This year’s Chris King Open House chose 18 builders from all over the world to display their new colors for 2020: Bourbon and Violet. Thanks to ENVE, Santa Cruz Reserve, SRAM, Brooks, and Spurcycle. these bikes were built out appropriately for such a showcase. Below is a gallery of half the bunch, in alphabetical order for your enjoyment, with each builder’s description of the bikes. Make sure you comment on your favorite because there is some gold in these galleries!
As a big rider, I commend when a big bike can look so balanced. Perhaps that’s what drew me to this De Salvo All-Road the guys at GSC recently built up for a customer. It just looks so balanced. Part of my attraction to this machine is also due to Mike DeSalvo being such a stand-up guy and capable frame builder, but it’s not every day that you see a big bike like this have such a pleasant stance.
The formula is simple, the components to the equation began with a custom titanium frame. Custom in its fit, not necessarily its use. Mike DeSalvo builds lots of disc road bikes for his clients and while the others might not have a pump peg or a third bottle cage on the downtube, they’re two easy details Mike can add to his beautifully-fabricated titanium frames.
For a build kit, the client chose SRAM Red eTap, Boyd Wheels, Fizik, White Industries, and a Parlee Fork. Staple brands void of ostentatious flashiness. Why distract from such pristine titanium construction? Mike DeSalvo’s work is impeccable and this build came out so clean that I’m stoked to be able to share it here. Check out more at DeSalvo Cycles.
If you want a custom build like this and live in Los Angeles, hit up Golden Saddle Cyclery.
NAHBS isn’t just about $10k road bikes with wireless shifting and every year, there are still a good number of classic, rim-brake road bikes lining the convention center halls. This year, Mike DeSalvo brought one of my personal favorites. A Builder’s Special in gold and turquoise, built with Shimano Ultegra. These completes go for $4,300 as pictured, or $3,650 sans Chris King components.
It’s hard to beat that pricing, especially from a guy like Mike, who knows how to lay down some beautiful weld beads. If you’d like a Builder’s Special, holler at DeSalvo!
Mike DeSalvo makes absolutely beautiful steel and titanium frames, with some of the best welds in the business. In fact, his construction is so wonderful that he teaches tig-welding at UBI. While Mike’s frames are gorgeous in terms of construction, he’s admittedly not the most creative in terms of paint designs. His job is to focus on the frame’s engineering, leaving the designs up to the owners. Truthfully, I’d never seen a DeSalvo painted until coming to Japan and seeing the Circles customer’s personal rigs. Titanium is great and all, but sometimes paint really makes the frame pop!
When it comes to pop, if I were to ask you who designs the most outrageous paint jobs for bicycles, you might answer “John Slawta of Landshark.” John’s a living legend and his paint designs have long burned the retinas of their owners and anyone who has feasted their eyes upon these bikes. John and Mike began talking and decided to make six frames with insane paint jobs. This is the first, for Circles Japan and if you’re wondering what the inspiration was, Mike told John to be “very aggressive…” See John’s full design below, which features street art and pop culture references from Warhol, Keith Haring and Banksy, with a balls to the wall spin. If you’re in Nagoya, make sure you swing by Circles to check it out in person!
Mike DeSalvo isn’t known for flashy paintjobs, or crazy-shaped tubing, instead, his titanium frames attract attention with a different kind of detail: precision. These bikes are made from a ti welder’s dream with their meticulously-laid beads and cable stops. Not every detail needs to be observed with a macro lens however. Step back and look at the ever-so-elegant bend to the top tube for shouldering in cross races and the bendy, swoopy stays for, ya know, looks!
This bike was on display at the Circles Japan Personal Bike Show and Mike’s Japanese customers spent plenty of time nerding out!