We’re here en route to the 2022 Sea Otter Classic after what feels like eons, and on our way to the event, we have been hanging out in Santa Cruz, California, at Caletti Cycles and the Chris King Guest House. This unique showcase features several framebuilders’ creations, all donning the new Chris King Wheelsets in road, gravel, and MTB. There’s a great mix of bikes from steel full suspensions, road bikes, a few tasty 29ers and a few surprises, so let’s check out the offerings below and a hefty gallery of the bikes and the hangs from the event…
With Covid-19 throwing a wrench in the spokes of the traditional tradeshow schedule, even open houses have had to switch to an online, or virtual, format. We saw this earlier in the year with ENVE and now, the 2020 Chris King Open House. While it wasn’t safe to travel to Portland to document the bikes, Chris King’s in-house photographer Jacob Olsen did a stellar job at documenting all ten bikes, while videography team Modify Content knocked out some great, in-depth video profiles of these handmade marvels. We’ve got part two today, featuring Pursuit, Rock Lobster, Sage, Speedvagen, and Sycip, so let’s jump right in…
… yet we all know that you don’t have to be a weight weenie or a racer to appreciate a good set of XC wheels. Lighter, more durable wheels mean you can get out to your favorite loop with less rotational mass. Roval’s new Control SL Team Wheels come in at 1240 grams for the set, have a rim wall that is 4mm wide, offering up protection against pinch flats, and offer a 29mm internal rim width.
-54t DT Swiss Star Ratchets for Precise Engagement
-Included Double Wheel Bag
-Team-Spec Metallic Blue Graphics
See more at Roval.
This year’s Chris King Open House chose 18 builders from all over the world to display their new colors for 2020: Bourbon and Violet. Thanks to ENVE, Santa Cruz Reserve, SRAM, Brooks, and Spurcycle. these bikes were built out appropriately for such a showcase. Below is a gallery of half the bunch, in alphabetical order for your enjoyment, with each builder’s description of the bikes. Make sure you comment on your favorite because there is some gold in these galleries!
This year at Grinduro, eight frame builders presented bikes in partnership with Maxxis, Sram/Zipp, Columbus, and Hope Tech. The theme? What is your ideal Grinduro bike? This outstanding Sycip gravel bike brought classic Sycip details to a modern platform.
NAHBS this year has a lot more vendors this year than years prior – or at least it feels that way – making it a bit easier to see all the builders and what they brought to Sacramento, showcasing their talents. There are a lot of familiar faces in the crowds, yet what these talented frame builders brought with them are anything but.
For the past few years, Chris King has opened their doors to the public as part of an entire weekend of events dubbed the Chris King Open House. This event’s intent is to be coordinated with a product launch of their new colors for the year, as well as to showcase what makes their operations tick, and to display a selection of custom bikes, built by some of their best builder customers.
the two new colors for this year: matte turqoise and matte mango.
This year, they sent out an open invite to 30 of their best builder accounts, offering up discounted pricing to them to build a bike for the show, passing on the discount to their customers. Out of those 30 builders, 17 showed up, and they were displayed alongside a Pegoretti bike, which we looked at on Friday. These bikes lined the halls of the Chris King factory, where visitors could look at their features in great detail, chat with the builders about their process, and if they were so inclined, purchase their dream bike.
I was invited up to the Open House to document these bikes for the builders and for Chris King, as well as offering up an ultimate dream bike gallery for you, the readers of this website. Please enjoy! Which bike do you like the best and why? Oh and if you’re interested in one of the bikes showcased here, be sure to reach out to the builders, who are linked in the bike descriptions below.
The 2017 NAHBS coincided with the 25th anniversary of Sycip Designs. Jeremy knew he had to do something special for the showcase, so in the spirit of Sycip number one, which we saw in detail yesterday, he pinged his brother Jay Sycip, who works at Chris King, to come down to Santa Rosa and do something special…
Northern California has spawned many frame builders since the 1960’s, beginning in many ways with Albert Eisentraut, whose influence sparked a new wave of American frame builders. One of which is Jeremy Sycip, who learned under Eisentraut’s careful eye at UBI. Prior to that, however, Eisentraut had taught many other builders including; Bruce Gordon, Joe Breeze, Skip Hujsak, Mark Nobilette, and Bill Stevenson. The history of those individuals solidified the US frame building scene, and eventually paved the way for guys like Jeremy Sycip.
For over 25 years, Jeremy has built bicycle frames under the label Sycip. Since 1992, he has been building custom bicycle frames in Northern California. Originally located in San Francisco, he and his brother, Jay, opened a small storefront up in downtown Santa Rosa in the late 90’s. Their plan was pretty genius for its time. Jeremy would work on frames in a glass storefront, while Jay would work on design for the brand, taking breaks to show walk-ins the process. If they came for a custom bike, Jay would offer his custom, one-of-a-kind hand-painted frame… The brand, Sycip Designs, finally took hold.
Nick has a few loves in his life. Sure, family comes first. Then probably his very successful business, Harvest Moon Cafe, a farm-to-table restaurant in Sonoma, with a specialty in meat. The two things that Nick relies on for entertainment, certainly piqued my interest when I first met him in Japan during the Chris King Gourmet Century. He’s been a mountain biker since the 90’s, taking on the trails surrounding Santa Fe, and racing bikes. Since moving to Sonoma, he’s been friends with neighboring builders Curtis Inglis and Jeremy Sycip.
Trail work is tough and that is a massive understatement. For the crew that runs Trans Cascadia each year, it means loading up chainsaws, fuel, and other tools, usually on their back, as they pedal into the great unknown that is the wild Oregon backcountry. Usually, the singletrack is overgrown, with felled trees, and other obstacles the crew needs to clear. In years past, the team has utilized motos when possible, but they can be large and cumbersome, so this year, the team at Trans Cascadia worked with Jeremy at Sycip Designs to make something extra special, just in time for Sea Otter…
Bicycles. They’re a work in progress, especially ones that are derivative of a particular activity which in itself is evolving. Take bikepacking and touring for example. It seems just about every month, a company makes a new product which therein makes the act of touring eaiser or at least more enjoyable. When I first began talks with Kris Henry of 44 Bikes for this rigid mountain tourer, which I’ve come to call my “Ute” – an Aussie term, short for a utility vehicle – I had a vision for what touring meant and means to me. Leaving pavement and accessing trail, both in double and single track variety, means a fully loaded bike needs to be stable, comfortable and still maneuverable. Since this bikes inception, I’ve been sold on the Jones Bar, mostly due to the amazing leverage, riding position and varying riding positions. The thing, however, that didn’t work so well for me was the very thing that makes the Jones so unique: the hoop design and lack of rise. Also, the Jones bar has proven to be problematic with bikepacking and touring bags, which was slightly evident on my Death Valley tour. That Fabio’s Chest wanted to sag a bit too much with that setup.
Check out more below.
Paul Camp is a magical week where Paul Component Engineering invites journalists from all over the US to check out their day to day operations through a series of hands-on workshops. Each journalist is assigned a CNC machine, or workstation and is taught the skills needed to machine brakes, stems, and other components. From there, they camp out on the property, eat sandwhiches and run the machines 24 hours a day, in shifts. This gives the employees of Paul a chance to ride during the week. Everybody wins!
Just kidding. In reality, Paul gives the journalists a tour of the shop, where he walks them through the process of fabricating everything in the Paul Component Engineering catalog. From there, they are able to select a bike from one of eleven builders and go on a ride in the hills of Chico. Swimming usually ensues, along with a Sierra Nevada Brewery tour, some dinner and then everyone goes home. It’s a rad time, or at least I’ve heard it is, because each year, for one reason or another, I cannot attend this Bicycle Journalist Spring Break.
Feeling like I owe Mr. Paul something, not only because we’re friends, but because he had these eleven bikes just hanging out, waiting for a proper photoshoot, I planned on heading up to Chico once I got back from my European travels. Last week, I loaded up the truck and drove straight up California for 10 hours until I reached Chico, Paul and these bikes.
I’m in Moab, Utah with a handful of framebuilders and will be previewing their NAHBS offerings leading up to the event…
Fans of the Rebel Alliance would know that paint scheme without even reading the title. Ted Lincoln is an artist, one that paints scenes from the Star Wars Universe using mother of pearl in what he calls “Mother of Pearl Art.” Ted has been officially endorsed by George Lucas and has gained quite the traction amongst the Star Wars fans. Traction like a 27.5+ tire on sandstone! It just so happened that before Ted was big, Jeremy Sycip knew him in San Francisco, so for this year’s NAHBS, he asked Ted to paint his own personal hardtail for the show. What you’re seeing here is Ted’s first ever mother of pearl bicycle art.
Even as a photographer who loves challenges, this bike was particularly hard to document without my studio light setup allowing me to make the details pop out, but then again shooting bikes in Moab > shooting bikes in a convention center…
No matter what you spend your money on, be it a ‘cross bike, a mountain bike or a road bike, chances are you’ll put more miles on your touring bike but not on the open road. Most likely it’ll be running errands around town, or going to meet friends for coffee and yes, even a bar bike. My touring bike has seen more miles than all of my bikes combined, without a doubt, and so I really gravitate towards these utilitarian machines while at NAHBS. Now, whether or not I chose one to photograph, over say a MTB or a cross bike is totally up to fate but this Sycip tourer was just screaming for attention!
Nitto has been making handlebars for a very long time. To give you some perspective, back in the ’80s, there were dozens of handlebar manufacturers, then Taiwanese factories shut down all but one: Nitto.
Over the past few years, the Japanese handlebar manufacturer has lent American framebuilders a hand. Sycip cycles, being one of the more recent ones.
Now in stock, at Sycip’s online shop are the heat-treated aluminum JJ Bars and the CroMo steel JB bars. Both come in black or silver and are in stock now at Sycip.