As a trail worker, cyclist, and product developer at Schwalbe tires, Michael Rudolph knows better than most that heavy, and often sharp and pointy, tools don’t make for the most convenient bike cargo. And, coaster brake klunkers don’t often make the most capable cargo bikes. But, with the announcement of Leafcycles Custom Klunker Challenge, Michael was on a mission to reconcile these incompatibilities. Read on for the backstory and build process for his winning custom klunker submission: the Leafcycles Trail Digger.
Unveiled at the 2022 Philly Bike Expo to much fanfare, the Alumalith is a realization of Ronnie Romance‘s dream to incorporate his favorite aspects of vintage mountain bikes into a deciededly modern offering. Featuring a non-suspension corrected Switchblade-style fork, rim brakes, sharp angulation, and 6061 aluminum fabricated by renowned craftsman Frank Wadelton–but with internal dropper routing, clearance for 27.5 x 2.6″ tires, and a contemporary approach to geometry–the Alumalith is nostalgic delight for riders of today. Josh picked up an Alumalith earlier this year and has spent months building it, riding, refining, and riding some more. Continue reading below for his review of this niche yet capable and fun machine…
Visually speaking there are few bikes as wonderfully simplistic as a rigid singlespeed mountain bike. There’s something both minimal and pure about this permutation of the mountain bike genealogy. Across the rigid singlespeed spectrum, certain phenotypes vary, depending on the terrain and are mostly related to tire and gearing selection but when it comes to a bare bones mountain bike, there’s nothing more pure.
John Rowley owns Rowley Farmhouse Ales here in Santa Fe. He’s a chemist by trade and has several custom bikes, all designed to address a various niche within the cycling spectrum. This bike, a custom Neuhaus Metalworks rigid 29er, has been on my radar since John took delivery of it and I finally got to document it so let’s check it out as a pre-cursor to our 2023 MADE Bike Show coverage below.
This week’s Readers’ Rides comes from our friends at Two Bikes in Knoxville, Tennessee! It belongs to a customer named Pharris and we were stoked to see it roll through out inbox. Let’s check it out below!
You won’t find many fully rigid, bi-plane forked, singlespeed mtbs on the trails of Kamloops—or anywhere else for that matter. But Lachlan Sillitoe, an Aussie transplant in the Loops and owner of the Bicycle Cafe, breaks the mold of the typical British Columbia Interior ride, with style and flow to spare. After hanging on his wheel during a few rides earlier this year, Dylan Sherrard writes about his friend’s unconventional bike choices and eagerness to embrace the entire spectrum of the riding experience—comfort be damned. Read on for Lachy’s thoughts about why easier isn’t always better and for a closer look at his anonymous vintage rigid SS mtb “beach bruiser.”
For framebuilders, there’s no better test for their product than a long bike tour. When I last saw Brian, he had just completed the Baja Divide on a bike he built. At the time, he had just left the outdoor industry and hoped to transition into building frames full-time under the Rare Earth Cycle Craft banner.
His hardtail was one of my favorite bikes I documented this year until I saw his Tour Divide bike…
Todd, from Black Cat Bicycles, has long been a favorite framebuilder of mine. A while back I did an Inside/Out Shop Visit with him in his home shop out of Aptos, California, and showcased a few of his bikes. I’ve also reviewed one of his Thunder Monkey hardtails. Something about his fillet-brazed and hand-carved lugged creations always resonated with me, even though I am usually attracted to tig-welded, more utilitarian “off-road” bikes. Truth be told: I’ve long wanted a Black Cat but wasn’t sure what to ask Todd to build for me.
Then it happened. As I was catching up with him at the 2022 Chris King Guest House event, I couldn’t stop drooling over the Swami 29er he had on display, so much so that I put a deposit down for one shortly after. So why buy a rigid mountain bike? I actually love riding rigid bikes on the same trails I ride my hardtails and full suspension bikes on. While I don’t take the same lines on my rigid bikes, I’m still relatively fast, or plenty fast enough, when descending a bike sans suspension.
For me, it’s all about being connected and honing skills. At this point, both reasons are tropes in bike reviews like this, right? Yet there’s something addicting to riding rigid bikes, and the Swami 29er has proven to be an incredible ally on our trails here in the Southern Rockies. Let’s check it out in detail below.
Last year, while building up a Ritchey frame, I reached out to Martin at Second Spin Cycles, asking if he had any early Ritchey-brazed bullmoose bars. He responded “no,” prompting me to ask if he had any large bikes he was looking to sell. He responded with “actually… yes.”
In some form of intergalactic serendipity, this review coincides with the 2021 International Singlespeed Day, so hopefully, this article inspires you to dust off the ol’ Cruiser or SSMTB and get out for a sunset shred with your friends.
I’ve had the Sour Bicycles Pasta Party for longer than I’d like to admit for a review period but with supply chain shortages, I decided to scrap my original plans for the build as a geared hardtail and assembled it with various spare parts and some new fancy BERD wheels which ended up resulting in one very unique rigid singlespeed 29er.
The Pasta Party is a strange bird with a few clever details and a few quirks, so read on below for my review of this unique chassis offering from the German brand Sour Bicycles…
If you’re looking for a non-custom and more affordable version of John’s Sklar that we posted today, then check out the newly-released Kona Unit and Unit X. For 2022, these popular models return with the Unit ($1,399) offered as a singlespeed and the Unit X ($1,599) comes with Deore 12-speed. You can even buy a frameset for $699. See all the details at Kona and throw your leg over one at your local dealer.
Coconino Cycles is a builder based in Flagstaff, Arizona. Steve Garro specializes in off-road oriented bikes like this Cruiser he made for Chris Reichel, who works for Why Cycles and Revel Bikes. When I was in Carbondale, Colorado last month, I managed to sneak away with this bike for proper documentation so check out more below.
This was such a fun assignment! I met Pat Cummins earlier this year. He’s a UFC fighter with a heart of gold and a personality of an artist, moreso than a battle-hardened, Rock ’em Sock ’em Robot. He loves riding bikes, listening to music, and talking about his plans in life, post-fighting. Pat’s the kind of guy who would rather give you a hug than beat on you in a ring for an hour. So why does he fight in the UFC?
Well, he was a wrestler in college and was looking for a way to make some extra money. Years later, he’s still in the mix, but with a new perspective on life. Oh and he rides a rigid Niner…
Head to Outside Magazine to read this whole piece!
Last year, a group of framebuilders converged on the bustlin’ little Montana town of Bozeman for what we called Home Grown Builders Camp. Each day, we’d take to the mountains around Bozeman to ride alpine trails. While driving to these trails is just something you expect, riding straight from town is always a treat and that’s why I really loved riding the local Townie Trails, aka the Gallatin Valley Land Trust‘s Main Street to the Mountains trail network.
A rigid mountain bike makes for a great bikepacking rig, or singletrack slicer, and rigs like the Big Bro from Brother Cycles are timeless. It has mounts for bags and cargo cages, clearance for 3″ tires on 27.5+ wheels or up to 2.4″ if you’d prefer a 29er. Best of all, it’s on sale now, at 30% off, bringing the price in to £384.30 INC VAT. See more at Brother Cycles.