Picking up where yesterday’s post left off, we’ve got our second and final gallery from the Philly Bike Expo, featuring track bikes, gravel bikes, commuters, and a high-pivot full suspension. Read on for John’s closing thoughts on the offerings from this year’s Expo and a reflective outro on the future of custom bike showcases…
It’s Friday and that means it’s another Readers’ Rides feature. This time, we look at Chris’ Rodeo Labs Trail Donkey, with a pretty wild parts spec. Chris supplied all the build details so let’s check it out below!
There is often a delicate dance when multiple creative minds collaborate on a project. Let’s take a look at the world of music for an example. The combination of two or more tyrannical artists can often be lackluster if not outright disastrous. Think of all the countless “supergroups” that have fallen decidedly shy of expectations; out of respect for the bands and the fans, we can each conjure up our own lists. There are occasions, however, when minds meld in harmonious magic. There’s a push and pull where something is born amongst the friction that otherwise was improbable. Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy come to mind immediately; the brief brilliance of Uncle Tupelo a friendship rooted in creation with a dash of competition, each vying for center stage. Of course, that same recipe would result in the demise of the band. Even as both would achieve tremendous success in their following projects, it’s arguable if it was better music.
Rodeo Labs makes some of the most versatile drop bar bikes in the biz and their customers run the gamut of cyclists. Anytime I see one of their Trail Donkey 3.0 models in the wild, they’re always unique. From the kooky to the clean, Rodeo Labs owners take pride in their build kits and yes, even custom paint. One of their recent customers matched his paint and decals to his beloved FJ60, something I personally can understand…
It’s no secret that we love earth tone themes over here at the Radavist. Which is why we’ve taken a liking to Cerakote, the durable and thin coating – .5 mil thick! – that is baked on like a powder but at lower temperatures. John’s Sklar’s finish is Cerakote and we’re seeing more and more integration with frames but very few component applications. That’s why this Rodeo Labs project caught our eye. They went extra dirty with this one with the Elite Earth color on everything, including their Rodeo 2.0 rims. Check out more photos below!
Our friends from Montanus sent over this wonderful project that I hope stokes some weekend plans for you and your riding buddies!
‘The Wolf’s Lair’ is a 400 km bikepacking route that winds through medieval castles, alpine scenery and ancient Italian villages in the Apennines mountains. The Montanus duo traced that route in 2016, after they felt the need to explore deeper Abruzzo region to learn more about their culture and origins. Giorgio and Francesco are back on The Wolf’s Lair to film the experience and show the hidden beauty that fascinated them three years before.
To coincide with their new Spork, Rode Labs has just announced their Trail Donkey 3.0 frameset. These bikes are literal quiver killers, clearing a 2.25″ x 27.5″ tire on rims with a 24.5mm ID or on 700c rims it’ll clear a 2″ tire with a 24mm ID. Combined with internal dropper routing, flat mount disc brakes, provisions for extra cargo cages and what have you, this bike is a Swiss Army Knife, perfect for bikepacking, dirt road riding and everything in between. Rodeo Labs did a great job going over the new Trail Donkey on their blog, so head over to check it out.
Rodeo Labs Spork 2.0 Builder Series: Alchemy Custom All-Road
Photos by Me Fitzgerald words by Stephen Fitzgerald
When you work for a custom builder like Alchemy it must be quite a thing to stare at a blank sheet of paper and decide what sort of bike you want to create for yourself. I guess that’s why Drew went custom-custom with this bike. This Alchemy gravel bike most closely resembles the company’s ‘Chiron’ model, but there is nothing stock about it. Geometry, tubing, cable management, and even paint design were all worked over and personalized.
Rodeo Labs Spork 2.0 Builder Series: Traildonkey Singlespeed
Words by Stephen Fitzgerald and photos by Sheldon Thompson
The next build in this series is my bike. What I like about this bike’s story is that this early prototype Traildonkey frame was decommissioned for the better part of three years before being brought back to life this year with a fresh coat of art store spray paint fade and a 1x drivetrain. This bike’s only purpose was “let’s build something fun to commute and play on”. Almost everything on this bike was in the parts bin before our lead mechanic Sheldon built it all up into what it is now.
I’ve never had a single speed bike before. I’ve always been too scared to ditch my gears. Now that I’ve finally tried it I have to say that single speed is giving me a fresh look at the sport that I haven’t had in a long long time. Everything about the bike feels so simple. Push the cranks, go forwards. If the gradient kicks upward just push harder. I need that kind of simplicity right now. I need to be able to look at old commuter routes or old trails and find novelty in them. If you’ve got an old unused frame hanging around in the garage I highly recommend grabbing a few rattle cans, flat bar singlespeeding it, and letting it rip.
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Rodeo Labs Spork 2.0 Builder Series: Pachyderm Singlespeed
Words by Stephen Fitzgerald and photos by Daniel Schaumann
The original Rodeo Labs Spork 1.0 was a fork that we started developing for our bikes in 2014. At the time nobody was making a fork that mixed carbon, clearance, flat mounts, rack mounts, and through axles in the way that we wanted. Not knowing any better we just decided to create it for ourselves.
The Rodeo Labs Flaanimal 4.0 is what the people want in an all-road bike. The people who want provisions and braze-ons for racks, even on their carbon fork. Ample tire clearance, belt-drive compatibility, and sliders, with a geometry tuned for the long haul, without riding like a tourer. It’s easy to see why these bikes are so appealing to dirt road racing contingency, with all those aforementioned details, and it’s why Rob chose one to race at this year’s Land Run 100.
Last year, Rob finished Dirty Kanza as DFL, with literal seconds left on the clock and this year, he looked towards Land Run as prep for the DK. From Fort Worth, Texas, driving to Stillwater, Oklahoma for the event was the perfect weekend escape and a worthy shakedown ride for his Flaanimal 4.0.
I like his use of the Redshift stem, Sinewave Beacon, Wolf Tooth B-Rad double bottle cage system and the Panaracer Gravel King tires. Yep. That’s one capable rig, ready to roll Rob over the finish line, with plenty of time to spare.
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