#Thomson

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A First Look at Thomson’s New Titanium All Road Bike and New Titanium Seatpost

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A First Look at Thomson’s New Titanium All Road Bike and New Titanium Seatpost

Perhaps you recall Thomson making bikes with Lynskey a few years back? Those US made frames were a unique move for the component manufacturer and even though they didn’t sell a ton of the collaboration bikes, it set a precedent for the brand, prompting this project. Yesterday, I met Mike from Thomson, who was in town en route to NAHBS in Sacramento. Mike was unpacking and building up this flashy titanium bike when I saw the Thomson logo on the downtube. While it looks like a polished, finished product, this frame is, in fact, a working prototype. Not the first Thomson bike, but one of the first bikes Thomson has developed to be made overseas in Taiwan.

My Thomson and Ortlieb Decaleur Hack – Morgan Taylor

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My Thomson and Ortlieb Decaleur Hack – Morgan Taylor

Words and photos by Morgan Taylor

Carrying stuff on bikes can be complicated – especially when you’re a notorious over-packer who likes to have a DSLR on hand. The Wolverine is my first ground-up drop bar build in a while, and I wanted to ensure that both transporting and accessing my camera would be well thought out.

Since we got married last October, Stephanie and I have been putting the pieces together to take off on a multi-month trip beginning in July. Wanting to produce galleries and stories on the road means having a bike-camping friendly way to carry my camera gear. I decided on a Swift Ozette rando bag – and the Hinterland Collection made with X-Pac VX21 had classic rando utility with a technical, modern twist.

I got talking with Martina at Swift over email, and ended up heading down to Seattle to visit their studio and pick up my bag in person. While Martina does get out on a lot of adventures herself, she also loves to live vicariously through others. Finding out that Stephanie and I were headed in the direction of the Great Divide route and planning on sticking to dirt as much as possible, she recommended finding a robust decaleur solution for my Ozette.

Matteo’s Pearl Grey Stinner Road

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Matteo’s Pearl Grey Stinner Road

Photos by Matthew Miller

As a small frame building operation, you often enlist the aid of your friends, in similar sized, adjacent creative companies. Whether it’s a web developer, or in this case, a photographer, knowing the right people can really help get your work out there.

Case in point is Matteo and Aaron Stinner‘s relationship. Matteo shoots all of Stinner’s bikes, with the most recent being his own road. Built with Chris King, SRAM Red and a Thomson cockpit, Aaron and Matteo took the time to concoct the best mixture for paint.

This grey color powder has pearl and flake built in, resulting in a powder that looks like wet paint Something that is not easily captured in photos… yet Matteo did.

See more below!

David’s Circle A Cycles Long Ride Road

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David’s Circle A Cycles Long Ride Road

In the past few years, Brian Chapman has shifted interest in frame building. Initially, he was half of Circle A Cycles but recently, he began building under the moniker, Chapman Cycles.

The work Brian is producing at Chapman Cycles is exceptional. Not that his work at Circle A was lacking in any regard, but going out on his own allowed Brian to really pursue his vision of what cycling truly means to him.

When I look at David Wilcox’s road frame, I see Chapman Cycle’s future, even though this bike was built years before Brian began building for his new venture. Geometrically speaking, this is a road bike with a traditional geometry, but functionally, it’s much more.

Rack, fender mounts and clearances for up to a 33.3 slick, this bike is a “long ride” road. It was built for the Oregon Manifest, specifically for David Wilcox, or as he’s known in the Northeast, “the Wilcox“.

Much like Chapman Cycles, David has gone off on a journey of his own. He just happens to be towing the new and improved Rapha Mobile Cycle Club, Tillie along with him. On his new path, he’ll be meeting up with countless group rides where, more often than not, watts and carbon are the nomenclature, not steel and plump tires.

Eventually, someone notices the brazed Circle A Cycles on the downtube, the large tires and mid-reach calipers. Or maybe they notice the spokes that were brazed onto the chainstays for chain slap protection and around the internal routing exit-port for a little added “pop”.

At that moment, David becomes the “hero” of the ride and all other technology present becomes obsolete… Well, almost.

Last weekend, I planned a route, dissected from our Super Bro Weekend ride. Four of us showed up and after five miles, my knee decided it wasn’t ready for the big day, so I bailed, only to return later in the day to shoot David’s bike amidst the rolling hills of the Austin area.

2014 NAHBS: Thomson Elite Dropper Post in 27.2

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2014 NAHBS: Thomson Elite Dropper Post in 27.2

Yep. Everyone thought this project was shelved, but it’s alive and ready to roll out in Summer of 2014. The Thomson Elite Dropper Post will ship with both a cable and switch mechanism or this handy, under rail switch. Run it on your hardtail, rigid, or even *shudder* your cross bike.

A-train Cycles: Stainless Road

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A-train Cycles: Stainless Road

While I was in Minneapolis for Frostbike, we spent some time at Angry Catfish, one of my favorite bike shops in the US. As I’m walking around looking at all the winter apparel (we don’t get a lot of that stuff in Texas), I noticed this stunning A-train Cycles road bike on display. It turns out, Alex from A-train is a part time mechanic at the shop and built this beaut to display in the store (and to sell).

Dura Ace, Thomson, ENVE, DT Swiss… what else could you ask for? Complete as shown, the bike will cost you $9,500. Holler at Angry Catfish for ordering information.

Oh and see more of this stunning road machine below!

I Get a Lot of Rad Guests in Austin

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I Get a Lot of Rad Guests in Austin

Yesterday Hubert D’Autremont rolled into town, after spending a month in Arizona. As he was unloading his road bike (more on that later), I looked in his truck and saw this singlespeed 27.5 hardtail. The first words out of my mouth were “oh shit! we’re gonna go shreddddddding tomorrow!”.

Shred is exactly what we did and post sess, I shot some photos of this incredibly simple, yet elegant bike.

Expect more soon!

Thomson Introduces US-Made Titanium MTB Frames

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Thomson Introduces US-Made Titanium MTB Frames

Well, technically they’re Thomson-designed, Lynskey-manufactured frames but it’s still rad if you ask me! The Elite 275 (clever name) is the first to the spotlight, followed by the Elite 29, a singlespeed 29r that comes with a Rohloff Option and a Thomson singlespeed drivetrain. Eventually, there will be the Elite Gravel road bike, which is, as you might have guessed, for off-road action.

Other developments include the new Thomson Pave Post, for road, cross and other drop-bar bikes that get some time in the dirt.

You will even be able to visit their facilities in Macon, Georgia and give them a test ride.

Check out more information at Thomson.

Lyle and His Santa Cruz Tallboy LTC

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Lyle and His Santa Cruz Tallboy LTC

In the world of high-end, performance mountain bikes, Santa Cruz wears a crown. Maybe not as a ruler of all, but most certainly the world of the 29’r. When the Tallboy was first released, it was widely praised as the first 29’r that actually exceeded expectations.

I’m not a jealous person, but I must say, Lyle’s Tallboy LTC is one balleur bicycle. With a component list like Chris King, SRAM XX1, Rock Shox 150mm Pike and even that stubby Thomson MTB stem, this bike has seen it all. Well, as far as the Trans-Provence, Swiss Alps, Chamonix and riding in Åre, Sweden for the whole summer shooting the Acre line is concerned. The dude and this bike are living the dream.

After quite a few emails, requesting detail shots of this bike, I took a few minutes to shoot some photos prior to our ride in Glarus… Check out more in the Gallery!

Division 1 Red Hook Crit Navy Yard Cinelli Vigorelli

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Division 1 Red Hook Crit Navy Yard Cinelli Vigorelli

Something I’ve been saying a lot this past year is how the crit track bike has become its own character within the world of “fixed gear”. Now, I don’t want to generalize too much (I’m guilty of that) but unlike track bikes used to actually race at the track, the crit track bike takes on more eccentric personality. Think of them like a racing machine found in F1 or Nascar. Bright colors, patterns, excessive details that jump out and catch your attention in the four or five seconds of each lap.

The most compelling example in recent months being the Stanridge Speed x Death Spray “magnetic” design or the hyper neon Dosnoventa bikes. Call it what you will but I’ll call it exhibitionist extravagance with two wheels. Case in point are the new Division 1 Cinelli Vigorelli frames. These are full blown, over the top, lightweight race machines.

Custom painted ENVE wheels laced to pink Phil Wood hubs, custom anodized PAUL cranks, custom anodized Thomson stem, Thomson post with a matching Thomson collar, Painted ENVE bars, custom Busyman saddle and bar tape. The guys went all out to match the Cinelli Vigorelli “Giro” pink paint scheme.

Would I ride it? No but I’m a little more reserved when it comes to paint. Besides, I’m a purple kinda guy. Do I think it works in the context of one of the most exhibitionist track bike criteriums of all time? Of course. It’s fun, colorful, will look great at night (in the rain nonetheless) and will match the Division 1 team’s Pee Wee Herman skinsuits to a T. Yes, they even have bow ties.

Call them what you will but Colin Strickland, a local racer, or beast have you, is sitting pretty at number 5 in the Red Hook Crit standings and he isn’t even warmed up yet… Now, if the rest of the team can work together, one of these machines might make it to the podium.

At any rate, a race is a race, a bike is a bike and you can check out more of this excessively extravagant track bike crit machine in the Gallery!

Columbus MS Lemond Road

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Columbus MS Lemond Road

I can really appreciate builds like this: vintage steel with a mix of modern componentry, especially when you add a tubeset like Columbus MS into the equation. This bike rolled into Shifter Bikes while I was in Melbourne and it was one of those bikes that didn’t like to sit still. It kept wanting to roll. Was it the legacy of Greg Lemond that was trying to establish a forward momentum? Who knows… but the Campagnolo Centaur 10, Zipp wheels, Thomson cockpit and Rolls saddle probably have something to do with it.

My FBM Sword SQ Track

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My FBM Sword SQ Track

This bike has been in the works for a while now and I’m not talking about the weeks the frame sat in the box while I accumulated the parts. I’m talking about since I first saw one in person, at Post Bikes in Brooklyn. The original Sword wasn’t what I would consider a true track geometry. It was more of a fixed cruiser, marketed not only at the kids wanting a street bike to thrash, but also to the older BMXrs who wanted a quicker way around town.

Steve and John Paul began working on the Sword SQ. They talked to various people in the “industry”, including Josh “Big Red” Hayes and Kyle Kelley, who worked on the Sword’s geometry, making it what it is today. This Sword SQ represents a lot of things to me. Mostly, a company, who in the wake of Taiwanese fabrication, still make their bikes in America, for an affordable price and have never taken a penny from an outside investor.

While I’ve already got a kick-ass track bike, this Sword will go through many variations. I’m already planning on putting a Cetma on it to carry my photo bag in the summer and will probably throw risers on it at some point to encourage some throwback FGFS. It’s a little small, compared to what I’m used to riding, so the saddle to bar drop is much more race-fit than my Icarus. I’ve dialed in the fit now and it looks a lot more reasonable than the first Instagram photo I posted.

I tried to use as many American companies as possible. Profile Fix / Fix hubs laced to H+Son Archetype rims (fucking love these rims!) and a 18t Phil Wood SLR cog. Thomson stem, post, 1960’s Unicanitor Saddle, Ritchey Classic Curve bars and Newbaum’s tape. I was tempted to buy a set of the Phil Wood cranks, but went with the tried and true SRAM Omniums with an extremely rare, purple 44RN 144#47 ring. My White Industries pedals got a new life and the Toshi single straps are just right. Finally, a black KMC Cool Chain and 28c Continental Gatorskins finish off the build, with a 3/4″ mini Viking decal on the stem.

I’m very happy with this bike and it’s been nice to ride a track bike around, since my Icarus’ fork has been at the painter’s for a few weeks.

Many thanks to FBM for this beast and I can assure you, this won’t be the last time you see it here on the site!

Kyle’s #Jahblessed Santa Cruz Stigmata Cross

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Kyle’s #Jahblessed Santa Cruz Stigmata Cross

In Kyle’s quest to ride American-made bicycles, he came across the late Santa Cruz Stigmata. The frame was very affordable, so he bought one and rode the shit out of it. A few months later, he ended up breaking it (went off a trail, nose-first), but was lucky enough to have Santa Cruz replace it with a new frame.

This bike is everything a race bike should be, it’s light, great components where they count and looks damn nice. His #Jahblessed Chris King headset and vintage Salsa Skewers are great accents and as always, he’s got a super rare Ramblin Roll carrying the essentials.

Since Kyle only races SSCX this became his travel bike. We both agree that a cross bike is the ideal bike to travel with, for various reasons and the Stigmata was a very affordable, made in the USA option. Unfortunately, these frames were eventually discontinued, as production moved entirely overseas.

On his last day here in Austin, I shot some photos of it at his favorite bar in town, the Yellow Jacket Social Club.

My Argonaut Cycles Road

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My Argonaut Cycles Road

I’ve been trying to type out a few introductory sentences for this bike for the past few minutes and honestly, I have no idea where to begin. So let’s start out by me saying that it is by no means the first carbon fiber bike I have been offered but it was the first that had a compelling story attached with it, something I’m always intrigued by and will ultimately make for a better piece of journalism.

For the past year or so, I’ve been watching Ben at Argonaut Cycles reinvent his modus operandi. He made the shift from building steel bikes to developing a new fabrication system with a local carbon manufacturer. Unlike anything else currently being manufactured domestically, or overseas, the new face of Argonaut is focused on the future of bicycle design. But that’s not to say that Argonaut’s steel past had been cast aside.

Before he even began to sketch out his design, he met with the carbon engineers, who reverse-engineered some of his favorite steel tubesets, and improved upon their weaknesses. Ben wanted his bikes to have the same ride characteristics of his steel bikes, just more technologically advanced. He came to loosely call this “steel 2.0” but you should take that with a grain of salt because let’s face it, carbon fiber is not steel.

This bike is however a by-product of domestic engineering and fabrication. The carbon weave is from the States. It’s cut to shape, moulded by a proprietary process, assembled and finished all within an hour drive from Portland. The process used produces very little waste. There’s no hodgepodge assemblage, no messy resin and it’s 100% custom. Basically, it’s a streamlined process that utilizes technologies that allow each frame to be engineered to a customer’s specific needs.

That’s what had me intrigued in Argonaut and so I agreed to come on board. Soon, I started to hear the echos of “steel is real” in the back of my head, however. I knew my Bishop is as perfect as a steel bike could be. The geometry is dialed and I’ve never ridden anything like it. So I approached Ben with the idea to make the exact same bicycle, just with his new carbon manufacturing process.

Dimensions, trail, geometry, were all the same, just the profile changed a bit to a racier silhouette. Even the tube’s proprietary layup were influenced by the same steel that my Bishop is built from. Bottom line is, I wanted to be able to subjectively compare the two materials.

After I filled out my ride journal, had numerous talks with Ben and designed the paint, the bike was done. Last week, I arrived in Portland and immediately got to check it out. First thing I noticed was how much of a stellar job Keith Anderson did on the paint. The build wasn’t bad either! Rotor cranks, SRAM Red group, ENVE tapered fork, ENVE bars, Thomson stem, Fizik Kurve saddle, Chris King hubs to H+Son Archetype rims (built by none other than Sugar Wheel Works), Chris King PF30 ceramic BB and that special I8 Chris King headset. It was a dream build.

But what about the ride? The first day, we did a nice 25 mile ride up Saltzman, then Saturday, we headed out towards Mt. Hood for 75 miles (then Billy broke a spoke and we had to call it quits). My initial reaction is very optimistic. The ride is what I can only call “light and responsive”. It handles like my Bishop but even better. Descents are faster and it climbs with little or no qualms. There’s no jarring feel when I hit rough terrain. Everything feels dampened and smooth.

My previous experiences with carbon rental bikes like Cervelo, Specialized and other brands were always harsh. The bikes were stiff and I didn’t enjoy the ride. I’m not a racer, I don’t need a bike engineered to race. I need a bike that rides how I want it to, when I want it to and that’s what Argonaut produced for me. It really is like steel 2.0… So what about my Bishop? There’s nothing on this planet that would make me stop riding it. That’s a fact. Steel is still, real but this new experience has been loads of fun. As for the bike itself, it’s very easy on the eyes.

The bike weighs 15.5 lbs as seen here (minus bottles). With middle-grade LOOK pedals, 32h wheels and 28c tires, that’s not bad at all.

See more photos in the gallery!

Thomson Announces New Handlebars

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Thomson Announces New Handlebars

LH Thomson, small arms and bicycle component manufacturer has been buzzing for months now in anticipation for this date. Yesterday, when scoping out X2 stems, I saw a new tab on their site: handlebars! All who are looking for an All-American cockpit need to look no further (well, in 2015 anyway). For now, these carbon bars are manufactured in Taiwan but Thomson plans on moving fabrication to the States in 2015. I’ll admit to being a little bummed on that note…