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Stephen’s Ride to the Hills Iron Maiden Plante Cycles Road – Kyle Kelley

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Stephen’s Ride to the Hills Iron Maiden Plante Cycles Road – Kyle Kelley

Stephen’s Ride to the Hills Iron Maiden Plante Cycles Road
Photos by Kyle Kelley and words by John Watson

Everyone loves a good Maiden homage. When Stephen decided he wanted to tackle the world of custom framebuilding, he headed to Yamaguchi‘s school to learn from arguably the best. Back in 2015, he left his home of Rancho Cucamonga for Rifle, Colorado to attend Yamaguchi’s class. Along with him he brought a set of Paragon road dropouts and began learning how to cut, mitre, lug and fillet braze. The result is this “traditional” road bike. A 1″ steerer, non-oversized diameter tubing road frame, with a lugged head tube cluster and fillet brazed rear triangle.

Upon completion, Stephen sent the frame to Jordan Low with a note: make it Iron Maiden themed.

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Follow Kyle on Instagram and Plante Cycles on Instagram.

Circles Japan Personal Bike Show: Chris King’s Own Cielo

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Circles Japan Personal Bike Show: Chris King’s Own Cielo

If you look at each and every Cielo‘s non-drive chainstay, you’ll see the phrase “Built by Chris King” but if you look at a select few, it’ll read “Built by me, Chris King.” This happens to be one of those bikes. Chris King is too busy these days to build frames but there are a few rolling around, including this one that happens to be his own. If you’re skipping to the photos now, you’ll be returning to read all about it.

Chris wanted to run a 1 1/8″ steerer on a 1″ head tube so he could run a more modern cockpit but maintain the elegant lines in the frame. The way he achieved this was by running a stainless steel headset with the skirts cut off. He then counter bore the cups and silver brazed them onto the headtube.

He used Reynolds 953 on the front triangle, NOS Campy fork ends and dropouts, Columbus SL stays from the early 80’s on the rear. After it was built, the frame received a post-build heat treat tempering process to strengthen the brazing points of the stainless tubing. This caused the stainless cups to patina with the headtube, which was then clear coated to maintain this finish.

This bike was built prior to Cielo offering stems and as far as Chris is concerned, if the current cockpit works, why change it out? The same goes for his saddle, his pedals and that saddle bag from 1977…

Getting Dirty with Kyle’s Campy Athena Mr. Pink Chubby Road on Dirt Mulholland

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Getting Dirty with Kyle’s Campy Athena Mr. Pink Chubby Road on Dirt Mulholland

You’d be surprised how big of a tire you can squeeze into some of the older road bikes. My Merckx fits a plumb 28mm tire with ease and those Campagnolo NR mid-reach brakes can wrap their arms around, reaching the braking surface. Now what happened between the 1980’s and modern bike design is up to anyone to debate. Clearances got tighter, more aero, stiffer and a mentality that a smaller tire is faster took over the pro peloton. Like it always has, the trickle down effect hit store shelves and consumers did what they do best: consume. I know this is a bleak picture of tire clearance on road bikes, but it’s mostly unexaggerated. Mostly…

It seems that now with the whole “adventure / gravel grind / blah blah” trend, companies are designing bikes that fit big tires with the aid of disc brakes. Now we’ve got “all road, road plus” and various other terms to describe these machines, designed for riding off-road.

But what about the classic steel race bikes from back “in the day?”

Enter the All-City Mr. Pink. We’ve reviewed one before here on the site and while I stuck with a moderate 28mm tire, I could clearly see this bike was made for more rubber. With a caveat though. Putting bigger tires on the Mr. Pink means you’ve gotta go for a mid-reach brake, like the Paul Racer, or in this case, the Velo Orange Grand Cru long reach brakes. With those, you can fit a 30mm tire, with ease, making this one capable chubby road bike.

Tyler’s Mystery Machine

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Tyler’s Mystery Machine

Working at a shop like Bicycles of Ojai can lend itself certain opportunities. With its walls covered in vintage components, frames and memorabilia, you can spend hours digging through this veritable treasure chest, assembling one unique build. Now, imagine working at that shop, constantly bombarded with literal bicycle porn and I’m not even going to talk about the basement!

Tyler used to work at Bicycles of Ojai. In his time there, he was always on the hunt for something that would fit him. He’s a tall lad, of about 7’8″ and he rides a tall bike, making it hard to score vintage frames usually, especially in the middle of nowhere like Ojai. Yet, the owner of the shop has long ties to Southern California racing and amidst all the crashed 62cm frames, laid this beauty, rumored to be a custom Paramount for a local track and crit racer.

Now, this “Paramount” has been drilled for both brakes and has had what appears to be a derailleur hanger cut off on the track end, at least proving that yes, maybe this bike was indeed raced in local road crits. Who knows? Who cares? It’s a mystery machine and it’s Tyler’s get around town bike when he’s in Los Angeles.

A porteur rack, Specialized Globe cruiser bars and a handful of vintage Italian components make this bike not only one of the more interesting shoots, but classy enough to sway anyone who’d scoff at the rack and bars. I mean Ofmega pista headset and a 135mm 3TTT stem? Why not!

Follow Tyler on Instagram @GothBrooks and check out his sick Etsy store.

Darrel’s Foundry Super Record Commuter – Morgan Taylor

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Darrel’s Foundry Super Record Commuter – Morgan Taylor

Words and photos by Morgan Taylor.

For the five or so years I’ve known him, Darrel has been obsessed with achieving slam with his bikes. Personally, I’ve never had the flexibility for it, so I live vicariously through those who are willing to cut their steerer tubes within millimetres of being rendered useless. The single 3mm spacer has become Darrel’s hallmark, though he’s given up on 17º stems for commuting.

Darrel’s Foundry Cycles Auger was originally built with Campagnolo Record a few years back. After two seasons racing cross, and a move toward regular year-round commuting in Vancouver, it was time for a refresh. In its current state with Super Record, SON dynamo, and Reynolds carbon rims, Darrel clocks an average of 40 km a day taking the quick way to work and the long way home.

Do you need carbon rims to commute? Is it sensible to run open tubulars and latex tubes on a bike that gets ridden year round in an urban environment? When you’re spending 8 hours a week in the saddle getting to and from work, these questions matter not. You do what you want.

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Follow Morgan on Instagram.

Jaegher Brown and Orange Road

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Jaegher Brown and Orange Road

Trade shows aren’t the easiest to digest, especially coming off of NAHBS, where I got to photograph the literal cream of the crop in terms of custom framebuilders. So when I was invited to attend the Berliner Fahrradschau, I had no idea what to expect. Well, that’s not entirely true. I knew a few things about the European market. First off, professional cycling pedigree. Racing made its roots in Europe. Infrastructure’s another huge plus. Cities were laid out, in the most part anyway, for the bicycle. A lot of the European brands reflect that in their offerings.

Back to that first point: pro cycling pedigree. While the US has a lot of builders who have supplied Olympic and professional athletes frames for various occasions, it’s hard to come close to Europe. Case in point: Jaegher.

Jaybe’s Speedvagen Surprise Me Road with Campagnolo Record 11

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Jaybe’s Speedvagen Surprise Me Road with Campagnolo Record 11

When it comes to custom steel road bikes, It’s safe to say that Speedvagen produces some exceptional machines. Many of these bikes are “Holy Grails” for their owners, who treat these bikes with the utmost care, while riding them every chance they get. In Los Angeles, those rides can take you from Sea Level to 7,903′ at Dawson Saddle and back in one day. There are few places in the USA where you can do that… And you can finish the evening at a museum or sipping on a cocktail.

Jaybe‘s Speedvagen would inspire anyone to get out on the road and push it as hard and as far as they could. With Campagnolo Record 11-speed, Chris King and ENVE wheels, this machine has more than enough performance to take on any ride in LA…

This particular paint scheme was one of my favorites to come from the Vanilla Workshop last year. There’s just something about the Masashi Ichifuru, or “Ichigo”-designed typography, especially with that color palette.

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Podia Visits Campagnolo

Not many companies can still say they produce their road components domestically. In fact, Campagnolo is the only one I can think of that makes an entire gruppo! Also, a small side note: I went to highschool with Josh Riddle, Campy’s head of PR.

Atelier Des Vélos Engraves Campagnolo Record

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Atelier Des Vélos Engraves Campagnolo Record

French artist, sculpture and frame builder Atelier Des Vélos engraves classic componentry. We’ve seen his work before on a Tomassini, but this gruppo is going on his own frame. A Campagnolo Record Pista crank and post, along with a Alter stem got the treatment this round. Here are a few teasers before ADV completes the project, which I think we’re all gonna be pretty stoked on.

Follow more at Atelier Des Vélos.

Joah’s Hampsten Gran Paradiso Minimus Road with Busyman Leather

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Joah’s Hampsten Gran Paradiso Minimus Road with Busyman Leather

When NAHBS landed in Austin back in 2011, it opened the door for a lot of locals to the custom framebuilding world. Many of which had never heard of a majority of the builders, so it was easy to strip away all the hype or internet chatter and have them pick their favorites, based on construction, communication and overall aesthetics.

Joah went to NAHBS and meandered around the aisles looking for a builder who would make him a road bike to last a lifetime. After all was said and done, he felt the most connected to the Hampsten line, particularly the Gran Paradiso Minimus road frame. Made from Columbus Spirit tubing with an ENVE 1.0 fork, this is one lightweight frame. After some communication with Hampsten, his bike was on order.

Parts began to pile up and Joah reached out to Melbourne’s Mick Peel of Busyman Bicycles to make a matching saddle and bar wrap. At the time, this leatherwork was a deep, dark grey but after four years of constant riding – this is Joah’s only bike – the leather wore in nicely, offering a beautiful patina, which is the first thing that caught my eye.

Mick matched the orange Mango Chris King hubs with an inlay beneath the perforations and Justin at Luxe Wheelworks built up his wheels. Joah loves this bike and had nothing but positive things to say about working with Hampsten Cycles. Personally, I still can’t get over the bar tape’s unique texture and color.

Bishop Bikes: Randy’s Classic Road

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Bishop Bikes: Randy’s Classic Road

Chris Bishop is the master at the classic road, always delivering jaw-dropping beauty with details galore. Randy’s is no exception to this rule. Fitted with Campagnolo’s classiest group, Athena 11 and coated in a deep blue paint, this one will roll the streets of time with style… See more at the Bishop Flickr.

FYXO: The Campagnolo Project

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FYXO: The Campagnolo Project


Photo by Andy White

Andy over at FYXO has been altering modern Campagnolo components for some time now. First stripping the clear anodizing, then sending them off to an engraver, before polishing them up. FYXO’s handywork has been featured here on the site so much that even Campagnolo took note and contacted Andy to see if he’d feature Athena 11 in a similar manner.

All he needed was a frame and a client… and boy did he ever. Head to FYXO for the full scoop!

As Is: Early 80’s Bottecchia Road with Campagnolo

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As Is: Early 80’s Bottecchia Road with Campagnolo

With events like Eroica and the reason why I’m currently in Italy, the Emilio De Marchi ride gaining popularity, more and more vintage road bikes are making their way out of garages and storage sheds all over the world, onto the road again.

Italy has no shortage of vintage road bikes. With so many framebuilders in the areas surrounding Conegliano where De Marchi has been based for around 70 years, it’s not hard to track down a frame or a complete for a couple hundred euro. One such builders is Bottecchia, a name most of you will recognize. Coincidentally, Emilio De Marchi was the team manager for Bottecchia some years ago, so the brands have a joined heritage.

Onto this bike, which at first glance is a real looker, even with the small idiosyncratic build mishaps. Sure, the bar tape is frayed, it’s missing a few bolts and the tires are mis-matched, but as-is, it’s a more than suitable steed for a 100 kilometer ride. My favorite details are the way the head tube cluster lugwork merges effortlessly into the headset, the head tube badge and that ostentatious red and white paint.

Bikes like this, as-is need only a few hours of maintenance to make them road-worthy and in Italy, they’re a dime a dozen. Something us Americans can appreciate or lust after… More on De Marchi’s heritage and the Emilio De Marchi ride coming soon. For now, just check out this piece of Italian pedigree.

Eroica California Rides: Mid 80’s Rossin Ghibli with C-Record

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Eroica California Rides: Mid 80’s Rossin Ghibli with C-Record

The time has come for Eroica California and at our rental house in Paso Robles, everyone’s bikes have been getting the final tune ups required for either the 60 mile party loop or the heroic 123 mile route. This one beauty in particular is Mark Riedy’s personal bike and it’s more modern than most of the rides you’ll be seeing in the next few days here on the site. Built with Campagnolo C-Record, this Rossin Ghibli is made from Columbus Gilco tubing with an outrageous paint job the Italian company is known for.

My personal favorite detail on the Ghibli models being the bottom bracket shell and from this bike specifically, the original Keith Haring-designed City Cycles NYC sticker from the 80’s…

My Eroica California Ride: Early 1980’s Eddy Merckx Professional

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My Eroica California Ride: Early 1980’s Eddy Merckx Professional

Truthfully, when the Eroica California was announced, my hope was to find an older, California-made road bike. Something like an Eisentraut, or a Bruce Gordon. You know, classic American steel from the west coast. When all I could find were either in the 54cm or 64cm range, I began looking elsewhere. Which is where I came upon this frame on eBay.

I’ve always loved the Merckx Professionals, with their flat crown forks and Columbus SL tubing, yet this bike looked a bit strange. The seller claims it was from 1982 and raced at the European Championships in 1982 at Goodwood with the Belgian team. ’82… Giuseppe Saronni got first, Lemond got second and Sean Kelly, third. Sounds like a good year.

… but, that fork. I’ve never seen a sloping crown Merckx prior to 1985. Those seat stay caps point to a post-1985 bike. I’ve also never seen a single bottle cage Merckx before. The over-the-bottom-bracket-routing puts in the early 1980’s though. There’s a story there, somewhere. I just have to find it. The seller assured me it was unique and yes, custom.

Merckx Mondays

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Merckx Mondays

Photos by Andy White

Don’t ride up grades, buy upgrades.

Leave it to FYXO to deliver a clean and crispy Merckx Mondays. This Eddy Merxkx pista, is built with a panto’d Cinelli XA stem, Record components and even filtered air in the tubes! See more at FYXO.