When Enve hosted their virtual Open House back in August, we pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that if the Chris King Open House happened this year, it would most likely be virtual. Last year, we enjoyed getting to look the bikes over and ask questions of the builders, but this year we're pretty happy to get to see some beautiful bikes at all!
Before we get started on what we found most impressive on the actual bikes, we should probably take a moment to look at the new colors: gold and matte jet with gold lettering.
The former is a welcome reboot of a classic–this time with a new font. When Chris King stopped producing their classic polished gold components in 2016, many of us were disappointed to find out that we wouldn't be able to get a color that seemed like one of the most useful accents, and while in the interim we've certainly had some sweet options in its stead, we're stoked to finally have it back! This means that most of the manufacturers we stock now offer gold parts again, and finally one of those options is the beautifully polished version of this color that comes from Chris King's Portland, Oregon factory.
The latter is entirely new–and arguably the most groundbreaking colorway that the company has released to date because it is the first to have two finishes on one part. We have been big fans of King's matte jet color since its release, but this new take on that super-low-key color gives it a whole new dimension and we like it!
But what about the bikes that Chris King used to showcase these colors? There are some themes, as usual: the bikes are all gorgeous; they're all great examples of the level of craftsmanship, attention to detail, and overall consideration that is available in a custom bicycle today. But all of that kind of goes without saying, because what else would anyone expect from bikes of this caliber? Yet within all of this outstanding quality we wanted to see what these builders did to make their bikes stand out from the already exceptional crowd. So with that in mind, and in no particular order, here are some of our favorite details from the show:
Mosaic never disappoints when it comes to finish work, and this one, painted by Arthaya Nootecharas takes the graphics in a really cool direction. We also love the bottom bracket shell, which is tapered at the ends to reflect the taper on the head tube. Overall this is just a super clean bike in a sea of super clean bikes, but we really like these details!
Bingham Built Laubster road
Brad Bingham is by most accounts one of the most skilled tig welders working in bikes, and his aesthetic seems to generally fall into the same category as his welds: clean. This road bike definitely fits that bill perfectly, and we really dig the textured graphics and just the simplicity of the bike.
Breadwinner Bad Otis
Breadwinner's Bad Otis is one of the few mountain bikes at the show, but the bike's black and gold color scheme and rad font really helps make the most of the new matte jet colorway. As always with Breadwinner's bikes, the lines are clean, and we really dig the shape of the dropouts which cleanly integrate a low-mount brake mount and contribute to the bike's overall nice lines.
Speedvagen Ready-Made Disc OG
Speedvagen is another brand that never disappoints when it comes to finish quality, and this one is no exception. This might be our favorite bike when it comes to the way it ties its graphics in with those of the new matte jet colorway. We're not quite sure what all it says (other than Speedvagen here and there), but we ARE sure that it looks amazing🤩. The way the designers at Speedvagen have mimicked the black background/colored font of the new matte jet parts with a fade that includes gold among other tron-esque colors, is just lovely in our book🤩😉.
Sage All Road
Sage is one more of the large field of beautiful titanium bikes that made of this year's Open House, and we love the polished and anodized finish, which not only hints at the gold components, but also is just a really cool look that makes the most of titanium's ability to be left raw!
Caletti Adventure Road
Caletti's entry reminds us of a couple of classic titanium brands while creating something new: the finish makes us think of Moots and the company's satin bead-blasted finish which just has a luxurious luster, and the bike's large tubes bring us back to the heyday of Lightspeed, when the company was producing many bikes with massive airfoil tubes. Then there are the small details like the head badge, which is backed by gold anodized lines which tie-in to the matte jet and gold parts, and the seatpost, which is a straight piece of titanium tubing with the offset clamp just mitered off-center into the back of it. This is a very different seat post design, and we are totally into it! Overall: very nice!
Sycip Designs Steel Hardtail
Jeremy Sycip's steel hardtail is a welcome bit of classic simplicity in this year's show. With its single color paint job, and modern-but-not-extreme geometry, this bike just looks like one that anyone could hop on and have a great time! We always dig the pennies (2¢ rebate with every frame!) that Jeremy uses as seat stay caps, and his extremely minimalist brake mount is just smart. This bike is also a great example of how a single color that picks up the gold tone in the new matte jet colorway works. We'd say it works well!
Pursuit Cycles All Road
We'd be remiss to finish this roundup without taking a look at Carl Strong's newest venture–Pursuit Cycles–and the entry the company brought. With playful artwork by Bicycle Crumbs, this made-in-USA carbon frame stands out from the crowd of low-key titanium bikes (Ha! That sure seems like a funny thing to be able to say!). With all of the color that's happening on this frame, we think it's a great example of how a bright color like gold can actually fade-in to a paint scheme. In any case, this bike looks like it would be a blast to ride, and makes us excited to see what's next from Pursuit!
Be sure to check out the rest of the bikes at The Radavist, and of course, if you want to get some parts in either of these colors on order, you can contact us. Currently, we're expecting to have them available near the end of January 2021, and we will continue to update you on availability; but in any case, getting your order in early will ensure that you get the parts you want as quickly as possible.