Category: Bling Builds


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12 Bling Builds Of Xmas - Starling Murmur 29er

It's no secret here at AVT we love steel bikes and frequently feature them in our Bling Builds blog feature. But a 29er steel full suspension bike is a much rarer beast.. and one that gets a killer ride review from legendary Dirt Mag journo Steve Jones is pretty much a total unicorn. 

"THIS GARDEN SHED BUILT STEEL 145MM BIKE has changed our expectations GREATLY. NOW WE KNOW HOW A GOOD MID TRAVEL BIKE CAN AND SHOULD FEEL LIKE. the Starling Murmur LEAVES US ASKING THE QUESTION – DOES ALUMINIUM OR CARBON FIBER REALLY HAVE A PERFORMANCE ADVANTAGE AT ALL?" Steve Jones - Dirt Magazine.

So we just had to include the Starling Murmur in our top 12 Bling Builds of 2018. No it doesn't come with a full flight of Chris King or White Industries components...in fact it doesn't have any of those. 

But for a full sus rig, that's designed in a garden shed in Bristol, England its certainly worthy of it's place. Stay tuned in 2019 as we'd love to get our hands on one of these (with a full component of Chris King goodies) to rail down our local trails here in Ashland, Oregon.

Photo Credits:

Pinkbike.

Dirt Magazine.

Starling Website.

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12 Bling Builds Of Xmas - DeSalvo Tomac-ular Spectacular

I grew up in the 90's and my cycling heroes of the time from the pages of VeloNews and Cycling Weekly were the likes of LeMond, Frishknecht, Cipollini and of course John Tomac. As he was mixing road racing with 7-Eleven / Motorola alongside crushing the Grundig World Cup (and racing DH!), Tomac's drop bar Yeti was one of THE iconic bikes of the 90's, complete with Tioga disc drive rear wheel. Tomac was definitely onto something given the current trend towards gravel bikes with wide 650B tires which are starting to look a lot like a mid 90's MTB.

So I was stoked when I saw Mike DeSalvo's NAHBS Tomac-ular Spectacular earlier in the year and it was a shoe-in for a spot in our 12 Bling Build Of Xmas.


Anyway, back to the sublime welds on the DeSalvo...you might have seen a few DeSalvos on our blog this past year, for good reason. Mike is a neighbor of ours in Ashland, Oregon and we love to support local builders, but he also turns out some on the most beautifully crafted, understated bikes around. I think without doubt, most people we all ride with round here, including everyone on the AVT staff have a DeSalvo on their "one day wish list".

A regular winner at NAHBS, Mike took a different approach to the show this year building just one bike, and turning it over to his fans to come up with the inspiration for that bike. The lucky winner came up with the idea for a Tomac inspired, drop bar MTB complete with blue goodness from Paul and White Industries. FOX gravel fork and drop bar actuated dropper post.

From this:

To this!


Photo Credits:

Cycling Tips.

DeSalvo Cycles.

The Radavist.

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12 Bling Builds of Xmas - Kellan's Chris Cross

Kellan's Chris Cross has to be part of our 12 Bling Builds of Xmas because it's a unique and colorful build, and an impressive bike!

Back in August we profiled this Fat Chance Chris Cross that belongs to AVT staffer Kellan.  It's just such a cool and unique bike that we felt that we just had to include it in our 12 Bling Builds of Xmas series!  This is a Fat Chance unlike any other, with its wild Land Shark paint job and precisely eclectic parts kit that ties into the paint perfectly.

Here's what he had to say about it (from the original post)...

“I wanted something unique so for paint I reached out to Sara Slawta (Land Shark) and told her I really like the Stickman from Fat City Cycles back in the day, but to surprise me, with the caveat that I'm not the biggest fan of the color pink. 

After I saw how great the frame looked I reached out to ESI who have made custom grips for me before and told them to come up with something wild to keep with the theme. 

Rounding out the build I went with parts I know always work: 

  • White Industries G30 crank, with mismatched extractor bolts and White Industries BSA BB.
  • Chris King headset in Matte Slate; 
  • Thomson cockpit, including their new dirt drops; 
  • Brooks C15 saddle; 
  • Donnelly PDX tires, great for racing cx in the PNW; 
  • Rolf wheels were great to deal with being a semi-local company; 
  • Lastly I have always wanted a bike with Shimano Di2 so this was the perfect time. With a bit of a delay on the hydraulic calipers from Shimano the bike is photographed with TRP brakes for now.”

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12 Bling Builds of Xmas - Brendon's Singlespeed

Most of the bikes in this series are brand new this year, but this is was built years ago!  Designed for, and built in the rocky, pine-covered landscape around Flagstaff, Arizona, this 29er was built to be able to handle the constant barrage of rocks that have a tendency to wreck lesser frames, and the very technical terrain that they create, all while carrying plenty of water for those all-day adventures around the mountain and into the desert beyond.  While it can be set-up with gears by swapping out the rockers in the dropouts, this bike was designed first and foremost to be a single speed, and that's how it's spent most of its time!

The fact that it's still a top choice after many years (and some minor component changes) just highlights one of the great things about a single speed built with quality parts: it can last for years and years, and deliver great rides all along the way!  The Chris King ISO Single speed hubs, InSet 7 headset, and ThreadFit 24 bottom bracket have kept it running smoothly through thick mud and moon dust!  After all these years, the hubs feel like they're just getting started in their lives, the bottom bracket spins smoothly after many re-greasings, and the headset turns smoothly, just like a headset should! 

All in all, this bike is and has been what every single speed hopes to be: simple and effective at delivering a great ride without having to worry too much about breaking anything on the bike.  It's a rippin' good time!

For more photos over it's lifetime, you can check out @theramblebeacon on Instagram.

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