Amongst handmade builders, there are some legends in the industry. The Ballers. Folks like Richard Sachs who, despite all of the new standards, sizes and shapes popping up over the past decade, continues to build his road and cyclocross bikes exactly how he damn well pleases.
He and other well known and up and coming builders gather once a year in Virginia for the Baller’s Ride. It’s a chance for them to ride together, talk shop outside of a tradeshow setting and shoot the breeze with like minded folks and a small selection of their customers and friends. It’s invite only, and it’s a monster Saturday ride bookended by smaller “shakedown” rides and plenty of beer. I was fortunate enough to tag along, so the camera came out to capture the Baller’s personal bikes. Here’s what Richard Sachs rides…
Despite the resistance to things like PressFit, disc brakes, internal cable routing and tapered head tubes, Sachs’ bikes are not stuck in the past. In 2005, he collaborated with Pegoretti to create an oversized, lightweight tubeset specifically for building with lugs. In other words, a modern tubeset for classic looking bikes. Columbus answered the call, and now they have their own PegoRichie tubes, which he also sells to a lot of other builders.
What’s with all the electrical tape? This is his cyclocross race bike, so there are no water bottle bosses or pump mounts. The roads, when there were any, are rough, so he wanted to ride his ‘cross bike rather than a road bike. For Saturday’s 80-mile trek through the forests and hills, he simply made it work. He even overwrapped the frame pump with a little extra tape, which came in handy for minor repairs on another guy’s bike.
Makes all his own lugs, and every feature on his bikes is a thoughtful design.
Little details in the lugs and dropouts are pervasive. You’ll rarely see his name machined into the dropout, but it’s there.
One of my running jokes in our NAHBS coverage is that we have yet to actually get any face time with Richard at the shows. He’s either slammed busy with a line of people talking with him or he’s MIA. So, for the past five years, we’ve simply photo’d his bikes and left it at that. The opportunity to actually ride with him and shoot the breeze was great, he’s super nice. He’s also opinionated, and here are the reasons why Richard Sachs won’t ever make a disc brake road or cyclocross bike. They are:
- Driven by marketing of the big brands
…and he doesn’t care if you don’t agree, because he makes as many bikes as he cares to for customers that agree with his philosophy. Currently 50 to 100 frames per year. Which does not include his wife’s bike – apparently she does like disc brakes.