More bikes and builders. More goodness. So much goodness.
Sean Walling – Soulcraft
“Merchandises like he worked at the Gap” award
Sean Walling has been part of the NorCal framebuilding scene for a long freaking time. Not Bruce Gordon-long, but still. Walling did learn the craft from Gordon, and Ross Shafer at Salsa (long before Salsa moved to Minneapolis). Soulcraft was an early proponent of the drop-bar dirt bike, probably due to the fact that the original 700×43 Rock and Road tire was so easily accessible. First with the Groundskeeper (which became a more racy cyclocross bike) and now with the Dirtbomb (yes, the band inspired the name), you can get your monstercross on here. That custom painted Pass and Stow rack is aces. More info: Soulcraft
Erik Noren – Peacock Groove
“You can buy this domain for 12 monthly payments of $158” award
Eric Noren has been that guy at NAHBS for year. He builds bikes that attract attention. Lots of it. But this isn’t a put-on by Noren, in my experience, it is just who he is. This cargo trike is the latest in a line of flashy bikes, but this one is eminently functional as well. A 500 watt motor provides some serious extra go-juice, and the oversize batteries also power turn signals and 4-way flashers. An eight-speed Alfine hub acts as a jackshaft, sending power to a rear differential from a go-kart. The shift lever on the downtube is the parking brake lever. While this thing was very well finished, and very flashy, it was also very simply executed. More info: Peacock Groove
Todd Ingermanson – Black Cat
“Head badges? We don’t need any stinking head badges” award
Black Cat is probably best known as a mountain bike builder, but drop bar bikes are well within Ingermanson’s wheelhouse. This one is an understated champ of a bike, using Black Cat drop outs, a clean meeting of graphics and logo, and a SRAM 1×11 drivetrain. More info: Black Cat Bikes
Brad Hodges – W.H. Bradford Custom Bikes
“Droppers for everyone!” award
Talk to me about bikes for more than half an hour, and I’ll bring up dropper posts and how I want one on all my bikes. The dropper is what pulled me to this bike first, but there are a lot of sweet details that shouldn’t be missed. The fork is a Whisky with custom machined bottle mounts installed by the carbon wizards at Ruckus Composites. The dropper lever is tucked up nicely next to the left brake lever, and Porcelain Rocket did another primo job on the bags. More info: W.H. Bradford
Curtis Inglis – Retrotec and Inglis Custom bikes
“Clown car” award
I’ll admit it, I lust pretty hard after our former-web-guy Jeff Lockwood’s Inglis-built road bike. This one is similar, although it adds a set of disc brakes, and probably a bit more tire clearance, both good things by my accounting. This is another one of those bikes that seems some flashy at first, but is really very understated when you look closely. More info: Retrotec and Inglis Cycles
We’ve got a few more odds and ends from the show to talk about, check in again tomorrow.
The shop is high, high up in the hills above Portland. There is no sign marking the gravel driveway—I missed it quite a few times—and the garage isn’t visible from the road. Beneath a cathedral of Douglas fir, amidst sea of ferns, it recalls a land before time.
It seems a fitting location to built titanium bicycles, the material having come and gone in and out of fashion countless times over the years. Here Dave Levy builds Ti Cycles, an eclectic brand of stock, custom and absolutely wild show bikes (mostly) all made from titanium. Cargo bikes, tandem, mini-velos, full-suspension fat bikes… if you can think of it chances are Levy has built one. He’s also now the co-owner of REN Cycles, a sister brand of stock-size titanium bikes.
This year Ti Cycles celebrates its 25th anniversary so I paid a visit to the shop to see some of the more unique creations at hand.
Click on the magnifying glass to see full-size images.
Photos courtesy of Travel Oregon
Oregon has no shortage of beautiful places, but seven in particular stand out as deserving of special recognition as the “7 Wonders.” For the next few months, visitors to these seven sites will have a chance to walk away with more than just memories and photographs—they’ll bring home a custom bike designed and fabricated by seven of Oregon’s best framebuilders and each inspired by the places they represent.
Beginning Saturday somewhere on Mt. Hood, visitors can use clues from Instagram through the #7bikes7wonders hashtag or on the Travel Oregon website. The bike inspired and built for Mt. Hood’s world-class singletrack is a Wolfhound built by Fred Cuthbert. It even has a name: Bruno, named for the Saint Bernard that lives at the iconic Timberline Lodge.
The seven bikes
Mt. Hood bike: The allure for bikers of Oregon’s tallest peak and playground, Mt. Hood, is simple: scenic riding, with a nearly endless variety of choices. Fred Cuthbert, from the town of Talent, boiled down his design philosophy to make a simple mountain bike that can be ridden hard – and all day.
Smith Rock bike: Seeing a geologic wonder like Smith Rock brings out the conqueror in a person, and that’s why the rugged mountain bike that Bend’s Wade Beauchamp dreamed up has the gearing, the gear and the personality to take on even the most challenging terrain.
Painted Hills bike: The colorful rock layers of the Painted Hills put Christopher Igleheart of Portland in a back-country frame of mind, and he designed a versatile touring bike a rider can pedal through Eastern Oregon’s fossil-bed country in comfort and style.
Wallowas bike: The tag-team of Portlanders Ira Ryan and Tony Periera found inspiration in the wide-open spaces and the vast vistas of the Wallowas – and something about the scene took them back to the Old West; they designed a bike that can carry a two-wheeled cowboy all across the land.
Columbia River Gorge bike: When he considered all the great types of riding available in the Columbia River Gorge, Bend bike maker Ben Farver knew he wanted to create one bike that a rider could enjoy them all on – so he built the Swiss Army knife of bicycles.
Oregon Coast bike: Portland builder Joseph Ahearne took the exhilaration of the moment when you first realized a bike could take you almost anywhere, and brought it to life in a “fat bike” meant to be ridden at The Coast.
Crater Lake bike: Drawing on both the boundlessly deep blue of Crater Lake’s water and the roller-coaster thrill ride of the road around its rim, Ashland’s Mike DeSalvo created a sleek, fast road bike that can take on climbs and descents and leave you with the energy to soak up the scenery along the way.
Tourism is a huge draw in Oregon, and the creation of the original 7 Wonders campaign is credited with a 10 percent bump in tourism spending in the state, according to Travel Oregon. It’s not a small number either, with travelers adding $10.3 billion to the state’s economy and bicycle tourism alone representing a $400 million impact.
You can find the official rules of the contest here, and good luck!