Squid Bikes is not your average bike company. The California-based brand markets a line of unpainted frames that allows the end user to add a unique, customized paint scheme. In addition to frames, the company also offers an assortment of bike-related products that embody its DIY ethos.
"When we started the company four years ago, it was [because] all the bikes, for the most part, looked the same." said Squid co-founder Emily Kachorek. "We were really inspired by the action sports industry. Our inspiration was that we wanted bikes to look more like surfboards and the bottom of skateboards."
Squid Bikes doesn't necessary take itself very seriously, but it does take racing seriously. Squid fields a UCI Elite squad in Men’s and Women’s fields. Anthony Clark is popular with fans and co-owner Kachorek also races for the team that kicked off its season in Australia and was a mainstay throughout the entire U.S. domestic calendar. The team's unique bikes have inspired young riders at previous cyclocross Nationals.
This year at Nationals, the third team member, Sammi Runnels, had a week to remember. Runnels enrolled at Lindenwood University this semester and celebrated the start of her studies with a second place finish in the Collegiate Varsity race and then followed it up with a top ten in the Elite race. Runnels' Collegiate Varsity podium gave her two straight years with a Nationals podium after finishing third in the Singlespeed race in Hartford in 2017 during her first year with the Squid squad.
The $quidcross! frame is built by Ventana Mountain Bikes in Northern California and sold with the intent the future owner will paint it themselves, although Squid will do it for you for a fee. It shares a lot of features with the Ventana El Martillo CX, such as the PF30 bottom bracket, 12mm thru-axle rear dropout, CNC-machined chainstay yoke, wishbone seat stay and buttressed rear triangle.
The frames are both made of aluminum, but that is where the similarities end. Squid designed the bike and the geometry is different. Squid has produced five versions of the $quidcross!. Although Runnels’ bike is a size small, fourth-generation frame, the geometry has not changed going into the fifth edition. Earlier bikes did have some differences versus the current line though. "We increased headtube size, mostly on the larger sized frames, between generations two and three," said Kachorek.
Runnels’ bike, like all Squids, has a DIY spray can paint job featuring a fade from aqua to purple with polka dots throughout. Her TRP disc fork is painted purple with polka dots to match the frame and slots into a White Industries headset. The unique paint job was done in about one hour as part of a demonstration at the Lost and Found gravel race.
Runnels shared the inspiration behind the paint scheme with Cyclocross Magazine. "Emily was really into fades," she said. "We talked about it, had a conversation and this was something that was really easy to do in one go."
"The polka dots on this one actually came from a piece of trash that we found in our back lot," Kachork told us. "Chris [Namba] would hold it, and we’d spray [the paint] on there nice and easy."
Squid offers a paint service, providing "one-of-a-kind not-quite-professional quality rattlecan spray painted frames" using spray bike paint. Any paint job (outside of special artist edition bikes) can be had for an additional $100.
With the exception of a few components, Runnels' bike follows the Team build option for Squid’s complete bikes. Her build uses a SRAM Force 1 groupset, with a BB30 crank to match the bottom bracket. Her Force 1 brake levers mate to Force HRD calipers and shifting is handled by a Force 1 rear derailleur. Assisting with chain retention is a SRAM X-Sync chainring. Interestingly, Runnels has chosen a Red 22 chain for her otherwise Force build. She uses Crankbrothers Candy 7 pedals with a pink anodized finish.
For a seatpost, Runnels uses the Zipp SL Speed zero offset carbon seatpost rather than the stock Service Course SL alloy model. She uses an SDG Circuit saddle with a Squid designed paint can pattern. Her bar and stem are standard Zipp Service Course SL alloy models, and she uses white Zipp bar tape.
The bike rolls on Zipp 30 course alloy tubulars with 160mm SRAM Centerline rotors and Challenge Team Edition tubular tires. Runnels ran Baby Limus treads front and rear, and interestingly, the rear is marked "Prototype."
See the specifications and photo gallery below for a more in-depth look at Runnels' $ilver-winning $quidcross!. For more Reno bikes, see our growing collection of Nationals bike profiles.
Sammi Runnels' 2018 Reno Nationals $quidcross! Bike Specifications
Frame: Squid $quidcross! alloy with custom spray can paint job, PF30, 12x142mm thru-axle, tapered head tube, White Industries headset
Fork: TRP Carbon CX, 1 1/8" to 1 1/2" taper, thru-axle
Shifter: SRAM Force 1
Brake Caliper: SRAM Force HRD
Rotors: SRAM Centerline 6-bolt, 160mm
Rear Derailleur: SRAM Force 1
Crankset: SRAM Force BB30
Chainring: SRAM X-Sync 38t
Cassette: SRAM PG-1170
Chain: SRAM Red 22 PC-1190
Stem: Zipp Service Course SL
Handlebar: Zipp Service Course SL
Seatpost: Zipp SL Speed carbon seatpost, zero offset
Saddle: Squid SDG Circuit
Pedals: Crankbrothers Candy 7
Wheels: Zipp 30 course, alloy, 6-bolt disc, thru-axle
Tires: Challenge Baby Limus Team Edition, Prototype rear