Posts in the category NAHBS

Interview and Shop Tour: Eric Baar from The Ground Up Speed Shop


I became familiar with Eric Baar through his Instagram account (where he highlights welds and brushwork each day) as well as through the high praise of other builders and members of the community. When I found myself buying tickets to Colorado Springs for a conference, Eric’s Ground Up Speed Shop was on the top of my places to visit after hours. I had no idea what to expect because, well, Eric does not make a habit of promoting himself. I strongly suspected that it would be really, really cool. His operation did not disappoint.

The Speed Shop sits on the back of the property just west of the Springs. Rather than a pump track, the shop overlooks The Dizzy Drome, a micro dirt velodome with rails constructed from old airplane wings. Central to the course is a light column for those midnight hour record attempts. Parked right on the edge is his Dwarf car, an outrageous toy with big, metal-flake numbers that he races during the summer- a habit he took up when he felt himself becoming disillusioned with bikes and bike community.

That easy shift in emphasis is central to Eric’s general program. He’s been building bicycles for over a decade and a half and wants to stay glittery and doe-eyed about the genre so he’s constantly being drawn to new mediums from which to approach or interpret his work. It is this enthusiasm that makes the bikes of his house brand, Ground Up, absolutely out-of-this-world in terms of construction, detailing, and concept. The welds are flawless. The raw titanium finishes are hand striped. The metal-flake paint jobs are brilliantly mixed and painstakingly sanded. And Eric uses his new found mastery as a pinstriper to hand letter or detail the final product (when the guy isn’t screwing around with gold leaf).

While this enthusiasm for everything cool and shiny makes for top notch bicycles, it also happens to make interviewing the guy impossible. There is nothing linear about Eric Baar’s train of thought. And that’s fine. Who wants to talk about old news when there is so much cool, shiny stuff everywhere to talk about… READ MORE ->

Paragon Machine Works Preps for 12×100 Hubs with New Fork Dropouts and Bolt On Thru Axle

Paragon Machine works 12mm dropouts 100mm (4)

In terms of far reaching implications for the industry as a whole, one of the more interesting tech items at NAHBS earlier this year came in the form of prototype hubs from Chris King and a fork from ENVE. Specifically, it was the fact that the axle size was yet another addition to the world of axle “standards.” The new 12x100mm combination hinted at the future of disc brake road, cross, and gravel, but it’s been more or less limited to prototype show bikes to this point.

Now, with the latest introduction from Paragon Machine Works we’re getting a glimpse into the future. Something tells us we’ll be seeing a lot more of the new 12x100mm axle size this fall…

Interview: Jeremy SyCip, SyCip Designs


Having apprenticed under Paul Sadoff for years at Rock Lobster and gotten his formal building education at UBI with Albert Eisentraut as his instructor, Jeremy SyCip got his start with a heck of a frame building pedigree. In recently downsizing his operation from a massive space in bustling downtown Santa Rosa to his home garage, Jeremy SyCip has embraced efficiency with fewer machines, less time in commute, and less time walking across the factory floor between building operations. I spoke with him about getting his start and some of his more recent projects in this shop at the SyCip Family Compound near Annandale State Park… READ MORE ->

Interview: Curtis Inglis of Retrotec, Inglis

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit a lovely nest of the small domestic bike industry in Northern California. My first builder to visit was Curtis Inglis, winner of this year’s Best Mountain Bike award at NAHBS with his tangerine fat bike. Raised in a family of roadies, Curtis fell in love with mountain biking later in life after getting out of the Air Force. Within a year of his first ride, he found himself as the new builder for Retrotec, a then fledgling bike brand out of Chico, after its first builder had left. A few years later, Curtis would shacked up with his friends the SyCip brothers in San Francisco. Whereas Curtis had been mostly self-taught, Jeremy SyCip was armed with formal building education and years of apprenticeship. It was there that Curtis honed his skills as a builder, learned how to build in straight tubes (initially a challenge) to establish his Inglis brand, and took control of Retrotec.

Twenty-four years on, Curtis has found a good rhythm in his one-man shop in Napa, at the heart of his which is his tube rolling machine, the vehicle by which he creates all of his obsessively curved, cruiser-style Retrotec frames. READ MORE ->

Interview: Todd Ingermanson of Black Cat Bicycles


Compelled by his desire for a custom 29er singlespeed, Todd Ingermanson took up the torch 13 years ago to attempt to build his own. After several years apprenticing with Rick Hunter, he broke out on his own with Black Cat Bicycles and is now building and hand-painting custom to order frames out of his home workshop.

There are two very striking things about Todd’s shop, one being its scale and efficiency. There is no redundancy in machinery; there is a single very nice manual mill, a lathe, and a welding cart. It’s very clean. Everything that isn’t a machine is on wheels. It’s evident that this level of refinement is driven by the second very striking aspect of his operation: its location perched on the side of an extremely steep incline in Aptos, California (my rental car struggled to get up to it). During my visit, Todd and I spoke about his operation, his approach to frame-building, and his Manifesto.


Limited Edition Silca Martini Racing Super Pista Ultimate Pumps Painted by Corby Concepts Available Today

SILCA_pump_Corby-1On the heels of their High Fashion custom Super Pista Ultimate pump collection at NAHBS this March, Silca is making available a super limited number of Martini Racing themed pumps painted by this year’s “Best Paint” award winner, Michael Corby of Corby Concepts. With only 25 pumps available beginning at noon EST, today, expect them to go as fast as they look. Details on how to speed to your custom painted masterpiece after the break…


NAHBS 2015: Roundup – Bikes from Cadence, Iride, Repete & Della Santa


Low Bicycles are handmade in San Francisco, all falling into the racing aluminum frames category. This particular example was used to showcase a new bar tape design from Cadence Cycling, who’s done some great collaborations with Ritchey in the past and offer denim and other clothing catering to the performance cyclist.

Check the detailed paint and attention to detail, plus bikes from a variety of other builders, below…


NAHBS 2015: New plus-sized & fat chainstay yokes from Paragon, bottle opening tools & more


Paragon Machine Works’ new Syntace X-12 dropouts were on hand in finished form (as well as on a few bikes around the show). Teased last fall and formally announced in February, the options include steel, alloy and titanium to accommodate whatever metal frame material a custom builder may use.

Closeups here, plus pics of their standard thru axle dropout, new little tools and upcoming fat and plus sized mountain bike chainstay yokes below…


NAHBS 2015: New Builders, Ventus and Vlad Cycles


Ventus Custom Cycles of Ames, Iowa – If the name sounds familiar, BikeRumor’s Anna Schwinn featured Ventus in an article during her series, Road to NAHBS: Ventus Custom Reinvents. The bike pictured above is the finished product by builder Mark Kargol, the man behind Ventus. Mark not only specializes in unique frame designs, but is also renowned for custom paint. READ MORE ->