i understand this completely now as i've ridden offroad 3 times in the last 3 years.
what interests me now would be buying something like this;
and then building it as a single speed commuter with a flat bar and maybe wood fenders...
anyway, that's the kind of bike i get excited about now.
and thankfully, it looks like i'm not the only one either - Rocky Mountain has the Metropolis line in addition to the RC line. i especially like the RC 50D and the Metropolis NRT with it's internally geared 8 speed Shimano hub.
but, even better than that, Norco has thrown their considerable weight at the Urban bike market. the Ceres is a steel frame, 8 speed internal hub, Gates belt drive(!!!) commuter bike.
i've been interested in the belt drive system since i saw pictures of a Lynskey from the handmade show last year. it requires a special frame design - specifically some way to get the belt through the frame since it doesn't come apart - so it's been pretty much a custom build to this point.
but Norco comes through with the flat bar 8spd commuter, a road SS (the Vesta), and a SS 29er (the Judan) - all at pretty reasonable prices.
i'm fired up about Norco building these crazy things!
i think my converted Klein hybrid is for sale...
Now playing: Jay-Z - 99 Problems via FoxyTunes
they're still out there - www.corratec.de - and they still make the Bow with it's groovy curved dual top tubes/seat stays. they also rock the continental mountain king with the white sidewalls!
i heartily endorse any effort to bring back skinwall tires - but white?? i don't know...
the pictured Grizzly above is clearly not a high-end model, but there are Ti and aluminum versions of the Bow, and - the one i want - a 700c hybrid called the Super Bow Cross.
Now playing: Cannibal Ox - F-Word
they're usually fixed (more on this later), have tons of colour variations, and no graphics.
it doesn't sound like that complex of a bike, yet it's not something that is easy to come by. we talked about building something like this at redbike years ago, but we wanted to do it all canadian. unfortunately, it was just too expensive to fly.
the least expensive option for a custom build bike was a surly 1x1 or karate monkey - and that still came in around $1600 from the ground up. getting mass-produced parts, i think we should have been able to do it for $750 or less. it wouldn't have been blinglespeed at all, but that was the point.
the fixed gear roadbike as become the required mode of transport for the hipster. the only cool way to get to the gig on whyte, or roll down to the sugarbowl for coffee and cinnamon buns. which i find very odd because the fixed gear bike is not for the novice rider, and if there's one thing the hipster doesn't seem to be, it's an athlete.
and, the best of these bikes are home made by good mechanics. so most hipster's are probably on a bike built by a friend from an old japanese or euro road frames.
but now anybody with $394 can have one.
that's what republic charges for their aristotle ss. that gets you five colour choices on a hi-ten steel frame, matching colours for the chain, grips, and velocity deep-v rims (the only choice for a hipster bike). and best of all, the ability to have the website choose random colours for all of these items! most of the parts are no-name, and i have to be honest here, it's not a high quality frame. but the end result looks good.
the next step up the ladder is mission bicycle company in san francisco. it was really only a matter of time before frisco based shop started mass producing hipster bikes. the mission bike has a much higher quality frame (reynolds 4130), powder coat colours, and the option of building the bike with high end parts; chris king, thomson, nitto, brooks, and vittoria all appear on the option sheet.
of course the end product can run $1400 with all the bling, but can also go as low as $750. as always in bikes, you get what you pay for. for my money the mission is absolutely worth the extra expense.
and then there's alta. much flashier than the republic, and lighter for sure with an aluminum frame. it's got better wheels, sexy time-trial bull horn bars, and fancy euro-industrial design muscle behind it. they've only recently been available in north america, and i couldn't find a price, but a couple blogs i found seemed to agree on $1000. pricey, but again, sexy.
i personally really like the mission - good price, good parts, and SF is very cool. though me being me, i'd be more likely to piece together a fixie using an MTB frame and some leftover road wheels. but that's just me...
Now playing: Silversun Pickups - The Royal We
because you have so much more latitude for part choice, i'd probably end up changing everything on the bike anyway. so I may as well start from scratch? i've built bikes around forks, around hubs, maybe even around saddles or handlebars. but when you do this, sometimes the rest of the bike is secondary, and that means there could be lots of parts on there that nobody else would want anything to do with.
at least for me.
for the kind of singlespeed that i most often dabble in - the poverty or near-poverty bike - it's much more about the acomplishment than the result. check out this kona i put together last summer to see what i mean;
kona humuhumu-nukunuku-a-pua'a frame with a stuck bottom bracket
4 inch riser bar
shimano XT cranks with the spider
creaky rocky mountain hybrid fork
cantilever brakes (front only)
this bike was really pretty bad. i didn't have any cable stop for the front brakes, so i tried just looping the housing over the handlebar and zip tying it down with extreme prejudice. while terrible, this was an improvement over the internally geared 3 speed coaster brake hub that was the only brake on v1.0 of this bike.
but the crank was pure genius. because the 122mm BB wouldn't come out of the frame, and the low profile XT crank was the only 175mm crank i had, i needed to resolve an impossible chainline issue. this crank had a spider attached to the crank arm via lock ring that the chain rings attached to. i took this off, and reversed it, so that the big ring was now well inboard of the crank arm. it looked really weird, but the chainline was near perfect.
i rode this bike for about a week, then one day i needed the post out of it to put in another frame so i could work on it on my workstand. i put the kona outside the garage and forgot it there. the next time i went out to the garage, it was gone. without a seatpost, or seatpost collar mind you.
i wasn't that choked up about it though - if i was selling this bike to someone else, i wouldn't taken more than $40 for it. hell, i'd have given it to any friend that was interested. the parts on it were essentially useless, the BB was only held in place on the drive side. the idea was to ride it and hope that it destroyed itself so i could somehow cut it out, and then strip and paint the frame - make something nice out of it.
the fact that someone came into my yard to take that bike was what bothered me.
(by the way, if you're out there, and there's a hell, you're headed there buddy. you better have given away a couple working bikes in your day to make up for that karma cap hit.)
I guess for me, it's more important to put the bike together than to ride it.
commence to drooling!
i've only been aware of Hampsten for a couple years, but everything i've seen has been gorgeous. there's a very good reason for that though; he has some of the best builders in the world putting these bikes together. the steel bikes are made by Independent Fabrications. the titanium bikes by Moots and Kent Eriksen - he started Moots by the way. carbon frames are made by Bob Parlee.
those are the builders of dreams my friends!
this is just the aluminum Gran Paradiso! i prefer compact geometry myself, but this is beautiful.
"Compounding the obvious lack of a ‘70s style road bike..." i'm sold right there - how cool is that? i'm not sure that i could ever ride a road bike as the riding position just kills me, but maybe YOU buying it for me is what would finally put me at ease...
one of them was 'One Red Paperclip.' in this one, some guy decided he'd try trading his red paperclip for something bigger and better, until he got to his ultimate goal of getting a house. it took him a year, but he did it. now the house he got is in kipling, saskatchewan so maybe i'm not that impressed, but still, it's pretty rediculous to think of it.
the other one i was thinking of was the million dollar website. this is a website with one million pixels on it, and each pixel was for sale for one dollar. you could (obviously) buy more than one pixel at a time, so the guy that thought it up didn't need one million takers, but he still needed a lot. look at the page source on that site and marvel and the gigantic list of URLs.
let's be honest though about what these two things are; they're scams. not malicious ones - everybody that got involved got what they were promised - but still scams. good ideas that got a lot of good press, and that press pushed them on to success. (although i gotta say, the guy running that paper clip deal is pretty charismatic...)
so i figured; why not me? everybody is getting all these free houses and money from the internet and all i get is russian cracks of Left 4 Dead that only have sound - russian sound - and offers like this for the bikes i try to sell on craigslist;
goodday seller, am interested in buying this item posted, but firstly i will like you to tell me in details the present condition and the last price before making any purchase and also my means of my payment is through a valid cashier's checks. So if this means of payment could be convinient for you, just let me know by sending me a mail now.
Hope to hear from you soon.
where's my million dollars?
well, i'm not asking for a million dollars, i want a colnago. not even a bititanio, just a nice steel one.
of course, my scam got as far as changing my facebook status to 'i want YOU... t buy me a Colnago.' none of my 12 friends knows what that is. so it didn't go very far. but, maybe the power of the blog can get me that finely crafted italian craftsmanshipness.
(i hear people talk about twitter though, maybe i need the power of the twit? sadly, i have no idea what twitter is, and i can't be bothered to find out. when you stay home and play lego star wars most of the time, social networking doesn't count for much.)
so here's the deal, the colnago fund starts here - with YOU. for $2, you can have your personal bicycle rated on this website. it'll get it's just deserts believe you me. i have tons of cynicism, anger, and carcasm available. and tons of exposure too. this website has one follower! and i might ask redbike to mention me - that'll drum up two or three more.
just send me some pics, and we'll get this done. everybody wins. mostly me though.
after three years!
kinda sad actually, but there were a lot of them.
in fact, i found a bunch more in a folder that i never got to. i might post them in the future, but i wanted to get this done so i could talk about other stuff.
i've been buying cycling magazines, reading mountain bike forums online; adding fuel to the fire as it were. and i'll pick up a few of the bike companies that have popped up since i stopped the old bikeguide.
so, as a great man once said; 'let's get started shall we?'
Ultimate - Another excellent rare Yeti Ultimate - this one with the original Yeti/Answer Accutrax rigid forks, and Magura Hydraulic brakes.
Softail - This was Yeti's first attempt at a full suspension bike. Travel was minimal, two inches or less, and I don't really know if it was called "Softail" or not, , but that's the information I have. This was the bike to own if you wanted to win the Kamikazi at Mammoth mountain in 1992.
Softail - This is the second evolution of the bike above. This one has Pace forks and a pretty freeride-ish high stem and riser bar. My thanks to Johannes from Germany for this pic of a great bike.
Lawwill - I have to kinda laugh at this bike. You probably recognize the design, it's the Lawwill rear end from the Yeti/Schwinn Straight six/eight (Schwinn owned Yeti at this point). Except it only has 4 inches of travel, which is nowhere near adequate for DH racing today. It's probably a great bike to ride though - except for the fork.
Lawwill - This one has 6 inches or rear wheel travel. And a pretty serious Foes fork. Probably a pretty decent DH bike.
A.R.C. - I really liked this "second generation" Yeti that had Troy Lee pin-striping. Would have fit in nicely with the low-rider crowd.
A.R.C. - This looks like one of the first Advanced Racing Composites that Yeti made. It was apparently a big time fire-road bike. Or in other words - a downhill machine. Yeti's were always built more for open spaces than the woods.
A.R.C. - These used to be classic Yeti colors. But I guess it's black and yellow now... Anyway, cool bike.
AS3 - Yeti's second attempt at a fully suspended bike. Pretty nice design, though most people who consider themselves experts (bike magazine editors) feel that 'strut' bikes are out-dated. Excellent Troy Lee paint details on this frame.
Ultimate - This is the Yeti Ultimate, originally designed (in 1989 or so) with input from Zapata Espinoza, then of MBA magazine. The idea was to build the ultimate mountain bike, something that wasn't too heavy to race, but had some "all-mountain" characteristics - like tire clearance, and no chain suck. Another old bike I'd love to own.
Phoenix - I think WTB is just the type of company that attracts the kind of rider that likes Noleen forks. Surely not TeamCow's first choice.
Phoenix - I like this bike. Steel frame, RaceFace, Magura hydraulics, and a White Brothers fork. Well done!
Nzumbi - Don't you wish you had enough money to afford not just a dedicated single-speed frame, but one with a RaceFace stem and a fancy boutique crank like this MRC Steely Dan? Maybe you're one of those nut-jobs that has a bike like this as your first bike. Now that's weird - the kinda weird that TeamCow likes...
Bizango - This bike is fabulous. Reynolds 853 frame, XTR everything, polished Marzocchi Atom Bomb - nothing but the best.
D - Jab - Titanium is very cool. And titanium with XTR and Arch Supremes is very expensive...
Erzulie - A solid looking steel hardtail here. Good fork, I loved those Answer barends, but a Kore stem? You'll lose points for that...
Canzo - This is a beautifully finished bike. A titanium Canzo with a long-travel SID and those crazy green Micheins. Of course, the Canzo has the stigma of being a URT bike, which because of it's characteristics, somehow makes it less worthy. I'm willing to bet there are thousands of people enjoying bikes like this, and they either have no problems, or they just deal with it's idiosyncrasies.
Bizango - An excellent setup on this steel Voodoo. That, by the way is one of the reasons I liked Voodo - they held onto steel right to the end. Anyway, it looks like a great singletrack bike.
Bokor - Was this a calculated attempt to put together a bike that doesn't attract attention? Or just somebody who doesn't mind a plain looking bike...
Motivator - Is this the future of mountain biking?
You can't really tell, but the Motivator runs on 29" wheels. Apparently the big wheels roll faster and smoother over bumps - which sounds great to me. Of course, nobody makes suspension forks for these bikes yet, that's why this one is still rigid. I bet the build quality is excellent, and the paint is super cool, but I'll stick my neck out and say that we won't all be changing over to big wheels for a while.  haha! sometimes these entries i've written are hilarious. of course now, 29 inch bikes are on like michelle kwan. and this bike - this kind of bike - is right at the top of my wanted list. and i'm building a rocky mountain blizzard singlespeed with a vicious cycles fork on it. funny how people change...
El Toro - This is a hardcore single speed. Aluminum frame and no suspension. It hurts my arms just to look at this bike. Sure doesn't hurt my eyes though.
El Habanero - The Ventana El Habanero uses a very common suspension design, you can find it on entry-level Rocky Mountains, yet is regularly hailed as a truly great bike. How come nobody ever raves about the RMB Spice like that?
El Saltamontes - I just have to chuckle at this one. I guess this is a freeride bike, it's got a double-crown fork. But it's got a Fox air shock, and as good as it is, it's not a freeride shock. And those rear link plates look incredibly spindly. And while I'm critiquing - I've never liked that WTB saddle - looks stupid.
El Saltamontes - Can you say money? Marzocchi SuperFly, Avid Arch Supreme, Syncros Ti seatpost, Titus Ti stem, and the ultimate expense - Morati titanium cranks. I wouldn't even venture a guess as to how much those are worth. Not suprisingly, the seller of this bike was not including the cranks and brakes.
A couple years ago he brought out his 29" bike, the Sultan. But before he did, he made comments indicating that he didn't like 29" wheels and thought the whole thing was dumb.
But not too dumb to make money off of. I'm OK with people making money, but I'm not really impressed with someone doing something they don't like to make money. Especially when you're talking bikes - something that people have tremendous passion for. Riders scrimp and save for years to afford that custom frame, the name on it, the guy who built it - it matters. So are you really wanting to drop $2K on a frame made by a guy who didn't really want to make it?
DHR - This new DHR - belonging to Paul in England - thanks Paul! - is a fabulous bike. Notice the mixed Hope brakes and titanic Mr. Dirt fork. I can't imagine riding a bike like that, but I'll bet it's a good time.
O2 - Turner's latest XC type bike. Looks great to me, and I love that the rider hasn't sacrificed ride for weight and went with a Marzocchi.
Burner - I think the Burner has now been replaced by the XCE. Given this bike is decked out with the finest in air shocks, it must be intended for some XC action.
Afterburner - The first true DH bike from Turner. Those are some pretty serious looking forks right there.
Stinger - A really crappy pic of a really awesome bike. That tells you alot about what I think of Turner that I'm willing to post this pic.
Turner - I'm not really sure what this bike is, though it does look a bit like the RFX. Anyway, it's ready for DH action with a chain guide, 8 inch front rotor, XVert Ti, and that huge head tube junction gusset.
Carbon Cross - This bike is especially special because it has a Mountain Cycles Suspenders inverted fork and the Mountain Cycles Pro-Stop disc brake. Both well ahead of their time. And some might say not very good either.
DH - Custom Troy Lee stickers won't save this piece of crap. I think a cable operated Rock Shox disc on the front, and a hydraulic 8 inch Hayes on the rear, could be the worst brake set up I've ever seen.
VRX 400 - This has to be a joke right? Somebody that's really good at PhotoShop? This bike can't exsist in real life - it just can't. I refuse to believe it...
8900 - A crappy Trek sitting in front of a Porsche Boxster? A yellow rim on the front, and a black one on the rear?? Specialized cranks??? A SID????? I'm laughing hard now...
Y-22 - Well this is just... It's so... Wrong? Dumb? Both?
Ysl-20 - Fox sticker = cool. That seems to be a theme amongst the joke bikes...
9000 - A crappy Trek sitting in front of a Porsche 911 turbo? This could be the worst suspension bike ever made. This particular example had two inches of travel, but no damping at all. I guess at times it was like riding a mechanical bull. Why does this person have a Porsche 911 turbo, and a Trek 9000?
DH - Wow - this bike is so ugly. I don't know what to say here - it looks like a triathalon bike modified for DH. And this guy probably thought those Fox stickers were sooo cool. That's not gonna save you here buddy.
8700 - The S-Works bikes are the top-of-the-line light-weight race bikes in Specialized's lineup. This one is fairly nice, with Kooka cranks and a Selle Italia Flite saddle. It needs a new fork though.  yeah, no idea what i'm talking about here. i mean it's true, but this is not a trek... i think i may have accidentally deleted part of what i had written. this is actually a bonded aluminum and carbon trek from about 1990.
6500 - If this bike gets used for what it seems to be built for, I give it 2 months...
9900 - I wish I had more pics of this one. Could be one of the the ugliest bikes ever. You can't quite see it, but the other side of the bike is purple. I really don't know what kind of look they were trying for...
Y-bike - I personally blame Trek for the URT suspension bike. I know they didn't invent it, but they proliferated it better than anybody else. Anyway, I guess this one was a special promotion in Europe. Get an Alfa and they'll throw in a Trek with big Alfa stickers on it. Pretty sad...
Y-bike - This is sooo Trek. What appears to be a serious off-road bike, with a ultra-adjustable SID rear shock and a Manitou XVert up front, has a very non offroad super hi-rise stem, rise bars, and barends reaching for the sky. Only on a Trek... Or possibly a GT.