Category Archives: frame builders
Wade’s Vulture Cycles Klunker

Wade from Vulture Cycles is one rad atavist. While he and I had never formally met before, I’ve long admired his work. Last year, we saw his travel bike and this year while up in Bend, Oregon at the Chris King Swarm event, I met Wade formally and shot this Vulture Cycles Klunker, modeled after a 1938 Colson Imperial. Now, klunkers are not supposed to be perfect, so turn off your detail-vision, and put on your shred spectacles.

Wade made this frame from Tange Ultra Strong MTB tubing, which he shaped and bent to fit his precedent. It was built around a Morrow hub that Cameron Falconer handed off to him years ago. Fresh Air Cycles, Travis from PAUL’s old shop, had the hub and Cam bought it from Travis, before handing it off to Wade. Remember Travis’ Falconer klunker-inspired MTB? The rest of the parts Wade had “laying around” like all builders and makers do, including the 1980’s Ashtabula forged steel cranks – who coincidentally made tons of components for Schwinn back in the day – and a S&M Redneck stem. The pedals are Suntour XC Pro and those bars are custom made by Wade. Oh and a Campy hub… just because.

Yeah, this bike just oozes cool, style, and the Vulture Cycles ideology. Wade’s a pretty cool guy too. We talked about Death Valley, core samples in Dry Bone Canyon, White Top Mountain, park rangers finding dead tourists and other tales from the desert. Exactly the kind of conversation I like having at a bike event. Party on Wade!

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Jun 7, 2018 29 comments
Team Scrapin’s Rock Lobster Relationship Accelerator – Amanda Schaper

Team Scrapin’s Rock Lobster Relationship Accelerator
Words by Amanda Schaper, photos by John Watson

Some people might call tandems divorcycles, but I like to call them relationship accelerators. Wherever your relationship is headed, a tandem bicycle will get you there faster.

The Lost and Found Bike Ride is always one of my favorite weekends of the year. The camping, the riding, the lake, the people, the beer…it all just makes for one heck of a good time. But this year was extra special. My fiancé Scott and I toed the line for the 100-mile gravel race on our amazing Rock Lobster tandem in the first of the Triple Crown events. We’re planning to race the full Lost Sierra Triple Crown on the tandem as our form of premarital counseling. What could go wrong, right? There was some competition in the tandem category at Lost and Found, with two other teams giving us a run for our money. After about 6.5 hours of racing and getting both wheels off the ground more than once, we crossed the line in victory! It wasn’t easy, but it was a heck of a lot of fun. Our relationship and the bike survived 100 miles of gravel grinding, and now we start prepping for the gnarly technical trails of the Downieville Classic. (more…)

Jun 5, 2018 31 comments
Pining over the Pinion Drivetrain System – Adam Sklar

Words by Adam Sklar, photos from Sklar Bikes, diagrams from Pinion

The Pinion Gearboxes have been around for a long while now but their popularity in Europe is just now starting to break its way into the US bike scene. Last Fall Sklar Bikes started receiving orders for frames built with the mounting system for these gearboxes and as someone who had eyed them for years, with only a little riding experience, I was pretty excited. Being that Sklar builds all custom bikes, it feels great to offer something that is really special and harder to get. These frames have mostly seen use as commuters, “bikepacking bikes” and everyday trail bikes for customers who are maybe less maintenance-inclined or just intrigued by this neat system. So far all of those customers have been psyched on their bikes and I am happy to build with Pinion, though there are certainly pluses and minuses that come with it. At the end of the day, it is pretty easy to overthink a bike, but of course, overthinking bikes is my job and so what follows are my thoughts on Pinion from the perspective of someone who builds bike frames for a living and also spends a whole lot of time riding them. (more…)

May 22, 2018 14 comments
The Breadwinner G-Road 27.5 Road Bike

While our first introduction to Breadwinner’s G-Road bike here on the Radavist showed the frame built up as a dirt-shredder, the latest builds from the Portland-based frame building outfit have these bikes built up as all-day endurance road or randonneuring bikes. Even though I live in a dry and arid environment, I’ve always loved the way a fendered 650b or 27.5 bike looks. Breadwinner is able to build these bikes to custom spec, including provisions for racks, fenders, generator lamps, or just stripped down and ready to get dirty off-road rigs, all with a sick Igleheart segmented fork. Head to Breadwinner Cycles to see more information.

May 14, 2018 2 comments
2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia: KUMO RADdonneur Dirt Tourer

2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia: KUMO Dirt Tourer
Photos and words by Andy White

It wasn’t that long ago that Kumo first took his flame to the flux and gave birth to steel machines. Keith has always had a distinctive style, and while early framesets focused on road and track, the frames he is most passionate about producing are a reflection of his first true love. Riding out into the bush, self-supported and free of distractions. (more…)

May 10, 2018 24 comments
2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia: Llewellyn Custom Bicycles Road

2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia
Photos by Andy White, words by John Watson

Darrell from Llewellyn‘s work was first introduced to me by Andy White of FYXO on one of my first trips to Australia, somewhere around 2010 or so. I had never heard of his work, much less had seen it in person, so at the time, I was completely blindsided by Darrell’s craftsmanship. If you were to ask me for US-based frame builders who share a similar craftsmanship, Chris Kvale, DiNucci and others come to mind but there is something different about a Llewellyn and it’s not easy to put a finger on it. (more…)

May 7, 2018 18 comments
2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia: Bastion, BAUM, Bikes by Steve, Curve, Damu

2018 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia
Photos by Andy White, words by John Watson

One show that has been on my radar over the years is the Handmade Bicycle Show Australia. This year’s showcase was located in Melbourne, Australia, and featured a mix of makers and companies, who bring a selection of custom bicycles and components to display. Photographer and owner of FYXO, Andy White was at the show, documenting each of the maker’s bikes, under the spotlight, and on the stage at the event. We’ll have a few big galleries up over the next few days from each of the builders present at the show. Beginning with… (more…)

May 6, 2018 6 comments
Inside / Out at Sycip Design in Santa Rosa, California

Northern California has spawned many frame builders since the 1960’s, beginning in many ways with Albert Eisentraut, whose influence sparked a new wave of American frame builders. One of which is Jeremy Sycip, who learned under Eisentraut’s careful eye at UBI. Prior to that, however, Eisentraut had taught many other builders including; Bruce Gordon, Joe Breeze, Skip Hujsak, Mark Nobilette, and Bill Stevenson. The history of those individuals solidified the US frame building scene, and eventually paved the way for guys like Jeremy Sycip.

For over 25 years, Jeremy has built bicycle frames under the label Sycip. Since 1992, he has been building custom bicycle frames in Northern California. Originally located in San Francisco, he and his brother, Jay, opened a small storefront up in downtown Santa Rosa in the late 90’s. Their plan was pretty genius for its time. Jeremy would work on frames in a glass storefront, while Jay would work on design for the brand, taking breaks to show walk-ins the process. If they came for a custom bike, Jay would offer his custom, one-of-a-kind hand-painted frame… The brand, Sycip Designs, finally took hold. (more…)

May 1, 2018 28 comments
A Santa Rosa Frame Building Flashback: 1990’s Rigid Kostrikin SSMTB

Santa Rosa – and all of NorCal for that matter – has a rich history with frame builders. From Eisentraut to Salsa, Sycip, and Retrotec, the names and faces of this little realm within the cycling industry have such great stories to tell. While I’m working on a few more posts from my recent trip to Santa Rosa, I thought I’d share this unique build with you.

High in the rafters at Trail House hangs this 1990’s Kostrikin rigid single speed mountain bike. These days, bikes like this are still rolling around, converted with “limp dick” stems, baskets and flat pedals, these once race-ready bikes have found a life living as commuters, bar bikes, tourers, and grocery getters. There was a time, however, when these were the pinnacle of racing technology. Although the single speed market was and seemingly still remains a small percentage of this population. (more…)

Apr 29, 2018 25 comments