Steel is real…interesting, especially in the hands of creative builders like Hunter, Sklar and Breadwinner. They collectively showed a range of bikes that can tackle virtually any terrain and had features that set them apart from mass produced items you’ll find in the stores.
Above, Hunter Cycles’ 650C “road plus” bike used the new WTB 40mm tires to give it a sporty, comfortable ride. Frame details like beveled thru axle dropouts, shapely stays and a curved top tube (not to mention that yellow paint) helped it stand out in the crowd…
Sim Works provided the handlebar. Subtle touches like matching the leather bar tape color to the tires’ sidewalls ties the package together.
Tooled axles kept things tidy on the non-drive side, as did a very tight application of flat mount disc brake calipers.
Those seatstay yokes also made for sweet slingshots.
This tandem mountain bike had solar blanket-looking frame bags custom made to fill all the nooks and crannies.
Twenty six inch tires aren’t completely dead yet, especially when they’re plus-sized and attached to concepts like this.
Using a bakfiets style steering linkage to put the front wheel way out in front of the rider, sandwiching the load (and its weight) between the wheels rather than off the front or back. If you’ve never ridden a bike like this, it’s weird…and momentum is your friend.
Headlight mount on the steerer cap.
The bike uses standard rear axle spacing on both the frame and the fork, allowing you to swap wheels to change the gear ratio…or just convert to singlespeed in a pinch. The silver hooks on the tubes (right) are for strapping bags to the side of the frame.
This mountain bike also had the 26+ tires and was a better example of using different cogs on front and rear since it was already set up as a singlespeed. In fact, it had a double cog on the front wheel, providing several options depending on the steepness of your next climb…or fatigue in your legs.
To adjust the chain tension for the various gear options (note that you could also change the front gear, too…manually), Hunter put a clever adjustable chainstay length design in place. To extend or retract the chainstay, simply twist the wing nut. Click to enlarge images.
You could also unbolt the chainstays and the seat tube and pack the bike down for easier traveling.
Last up for Hunter was this custom painted frame. Enjoy!
Sklar hails from Montana, in Bozeman, where a surprising number of other bike folks are situated considering its remote location and small population. But, perhaps not so surprising when you consider the scenery and proximity to Yellowstone National Park.
This 27.5+ bike is designed to tackle everything around the area, including remote bike packing trips thanks to the handmade front and rear racks, dropper seatpost and ample tire volume.
The swoop frame shape continues across his gravel/cyclocross/all-road bike and this 29er hardtail.
Simple yet effective post mount brakes use threaded inserts to save the frame if you happen to strip them with an aggressive caliper install.
The All Road bike gets Reynolds tubing and thru axles front and rear. Sliding dropouts, threaded brake mount inserts and a segmented fork with quarter caps round out the details.
The frame is made with plenty of mud clearance even when sporting 40mm tires.
For 2016, they’ve introduced new stainless steel thru axle drop outs for disc brake road and mountain bikes. That would include the Lolo, B-Road, Bad Otis, JB Racer, Komorebi, Arbor Lodge, and their latest model, the Goodwater.
That one is a Boost spaced steel hard tail 27.5+ / 29er that was co-developed with James Adamson with The Commute Crew for the CommUtah event. It’s named after the Goodwater Trail in Utah and is an evolution of the Bad Otis, but with longer chainstays and a taller 67.5° head angle for 140mm suspension forks (versus 66° and 160mm).
They’re made for either mechanical or electronic drivetrains, pick one, then add on internal dropper and brake routing if you want. Retail starts at $1,895 for the frame, $8,800 as shown.
The Lolo Disc also gets those stainless dropouts and is as beautiful as ever.
Also available in a non-disc version.
Front and center in their booth was one of the builder’s classic Yamaha motorcycle, beautifully restored and painted and holding a custom made bike rack.
When used to really transport a bike to the trail, he takes the rear wheel off the bike to improve clearance, it was just left on here for show. Check them out at BreadwinnerCycles.com.