Standing at a distance of about six feet, I placidly gaze at the features of this bike, as in a museum. Steve Potts approaches, now two of us standing shoulder to shoulder in appreciation. Nothing to say in particular, although I stumble through a few words about the paint and drop bars and how this is probably my favorite bike at the show– “if I could take one bike home with me, this would be it”. He kindly nods. Pausing for a final moment to look, he walks away. The bike receives the Steve Potts seal of approval, and that’s saying a lot.
Rick Hunter has been building bikes in Santa Cruz, CA for 20 years. His featured dirt tourer at last year’s show was highly praised, complete with custom canvas framebags from Randi Jo Fabrications. This year, he brought a showstopping custom longtail fatbike, built for Scott Felter of Porcelain Rocket. But this drop bar 29er is the bike that stole my heart.
Vintage WTB Dirt Drop bars, Dura-Ace levers and Shimano XT shifters. The bars are finished with a layer of Grab-On foam in the drops, wrapped in cotton tape. This is still a really good way to mount shifters.
Custom Cunningham in-line barrel adjusters.
Destined for Monkey Wrench Cycles in Lincoln, NE.
Custom 6-speed cassette on a Chris King singlespeed hub, yielding a dishless rear wheel and a wide range of gears.
Rick crafts beautiful and functional fork crowns and chainstay yokes.
The build is completed with a NOS Avocet Touring saddle and Deore XT seatpost.
Scott Felter says “Rick Hunter is a genius”. I couldn’t agree more. His bikes are highly functional, featuring a utilitarian aesthetic that is in itself, artistic. He finds creative solutions to the specific needs of his customers, manufacturing custom racks, fork crowns and chainstay joinery. While this bike is styled like an old Cunningham drop-bar mountain bike, painted like a Ritchey, it is designed and specced like a bike that is actually meant to ride.