Ben's Steel Hybrid Flat Bar Gravel Bike

I have the privilege of building one-off, purpose build, custom bikes every day. As the industry has struggled to define the “gravel category” I have just been over here building bikes that make sense for their riders. In an attempt to show my discontent with the need to slap a label on every last thing, I have called these flat bar gravel bikes Hybrids, because that is silly and labels don’t matter.

Anyhow, on to Ben’s bike…

Ben is one of the pals who got me in to riding bicycles back in the day. Growing up in Boulder, he got to spend a lot of time training and racing to be a super fast cross country racer. Needless to say, Ben can ride a bike really, really well. Anyhow, when Ben’s gravel bike was stolen last fall he knew he wanted to replace it with something better suited for his riding style. We decided on this all arounder gravel bike with a flat bar (which he can swap out for drops and a shorter stem if he ever likes) and simple 1x11 gearing.

While its’ geometry and handlebar may be reminiscent of a mountain bike, the frame is constructed from beautifully butted tubing for a light and snappy ride that only steel can have.

The build is classic workhorse parts with an emphasis on American made goods from White Industries. He also went with a Sklar titanium seatpost and some polished bits from Paul Component.

I am happy to have been on this sweet ride and excited to have it take him anywhere he cares to go!

The Chris King Openhouse Single Speed Mountain Bike

“Show bikes” are always tough. As a builder, you often get invited to show off some company’s new products on a carefully built frame. It is an opportunity to be seen with the latest and greatest, but also an opportunity to show off as a builder, what you have to offer. You’ve likely seen myself and other builders putting out the gorgeous builds at shows and on the internet, decked out in the most expensive parts that money can buy. Those parts no doubt ride wonderfully, but as someone with a small brand and a voice in the industry I really want to make cycling a more inviting place. That is a hard thing to do when all I ever show are $15,000 bikes like these show bikes I am talking about. For that reason I decided to bring a nice simple bike to the King openhouse.

This 29er “klunk” inspired singlespeed is a nice versatile bike that is going to last its’ new owner a lifetime. This bike is designed to be simple and easy. Low maintenance with no gears, no suspension and mechanical disc brakes form Paul Components. You can hop on with out a worry and be on your way. That said it is ready to see some more serious duty with the option for gears and different tires sizes. From exploring townie trails to towing kids in a chariot, to weeklong bikepacking trips this is a great one bike to have and cherish.

Learn more about Sklar Custom Mountain Bikes here

David's 27.5 plus Steel Mountain Bike

With a big birthday on the horizon, David got in touch about a new custom mountain bike that he could take riding near his home in the Santa Monica mountains of California. David has been riding bikes for a while and knew what he wanted. Something that maintained a lot of the cross country efficiency of his current mountain bike, but something that would handle those chunky California downhills with a little more ease.

We went with 27.5 x 2.8 rubber to keep things nimble and cush. The rigid fork is suspension corrected so that David can easily swap it out for a 120-130mm fork when he decides he wants that. Sliding dropouts from Paragon Machine works also makes swapping between single speed and gears a breeze.

As David put it, he wanted a mountain bike to ride for the next 25 years and this is a great example of a versatile bike that can grow and change with you through different gearing, wheel sizes, suspension setups. A bike for the ages and something I am happy to put into the world.

The build was topped off with a killer fade from Spectrum Paint and Powderworks, Sram Eagle 12 speed, White industries cranks, Paul Boxcar stem, and that full bearing kit from Chris King in their new matte mango color option.

Learn more about Sklar custom steel mountain bikes here.

Drew's Titanium trail bike - A Do-it-all Hardtail

It’s a mountain bike, the one you ride day in and day out. Drew get’s the importance of having a mountain bike that is capable and predictable and always there for you from the quick after work cruise to that big 3 week bike packing trip you have planned next summer. When you have a bike that you enjoy all of that riding on you know you have a winner. After retiring his previous mountain bike, which he spent six whole seasons on, this should be Drew’s new ride for a long time to come.

The titanium frame is going to be resilient and comfortable for the riding it will see between Bozeman, Tuscon and even some time in Los Angeles this winter. Drew is a tall guy and the fit on his last bike was less than perfect. Getting him on to something designed for his dimensions feels really good and from his first test ride it sounds like we did really well on that custom fit and sizing. The important numbers here for the curious geometry geeks are 815mm front center, 94mm trail (68* HT), 433mm Rear center and 318mm BB height (sagged).

For the build we went with my go-to “Smart money” build kit which features wheels from Industry Nine, Fox moving-bits with the Step Cast 34 fork and transfer post. Maxxis rubber is the best, Paul Components Boxcar stem, Enve M6 bar, White industries M30 crank and Sram GX Eagle with an X01 Cassette to save some rotational weight. In my opinion this build is right at the intersection of maximum performance and budget-minded builds. As we said with this bike - Predictable, reliable and just what you need.

This bike is going to spend its’ life in Bozeman and I am excited to get out on the trail with it and its owner come spring when the snow is all gone.

Learn more about Sklar custom Titanium Mountain Bikes here.

Bill's Custom Titanium All-Road with Couplers for Travel

Bill is a tall guy, and I like that with the suspension-corrected ENVE MTB fork, the frame looks proportional. But the size of this bike is one of its’ least notable aspects. Bill was looking for a new everyday bike, something that he could take out a few times a week on tarmac and get lost onto some trails and rougher roads on the weekends. Though pictured with the ENVE M525 wheels and 2.0” Maxxis tires, Bill will run the bike half the time with the ENVE G30’s and a 40c slick. Two setups to really tackle it all.

On top of the custom geometry and large tire accommodation, this bike splits in two for travel. An S&S Coupler splits the down tube. Undo the two seat tube binders, pull out the seat post and the frame is ready to fold up and put into a standard sized box to take advantage of that free checked bag when Bill is flying around the globe for work.

This build is all out. Chris King bearings all around with cranks from White Industries as well as Enve’s new gravel bar, post and fork and stem. Sram Force makes the gears shift. This bike should be great for Bill at home or on the road!

Learn more about Sklar Titanium All road and monstercross bikes here

Mal's Multi-surface drop bar bike

My friend Mal hit me up this winter looking for a frame that she could do a lot of different kinds of riding on. Something that she could race cross on in the Fall but also put in big gravel miles the rest of the year, working her way up to the Dirty Kanza 200 next year. Cool!

Luckily this fits in with a lot of the style bikes I not only build, but ride myself. Albeit I don’t think I will be seeing 200 miles of gravel in a day any time soon. Anyhow, we put together this nice build with some of my favorite components. Some nice light tubing from Columbus is going to keep this ride buttery smooth but real responsive for when it hits the cross course or some of those Seattle ups and downs. The geometry is pretty middle of the road between all-day comfort and aggressive race. We set up the handlebars so that they can get lowered for cross season with room to go up for those really big days if Mal finds herself needing that. Kitted up with 35c tires now, there is good clearance for a 45 or a lot of mud. A nice sweet spot for gravel bike tires.

The build uses a full Shimano Di2 Kit which is super clean and crisp. Mal is working with Shimano on a “multi-surface” bike project over the next couple of years.

All in all this is a sweet bike that can do a lot of different things! I know the one I ride like it has become my go-to this summer and I hope this does the same for Mal!

Read more about Sklar Custom All-road and gravel bikes here