I ran across Brad’s Golden By:Stickel on MTBR and thought that it was a very unique bike. The frame had a stellar color choice and Brad had put together a solid build. I asked Brad if he’d be interested in sharing more about his beautiful bike, the story behind it, and a little about himself. Below is the interview I did with him detailing his story.
About the Owner:
What is your name?
bRad “brado” Allen – his blog: Drinker With a Riding Problem
Where do you live?
Greenville, South Carolina; about 40 miles from the NC/SC border
What type of riding do you like to do?
XC singlespeed rigid on the rockiest, rootiest trails I can find. I love tight technical east coast singletrack, and long walks uphill with my bike. I’m not the fastest rider around, but I can pretty much ride all day long. On most group rides I’m the one usually riding solo.
Where is your favorite place to ride?
Pisgah National Forest, western North Carolina
Do you race often or participate in special events?
I do mountain bike race photography, plus I’m associated with several local cycling events so there’s a lot of pre riding courses helping to get things marked.
About the Bike:
By:Stickel custom built 29er with Waltworks rigid fork.
How/Why did you choose to get a custom frame made?
Drool factor. I love bikes and love the artistry that goes into the fabrication of a custom built bicycle. There is heart and soul that goes into a handmade bike that you don’t find from mass produced factory built big name bikes. I would see pics of these custom builder shows and just want every one of them.
How did you go about deciding which builder you wanted to work with?
Peer pressure for sure. All of my friends had a By:Stickel. I was definitely the odd man out. I met Steve on several occasions up in Pisgah forest with a couple of the events I help with. He’s a cool artist/engineer mix that has the right/left brain mix that most people would find a little off, but I knew this guy is unique. He’s a total bike geek, loves BMX and he’s designed a bike that incorporates that fun factor and made it work for big wheeled bikes. After one test ride I knew I had to start saving to get one. After seeing what he was doing with the short stayed 29er bikes that rode like a small wheeled bike my choice was pretty clear. His work is really extraordinary, his welds are a thing of beauty, the amount of detail he puts into every build is amazing. He certainly doesn’t charge enough on his builds compared to the amount effort and artistry put into them. It is no wonder that companies like Kona and Canfield Bros. as well as other custom builders are using his design(s). It’s sad he’s not reaping the rewards of his innovations. I love supporting the local scene and local companies like Industry Nine, Cane Creek, Endless Bike Co., having Stickel build me a frame was really a no-brainer.
What were your design goals with this frame?
I wanted a 29er hardtail that was nimble and that could bomb downhills. I wanted it to have short chainstays that makes maneuvering the front end easy and a bike that I can stand up on to climb steep grades without the back end spinning out on me. I wanted the Paragon sliding rear dropouts for sure, something that could be run single speed or put gears in the rear as a 1×9. The last two bikes I had used EBB (eccentric bottom bracket) and was sick of the creaking BB and pain in the ass to change gearing for different terrain.
What were your reasons for going with this frame build material choice?
I’m a short/clydesdale 225+, I ride hard and I tend to break stuff. TruTemper Steel is real, and it’s been real good to me.
What is your bike frame geometry and how did you and your builder determine the geometry?
Frame: By:Stickel medium
- 71° head angle
- 73° seat angle
- 23.625” top tube
- 16.4”+ chainstay
- 12.125” bottom bracket height
- 468mm Axle-Crown
- ISO disc
- 45° rake
Steve took my measurements and me on the Salsa Mariachi LE I had been riding and figured it out on a slide rule or something, because he’s not a computer guy. I dunno how he came up with the numbers, but he nailed it for sure.
You have some rather unique handlebars. Tell me about those.
I wanted to add little “classic look” style to this build, but it needed to be functional first and foremost/ fashion statement second. I needed a nice wide bar because of bike set up as a singlespeed. I had planned on a Thomson stem and a Surly Torsion Bar combo I had been riding for years. After the purchase of the Goat Horns handlebars from Mountain Goat Cycles in Statesville, North Carolina they just looked freakin’ kickass paired with the Waltworks rigid fork. Really couldn’t have asked for a better fit. The bar fits the standard 1 1/8″ threadless steerer tubes. Nice wide 675mm width with a 10 degree rise, and 10 degree sweep.
The color on this frame really pops. How did you come up with the color?
The powdercoat job was done by Steve’s friend Chip at C4 Labs Custom Powdercoating. Chip specializes in vintage BMX restorations and Steve had just started using C4 on a couple builds prior to mine. I had the fork shipped from Walt in Colorado and the frame and fork were powered together. Why Gold? Why not? “Stay Gold PonyBoy, stay Gold”. Several years ago I had seen some photo of Ellis Cycles custom build and it was the most beautiful thing ever. Gold frame with silver bits; from that point on I knew what direction I was headed for color. I had originally planned to do some black graphic panels on the down tube, seat tube and maybe even the top tube, but when I got the frame and fork it was so amazing plain I didn’t want to junk it up with other colors. In my opinion “It’s as Good as Gold”.
Please detail your bike build (parts, total weight) and why you chose any parts for special reasons.
- BB: White Industries Ti
- Brakes: Avid BB7 (8″ F/ 6″ R) rotors
- Brake Levers: Paul Love Levers
- Chain: KMC xl9
- Cog: Endless Kickass cog 20t /22t (running two cogs)
- Cranks: White Industries ENO 34t
- Handlebar: MountainGoat Goat Horns w/ Oury Grips and Cane Creek Ergo II barends
- Headset: Cane Creek 110
- Hubs: Industry Nine Classics (9spd rear)
- Rims: Salsa Delgado Silver
- Rubbers: Nevegal (F) Ignitor (R)
- Saddle: Brooks Ti Swift
- Seat Post: Thomson
Total Weight: 26.5 lbs with tool bag/tube/air cartridge/tire irons
Do you have anything else you’d like to add to tell your story more fully?
Buy:Stickel you’ll dig it.
Submit your own [American Ride]
I’d love to see more reader rides to feature on the site. If you have an American made mountain bike or know a friend who does, send me an email. My only request, besides being an American made frame, is that you have or are willing to take some nice photos detailing the bike. Because face it, no one wants to look at crappy pictures of an awesome bike.