Titanium bikes. They’re often referred to as “lifetime bikes” due to the metal’s oxide barrier, inhibiting it from rusting in the traditional sense of the word. A Ti bike will last for a lifetime with its only limiting factor being the technology of the components and the riders ability to adapt the bike as their tastes in life change. So yes, in essence, a titanium bike can be a lifetime bike, but how often are they really? Well, working at Summit Bike and Ski in Bozeman, I found a true to form “lifetime bike.”
The team at IFHT Films know how to make hysterical videos! This one’s from a few months back but we missed out posting it. Enjoy.
Way back in 2010, an event called the Oregon Manifest pinged a selection of frame builders to solve common usage problems with bikes. This included cargo carrying specifications ranging from the large and out of the ordinary, to the simple task of carrying a change of clothes. It just so happened that in 2010, the Oregon Manifest’s task was to carry just that. For Retrotec and Inglis Cycles‘ Curtis Inglis, he approached this challenge by first looking for inspiration within his own shop.
Curtis had this Salsa quill stem, back when they were made in California in the shop of Ross Shafer, whos shop, and employees, like Sean Walling influenced Curtis’ own frame building operations. We’ll look at that more in-depth tomorrow. For now, let’s focus on this bike. So there he was, with this stem that needed a home. He had an idea of what the frame was supposed to look like and pinged his buddy Jeff Hantman to make some half wheel fenders with the Retrotec “guy,” smiling on the back and a halftone fade.
As for the frame, well, that’s the easy part for Curtis. He got to work, knowing the design challenges of the frame including the need to carry a spare change of clothes for the party after the show, perhaps harkening to the need for commuters to have nice “work” clothing once they’ve rolled into their office job. Curtis brought white loafers, a pair of plaid pants that he converted into nickers. He then had Travis at Freight Baggage to include the scraps of plaid into the rack bag still being used on the bike today. Curtis even painted the Pass and Stow rack to match! Chuey even made a cycling cap of this material. Bottom line: Curtis thought out all the details for this bike, including many of his friend’s work in his final product.
This bike has a new use now; Curtis carries their dog Coco around town with his wife on their city cruises. I wish I could have gotten a photo of that during my stay, but Curtis had his hands full with unexpected life events.
Follow Retrotec on Instagram.
For some people, commuting by bicycle to work each day is the only time they’re assured time on the bike, so making those rides as enjoyable as possible is an added bonus. When it comes to Firefly, I can’t think of a better ride experience, so starting your day on something like this must be an extra special treat. Check out more at the Firefly Tumblr.
Sometimes, you come across a part and literally imagine a bike that would best suit it. This mindset seems backwards but it happens all the time. People justify a complete bicycle over a vintage French chainguard or a set of fenders, I’ve even seen people obsess over a crankset, yet in this case, it was the Sim Works Fun 3 bars that got Carlos‘ brain ticking over a bike. Having extensive experience fabricating bicycle frames, he found himself in the unique position to begin making his own bikes. It’s one of those things where if he had more free time, it probably would have already happened, but having to work full-time as a fabricator has put a damper on his plans of launching a company. For now, all he has is a name, a direction, and this bike.
Spectre Fab will eventually be a no-nonsense, tig-welded, custom and stock frame company specializing in bikes that like to get thrashed and used, not abused. This bike, in particular, is meant to handle like a fun, zippy track bike but with gears, bigger tires and yeah, the unique and fun riding position of the Fun 3 bars.
Carlos has taken this bike all over the dirt roads in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and then some. It’s his go-to commuter, cutty singletrack machine, with plenty of details to make even someone like me spend extensive time investigating it, piece by piece. I love bikes like this because ultimately, it’s their owners who have the idea, but it’s the bike that does all the talking.
Keep an eye on the Radavist for future updates as events warrant on Spectre Fab.
A bicycle can often times be a time capsule for an individual’s journey. Be it a tale told through road grime, dust, dents or a augmented addition like a cargo retrofit.
Nils has had this Surly Long Haul Trucker for over a year and a half. In that time it’s gone through various permutations with the documented version being the most current, obviously. A LHT is already a pretty versatile bicycle, yet Nils wanted the ability to carry more weight, lower and honestly, just wanted to try something new. The retrofit was done by the same talent that makes the Haulin Colin racks. It’s actually a pretty simple process. You supply your axle to crown and head tube angle to Colin and he fabs up a steerer extension, a downtube brace and a rack. A few weeks pass and viola. Cargo bike.
I have to say, this is one of the first bikes I’ve shot in a while that has whole-hearted character, not purchased style. The little brackets he bent by hand to hang his rear light off the Brooks saddle bag hoops and his hand-painted accents on the frame completely tie in with Nils’ character. The dude is tall, with a commanding beard, yet his energy fills the room through his smile and laughter.
During the day, Nils fills his hours as a part time middle school teacher and a part time ceramic artist. On the weekend, he’s out riding in the Angeles National Forest, or just kicking around town on this magnificent bicycle. I’ve met a lot of people through Golden Saddle Cyclery, but for some reason, Nils really resonated with me. Check out more photos in the Gallery and follow along with Nils’ rides at his Instagram.
These videos from River City Bicycles are so good!
This was an interesting experience. It wasn’t part of the festival and it didn’t look like anything special at first. Matt’s commuter has the #4 serial from Kris at 44 Bikes. It’s a singlespeed made for zipping around town with three unique details: a Mike Flanigan fork with a custom 44 Bikes rack and a special cable hanger Kris machined and mounted to the Thomson stem.
My favorite thing about bikes like this is the amount of use it has seen…
For 2016, Fairdale took their versatile Weekender frame and gave it a splash of turquoise for those desiring a more colorful palette. Fret not, you muted lovers of black bicycles for there’s also a black frame option with a chrome fork as well. Don’t forget to check out all of Fairdale’s 2016 bikes.
FBM makes bad-ass frames in the US of A. Central New York to be exact and the latest noble steed and steedette (?) is their new Raconteur urban riding bicycles. With completes starting at $1,700, these mens and womens frames might pique your interest. Check out more at FBM!
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.
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.
If there was ever to be a gilded knight in the Speedvagen guard, it would have to be the Urban Racer. This bike was the most polarizing figure in the small framebuilding community that I can remember. I will say however, over the past few weeks, I’ve seen a number of people take the Urban Racer platform as inspiration to build their own budget versions. When’s the last time you can recall a small side project like the UR have an effect like that?
After the initial release, Sacha and the folks at Speedvagen made this insane gilded Urban Racer for a client and the photos pop like the Vegas skyline.
Sure, this bike isn’t for everyone, but can all appreciate something as insane as this, right? And it’s made by hand in Portland, Oregon. Check out more photos at the Speedvagen Flickr.
I don’t know what’s more impressive. Winter’s bicycles, or the names Eric comes up with for them. “Picholine” are olives originally from the south of France. The classic era French city bikes have always interested Eric from Winter Bicycles, so when a client requested a commuter, he looked to them for inspiration, while picking up a few modern details. Fenders, generator lamp, racks and other elegant elements adding to the beauty and functionality of utilitarian bicycles.
From the backcountry of Alberta, Canada to the Italian countryside…
It’s been a whirlwind month here at the Radavist and so before this beaut gets lost on a hoard drive, I really wanted to share it. This bike was owned by Emilio De Marchi and still resides in their storefront which has been here since 1951. The frame itself is from the early 1960’s and is labeled under the brand’s name De Marchi. This cruiser was made in the same town as their garments from a small time builder of which no one could remember his name.
Over the years, it got updated with a more modern mix of parts including Campagnolo GS and NR. Most impressive to me are the droves of old Italian men who ride bikes like this in Conegliano, where the bicycle is the way of life for many people.
Quite simply put:
“The Urban Racer is the latest offering in the Speedvagen line, lightweight with nimble handling and dialed race fit geometry. Designed as a super commuter, getting you around town as fast as possible. Minimal, modern and shred ready, the Urban Racer is the answer for the discerning cyclist who wants to go fast and take chances in the city.”
Great video Field Theory Pictures!
Our friend in Chico, Paul talks basic commuter bike setup in this new video series.
Fluoro and functionality. That’s what caught my eye when I first saw Justin‘s Serotta T Max mountain bike. That and the big ol’ Columbus Max OR sticker (I have a crush on that tubeset). Justin took what many would consider an obsolete 26″ frame, added mustache bars to it, a rack with a Wald basket and flat pedals, resuscitating it back to daily use. Of course it still shreds dirt, but it also shreds to and from work. Now we gotta find you a front derailleur dude.
Bum tracks, fire roads, singletrack beware, this Serotta T Max is looking for lunch!