WILMETTE, Ill. (BRAIN) — Velosmith Bicycle Studio, a high-end retailer here, is offering a limited-edition mountain bike build that combines custom products from four brands: Seven Cycles, Inglis Cycles, Monument Wheelworks and Pass and Stow Racks.
This Sola Plus, a 27.5-inch titanium hardtail, will be available exclusively through Velosmith in very limited quantities, said store owner Tony Bustamante.
He said the initial concept was to try to bring the versatility of today's mixed-terrain drop-bar bikes to the mountain format, to create a bike that can be ridden year-round in a wide variety of styles.
Seven Cycles designed and fabricated the frame on its Sola platform. It was configured specifically to work with a steel fork made by Curtis Inglis that is compatible with a front rack built by Pass & Stow. The wheels are custom laced by Andrew Jorgensen at Monument Wheelworks. The wheelset features a Schmidt Nabendynamo hub laced to WTB Scraper i40 rims. The hub powers a matching Schmidt Edelux headlight via internally routed fork wiring.
"It was a great opportunity to work with Seven Cycles on this project," said Inglis, who builds for Retrotec and Inglis Cycles. "I have a huge amount of respect for the people who build Sevens and was honored that they asked me to make the fork for this bike."
Bustamante said, "I wanted to do a bike that reminded me of the mountain bikes we rode in the '80s, bikes that were simple and very utilitarian. But I also wanted to bring new elements like Boost spacing into the mix, so the bike wasn't just a throwback project. Once I started down this path, I thought it would be most interesting to do as a collaboration with some of the cool people I've come to know in the industry, so the final product isn't just a bike that's been cobbled together from parts ordered from here and from there, but it's more like a collection of thoughtful pieces that are designed to go together to produce something great."
With a frame conceived to work with a rigid, non-suspension fork, the stance of the bike is long and low, with a low center of gravity. The 3-inch-wide tires provide ample suspension, Bustamante said.
The lightweight front rack from Pass and Stow is painted to match the fork. "It can be hard for people to accept that a mountain bike can or should have a rack like this, but that was really the point: to de-specialize the mountain category and make a bike you'd want to ride all the time, no matter where you were going," Bustamante said.
Seven's Rob Vandermark said, "As a custom builder, we have a long history of being guided by our collaborators as much as we guide them, so this project was a fun way to work with Tony to bring a bike to life. Having guys like Curtis and Andrew and Matt involved challenged us to bend our systems and our customary ways of thinking to produce a bike unlike anything we've built before."
Inglis' custom steel fork has braze-ons for the front rack and also boasts mounts for Salsa Anything Cages. "With the front end loaded and some frame bags, I see this as a weeklong camper," Bustamante said. As configured, the bike retails for $7,950.
Bustamante is a second-generation bicycle retailer. His father, Alberto, founded the original Alberto’s, a North Shore institution.