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.
There are bike shops and there are bike show rooms, with the latter focusing on merchandising and the former on service. While there are permutations on the two, I really enjoy walking through the doors of a service shop. It’s something about the aromatic experience of chain lube and tires that makes me feel at ease, especially when it’s not my local shop. All it takes is a smiling face to make the environment welcoming. Luckily, at Black Mountain Cycles, that’s exactly what they’re selling: a welcoming and service-minded environment. In a place like Point Reyes, with a population of around 400, there are very few actual locals, so the owner of Black Mountain Cycles, Mike Varley prides himself in making everyone feel at home.
There’s a bigger story to be told here, mostly surrounding Black Mountain Cycles’ owner Mike Varley and his history not only regarding bicycle design, but also his impact on the Point Reyes community as a whole. I figured this Beautiful Bicycle gallery would serve as a segue to that in the future. For now, let’s chat about this bike…
Point Reyes is a beautiful coastal town in Northern California on the Adventure Cycling Association’s Pacific Coast route and is a bastion of bicycle-friendly roads, trails and tracks. Because of its plentiful offerings in terms of riding routes, Black Mountain Cycles emerged, catering to not only the wayward bicycle tourist, but also locals and SF weekend warriors looking to get their feet dusty.
Black Mountain caters to all forms of roads, but enjoys riding dirt the most, which is why their in-house frame company will always fit a bit bigger of a tire, even when it comes to their “road” frameset. Their Road V3 frame fits a 33mm tire with ease, while offering up the option for either downtube mounted barrel adjusters with road shifters or retro downtube shifters. These frames are made overseas but are affordable, meant for everything from dirt road rides to centuries and even, as evident by Bob’s build here, commuter setups.
Bob’s Black Mountain tackles all the necessities: a SON generator hub, a Wald basket for transporting work clothes, a nice, supple tire and a comfortable riding position. While the frame itself might be production, Bob’s custom build shows character and utilitarianism we all can identify with. For those wanting a little more cushion for their rides, Black Mountain also offers a Cross V5 frameset, as well as the Cameron Falconer-made MUSA frames!
As I said before, hopefully this isn’t the last you hear of Black Mountain on the site, because this story needs to be told!