DARR | DARRBIKE
Darr's bike is just Darr's bike, just like Darr is just Darr. So there you have it.
This is the first bike I've completed in over two years. It was fun.
DAVID | COMMUTER
David wanted to build the ultimate commuter. We started out by taking the best elements of his two favorite bikes - one an Italian road bike with a Campagnolo drivetrain, the other a cross-country mountain bike. We wanted to take the efficiency and gearing of the road bike and add the upright positioning of a mountain bike - a step up from the urban commuters who put slicks on their hardballs, with practical provisions built into the frame.
The drivetrain on this bike was designed just as belt drive components were becoming more widely available, and we worked with Phil Wood & Co. to develop compatibility with a Rohloff Speedhub. This hub, designed for downhill mountain biking, offers a wide range of gears spaced at small, even increments. It allows the rider to fine-tune the gear ratio as conditions change. It is also a completely sealed system which requires very little maintenance. By using a carbon-fiber reinforced belt by Carbon Drive, we eliminated one other source of frustration - the noise, grease and grime that bicycle chains inevitably accumulate. Once the engineers at Phil Wood had designed and built elegant and sturdy cogs & beltrings for us, we had a drivetrain that would be clean, maintenance-free, quiet, and efficient.
David, himself a designer, wanted the bike to handle the elements from its core. He saw paint as something of an afterthought, and wanted the frame itself to resist weather. After much discussion, we settled on Reynolds 953 as a frame material. A martensitic-aging stainless steel, 953 produces a very strong bike at a light weight. In order to completely avoid paint, a lot of time was spent sourcing and, in some cases, making one-off frame parts where standard ones were unavailable commercially. Once complete, the frame was polished and treated with a microcrystalline wax designed for antiques preservation, to further shed moisture and ensure a long-lasting luster.
The bike needed to be easy to ride in wet conditions; Honjo fenders and disc brakes took care of those concerns in short order. It also needed to carry a load without looking clunky or handling badly. We designed and built a purpose-driven rear rack for the bike that attaches in four points via custom made bosses and turnbuckle bolts. Made of 304 stainless steel tubing, it is light and stiff and, unlike stock racks, has no extraneous parts. We also made a pair of custom rack ends which accept the rear fender struts (also custom made from 304 stainless steel) with no additional hardware. The rack carries a pair of German-made waterproof panniers easily and in style, with a minimal effect on ride quality.
The bike was built up, finally, with the highest quality components from Chris King, FSA, RaceFace, Thomson, and Crank Bros. The saddle, made by Terry, and the grips, by Ergon, were chosen specifically for their ergonomics and practicality. A double-leg kickstand allows the bike to stand up easily, and NiteRider lights provide full illumination at night. Lastly, we designed a one-off color scheme for the bike's graphics, giving the bike a composed and understated look that belies its complexity.
The design process on the bike took almost a year. Sourcing frame parts and components took months, and the bike took over 100 hours to build. It was a long haul, but David's commuter will go on to provide a lifetime of nearly maintenance-free riding in all conditions.
SAYLOR | EVERYTHING/AWESOME BIKESaylor needed a practical go-to bike for commuting, touring, and light-off road riding. His fillet brazed frameset is built to handle weight and remain comfortable over long distances. It'll be built up with Phil wood touring hubs and bar-end shifters, and has a set of custom stainless steel racks. The rear rack will take panniers and a load on top, and the front can be used with its integrated decaleur (its owner will make a bag just to fit it) or as a place to strap down small items. With a sprung Brooks saddle, Nitto handlebars, Honjo fenders and MKS touring pedals, this bike will be finished in true style.
LUCY | TOURING
Lucy's touring bike, like Emma's and Gen's, was built with a compact geometry and a mountain drivetrain for low gearing. It's now in Rome, and will spend the next 9 months or so traveling around Europe.
GEORGIA | TOURING
Given the context, I'm not sure it's necessary I describe Georgia's bike. After all, it's right below Lucy's, and the two are nearly identical. You okay with that?
STOCK | REALSTER
I believe in minimizing the degree to which my customers need to reorganize their lives in order to ride their bikes. On this project - a short production run of five framesets - I wanted to design a fixed gear bike that would be easy to use on a daily basis. The bike needed fenders, a rack, a comfortable riding position and a bell. It also needed good brakes, generous tire clearance and a reasonable pricetag. It should reward, not punish, you for riding it.
Enter the Realster. It's an upright, practical fixed gear for urban use. The stock version, shown below, sports swept-back handlebars, natural contact points (cork grips and a leather saddle) and a custom made porteur rack with salvaged cross-sawn hard maple slats.
CHAD | REALSTER
Chad helped to conceive of and design the Realsters, and he built his up in prototypical style. Paul components brakes and levers, a flip-flop wheelset (I think he rides it mostly free), a B17... perfect.
MICHAEL | PORTEUR RACK
Michael wanted a stainless steel rack that he could attach a wooden box to. As they usually do, it came out shiny, sturdy and elegant.
MAX | CROSS
Max's TIG welded cross bike got wishbone stays and cantilever bosses. You'll have to take my word that the red powder coat it got looked bangin', because I don't have any photos of it here.
MATT | COUPLED CROSS
Matt's coupled touring frame was built for a road drivetrain and cantilever brakes. It's coupled, and fits entirely in a backpack for convenient travel.
GEN & EMMA | TOURING
Gen & Emma's touring rigs are fully TIG welded steel frames w/ matching steel forks. They take low-mount disc brakes, which allow for standard rear rack use. The frames were assembled, test-ridden, and then immediately shipped to Ireland, where they then began a year-long tour of Europe.
PETER | ROAD
Peter wanted a bike to ride a short training loop on. It's light and nimble but won't be as twitchy as the more racing-oriented bikes. It's a steel front triangle and a Columbus carbon rear triangle, both of which will work together to provide a supple yet responsive ride.
SPENCER | ROAD
I built this bike up for my own road training use. It has a Columbus Spirit (steel) front triangle and Easton EC-90 carbon stays and a matching fork. I built it up with a DT Swiss wheelset, a Campy Record compact drivetrain, FSA carbon bars and crankset, and Thomson hardware.
GEORGIA | COMMUTER
This bike was designed for Georgia to commute back and forth to school on. It has a Campy drivetrain, Paul cantilever brakes, Brooks accoutrements, and a Tubus/Ortlieb rack and waterproof pannier system.
LIANNA | LONGTAIL
Lianna wanted a bike that she could offer to carry a friend around on, and that's what she got. It has a very long rear end with a passenger platform complete with footrests on the chainstays. It has a SRAM 3-speed hub with a coaster brake and a generator front hub that powers a light on the fork.
SPENCER | MOUNTAIN SINGLESPEED
This bike was built up to my own specs and with one of my favorite build kits. It sports a custom powder coat job by Spectrum (those graphics are actually part of the powder coat), and was built with a combination of True Temper and Columbus tubing. I routed the rear brake cable internally in the toptube and built it up with Paul, White Industries, Thomson, Brooks, and other specialty components.