It’s a fun thought experiment to try to pinpoint when the decision to buy a hardtail might factor into someone’s cycling journey. Or, it is if you spend most of your time thinking about, designing, and building bikes like Nick Neuhaus and Daniel Yang of Neuhaus Metalworks. For me, the decision came about 18 months ago when I realized that the terrain that held the most appeal—for day rides and multi-day tours—was continually falling in the underbiking category when ridden on my drop bar gravel bikes. And even though I’m still very much cutting my teeth on more technical terrain, Nick and Daniel reached out to see if I’d be interested in reviewing their second steel hardtail design, the Hummingbird. Of course, I gladly accepted the chance to see if I could keep up with this handmade steel singletrack seeker. In addition to testing the bike on a variety of Colorado terrain, during the past three months I had multiple conversations with the Neuhaus guys about the current hardtail moment; how identity and marketing affect one’s perceptions of this somewhat black sheep trail category, and where the Hummingbird fits into this evolving conversation.
Dope Tubes: Jonny Pucci’s Custom Roberson 650b Gravel Bike
Wrapping up our coverage (for now) that showcases the celebrated work and career of San Diego-based framebuilder Rob Roberson, today we take a look at one of Rob’s most recent builds – a custom gravel bike for his friend and co-worker Jon Pucci. Rob and Jon worked together for years in Joe Bell‘s storied paint shop and conspired together for a chunk of that time planning what would become Jon’s dream bike and one he could adorn with an equally fitting paint job. As with all of Rob’s builds (and Jon’s paint, too), there’s a lot to take in so let’s get to it!
Zach’s Custom Roberson 650b “Dopesmoker” Touring Bike
Today, we’re continuing our coverage of bicycle frame builder Rob Roberson with a detailed look at Zach Small‘s touring bike inspired, in part, by stoner doom band Sleep’s album “Dopesmoker.”With hand-carved lugs, custom racks, and perfect paint courtesy of Jon Pucci, there’s a lot to take in so let’s get right to it!
A Life of Custom Bicycle Fabrication: Fifty Years of Rob Roberson’s Personal Bike Collection
Yesterday, we shared a profile of Rob Roberson that traces his storied bicycle fabrication career from the 1970s to present day. Today, we’re taking a look at seven bikes Rob built during that impressive 50-year window, from early track bikes to road frames and his most recent personal all-road build. There’s a lot of intricate eye candy here, so let’s get to it!
It’s a Lifestyle, Not a Career: The Legend of Rob Roberson
Rob Roberson is an enigma in the handmade bicycle world. Some would consider him “the greatest known unknown bike fabricator” of the American frame building movement. His career, which spans nearly 50 years, puts him among a very small pedigree of builders that have both mass-production experience and have also built custom bikes under their own name without giving up the ghost. Yet, with such a significant trajectory, Rob has remained largely unknown. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be featuring bikes made by Rob and the stories about them. Today, however, Zach Small and Josh Weinberg are honored to introduce you to Rob Roberson.
A Saturday Well-Spent at the 2023 Southeastern Appalachian Bike Swap
Happenstance saw Hailey Moore traveling through Knoxville, Tennessee over the weekend of the second annual Southeastern Appalachian Bike Swap (SABS), hosted by the local shop, non-profit and community hub, Two Bikes. Scroll on for her photo-heavy recap of the gear swap, Goldsprint roller-bike race bracket, and bike show good times that went down last weekend at YeeHaw Brewing Co.—good things comin’ out of the Southeast right now!
Meet Your Maker Event Returns to Skyline XC in Napa, CA
Skyline Wilderness Park in Napa has a rich history of mountain bike racing, from the Grundig World Cup races of the 1990s to the Single Speed World Championship in 2008. These are classic chunky old-school XC trails that are a perfect match for your favorite hardtail. Come test your abilities in a fun and supportive community!
Meet Your Maker is an ongoing series of rides hosted by the Northern California bike-making community. It all started in 2011 and kinda faded out in 2016, but now it’s back! No stuffy convention halls, no dim fluorescent lighting, just a good time hanging out and talking shop while we partake in the activity that puts a big smile on all of our faces.
A Love Letter from Berlin: The Rad Race Last Wo/Man Standing Fixie Crit and Custom Framebuilder Highlights from Kolektif
Back in March, as part of the Kolektif Bike Fair in Berlin, the team behind Rad Race put on the 9th annual Last Wo/Man Standing fixed gear race at the winding indoor Mobikart go-kart circuit track. Additionally, the bike fair featured a handful of stunning custom builds on display from an array of framebuilders including Drust, Omnium, Rossman, Morassi, Trout, ten:07, and Vetra. Petor Georgallou was there for it all and shares a full report and massive image gallery below.
Made in Philly: Shop Visit at La Marche Bicycle Co
Longtime readers of this website will know Tom La Marche, primarily due to his fame during the popularity of fixed gear riding in the early 2000s. More recently, Tom has pursued his love of framebuilding under the banner of La Marche Bicycle Co part-time while working as a stunt man for various Hollywood movies and TV shows. For the past few years, he’s been working on getting his workshop dialed in and making bikes for a select clientele. While in town for the Philly Bike Expo last year, I caught up with Tom at his new shop space and photographed his personal Town & Country gravel bike. Let’s take a look below!
Hecho en Colombia: A Visit to Scarab Cycles in the Heart of the Andes
It isn’t often that I have a chance to stop by a custom frame-building shop in places where I typically like to tour, but upon arriving in Colombia, it was clear that cycling culture in this country is on another level. During weekends in Bogotá, it was not uncommon to see large herds of spandex-clad riders hanging out at coffee shops with fancy gravel bikes or amongst a sea of other riders, dancing on the pedals up to “Patios”, the local roadie hotspot.
Walk into a random bakery in any town throughout the country and it would be no shock to see some obscure (to me) bike race on TV, with a group of abuelas keenly following the action as they enjoy an almojabana and hot chocolate. Catch yourself cruising down one of the many cycle paths in Bogotá and you might just get dropped by a dude in jeans with a backpack heading to work. When it comes to cycling, Colombians are built differently. Read on for a behind the scenes look at my visit to the Colombian builder Scarab Cycles.
A Father and Son Titanium Operation: A Shop Visit to Sanitas Cycles
Sanitas Cycles is the titanium framebuilding operation co-led by David and John Siegrist. With his father’s work at DEAN Bicycles acting as the backdrop of his childhood in Boulder, Colorado, Dave decided to start working in bikes upon graduating from Fort Lewis College in Durango, convincing his dad to join him in his new titanium label. Read on to learn how John and Dave are merging the classic and the modern in their stock frame offerings and custom builds, and check out a short video from Colt Fetter’s time at the shop!
Don’t Tell Me You Like It: An Extended Review of The Argonaut GR3 Gravel Bike
Argonaut’s GR3 gravel bike combines the trademarked GravelFirst geometry with a custom rider-specific carbon layup to create what the Bend, Oregon-based frame and component builder claim to be a “rip-capable gravel bike unlike any other.” So, what does Petor Georgallou‘s time as a high schooler working at a video rental shop have to do with the Argonaut GR3? And, if he tells you he likes the bike, will you even believe him? Read on to find out…
From the Pro’s Closet: 1985 MCR Descender
The MCR Descender was a bicycle ahead of its time. It was the first suspended mountain bike and dreamed up by Brian Skinner whose contributions to mountain biking would go on to span the entire sport. On the technology side, Skinner started with the Descender but later led development on innovations such as index shifting, trigger shifters, SPDs, Onza porcupines and Answer taperlites. His first passion in the sport of mountain biking was as a race promoter though, and it was from that passion that the other half of this bike’s name MCR — Mountain Cross Racing —was born.
Snowed Out at the 2023 Sedona Mountain Bike Festival
The last time we reported from the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival was in November of 2021 and conditions were perfect with sunny skies, warm days, and cool nights. Bike demos and clinics were abundant; everything went according to plan. This year, however, with the festival back on its spring schedule during the first week of March, the weather wasn’t so cooperative. After a sizeable snowstorm caused the first day of the festival to be canceled, Josh and Spencer ventured up to the land of red dirt and vortexes to see how the subsequent days would be salvaged. Thankfully the event organizers, vendors, and festival-goers made the best of things and there were still plenty of bikes and products to show off along with abundant festivities to partake in. Let’s take a look below at what we found!
Materialism is Dead; Long Live Materialism: A Workshop Visit with Saffron Frameworks
In this shop visit with Saffron Frameworks in London, UK, Sam Rice traces a line from Matthew Sowter’s previous life as a chef to his current trade as one of the most awarded frame builders in the world. Matthew’s skill in transforming basic ingredients into magnificent dishes transfers over into his ability to turn a box of tubes into a frame deserving of the word “perfection.” Materialism may be a concept of the past, but it is very much alive in Matthew Sowter’s craft.
Archive Re-Up: Chris’ Icarus Race Bike
When we lost our 2015 image bucket back in 2018, it was a huge bummer, but over the past few months, I’ve been digging out hard drives and re-editing some photos, in the hopes of filling in the bigger holes. With this real winter we’ve been having, I’ve had a bit more free time to take a deep dive into the archives, and today, I’m sharing an iconic bike from Icarus that shook the internet when I posted it: Chris’ Icarus Race Bike
Check it out in all its fluoro glory here: Chris’ Icarus Race Bike
I should also note that my intent here is only to upload lost photos, keeping the text and formatting intact.
Flatland Coasting with Richard’s Self Made 29+ Trail Cruiser
Living in the Phoenix, AZ metro area, I get to connect with a variety of interesting folks who travel here during the winter months. Like Western Sandpipers, Sandhill Cranes, Golden Eagles, and other airborne travelers of North American migratory flyways, humans also flock to warmer climes in the Sonoran Desert’s overwintering sites. On a recent trip to my neighborhood caffeine dealer, Cartel Roasting Co, my jaw dropped when I saw Richard’s handmade cruiser parked out front. Visiting from Winnipeg, Manitoba with his wife Michelle, the couple snowbirds in Arizona to connect with friends and ride bikes. Before I knew it, Richard and I had talked for nearly an hour about his love of vintage bikes, cycling for physical and mental health, and his recent forays into building his own framesets. Let’s take a look at his most recent creation below!
Striking a Different Kind of Gold in Beechworth: Tor Bikes Shop Visit
With the headlights pointing north, I departed at sparrow’s fart, my destination: Beechworth. It’s a little over a three-hour jaunt from Melbourne along the Hume Highway. The drive is punctuated by rolling hills, bouncing kangaroos, and petrol (gas) stations. Historically known for the gold rush of the late 1800s, I was heading there in search of the slightly less precious metal of steel – crafted by the hand of Shane Flint of Tor Bikes.