Dream Bike: LEGEND VENTICINQUESIMO


of the wallet from road cycling top 100

legend venticinquesimo.jpg

Legend are a brand founded in Italy in 2009 by Marco Bertoletti, a man with 30 years of frame-building experience, who decided to take it all and make a new brand, one that builds stunning bikes from all four major materials.

They’re based in Presezzo, near Bergamo, right in the heartland of Italian cycling, one of the most cycling-mad places in the world. If you put stock in the cycling-rich roots of your bike brands, Legend’s bikes might as well come with a complementary place on the start line at the Giro because it doesn’t get much better.

http---coresites-cdn.factorymedia.com-rcuk-wp-content-uploads-2016-02-Bikes_222.jpg

Legend reckon the Venticinquesimo (which translates as 25th, and that one’s true) is one of the most stunning bikes they’ve ever made, and it’s hard to argue with that. The frameset is a combination of grade 9 titanium lugs and 3K weave carbon tubes, taking a classic frame building technique and mixing it with new materials.

Some of the techniques used to make this frame are genuinely amazing. For example, all the welding is done in an inert gas chamber, and then each weld is individually finished by hand until it’s all but invisible.

And every single frame is handbuilt to order, so the geometry will be tailored exactly to fit you – great for any rider but even better if you have specific fit requirements that make stock frames a difficult proposition.

Legend will build you one of these to fit mechanical or electronic shifting. Amazingly, Legend also offer a disc brake version of the frame, although you’ll need to contact them for pricing should you want one of them.

http---coresites-cdn.factorymedia.com-rcuk-wp-content-uploads-2016-02-Bikes_230.jpg

One thing Bertoletti pointed out to us when we spoke to him last year was that the Legend isn’t a performance bike. That doesn’t mean the ride quality won’t be lovely, but rather that working with dual materials provides challenges, and a dual material bike like this won’t – in pure performance terms – be quite like one of Legend’s full carbon frames.

Basically, this isn’t a bike for racing, it’s a bike for people who like bikes – setting aside the fact that you’d have to be completely mad (or eye-wateringly rich) to race on a frameset worth north of six grand.

Another big attraction of the Venticinquesimo is exclusivity. This bike is like the limited edition of limited edition bikes, and the factory in Italy only makes enough of these every year to scrape into double figures. So not only do you get a bike that’s made to measure for you, it’s one on which you will almost certainly never have to nod to someone else riding on your Sunday morning ride.

Every Venticinquesimo frameset comes with a unique serial number laser etched into the frame, a small mark that confirms you as a member of a very exclusive club should you choose to buy one.

Dream Bike: Ti Carbon Bastion Beastie


2016-NAHBS-Bastion-Cycles-3D-Printed-Ti-and-Carbon-Road-13-1335x890.jpg

The technology is there and a few builders are utilizing it for sure, but you don’t often see a 3D printed frame with elegance like Bastion Cycles‘ titanium and carbon road bike.

gallery-01.jpg

This thing is a beauty and for me, was a pleasure to photograph. I love the contrast of materials, the 3d-printed NAHBS insignia on the driveside dropout and the mean fuckin’ stance of this road bike.

gallery-06.jpg

Dream Bike: Velo cult Ahearne Dirt Tourer


Velocult Ahearne
Velocult Ahearne

From RADAVIST

I can’t help it. I love touring bikes with big, fat, high volume tires and funky stances. This project in particular was born from the mind and abilities of three important individuals, residing in the Portland area under the Velo Cult Customs umbrella.

This Ahearne Dirt Tourer is a collaboration between three people: Sky from Velo Cult, Chris Igleheart and Ahearne. We’ll start with the most obvious hand: Chris Igleheart‘s segmented fork, which is complimented by the Ahearne rack and frameset. These bikes are 100% custom, can be built with 26″ or 27.5″ wheels, have an optional upgrade of Honjo 90mm Fenders and are rugged enough for even the toughest dirt touring and bikepacking expeditions. One of my favorite details are the braze-ons hidden below the top tube for a strapless bag install.

This is the first in a series of Velo Cult Customs, the line will grow to include road, randonneur, cross and a gravel racer in the coming months.

Contact Velo Cult for pricing and availability.

Velo-Cult-Ahearne-and-Igleheart-Dirt-Tourer-10-1335x890

Dream Bike: Electric Mexican Blanket


REBLOG RADAVIST

RM_tyler_TLD_Custom-3Tyler’s Electric Mexican Blanket Sunday Driver Chromag Road Bike
Photos by Ross Measures, Words by Tyler Morland

The idea was simple: Create a “Sunday Driver” of sorts. I took inspiration from a bike I was currently riding and blended it with that taste I have for old Ritcheys. My dad has this old Ritchey Timberline comp and I always loved the Fillet brazing look and feel. So Ian Ritz at Chromag Bikes and I started the conversation and we talked about every detail. We used raw material that Chromag had in stock and used something that they have refined for a couple of years, like the drop outs and generally put it through the process that all Chromag frames go through. The head tube was machined in shop and follows the taper of the fork. A real pain in the ass to make. Then, we chose curved seat stays to give it that plush steel ride.

RM_tyler_TLD_Custom-42-1335x890 

He had no idea it would be this long of a process and neither did I. We roped in Chris Dekerf for the internal routing and brazing. North Shore Billet for the machined parts and sent the completed frame in for a crazy paint job at Troy Lee Designs. I visit TLD once a year for various reasons and those guys are just a bunch of beauties. I’ve been part of the family over at TLD FOREVER and this was a great conversation with a legendary painter… Why not electric Mexican blanket? 

The build kit was a no-brainer. That just goes with the territory – All SRAM everything. I still can’t decide if I go ZIPP 303 or 202.

Dream Bike: Pink Meriwether on Gypsy by Trade


In a word … perfectlylovelyandpracticandyeysobloodygorgeous

GYPSY BY TRADE

Nicholas Carman1 5214

Everything I need to have fun and survive, all wrapped in pink.  Not shown here are a tent, computer, or a front derailleur, which broke after a year and a half of adventure.  For the AZT, we’re traveling without a tent.  The 11″ MacBook Air has rejoined the packlist and fits nicely in the Revelate Viscacha with a certain packing procedure (clothes and groundcloth packed first).

The basic details are that it carries everything I need to survive and have fun including 4 liters of water, clothing and camping gear, durable 2.4″ tubeless tires on wide carbon rims, a useful range of gears, 120mm of seriously plush front suspension, a wide handlebar, all time lighting and USB charging, and the same saddle which has adorned every bike I have ridden since 2009, likely over 75,000 miles of touring and commuting on its bent steel frame, still as comfortable as ever.

The important details are 434mm chainstays, a low but not too low bottom bracket, a long but not too long top tube, a portage handle, a 68.5 degree head tube angle, and the aforementioned 120mm Rock Shox Pike fork with 51mm of offset.  All other parts come directly from my Surly Krampus and are designed to be world touring friendly, including a threaded BSA bottom bracket and the option for standard QR wheels via replaceable Paragon dropout plates and of course, a different fork.  As always, the bike is designed for big tires and a ton of extra clearance.

The Meriwether handles singletrack better than the Krampus, descends better than the Krampus, climbs better than the Krampus, and pedals more comfortably than the Krampus.  But that’s only because I rode the Krampus for a year– and during that time it was a great bike– but I was paying attention and figured out how to make a bike better for me.  Whit Johnson of Meriwether Cycles is the catalyst and the confidence for this project who massaged my ideas into digital lines and degrees in BikeCAD, and manufactured our ideas in steel, willingly coating his handiwork in a pink blanket of paint.  Some call the color theft-protection, but honestly, it is the only color I wanted.  I did consider a muted lavender hue, but settled on antique pink, as I like to call it.

The bike easily finds the center of the trail, and doesn’t have the tendency to oversteer or understeer as other bikes I’ve ridden.  I can look further down the trail and know that my tires will take me there, not into the weeds.  On flowing serpentine trail, I sit down and position myself between the wheels, which are properly weighted for the front tires to cut a line and the rear tire to follow aggressively.  Riding this bike through corners– thanks, for certain, to the lower bottom bracket which I initially resisted– is like waterskiing.  The harder I dig, the harder it turns.

The bike climbs.  Shorter chainstays result in a more direct power transfer to the rear wheel, even through Whit was concerned that his drive-side half yoke would be flexible.  It is not.  The low bottom bracket changes my relationship with only the tallest, most menacing obstacles while climbing, resulting in more frequent pedal strike on technical trials-like climbs.  In all other situations, the 60mm BB drop is a feature, and within a week, pedal strike is minimized through experience.  I might adjust the BB drop to 55mm if I had the chance to do it again, but that is a very personal consideration because I love climbing chunky stuff.  But the bike doesn’t try to tip over backwards on steep climbs and the shortened top tube allows me to approach long ascents in a seated position, while out of the saddle efforts are directly rewarded.  I recently spend much of the Highline Trail in Arizona either hiking alongside my bike, descending behind the saddle, or ripping climbs in a 34-34 gear combination.  It is a stand-up and hammer gear combination on any steep mountain bike trail, but chain retention is good and it forces me to hit the gas.  Sometimes a little extra gas is what you need for the next ledge or rock in the trail.  Soft-pedaling through challenging trail usually results in walking.  And yes, the portage handle is awesome.  I now have three useful hand positions for hauling the bike, each for a different kind of hike-a-bike.

Descending is unlike any hardtail I have ridden.  The Krampus gave me much of the confidence I sought over the classic geometry of the Raleigh XXIX and its 80mm fork.  Add to that more modern geometry, including the 68.5 degree head tube and the 51mm fork offset on a remarkable 120mm fork, and this bike is seriously confident going downhill.  Again, a little lower bottom bracket helps to keep my center of mass behind the front axle, reducing the feeling of going over the bars on steep trails.  I’ve taken to descending almost every section of trail I can find, save for most of the Pipeline Trail off the Mogollon Rim and a couple rocky drops on the way into Pine.  But, I rode most of the last section of the Highline into Pine at dusk, and loved it.  Happy to be on 2.4″ Ardents, for sure.  And the Pike, get a Pike!  To be fair, I’ve ridden some MRP Stage forks which also feel phenomenal, and some other modern RockShox offerings have impressed me on test rides, including the new Revelation and SID forks.  But for the same weight as a Revelation (which has 32mm stanchions) and the same price as a SID (yes, kind of a lot), you can have the Pike which boasts 35mm stanchions with premium RockShox internals.  The concept of using more fork offset with a lower head tube angle results in a bicycle with improved descent characteristics yet which preserves mechanical trail and handling on neutral trail sections and on climbs– it descends better without any drawbacks.

Contact Whit Johnson at Meriwether Cycles if you have any custom bicycle needs.  He specializes in mountain bikes with character, built for adventure.  He likes short chainstays, fat tires, and extra attachment points.  He has recently built several gorgeous custom forks for internal dynamo wiring to accompany custom frames and has pushed the boundaries with his fatbike and plus-sized bikes for the past few years.  I really enjoyed working with Whit on this project.  He quickly understood my ideas and converted them to numbers, into visual impressions of a bicycle, and ultimately into a sweet ride.  Check out Meriwether Cycles on InstagramFlickr, and on the Meriwether Blog.  He is located in Foresthill, CA and has relatively short lead times.  Pricing starts at $1200 although a frame similar to mine would cost about $1500.

If you are interested in stock bicycles with a similar character to my pink bike check out the Advocate HaydukeJamis Dragonslayer, and Marin Pine Mountain.

Nicholas Carman1 5208

Build details:

Meriwether Cycles custom steel frame for 29/27.5+

RockShox Pike RCT3 120mm, 15mm TA, 51m offset

Chris King headset and BB

Shimano Deore crank, 34/22T rings

Shimano SLX direct mount front derailleur with Problem Solvers clamp, XTR GS rear derailleur

Shimano XTR 9speed rear shifter, front friction thumb shifter on Paul Thumbie

Shimano XT 11-34 cassette and SRAM PG-951 chain

Specialized 75mm stem

Race Face SixC 3/4″ riser carbon handlebar, 785mm wide

Ergon GP1-L grips

Brooks B-17 Standard

Avid BB-7 brakes and levers, 160mm rotors

Derby HD 35mm wide carbon rim to Hope Pro 2 Evo rear hub

Light Bicycle 35mm wide carbon rim to SP PD-8X dynamo hub

Maxxis Ardent 29×2.4″ EXO tires, tubeless

Redline Monster nylon pedals

Supernova E3 Triple 2 headlight, E3 Pro taillight with custom brackets

Sinewave Reactor USB charger, top cap mount

Revelate Designs custom ziperless framebag, Viscacha seatbag, Gas Tank, small Sweet Roll and small Pocket

Salsa Anything Cage HD and 64 oz. Klean Kanteen

Salsa stainless bottle cages on fork attached via hose clamps, 32 oz bottles

Nicholas Carman1 5216

Nicholas Carman1 5217

Nicholas Carman1 5218

Nicholas Carman1 5219

Nicholas Carman1 5221

Nicholas Carman1 5222

Nicholas Carman1 5239

Dream Bike: SKLAR custom


Beautiful SKLAR custom

1440364429883

playful geometry that works well with the 29+ platform
Internal routing for a stealth dropper post (although he is not running one right now)
internal rear brake and internal rear mech. in case he ever decides to run gears. We also decided on a chainstay yoke for a 73mm bottom bracket shell and a tapered head tube.

DSC_3454+(1500x1000)

Dream Bike: Raphael Touring


Geoffs-Raphael-Cycles-Touring-Bike-30-1335x890

RADAVIST:  Like many framebuilders, Rafi Ajl began his love for the bicycle at a young age but it wasn’t until after graduating from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design that he began pursuing his love for building bicycle frames. Ajl’s background is fine art and as such, his bicycles began functional art. Something you would not only love to look at, but would love to ride and would be able to do so for the rest of your life.

Perhaps it was Rafi’s passion for art, design and the bicycle that drew Geoff from Box Dog Bikes, a local, owner run co-op bicycle shop in the Mission of SF to Raphael Cycles’ work. Or maybe it was the proximity. Rafi Ajl is no longer making frames, but when he was, Raphael Cycles was literally blocks away from Box Dog Bikes.

Geoff wanted a classic touring bike with external routing, fender, rack mounts and a 1″ threaded headset. A seasoned tourer, randonnée, cyclocross racer, shredder of vintage mountain bikes and all-around capable cyclist, Geoff knew exactly what he wanted and has been thoroughly enjoying this bike. As evident by the years of use.

A SON hub powers the S3 lighting and a well-positioned and broken in Brooks saddle cushions and inviting a ride.

Geoffs-Raphael-Cycles-Touring-Bike-24-1335x890 Geoffs-Raphael-Cycles-Touring-Bike-32-1335x890

Dream Bike: Purple Elephant


found on radavist …

Golden Saddle Rides: Purple Pachyderm Elephant Tourer

As a bike shop owner, you see a lot of interesting customer projects roll through the doors. For Kyle, Woody, David and Ty at Golden Saddle Cyclery, it’s this steady influx of unique projects that keeps them engaged in the day to day shop routines. Once and a while, however, something rolls through that catches your eye.

How could you miss it? A purple pachyderm. An Elephant in the room…

The customer acquired this bike in a deal from its original owner, who rode it for a few years. It has a bit of beausage after extensive use. Once he acquired the frame, he began buying components piece by piece. Personally, I like the seemingly random parts including: made in the UK Middleburn cranks, a raw Haulin’ Colin rack, SON Edelux, Berthoud saddle, White Industries rear hub and Nitto cockpit.

If you’re thinking this frame looks familiar, John from Elephant used this platform as a beginning for the National Forest Explorer. They’re strikingly similar, save for the use of cantilevers on this bike, versus disc brakes and that color.

Dream Bikes: Twenty2 Cycles Ti Rohloff Gates fat bike


Screenshot 2015-07-03 10.07.24

titanium Rohloff Gates Belt – this is one for the roughest track trip through any continent.

Twenty2 – The Bully is a four season fatbike that loves snow and ripping singletrack. Short chainstays and perfect geometry make the bully the most high performance fatty available. The highest quality aerospace grade titanium tubing is the basis for this Colorado handcrafted machine.

Screenshot 2015-07-03 10.07.36

Full fat Rohloff

Screenshot 2015-07-03 10.06.26

And obviously custom paint. I love Raw titanium but there is something about these split tone paint jobs that screams lovely.

Dream Bike: Foundry (another lovely ti bride with tan lines)


from Radavist

These days, I feel like road bikes aren’t getting the love they deserve. Everything’s either “all-road” or cyclocross spefic, with disc brakes and massive tire clearances but there’s something to be said about a solid, race-inspired road bike with clearance for a 28mm tire.

That’s where Foundry’s new Chilkoot titanium road bike comes into play. Built using Foundry’s proprietary 3Al/2.5V titanium double-butted tubing the Chilkoot is both a road racing machine and a bike that will last for years on end.

FND_Chilkoot_Ultegra_Feature_09_RemovableCable_720x480

Because a lot of people prefer Di2 compatibility on their bikes, Foundry added hidden ports to the frame and a clean, removable cable stop to the downtube. A 1 1/4” tapered ENVE road fork adds a bit of front-end stiffness for quick accelerations and the english threaded BB will ensure a creak-free ride.

Personally, I’m impressed with the Chilkoot. Road bikes are fun and this one in particular looks like a lot of thought went into addressing a much-needed market. $4,695.00 for the complete as shown with Ultegra 6800 or as a frame for $2495.

See more photos below and more at Foundry.

FND_Chilkoot_Ultegra_Feature_07_TireClearance_720x480

FND_Chilkoot_Ultegra_Feature_08_CableRouting_720x480

FND_Chilkoot_Ultegra_Feature_11_ThreadedBB_720x480

FND_Chilkoot_Ultegra_Feature_09_RemovableCable_720x480

FND_Chilkoot_Ultegra_Feature_04_Seattube_720x480

FND_Chilkoot_Ultegra_Feature_02_Integratedheadset_720x480

FND_Chilkoot_Ultegra_02

FND_Chilkoot_Ultegra_01

FM4428

Dream Bike: 650b tour custom MAP project


Not much to say other than wow …

Screenshot 2015-06-26 15.45.21

THE S&P RANDONNEUR PROJECT BIKE:

A joint effort between Brent Steelman and Mitch Pryor, the S&P Randonneur Project is a fully-featured, light-weight, event-ready randonneuse that is equally at home on remote gravel roads or your local chip-seal. Built by a factory of two between Redwood City and Chico, California with the finest raw materials available today. Available in 7 stock sizes.

Low-trail front end geometry and custom-fitted racks, optimized for front loading and intuitive handling provide a solid foundation. Provisions for generator wire routing, and ideal clearances for 650B x 42mm tires and fenders ensure supreme comfort over mixed terrain. Optional detachable low-rider racks for light touring. Extreme versatility in a bicycle that sacrifices literally nothing.

Standard features include: 

  • Proven randonneuring geometry optimized for front loading, intuitive handling, and long-distance performance without sacrificing comfort.
  • Brazed 1″ threaded fork utilizing Kaisei Imperial fork blades and Grand Bois fork crown, with low-rider bosses and generator wire path.
  • Headtube tube ring reinforcements for frame longevity.
  • Path in frame for wired tail light.
  • Internal top tube cable routing.
  • Braze-ons for Compass centerpull brakes.
  • Brazed on chain stay slap guard protector.
  • 27.2mm seatpost with brazed on stainless steel collar.
  • 130mm rear end spacing.
  • Optional braze-on for seat tube mounted tail light and frame pump.
  • Top quality wet paint finish in a wide array of colors.

The year that Fat got better: Handmade bike Show article from single track MAG


Source: SingletrackMAG

There is so much to love here – my ideal would be ti fat bike Rolloff Gates drive with dynamo front hub to power lights ….

Our tall guy with a camera, Brad Quartuccio, reports once more from the NAHBS show. A couple of years it seems all the builders were making $10,000 townie bikes to show off their craft. This time it’s the turn of the fat bike. (Click on the pics to make them extra biggerer). Looking at some of these, you’d think that California was Frozen2, (er – frozen too, but can you see what we did there? Badum-tish)

Peacock Groove

Based in one of the coldest big cities in the United States, Peacock Groove is well versed in fat bikes and cold weather riding. If you want to ride in Minneapolis, you’re going to have to deal with some snow — there’s a reason the modern fat bike was more or less “invented” by the bike industry in and around Minneapolis. Erik Noren is one of the most talented builders around, with the creativity and finish work other wish they could harness so succinctly. This fat bike featuring color shifting paint, a Rohloff hub, and enough rack and bottle mounts to get plenty dangerous is no exception. Minneapolis, Minnesota. www.facebook.com/peacockgroove

Reeb Cycles

Oscar Blues Brewing started its own brand back in 2011, and in the years since, Reeb Cycles has established itself as a favorite Colorado-based builder. Along with a RockShox Bluto fork and red Gates Carbon Drive, this titanium fat bike features a built in Pinion gearbox, eliminating most external sources of drivetrain failure. While some fat bikes are meant to plod along on soft surfaces, this one is clearly meant to go fast, and go anywhere — note the upright position and dropper post. Longmont, Colorado. www.reebcycles.com

Retrotec Cycles

This Retrotec fat bike is the personal bike of builder Curtis Inglis, and was judged the Best Mountain Bike of NAHBS 2015. Curtis is the modern master of American cruiser-like frame construction fit for current use, and year after year brings out show favorites. Note the segmented fork and seatstay construction, and final prototype Paul Components disc brake calipers,190mm wide hub and matching thru-axle QR. Napa, California. www.ingliscycles.com

Wiseman Frameworks

David Wiseman is the rare mountain bike builder still choosing classic brazed steel construction throughout. Done well, brazed frames look seamless like carbon, yet the tubes remain classically proportioned. This fat bike features internal front triangle cable routing, and impeccable paint finishing.
Naperville, Illinois. www.wisemanframeworks.com

Your Dream Touring Bike


ABOUTCYLING have this great list on their site

I’ve completed an internet trawl to find some of the nicest, most aesthetically pleasing touring bikes getting about and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with what’s coming up.

Somehow I’ve ended up with the majority of these bikes made in the USA, so either my taste is for North American builders, or perhaps North American builders are better exposed on the internet. I’m keen to get a more international splash of handmade bikes on this page, so please drop a comment with a bike that you think is just as worthy as these. It has to be pretty special, with nice paint and colour-matched parts – good driveside pictures are also essential.

Stats

Out of the 28 bikes on showcase, this is the characteristic breakdown:

  • Handlebars: Drop (20), Flat (8).
  • Brakes: Disc (14), Cantilever (10), Road (1), hydraulic rim (1), V-brake (2).
  • Mudguards: Metal (15), Plastic (6), None (6), Wooden (1).
  • Frame Material: Titanium (14), Steel (10), Stainless Steel (4).
  • Gears: Derailleur (17), Internally Geared Hub (9), Gearbox (2).
  • Shifters: STI (7), Barend (5), Gripshift (10), Downtube (2), Trigger (2), Stem (1), Retroshift (1).
  • Country of Origin: USA (19), Australia (3), Switzerland (3), The Netherlands (3).

Hilite

This Swiss company works with titanium to make unique touring bikes for purposes from light touring to expedition. We couldn’t pick one to show you, so we settled for three. Many of their bikes use Rohloff 14s hubs, Pinion 18s gearboxes and Gates Carbon Drive. Integrated racks and seatposts, and matching stems finish the Hilite look.

Van Nicholas

This Dutch builder has specialised in titanium over the years, putting together some mighty fine looking touring bikes. The Pioneer Rohloff 29er is unique compared to most touring bikes, in that it can squeeze in wide 700c tyres. Van Nicholas come with all the top end touring gear, including Gates Carbon Drive and Rohloff 14s hubs. Matching stems, handlebars and seatposts complete the look.

Breadwinner

Breadwinner of Portland (USA) are Ira Ryan and Tony Pereira. These two builders teamed up together “to get more beautiful bikes to more people who ride everyday”. Although I’m not a huge fan of the green, the matching stem and pump look superb, and make sure to check out the headtube badge in Breadwinner’s website – it’s a work of art. The only thing I don’t agree at all with is the use of Shimano Ultegra crankset and derailleurs, as they’re too modern-looking on such a classic bike. If it were mine, it’d be silver Campagnolo components instead.

Ti Cycles

Dave Levy of Ti Cycles has gone all out on this unique ride. In Dave’s Portland (USA) workshop, he has managed to create a titanium frame that looks nothing like the rest on the list, given the hyper extended top tube. The more impressive features include the custom ti racks with integrated mudguard struts, the u-lock holder and the Supernova dynamo light fittings. My only gripes are the use of yellow on the stem and the Shimano road crankset which seems a bit out of place here.

Horse Cycles

Light blue is pretty much my favourite colour, so it is no suprise that this stainless steel Horse by Thomas Callahan in New York (USA) makes the list. It seems a bit more randonneur than most on this list, but given it has custom front and rear racks we’ll consider it a tourer. The colour-matched ‘guards look incredible, as do the racks and fillet-brazed stem. My only gripe is that the crankset does not fit in… at all. A White Industries crankset in silver would make me much happier.

Ahearne

This stainless steel, fillet-brazed beauty is possibly the wackiest ride on this list, and is without doubt the most expensive. Somewhere between a work of art and a very capable tourer, it was built by Joseph Ahearne in Portland, taking six weeks to build, at 10-12 hours a day with no days off. The estimated value is $25,000 USD, which is presumedly made up in labour costs. Interesting features include the high polish finish which exposes immaculate fillet brazing, KVA stainless steel tubing which is much thicker than any other option, Ritchey breakaway parts, additional support tubing for the seatstay/toptube, custom steel racks with a built-in lock holder, a flask holder on the downtube, a super retro Shimano derailleur and a logo panel made of stainless which has been laser cut and left unpolished on the downtube. This Ahearne Flickr album is a must see to understand the level of detail and work that went into this amazing ride!

Chapman Cycles

Chapman cycles touring bike

This touring bike features stainless steel lugs, fenders and fork crown, which looks beautiful against the stealth finish. The fork has a built in dynamo connector, allowing the dynamo wire to run on the inside of the fork leg for a neat look. This wire powers both the lights and the USB plug found on the top of the stem. The Tubus rear rack has been stripped of it’s original paint, and chrome plated, matching the front rack perfectly. Even the saddle has a custom finish on it, the leather replaced and re-stitched to match the yellow cables. More photos on the Chapman website.

Firefly

14732869771_d3d1f2c0db_z

It’s my opinion that Firefly Bicycles of Boston (USA) make some of the nicest titanium and stainless steel bikes in the world. The upper bike is setup with Shimano electronic gearing which is normally only featured on road bikes, but has been fitted to work with MTB parts in this case. The lower two bikes have splits for Gates Carbon Drive which works seamlessly in combination with the Rohloff 14s hub – we certainly love our drivetrain. The Firefly lettering is sometimes buffed up to a glossy finish on the downtube and can be chemically coated with anything from gold to a rainbow effect. Other nice features include built-in rear racks, internal cabling, custom dynamo light mounts and stunning titanium stem and seatpost combos. James Medeiros and Tyler Evans of Firefly have nailed these modern touring bikes. More @ Firefly’s Flickr.

A-Train

Alex Cook of A-Train Bicycles in Minneapolis (USA) has whipped together an incredibly simple and elegant tourer. The material of choice: stainless steel. This frame uses stainless S&S couplers which bring the packed bike size right down to about half the regular length. The A-train custom racks blend right in to this bike.

Bilenky

I was trying to pick one titanium Bilenky tandem, but just couldn’t do it. These two titanium bikes are probably the nicest touring tandems I’ve ever laid my eyes on. The top tandem, which a bit more of a randonneur, has enough purple to be crazy, but somehow still pulls off a very elegant look (in my humble opinion). The below tandem is long-distance touring ready with a Rohloff hub and some schmick looking racks. The frame is without doubt the most impressive part however, as the curvy, retro style is still very functional and even breaks into three parts so that you can easily get it into an plane. These incredible tandems are manufacturered by Stephen Bilenky and family in Philadelphia (USA).

Independent Fabrication

Indy Fab of Newmarket (USA) have been around longer than most, and as a result, have mastered the frame-building trade. The finish on an Indy Fab is generally 10/10 and these look to be no exception. I also have no doubts that both would be sturdy enough to complete round-the-world trips. Here’s hoping they get ridden regularly! Via Indy Fab.

Hufnagel

Jordan Hufnagel has put together this georgeous classic tourer in bespoke bike central, Portland (USA). The paint-matched stem and racks are pure class and I especially love the wooden panels that are inserted into the racks. More images @ UrbanVelo.

Pereira

Tony Pereira, based in Portland (USA), has built this 650b bike up nice and classic. The high top tube, downtube shifters and birch finish give this bike a timeless look. A colour-matched stem, pump and Tubus cargo rack finish the build very well. I can’t help but think the bike would look much better with some brown leather Brooks bartape to match the saddle.

Baum

Darren Baum of Geelong (Australia) is a household name around custom bike enthusiasts. His frames are world class and are always dressed with incredible paint jobs. These two bikes have been put together for two cyclists who completed a charity ride across three continents, documented on the website The Long Road Tour. Check out the Baum Flickr for more.

Pilot

Pilot make their titanium bikes in the Netherlands; the finishing is top quality! On these bikes you’ll find Rohloff 14s hubs, Pinion 18s gearboxes and Gates Carbon Drivetrains. They’re certainly something to drool over.

Clockwork

This custom Clockwork randonneur was too good to keep off the list! Apart from the stunning looks, there are lots of nice design details to be found including a custom mount for downtube shifters located on the top tube. The matching painted rack and leather saddle complete the look.

Kumo

Keith Marshall from Canberra (Australia) is inspired by Japanese metalwork, but really, the Japanese should probably be inspired by him! This stainless steel beauty is again a bit more on the randonneur side of things, but damn, look at it! It features S&S couplers to break the frame down nice and small, internal cable routing for the dynamo lights and beautiful Llewellyn lugs (these lugs are best in the business btw). More @ Kumo Cycles.

Geekhouse

John from the Radavist takes photos of the nicest custom bikes in the world, but also has his fair share of sweet rides! I love the simplicity and colour of his Geekhouse, which is made by Marty Walsh and the team in Boston (USA). John has the colours and tones on this bike right down to the gold bidons – I love the custom racks too! The bike employs a double 50-32 crankset and an 11-36t cassette which gives ample low-end gearing for the type of riding John does. More @ The Radavist.

Vanilla Bikes

Sacha White of Vanilla Bicycles in Portland (USA) had so many pre-ordered frames to build that he no longer takes orders! That’s 5+ years worth, so I hope you’re not lusting for one too badly. This Vanilla is more of a randonneur than a tourer, but given it’s impeccable finish it was too hard to keep it off my list. I particularly love the lugs and the colour matched guards/pump. The stem is a work of art too, check it out on the Vanilla website.

Rivendell

Rivendell are very well known for their touring bikes but this Hunqapillar takes the cake. The diagatube is the most obvious feature on this bike, designed to stiffen the bike up by increasing the triangulation. Wooden guards, a lugged frame construction, retro racks and the Rohloff 14s hub give this bike a distinctive look.

Building a Beautiful Touring Bike

Follow these tips and you can have your very own gorgeous tourer. Remember, it doesn’t have to be custom-made to look incredible!

1. Keep your colours to a minimum. Two colours are enough (not including your black and silver components), three starts to look messy but can be pulled off.

2. Balance your silvers and blacks. Bikes typically look better with a mix of black and silver components. It’s hard to completely avoid black as it’s often found at the lever hood or on the tyres at a minimum. I really like it when silver hubs, silver mudguards and a silver crankset are used with all black components.

3. Match the colour of your seat and bartape/grips. This is the easiest way to make any bike look extra nice.

4. Use metal mudguards. Polished or hammered metal guards are all class. Who cares if they weigh more?

5. Paint your mudguards the same colour as your frame. Colour-matched guards are all class.

6. Paint your stem and racks the same colour as your frame. You’ll notice a number of the bikes featured in this article feature colour matched parts.

7. Use classic-styled cranks on classic-styled builds. There is nothing worse than a modern road crankset on a classic build (see the Horse above). White Industries, Middleburn and Campagnolo make some nice classic cranks.

Dream Bike Speedvagen


Hailing from Portland, that hotbed of cycling culture and frame building, are Speedvagen. For 2015 they have introduced new disc-equipped road and cyclocross models, available in stock and custom builds.

Screenshot 2015-02-03 19.22.13

Speedvagen have been producing frames since 2007, which are billed as “purpose-built race machines with the highest level of innovation.” The frames are manufactured in the Vanilla Workshop, a collaborative community with framebuilder Sacha White at the heart. He’s been building frames since 1999, and produces frames under both the Vanilla Bicycles and Speedvagen Bicycles banners. He built the first Speedvagen in 2006, a singlespeed cyclocross bike.

The two brands allows Sacha to express different design influences and cater for riding styles, with Vanilla described as “pure, classic and focused on the pursuit of craft.” while Speedvagen are “modern, rebellious and built to be ridden. Hard.”

For 2015 the latest Speedvagen models are thoroughly modern: they’re now available with disc brakes.

“Discs look clean and mean and they’re a pleasure to use.” says Sache White. “The way we’re mounting the caliper is unlike any other bike out there. It’s stronger and lighter and, well, we’re darned proud of it.”

To accommodate the disc brakes, there are new Berzerker dropouts which mount the disc caliper on the underside of the seatstay. Speedvagen claims this approach dissipates braking stress into the tube and away from the dropout.

Both the 2015 Speedvagen Road Bike and 2015 Speedvagen Cross Bike can be made from True Temper or Columbus steel tubing with every tube being custom drawn to their specific size, shape and thickness. Nice details abound such as the use of a bi-axially ovalised down tube and tapered head tube, to boost the frame stiffness. Both frames also feature the distinctive integrated seatmast with an Enve carbon fibre post head. An Enve carbon seat tube upgrade is available if you want to shed some weight.

Each frame is produced by hand directly for the customer, with a choice of stock or custom frames depending if you want the full tailor made treatment. Stock bikes are available in 2cm size increments from 48 to 62cm. Full custom will consider every measurement so the frame perfectly fits you.

There are a number of paint jobs to choose from, and for this year they have added a new ‘3D Ghost’ graphic along with ‘HollaText’ and ‘Surprise Me!’ colour schemes.

You’re looking at $3,450 for a stock frameset (frame, fork and seatpost) and $4,350 for a custom frame. Waiting times are around 12 weeks for a custom frame, shorter for an off-the-shelf stock frame. There are no UK dealers so you have to buy direct. There are a few upgrades available on the frame, including custom Shimano Di2 battery integration and specific internal wire routing, carbon fibre seat tubes and much more.

Dream Bike: Stunningly sexy steel Merckx Masterpiece


Eddy Merckx Cycles relaunches steel-bike production. With the launch of the EDDY70 racing bike Eddy Merckx Cycles is opening a new chapter. That is, one of modern, high-quality steel racing bikes.

Screenshot 2015-01-28 11.27.16

The first fruit of this project, of which only 70 examples will be produced, is the forerunner of a new Heritage collection, which will be available from September at a selection of bike stores. The EDDY70 bike can be ordered from 7pm on January 28th exclusively via EDDY70.com and will cost $17,500. (OUCH)

With the Heritage Line Eddy Merckx Cycles is drawing on the past, but only in terms of the design and color, as the new steel bikes cannot be compared with the race machines from Eddy’s glory years. They are ultramodern, state-of-the-art racing bikes improved with the best Columbus steel alloys and designed for superior performance.

UNIQUE SERVICE 

The EDDY70 bike is built completely according to the wishes of Eddy Merckx, and on Jan. 27 the first example, which bears the No. 1, will be handed over to Eddy himself, who turns 70 this year. From Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. precisely, enthusiasts worldwide can order their own example via EDDY70.com, where they can choose their personal number (between 2 and 70), as well as the place where Merckx can put his own signature on the steel.

In the months following the order they can follow the whole production process via the Eddy Merckx Cycles Facebook page until they are finally invited to come and collect their personal bike in Faema colours at their local Eddy Merckx Cycles Dealer. At the same time they will receive a unique photo book that has been signed by Merckx. Nice detail: the first bikes will be delivered on June 17th, which is Eddy’s birthday.

PERFORMANCE STEEL

For the steel frame of the EDDY70 the newest Columbus XCr seamless steel tubes are used. The ultralight and rigid RFS (stainless steel) lends itself perfectly to the production of racing bikes. The steel is TIG welded in the Eddy Merckx Cycles workshops and fitted with a carbon fibre Columbus front fork, after which the frame is painted.

intext17

The bike is then fitted with a Campagnolo Super Record set and Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 wheels; both with the unique EDDY70 signature. The same icon is also printed on the cockpit, seat post and Cinelli seat.

“Everyone knows that I was always obsessively focused on the equipment that I rode on. That is still the case now. And as a result, I wanted only the best and most modern components and materials for this bike. The aim was absolutely to make a high performance, contemporary racing bike and not a replica of my old racing bike,” according to Merckx.

ABOUT EDDY MERCKX CYCLES

Every release by Eddy Merckx Cycles is a tribute to the rich heritage created by the greatest racing cyclist of all time. That is why Eddy Merckx Cycles wants to produce the best racing bikes and sell them to the widest possible cycling public. The rich history of man and bicycle is thereby linked in a contemporary and self-perpetuating way to the promising future of the brand. The company was created by Eddy Merckx in 1980 and is still based in Belgium. Eddy Merckx Cycles sells high-end racing bikes in more than 25 countries via 20 distribution partners. At the Benelux level the brand is sold by around 110 official Eddy Merckx Cycles dealers.

Dream Bikes: This one the wildcat gear site


Now that is a great bike and bag setup ….

niks-29er-e1366367099642

Nic from Look Mum No Hands got in touch about us making a Leopard frame bag for a new frame that Ryan at Oak Cycles was building for her. And, by the way…

I need it for Bespoked next month…

Some basic details were discussed, such as colour, number of compartments, overall size and width of the bag and so on. Besides all the usual options, this one would be a little different. Nic wanted it to be bolted to the frame along the underside of the top tube, and to the bottle cage bosses on the down tube. After a bit of discussion over how many bolts were needed to hold the bag in place, we concluded that as the main triangle was quite small, those specified would suffice.  Ryan wanted to maintain a certain aesthetic for the bike when the bags weren’t fitted.

The spine of the bag is stiffened with a 2mm plastic panel secured behind a fabric liner, so the inside of the bag looks like neat. The liner was inserted with hook and loop down one seam, so the plastic stiffener can be removed if necessary. Holes were drilled in precisely the right places on the plastic – based on the dimensions provided on the template – and corresponding holes made and sealed in the outer fabric layers.

All this was completed working off a paper template, and it wasn’t until we got to Bespoked we saw how well it had all come together. The Oak Cycles stand generated a lot of interest, both in the bike and the bags that were on it. It provided a good contrast between some of the more traditional touring bikes on show with the progression that has been made toward lightweight off road touring in recent years.

It was a pleasure to have provided the bags that contributed towards Ryan’s creation, which won  the Bespoked Bristol 2013 Best Touring Bicycle award.

A horse is also a dream bike ….


http://www.horsecycles.com

Screenshot 2014-10-26 15.40.11 One of the more extensive builds coming out of the shop this month, this bike has it all. Nickel Plated masked and painted with three color branding.Screenshot 2014-10-26 15.40.32

It incorporates a super rad completely self sufficient lighting system coming from the power house SON 28 Schmidt Dynamo front hub that powers E3 supernova front and rear lights. This bike is completely off the grid!  The internal routing though the fork and frame free the rider up from potential snags and gives the bike a cleaner look.  Custom front and rear racks highlighting the cantilever gourds integrated into the design as well as a custom rear tail light mount that lives quietly under the non-drive side dropout.  It runs a complete SRAM force 22 (11 speed) group with a Wifly rear derailuer and cassette for steep climbs. This Bike was commissioned by Ben Stark for a cross country ride coming up in the spring.  I’ll be doing part of the journey with him and look forward to a bit of open road. Keep your eye out for more photo’s from the trip.

Other People’s Lovely Bike: Surly from NewBikeDay


20130714-234511.jpg

Krus

Frame: Surly LHT 58″

Wheels: 700c H Plus Son TB14’s. Schmidt Son 28 front hub. Phill Wood rear hub. 32 DT Swiss spokes. Built by Shifter Bikes

Tyres: Schwalbe Kojak 35

Fenders: Gilles Berthoud 50 (Long) plus Mud flap

Crankset: Shimano XT M770 triple 9speed (170mm 44/32/22)

Front Derailleur: Shimano XT M771 (Duel pull, multi fit)

Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT M772 (Long cage)

Cassette: Shimano XT M770 (11-34T)

Chain: Sram PC991 cross step

Shifters: Shimano Dura Ace 7700 bar end levers

Brake Levers: Sram S500

Brake Calipers: Paul Touring Canti rear. Neo-retro Front

Handlebars: Salsa Cowbell 3 (44cm)

Bar Tape: Fizik MicroTex with Gel Pads

Stem: Thomson Elite X4 (0°/100mm)

Headset: Chris King 1 1/8

Front Cable Stop: Paul Funky Monkey

Saddle: Gilles Berthoud Aravis (Cork)

Seat Post: Thomson Elite Setback

Seat Post Collar: Salsa Lip-lock

Front Rack: Tubus Nova

Rear Rack: Tubus Cosmo

Bottle Cages: King Cage ss

Bidons: Camelbak Podium Chill

Pedals: Time Roc ATAC 4

Would you spend £12k on a bike and would it help


I am too purist and into my ti and steel to do so (and broke as a matter of fact) but here is an interesting article in the ‘tory’graph about what it can do for you …

 

In 1963 German sports car maker Porsche introduced a radical new car that would famously become a firm favourite of racing car drivers on their days off. In the hands of a skilled driver the rear-engined, turbocharged 911 was a snarling, all conquering testament to raw power and German engineering.

However, in the hands of a normal punter, the Porsche morphed into something all together more sinister. Its brutal power, delivered in staccato by the revolutionary air-cooled engine, and race car handling had a habit of tempting drivers into pushing the limits of their ability. By the end of the 1970s, the 911 had earned the nickname ‘The Widow Maker’. Not that Porsche flinched from selling it – instead, the car’s reputation for danger only added to its appeal among those with enough money to buy the iconic car.

A Porsche 911 GT3

Which brings me to the Pinarello Dogma F8 bicycle, the official bike of Chris Froome’s Team Sky, designed in conjunction with British sports car maker Jaguar. The bicycle, equipped with the latest electronic Shimano Di2 gear system and lightweight wheels, sets you back as much as £12,000 – which is almost enough to buy a second-hand widow maker.

Like the Porsche, the F8 boasts a design that doesn’t conform to conventional theory. I took the version I have been riding to The Bicycle Academy in Frome for their frame building experts to take a look. Their verdict on the bike’s aesthetic was mixed. Pinarello has pioneered a concept of distinctive asymmetric design on the Dogma range. Couple this with some of the touches provided by Jaguar to improve the overall aerodynamic performance of the bike and you have a very radical looking machine. It’s certainly not one for the purists.

Just like the early buyers of the Porsche 911, people interested in the F8 who aren’t racing seriously or being paid to ride a bike must ask themselves whether they actually need such a two-wheeled beast. That being said, high-end design and hi-tech specifications can always be guaranteed to pique the interest of even the most amateur of club cyclists. To test the bike out, I decided to take it on my usual short 17-mile circuit around Box Hill in Surrey. From the first pedal stroke, I was genuinely surprised by its performance.

Andrew Critchlow’s Strava display after riding a 17 mile circuit around Box Hill

The bladed forks and reduced profile of the head tube (the focus of much of Jaguar’s design energy) deliver a stunningly fast bike – reducing drag by a claimed 40pc. Power transfer through the pedals is also incredible, as are the electronic shifters, which make for breathtakingly quick gear changes.

Quite simply, the F8 makes you want to ride faster. During my test, the bike immediately had me riding in the big chain ring, at least three gears higher than I would normally spin. I was able to hold the big ring even on the slopes of Box Hill. However, it was on the decent that the F8 showed its true colours. This bike makes you try things that you really shouldn’t on a bicycle. It’s constantly compelling you to ride faster, brake later into the corners, push the boundaries of your cycling ability and even beat the lights. On the descent from Box Hill I almost lost it. Could this be the bicycle equivalent of The Widow Maker?

Not quite. The F8 is assured and – unlike some carbon-fibre bikes I have ridden such as the Giant TCR Advanced SL – its handling is predictable. As a result, you can comfortably ride the bike faster than you would normally think possible. The proof in the pudding comes when I download my ride data at the end of the circuit. Clipped in to the F8, I have knocked 7 minutes off my time and achieved 63 personal records on Strava.

The downside of the F8 for a normal rider like me who isn’t followed around Europe with a Team Sky bus is maintenance. This bike needs looking after properly by expert bicycle mechanics, so forget about tampering in the kitchen with a set of hexagon keys. Also be careful about frame size. I am six-foot and the bike I tested was a 58cm – my usual frame size – but this was on the large size for my taste.

I have always aspired to owning a 911 because of its potent mix of race car engineering and Niki Lauda cool. My final verdict on the Pinarello is the same. I want one, pure and simple.

Another donhue custom dream bike


Norwich-based Ollie is planning in July to cycle the 2,311km route around Vancouver Island solo and unsupported, with 46,000m of climbing along the way. He’s doing the ride in aid of the British Columbia Cancer Foundation, with a £25,000 target. You can take a look at the full details of the route and pledge your support atwww.cyclechallengecanada.com

For such a challenge you obviously need a bike capable of going the distance and surviving the harsh roads likely to be encounterered. Tom Donhou has a good track record producing these sort of bikes, a couple of years ago he built one of the Rapha Continental bikes, a much admired steel framed bike with disc brakes and space for wider tyres.

Since then as the photo gallery on Donhou’s website shows that customers have been lining up to order similarly designed bikes. Disc brakes on road bikes is a hot topic, and Donhou was one the new breed of small framebuilders who were arguably quickiest of the mark when it came to exploring their potential.

Tom picks up the story on the bike build: “…as I heard the words ‘Vancouver Island’ I was really keen to build this bike.

“My own experience of Vancouver Island is one of coming face to face with a Cougar and that’s something that stays with you. Now you see, cougars attack from above and behind, so we included a Totem paint scheme (yes, its all paint) with eyes in the back and sides to protect him from those big cats!

“The bike is built for purpose, but there has also been consideration for its life after the trip where it will see cross and touring duties.”

Because the bike needs to be tough and durable, and carry a 35kg load, Donhou built the frame using a Reynolds 853 tubeset “tuned for carrying loads”.

Up front is a Whiskey carbon fibre fork with a 15mm bolt-thru axle, while out back Donhou uses Paragon Polydrops dropouts, with a DT Swiss 142x12mm bolt-thru axle. The dropouts however can be converted to a regular 135mm quick release setup.

The frame has been built up with a SRAM Force groupset and Avid mechanical disc brakes. The cables have been routed to keep them clear of mud, and the disc brakes offer the braking performance Ollie will need to cope with the wide range of conditions he is likely to encounter.

For the sort of riding the bike will be used for geometry is critical, it doesn’t want to be too fast or twitchy for the inevitable long days in the saddle over rough and unforgiving terrain, so it’s somewhere between a touring and cyclocross bike.

It looks a a very smart bike with an individual paint finish, and we wish Ollie the best of luck in completing his challenge.