Today on the Radavist, we’re featuring a bit of unobtainium. Those of you who might have heard about this brand before know that the first batch of frames already sold out. For those of you unfamiliar with Rangefinder, it’s a collaboration be Adam Sklar of Sklar Bikes, Hubert d’Autremont from Madrean Fabrication, and the painter Jonathan Pucci from Cicli Pucci. While the frames are gone, the process is what’s important and that process was documented with 35mm rangefinder cameras. We’re featuring the Mystic Project book which has over 100 images, slides, project text from Nicholas Haig-Arack, and final bike photos in a really special Reportage, so enjoy.
That suntanned, SUNTOURist, king of the grandiose, the beausage factory himself, Mr. Ronnie Romance, aka Ultra Romance, really knows how to put a bicycle together, even a simple one such as a fixed gear. Yet we’re not talking a Kierin bike, those NJS-stamped sparkle machines, or even a British Path Racer. This is a bike designed specifically for a plump, rough and tumble tire, with a relaxed fit, eons past the aggressive saddle-to-bar drop bikes of yesteryear, yet somewhere in-between the monster-truck abilities of a tracklocross bike. This Madrean Fabrications ‘country fixed’ is unlike anything I’ve seen in recent memory… or maybe it’s just my old age.
Hubert d’Autremont from Madrean Fabrication is building bikes that he wants to ride. From a chubby road bike, to a bikepacking rig, and even a bird as strange as this. The Tucson Special is a single speed or fixed gear with 50mm of tire clearance and more relaxed geometry, tuned for hitting cutty singletrack around town and jumping curbs. Put a rack and basket on it, flat bars or drops, clipless or platforms. The beauty of the platform is its inherent versatility.
This particular model is built with PAUL hubs, a front Klamper, White Industries Cranks, Bruce Gordon Rock ‘n’ Road tires, an Eriksen seatpost, custom painted stem, titanium townie bars, and a Brooks saddle. With paint done in-house, Hubert is working on dialing in the production process for his bikes and moving towards a production sizing operation. While there is no launch date for a Madrean, he’s getting there.
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Both Sarah’s and Hubert’s Madrean have very similar details in terms of construction and stance. They’re both designed to be a multi-day bikepacking machine, where the only limit in terms of trip time is the rider’s schedule. For Sarah, she spends a lot of her year bikepacking or touring all over the world, so having a stout and reliable bike is of the utmost importance, hence the Pinion Gearbox.
While kicking around his shop one afternoon, I shot two of his recent builds, this one and Sarah Swallow’s Pinion gearbox dirt tourer. Expect that next week!
It doesn’t matter what you’re designing, the best products come from direct experience, and take more than one iteration to get right. This persistence is part of the process for Hubert from Madrean. He wants to design and develop a few production frames, to be made in house at his shop in Tucson. The first is this rigid mountain touring bike. Complete with internal routing for a dynamo hub, 1x clearance, front and rear bag support racks and if you ask nicely, maybe even a set of those bars, although that’s probably unlikely. Bars are a real pain to make!
Hubert coated the bike with a blackened steel treatment and some rattle can at a few key areas. He likes the Fabio’s Chest bags by Ultra Romance and Swift Industries and had a custom Rogue Panda bag made for the front triangle.
Bikes like this have such a presence in space. They command your attention and are full of details. I hope you enjoy viewing this as much as I did shooting it! Regarding price, availability and other details essential to purchasing, hold tight. We’ll post updates here as events warrant.
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