forever but that doesn’t mean you can’t help other small, independent shops grow at the same time. My (old) local coffee shop and friends at Flat Track Coffee have just launched a Kickstarter to help expand their Austin, Texas facilities into a complete roaster and expand their digs.
Backers get to choose between a bag of coffee, shirts or their new camp mugs… depending on how much you want to fork over. Personally, I’m digging the Scoundrels designs and classic camp coffee mugs…
Head over to the Flat Track Coffee Kickstarter to see more!
Cycleast, PHENOM Cycle Club and All-City are running Urbocross in Austin this year, with one race and one race only this coming Wednesday, September 30th at 5:30pm. Meet up at Cycleast to roll at 6:00pm to an undisclosed location.
The race is free, with equal prizes for men and women’s podium, plus a raffle for all participants so you don’t have to win to win.
Part commuter, part touring bike, beautiful functionality with that Icarus flair.
Chris wanted a bike that did all of the above. Having already commissioned Ian to build him a matte black road bike, he knew exactly what he wanted in a commuter. Tubus titanium racks, SON hub, Edelux lamp, Chris King, Paul components, custom painted Berthoud fenders, Swift Industries panniers, Jack Brown Blues and White Industries cranks, all being operated by SRAM’s XO long cage rear derailleur and barcons.
A lot of the parts selection was informed by my Geekhouse when Chris was selecting his kit. Dependability was the most important issue yet as we said earlier, it needed to be beautifully functional.
Maybe he’ll have time to get out on a tour? Or maybe it’ll just serve him as it has for the past year as a commuter for Austin, TX.
It’s happened. The locals of Austin, Texas have embraced Lauren from Saila, the woman who welded for Seven Cycles in Boston for years, laying down tight weld lines over even tighter mitres.
Saila makes performance steel and titanium bikes ranging from “all-road” to cross and road. This bike in particular is a perfect example of a guy who wanted something special, yet didn’t want to splurge on componentry. Rather than dropping a couple grand on new parts, he built this race bike up with old parts left over from previous bikes.
Titanium is a medium that yields classic beauty without the need of expensive paint, or even expensive parts. Holler at Lauren if you’d like her to create a piece of work like this!
$600. That’s how much Jacob paid for his Team Fat Chance frame on eBay. It was in pristine condition with the original Yo Eddy! fork and a brand new paint job. Here’s when the collector would begin to scrounge up all the NOS parts to restore it to its original glory, yet all Jacob wanted was a bike he could ride Austin’s Greenbelt trails on. Even with the rebirth of a Fat Chance brand, there’s something to be said about 20-year steel frames. Especially with a legacy like Fat City.
While most of the build is straight forward, the Bullmoose bars and Velocity Cliffhanger rims, laced to Deore hubs are the standout details. Now his Onza tires are tubeless, which means he can run lower pressure and not worry about snakebikes on limestone ledges and the Deore hubs will be easily serviceable after the rain brings creek crossings.
His 1x setup was made possible by a clutch Deore derailleur and a Wolf Tooth ring, mounted to vintage Shimano cranks and braking is being taken care of by Chico’s finest, Paul Components.
For around $1,500, Jacob built up a vintage mountain bike with style and while it might not tackle a rock garden as fast as a modern full sus bike, sometimes the ride isn’t about being timed.
Cole and Jonathan at Mellow Johnny’s did a great job on the build and this bike looks so good covered in limestone dust. Shred on, buddy.
When Taj from Fairdale reached out to us and asked if we were interested in testing their steel road bike, the Goodship, I had a hard time containing my excitement. Fairdale, who has an office in Austin is a staple of the cycling community here. You can’t go to a downtown restaurant, East Side bar, local swimming hole, or ride through campus without spotting a Fairdale between the legs of an excited Austin dweller. The company radiates positive vibes and makes quality bicycles.
Fenders aren’t exactly my favorite bicycle accessory. Granted I live in Texas where it “never rains” or so it didn’t really until this year. We’ve had a very wet spring and summer, resulting in a lot of unexpected rain riding. So much so that I finally broke down and decided to ditch the big, plump tread of my Bruce Gordon Rock n Roads for some fenders and the biggest tire I could find that would fit…
If you’ve been considering riding the Women’s 100, now’s your chance. This weekend, thousands upon thousands of female cyclists will take to the streets in cities around the world and ride 100km. In Austin, the ride meets up at Mellow Johnny’s at 7am on Sunday. Be there for a chill pace and over 100 other ladies. To find out what’s happening in your city, head over to Rapha.
What do you do with that old racing frame you had for over a decade after you decide racing just isn’t for you? Or those gaudy old wheels kicking around the bike shop you’ve worked at for just as long? For Peter, one of Mellow Johnny’s longest running employees, he got crafty.
Peter has had this frame since 2003, when it was fit with an actual road group. At the time, the titanium and carbon Serotta Legend was a rocket. Stiff rear triangle, compliant front end, or so they say. Whatever the marketing behind this bike was, within its design lay a beautiful possibility.
Those bolts, holding the seat stays to the dropouts can be serviced. If they can be serviced, they can be removed so Peter took the initiative to put a Gates Carbon Belt Drive system they had at Mellow’s to the test by installing the belt through that split in the stays.
There he was, with a decade-old, balleur commuter rendered in green and gold. What else could he do to this bike to put it over the top? How about a set of gold Campagnolo wheels from 2008? Voila. Personally, I think this bike is so wacky that it works and it’s been Peter’s go-to ride for years… Run what you brung.
Summer is in full swing and that means lots of early morning and late evening riding, unless of course you enjoy getting sunburnt and dehydrated. Sniping photos like this are a lot of fun, especially when it’s of a ripping whip.