As proper cyclocross race season is almost done, yet there are still months of winter to get through before we switch back to full-on trail riding, I’m reminded of a pile of photos I recently found in my inbox from reader Inna Geller. She wanted a bike capable of a bit of trail riding and still comfortable for some time on the road, so she reached out to New Jersey based Vlad Cycles for this custom steel road & trail Troika. We covered Vlad Cycles last winter at NAHBS as a new builder, and even spotted a fat bike from him a couple of months ago at the Philly Bike Expo. More comfortable with flat bars for off-road riding, her bike essentially became a high-end hybrid between a cyclocross bike and a rigid 29er that is capable of taking on pretty much any surface. Roll past the break for a closer look…
Most reader’s rides that we feature are pure race bikes or trail slayers, so it’s a change of pace to take a closer look at something a bit more multi-purpose. Inna approached Vlad Dolinsky to build her a bike with a mix of cyclocross and mountain, both in purpose and in geometry. Being on the shorter side, she also wanted to work with a custom builder to get the balance of an upright riding position, responsive handling, limited toe overlap, and good standover clearance that would make her comfortable riding the bike on any terrain.
To suit her riding style the bike was built up with a mix of Shimano drivetrain, with a 2×10 XT hydro disc brake mountain group paired with a CX50 46-36T cyclocross double crank and front derailleur. Wheels are the 29er mountain Rolf Prima Ralos XR with Clement LAS 33mm file treads, and the cockpit is finished out with Thomson Elite post and stem, a Pro bar, and Selle Italia Diva saddle.
The 4130 seattube, toptube, and deep wishbone seatstays all got custom bends for the look and ride Inna was hoping for. Vlad finished out the rest of the bike with a mix of butted and straight gauge tubing from a couple of suppliers to deliver a forgiving ride on this small frame, and custom-made the steel fork in-house as well.
The faux-lug paint is pretty standard for Vlad Cycles (and actually painted by the folks at Vicious Cycles), but it does get a small custom touch with a rose and butterfly on the seattube that Inna asked for. The bike got a mix of internal and external routing to keep its lines clean, but still be easy to maintain. Topping off the finish is a proper headbadge made for Vlad by Jen Green.