by Greg Evans
When it comes to custom bikes, a unique paint job can draw just as much interest as precision welds or artfully machined dropouts. Lov Bikes made their first appearance at NAHBS this year with a fleet of eccentrically painted bikes in tow.
Lov, which stands for "love our valley," has been in producing handmade bikes for three years now. The company is based out of Eagle, Colorado, a town nestled in the Vail Valley, hence the name. They manufacture titanium and steel frames in-house, with production of open-mold carbon model contracted overseas. However, the latter is soon to change, as their booth featured a scale model of a carbon 'cross bike that is slated for production in their Eagle facility starting this spring.
Amongst their small collection of colorful examples was a steel cross bike. The fillet-brazed frame is constructed using True Temper OSX platinum tubing, and features an Enve carbon seat tube with integrated seat mast. Built to accommodate post mount disc brakes, the rear end of the frame demonstrates a clever mounting solution, with one bolt threading upwards into the seatstay and one bolt threading downwards into the chainstsay. The bike is built up with a painted-to-match Enve fork.
The most immediately noticeable feature about the bike is the paint. The photos don’t quite do it justice. With virtually every color in the visible spectrum, the bike's paint blends and sparkles brilliantly. We spoke with the company’s owner Nate Picklo, who also happens to be the man responsible for the paint. Nate claimed that an average paint job takes around 40 hours, although this particular bike clocked an extra 10 hours in the booth. Customers are welcome to bring their ideas to the table, but Lov prefers to take the reigns when it comes to the final artwork design.
The bike is decked out in the latest SRAM tech, with RED eTap levers and derailleurs handling all the shifting remotely. This keeps the frame free of any derailleur housing, and in turn increases visibility of the paintwork. The newly rebranded SRAM RED crank is done up with a 46/36 ring combination for proper 'cross gearing.
Since there are no hydraulic eTap levers available yet, the bike relies on TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes for stopping power. The Enve carbon clinchers spent some time in the booth as well, with custom painted psychedelic rainbow-fade logos. Wrapped in a set of Clement Crusade PDX tires, the bike looked awfully eager to hit the dirt, however the lack of pedals prevented a certain excited journalist from doing exactly that. The wheels are laced to a set of turquoise Chris King hubs that were first introduced as a limited release at Interbike a couple of years back.
The Chris King InSet headset and pressfit BB also received the turquoise color treatment. The handlebar/stem combo is a one piece, custom-painted Ritchey Logic unit. And Brooks' new carbon Cambium C13 saddle—a more race-ready version of the popular C15 that we reviewed here—is clamped into the color-matched seat mast topper.
Unfortunately Lov no longer offers fillet brazed frames, although if custom steel is what you’re after, they now manufacture a tig-welded frame instead. If Ti is more your style, they offer handmade titanium framesets starting at $4099.00 USD, including stunning paint.
Lov Bikes’ Steel/Carbon ‘Cross Bike Spec Highlights:
Frame: Lov custom steel, fillet brazed, carbon seat tube
Fork: Enve carbon
Headset: Chris King InSet
Shift/brake levers: SRAM RED eTap
Brake calipers: TRP Spyre
Rotors: SRAM Centerline
Rear derailleur: SRAM RED eTap
Front derailleur: SRAM RED eTap
Crankset: SRAM RED
Chainring: SRAM X-GlideR 46/36t
Stem/handlebar: Ritchey Logic WCS Carbon Solostreem
Seatpost: Integrated with seatmast topper
Saddle: Brooks Cambium C13
Wheels: Enve carbon clincher
Hubs: Chris King R45, turquoise
Tires: Clement Crusade PDX 700x33c
More info: lovbikes.com