What else can I say? Path Less Pedaled takes a look at what makes Sklar Bikes tick. Also, I’m stoked to be in Bozeman this week!
This year, I’ll be covering the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship’s Triple Crown events: Lost & Found, Grinduro, and the Downieville Classic. My intent with this is to grow the Stweardship’s presence, help them raise money and spread the stoke for the Lost Sierra. Jumping on board with this project is just the icing on the dirt cake!
“Custom frame makers Sklar, Stinner, Mosaic, and McGovern have teamed up with world-class component makers ENVE, Chris King, SRAM and WTB to create four unique and beautiful custom bicycles that will be raffled after the gun goes off for the Lost and Found Gravel race. All proceeds will benefit the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship.
Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship is a non-profit organization that builds and maintains multi-use trails in the Sierra Buttes, Tahoe, Plumas and Lassen national forests. Their mission is building sustainable recreation-based communities through stewardship, job creation and hosting world-class events. SBTS has donated an estimated 72,000 hours of volunteer labor, maintained over 800 miles of shared use trails and created nearly 80 miles of new trails since 2003.
The bikes will be exhibited at the Lost and Found gravel race and the raffle will be live, with $20 tickets, from June 2nd through June 15th, hosted by The Pro’s Closet. All donations and raffle ticket purchases are tax deductible.”
Check out more details on these bikes and how to buy a raffle ticket below!
While we tend to see a lot of experimentation with MTB geometry, specifically hardtails here on the Radavist, I feel like the good ol’ all-road and ‘cross bike geometries, for the most part, stay mostly the same. Sure, head tubes might steepen or slacken a half or so degree, and bottom bracket height can vary, along with seat tube angle, but for the most part, these bikes all look similar in profile. Is it a by-product of design perfection or longevity? Who knows but the bottom line is; I rarely see a road bike geometry that piques my interest and begs the question; I wonder how THAT rides.
Then Adam Sklar sent me an email, asking if I had any desire to review one of his “team” MX all road bikes. I glanced at the geometry, saw the top tube length and thought it was going to be too long for me, especially for how I’d use it. Adam informed me of this bike’s design philosophy, which is part ‘cross geo and part modern MTB. Paradoxically, in short, Adam lengthened the bike’s top tube, slackened the head tube and lowered the bottom bracket. The bike is designed to run a shorter stem, a 70mm, versus a 110mm and with a longer head tube, puts the riding position a bit more upright.
Bikes. People love seeing bikes. Especially ones made by this feller, Adam Sklar. I’m going with my gut here, which is telling me to share this bike, before the story of how we got to where this unique shred sled was photographed. I’m assuming you’ve probably figured out that we spent last week in the Moab, Utah area, which is where we linked up with some people from Bozeman, Minneapolis, Tuscon, Philly and Los Angeles.
We initially rolled through Fruita, then out to Klondike Bluff, a singletrack area between Moab and Green River, to ride trails, check out dinosaur tracks, rock hound, and enjoy all that Utah has to offer. It was here, that I shot one of the wildest Sklars to date – sorry Benedict!
Sklar Doggy has made some damn beautiful bicycles over the few years he’s been building in Bozeman, Montana. Yet, in recent months, he’s been jonesin’ to work with a new material. Steel is indeed, real, but Adam really wanted to work with titanium. A lot of builders have been making this transition as of late. In short, it offers their clients with a superior frame material and perhaps another draw is more profit for the builders. Or at least that’s what people think is the motivation.
After talking and shredding with Adam in the Angeles National Forest, where he got #ANFAF, Adam wax poetic’d all afternoon about how difficult titanium is to work with, stating it took him almost four times as long per frame. Right now, he’s got two frames under his belt, one for himself, and one for Colin, which is replacing Colin’s steel hardtail – consequently, he’s selling that frameset now. I was surprised to hear titanium was that much more difficult to work with, because I always assumed that the draw of the material was profit margins. Turns out, the experience of working with the material takes time and yeah, time is money…
For Adam, once he made a frame, he needed parts. Unfortunately, that meant scavenging parts from his NAHBS bike this year. You might notice the tight squeeze on the fork – all he had was a 27.5+ fork, not a 29+ fork. Run what you brung, indeed! For what it’s worth, these frames are designed to run a 27.5+ tire, or a 29 x 2.6″ – so it’s not exactly a “+” 29er.
While he’s already taken a few more orders on titanium frames, Adam is eager to master this material, resulting in a faster process and ultimately, making the best frame he can. I can’t wait to see where this new material takes Sklar Bikes and hopefully, I’ll get to ride one at some point. Thanks for hangin’, Adam! If you’d like a ti Sklar, holler at Adam!
I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing a lot of disc brake-equipped, drop bar bikes at NAHBS with clearances for bigger tires and while I’m not a huge fan of the nomenclature I’ve adopted, I can honestly say I’ve thought about other alternatives to “all-road.” As we were going out to shoot this bike yesterday, Adam and I had a discussion. The gist of it was that I look at a bike’s geometry, not it’s build kit in determining its “type.” So, for instance, if a bike has the geometry of a road bike and fits big tires, I call them road bikes. People get hung up on this though, because of the tire spec. Yet, if one of these bikes has the geometry of a ‘cross bike, it’s still just a cross bike, flat bars, drop bars, 1x, 2x, SS, it doesn’t matter, ATMO anyway.
So you’ll have to giggle when you read my titles for NAHBS bikes this year, as it’s taken me a good amount of time to figure out what the hell these things are, without using the oversaturated keywords being lobbed all over the cycling industry: gravel and adventure. It’s just a damn road bike.
Ok, enough of the rant, let’s check out this bike’s build kit. It’s built with Force CX1, Industry Nine AR25 wheels, Sim Works cockpit, Thomson post and some big ol’ fatty WTB Riddler tires. Once this 56cm beaut finishes making the rounds at NAHBS, it’ll be for sale too. Email Sklar for details.
I wish I could keep shooting bikes in the Moab desert, but alas, I’m in Salt Lake City as you’re reading this, firing away in the Salt Palace.
Are you guys sick of seeing the “+” sign after wheel size standards? Ok, I didn’t think so. While the mountain bike industry tries to re-align itself on the topic of wheel sizes and tire widths, the rest of us are busy experimenting with tire spec, chainstay length, and bottom bracket drop. Out in Montana, Adam Sklar has some opinions about the aforementioned design options. Slacker, lower and longer bikes tend to enjoy going downhill faster and offer more stability at those speeds. All of which is particularly helpful when encountering a rock garden or chunky section of trail. Many of those design points that apply in Montana, apply in Los Angeles, where our trails are rocky, steep and our descents last for well over an hour at times.
Colin got this bike when he lived in Bozeman. Adam built him a pretty standard Sklar 27.5+ hardtail, and Colin spec’d the parts. Lining the beautiful desert tan frame are a slew of purple anodized components, including i9 hubs, Hope rotors, Twenty Six stem and collar. Keeping the front from buckin’ around too much is a 140mm Rock Shox Pike and Maxxis 3″ tires. Those rims? Cheapo Chinese carbon from eBay. Colin’s view on those are if carbon wheels are going to break after a few seasons, why not go with a cheaper alternative? He’s got the front laced to a SON hub for night riding in the mountains and is using SRAM XX1 with one of those trippy Wolf Tooth rings.
This bike is a beast and I can’t wait to shred with its owner and creator next week in Moab before NAHBS engulfs this website. If you’d like to read Colin’s review of it, head over to the Sklar Blog!
Sklar Bikes Factory Team Does The Colorado Trail
Photos by Adam Sklar, words by Sam Atkins
A particular genre of plans are hatched in the depths of cold, dark Montana winters. Call it cabin fever, call it seasonal affective, call it whatever you like, but after months of cloud-choked skies, icy winds, and trails buried under feet of snow a cerebral switch flips. Dreams of green and blue flicker, illusory echoes of hoots and laughter brought by the thrill of wheels rolling over dirt ring in the subconscious. So when a group of old friends reached out last January to suggest we reunite to bikepack the Colorado Trail, I couldn’t say no.
Adam Sklar builds some darn pretty bikes and his latest is no exception. This rigid 29+ mountain bike features a segmented fork, clearance for a massive tire, swoopy stays and a dropper post for when things get even rowdier. While Adam didn’t take many detail shots of this bike, I couldn’t let it slip past the Radar…
Last year at Grinduro, Adam Sklar took to the mountains outside Quincy on a singlespeed ‘cross bike. While most of the climbing was achievable, the notorious China Grade took a toll on Adam’s legs as he pretty much hiked the entire climb. You’d think he would have learned his lesson, yet up until the day prior to the event, he was considering taking to the course once again on a singlespeed. Luckily for Adam, and his legs, he rode his geared ‘cross bike, but I couldn’t let this beauty go undocumented.
The swoopy curves, in-house shaped top tube and ombré fade of this elegant machine blew my mind, as I’m sure it’ll blow yours too. Sklar, baby, this is one stunning machine!
One of the highlights of our time in Bozeman with Adam Sklar was being able to see not one, but two complete bikes come back from powdercoat and be delivered to their new owners. I already posted a gallery of Sam’s powder blue 29er, on which he then rode a good chunk of the Colorado Trail in what I take to be quite inclement conditions.
The other bike to be delivered is one that you probably noticed in yesterday’s gallery from Sklar’s shop. This gleaming white 27.5+ hardtail was commissioned by a customer from Sklar’s home state of Colorado. Elliot is a former downhill and 4x racer with what sounded like a fairly big set of dirt jumps in his front yard.
Words and photos by Morgan Taylor.
Last year when we visited Scott at Porcelain Rocket, we were doing the usual: shooting the shit about the industry, and Instagram, and all of the opinionated yammering that goes along with that. The topic of Sklar’s top tubes came up. Yes, those top tubes that curve upward, reducing standover while making for an instantly recognizable silhouette. I was suspicious.
Adam Sklar has been building bikes for five years now. Among his first customers was Sam, a good friend from high school. Sam had Adam build him a single speed 29er, but Sklar #4 has since been through many iterations over the years. Recently, Sam was feeling like his original Sklar, while abundant with character and nostalgia, was ready to give way to a new Sklar. Adam’s style has certainly developed over his time building bikes, and Sam wanted to honor his friend’s success by commissioning another frame.
Adam Sklar brought some heat with him from Montana. Having just turned 16, he’s the youngest builder at the show (just kidding, he’s 22) but that didn’t stop him from turning out some beautiful machines. As I sat in his booth looking at the mountain and fatbikes on display, I couldn’t help but pick out the curved, swoopy-tubed ‘cross or “all road” bike in the corner. Complete with Sycip-inspired quarter fork blade toppers and some slick Reynolds wheels, this puppy is ready to take on some Montana fire road action!
I hope you’re ready for a complete overload of awesome rides from this past weekend’s Grinduro event in Quincy, California. We’ll start this avalanche of unique bikes with Adam from Sklar Bikes‘ own singlespeed disc ‘cross. But before we dive in, let me put this out there: this was Adam’s first tig-welded bike and there’s a reason it’s his personal rig. The welds on anyone’s first tig bike ain’t gonna be pretty.
While the welds might not be delicately overlapped beads of perfection, I can’t get over how clean and elegant this frame is. Even with what Adam refers to as a “parts bin build” with mis-matched rotors, this singlespeed has so much character and yeah, he completed Grinduro on it.
Run what you brung…
A bike that’s at home with 2.5″ or 3″ tires, that is curvalicious as a rigid, yet able to accept a suspension fork and sports a mean green coat of wet paint is about to be unleashed upon the singletrack of Ft. Collins thanks to Sklar Bikes. Scott’s bike is looking great. See more at Sklar Bikes.
Adam at Sklar Bikes likes to take on unique and challenging projects. The latest being his personal MTB. This rigid beast rolls on 29+ wheels yet maintains a 420mm chainstay, the magic “wheelie” number. The dropper routing is internal and it’s set up singlespeed currently with those fancy Paragon ends. Head to the Sklar Blog to read more and the Sklar Flickr for more photos. Seriously Adam, this looks like so much fun!
I have a penchant for purple bikes and even though ‘cross is almost done for the year, it doesn’t mean we can’t keep oogling bikes like the latest from Adam Sklar.
This frame is built from OX platinum with a 44mm headtube and 142×12 spacing. This offers a stiff rear end, but an ovalized top tube bent stays offer compliance when needed. Not a lot of cross bikes have internal top tube cable routing, but this one totes it with pride.
To round it out, Adam’s client is running Ultegra 6800 with Shimano mechanicals and a Stans/DT wheelset.
I love it when bikes are built with practicality in mind. See more at Sklar’s Flickr.