After spending close to a month in Tucson, I got a good handle on what the cycling community is like in that wonderful city. Well, in the winter anyway, summer is another story. One place I found myself stopping by frequently for events is Transit Cycles. With Spencer’s gallery being one of my favorite Shop Visits on this site, I didn’t feel it necessary to completely revisit Transit, photographically. While they did move to a new location since Spencer’s piece, many of the vignettes and textures are still relevant to Transit’s modus operandi. I did, however, feel compelled to check out their new space and hit some highlights, and as the title implies, to shoot the owner, Duncan’s, Black Cat All Road.
I’m in Nagoya, Japan visiting Circles, a local bike shop and quintessential bicycle mecca. I’ll dive into that more in the near future, but for now, I wanted to feature this unique bike…
California framebuilders have found a home at Circles. In turn, lot of the family, friends and community surrounding the shop have found California framebuilders. DeSalvo, Sycip, Retrotec, Hunter and Black Cat frames hang from the rafters and line the bike racks outside the shop. One of which being Keita’s Black Cat disc road. Keita runs Early Birds, the breakfast cafe attached to Circles and it was the first bike of the day that really caught my eye due to its loud, reptilian-inspired paint job.
There’s something very Weedian-inspired about this frame with its hand-painted scales and color blocking. Todd paints each frame he builds with unique patterns and designs, leaving the owner more than enough inspiration to decide how to kit their bikes out. With this paint job, Keita upped the ante with a painted Sim Works stem and green King bits.
As I said, this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of Circles coverage… so stay tuned!
Part one of the Black Cat Holy Mountain referenced one of my all-time favorite bands, Sleep. Part two takes a brighter approach with a eye-bleeding, bright orange paint job, with some of Todd’s signature artwork on the downtube. These trippy designs may not reference a stoner doom band, but I can’t help but think there’s a correlation between them and the movie the stoner doom band was referencing… Oh and fuck yeah, another 27.5+ hardtail!
Slumber killed by rays of the new red sun arising
Dreamer wakens to spectral gaze of light rays shining
Black steed carries him across the astral sand
Rides alone is the man from the magic caravan…
Leave it to Todd at Black Cat to name his new mountain bike model after Sleep’s magnum opus, Holy Mountain. Then, to top it off, he rendered his logo in the Dopesmoker typeface. As I stated earlier, this year at NAHBS, the 27.5+ hardtail is reigning supreme.
Todd built this bike up with Shimano XTR, RaceFace cranks and a Fox Fork. Oh and check out the dropper lever! You’ll have to mind the mis-matched wheels on this one, Todd must have been riding the dragon toward the crimson eye…
I gotta say, out of all the expo bikes at Grinduro, Todd from Black Cat‘s creation is most up my alley. Black bikes look mean, but then you add in a custom-machined lower headset cup, a beautiful stem, custom in-house gold paint details, those ENVE M‘s with RockNRoad tires and SRAM’s 10-42 rear cluster, resulting in one very dialed machine.
There’s nothing else to say, other than enjoy!
I also wanted to thank Todd from Black Cat for organizing the builder’s expo at Grinduro!
No one ever said “a fork is a fork.” Well, maybe they did but I doubt they were talking about suspension and in the case of the Rock Shox RS-1, this is unlike any other fork on the market today. Before I get ahead of myself here, I’ve struggled with how to address this review. Without sounding like a copy and paste of marketing jargon, it really is the best fork I’ve ridden, for my specific type of use: XC riding with a bit of rowdiness.
When Paul Component owner Paul Price started to “make it big” he told himself that he wanted to order a bike each year from a NorCal frame builder. Retrotec, Rock Lobster, Sycip, etc, etc. At the time there were a handful of builders and for a few years he kept to his yearly deposit.
Then he got busy, the framebuilding industry grew and technology changed. For a few years he focused on the company and put his frame builder promise on hold. He then came back around to his promise and at the Sacramento NAHBS, picked up this Black Cat monster cross from Todd. Soon it became his staple bike. Like many custom frames, Paul had an idea for this bike that surrounded a specific component or part.
Those Panaracer Fire Cross tires are awesome, but they won’t fit on most production bikes, or even most custom bikes. 45mm is a lot of rubber for a cyclocross bike, and Paul knew that so he asked Todd to build him a bike around those tires. The end result is really incredible.
The beausage on the cranks alone are worth a photo. Luckily, I shot the whole bike too…
Aptos, California’s Black Cat Bicycles is a jack of all trades and a master of them all. Fit, frame construction and paint are all done in house by Todd Ingermanson, the self-described one man dance party. His bikes are purpose-driven with elegance. Todd will always fit a bend or two in one of his bikes.
Having been shredding a mountain frame from him over the past few weeks, I can attest to how they ride.
For NAHBS this year, Todd brought a couple of gems with him. An Operation Thunder Monkey rowdy 29’r hard tail and this all-road disc bike. Fitted with Clément X’plor USH tires, a Brooks Cambium, Shimano from head to toe and a custom fillet stem it’s hard to overlook this cherry red beauty. Oh and that paint, yeah…
Remember that Easton contest with Black Cat Cycles, the “Dream Bike” with the crazy painjob and choice components? Well, the winner of that bike, actually rode a larger frame, so Todd had to build him a new bike, resulting in a leftover model, which he’s now selling… See more below.
Dain from Giro was the key player in the Easton Dream Bike give-aways and now, he’s put together one of his own. Being good friends with Todd from Black Cat and a resident of sunny Santa Cruz, he knew where to go with his idea: a carbon and steel constructed road bike.
See more below!
I finally had the chance to actually ride bikes with Todd from Black Cat this week, rather than just talk about them at a trade show. There’s something to be said about a frame builder who makes time to ride his own bikes and Todd definitely does that.
Two of my favorite bikes that I’ve featured on the site came from Todd’s workshop at Black Cat Bicycles – and they just so happen to be owned by two great people. There’s something about Brian Vernor’s Hardtail MTB and Eric’s MAX disc road that just do it for me.
Watching a frame builder rip on his own bike is something else and midway through our ride yesterday, I had to take the time to shoot his bike.
Funny side story: Todd was inspired to build this bike by the titanium Campagnolo seat post he came across after seeing what they fetch on eBay… He couldn’t just sell it, he needed a new bike for it!
Today we went on an insanely fun ride from Giro’s HQ through Mount Charlie, Highway 236 and now, we’re in cabins on the coast where we’re staying the night… As always, there’s more to come but for now, here’s a banana slug that enjoys Black Cat fillet brazed stems.
David Trimble’s races are nothing short of epic. Especially when it comes to last year’s Hatcher Pass race, which left one participant bound for the hospital in a helicopter after he finished. You can read all about the race here at Bicycling. As promised to first place, this custom Black Cat prize bike was recently finished. Laced with Chris King and sporting a wicked paint job, this bike is ready for the next Hatcher Pass. That is, if there will be a next one! See more photos at Dave Trimble’s Flickr.
These Dream Bike raffles from Easton are getting better and better. The third one is my favorite, and I’ve shot photos of it before at Interbike. Seriously, Black Cat makes some of the nicest bikes…
Check out more information on this Black Cat Dream Bike:
Easton Cycling has announced the third installment of The Dream Bike Charity Raffle, a steel Black Cat race bike. The Dream Bike Charity Raffle is a promotion giving away hand-built road bikes from Calfee Design, Rock Lobster Cycles, Black Cat, Caletti Cycles and Hunter. All proceeds from each raffle are donated to five charities selected by the frame builders. Each bike is outfitted with Shimano Dura Ace and Easton EC90 components including the new EC90 Aero 55 wheelset. Raffle tickets are available on Easton Cycling’s Facebook.
Since Brian introduced me to Black Cat‘s work a few years ago, I’ve slowly fallen in love with Todd’s craftsmanship. In fact, this bike was my first introduction to the Black Cat moniker. As Brian puts it “I really love that bike” and it’s easy to see why.
Most mountain bikes, well, hardtails anyway, can be documented in ten photos. This one in particular would fall in that category, save for the amazing dropouts and stays. That and the paint job. I had the opportunity to rip through some of Santa Cruz’s trails with Brian last week and aside from one spill, this bike flowed amazingly well through the off-camber, technical descents as well as it scaled up some steep sections.
Even in the few minutes I spent rolling this bike around the block, looking for a photo location, I could see why Mr. Vernor loves it so much. See for yourself in the Gallery!