All eyes have been on Montana for the last two days, with red and blue candidates in a heated battle to win the rights to time in one critical seat.
More than elbows were flying on Wednesday when one competitor lost his cool in a fashion that had every journalist cringing. It didn’t end his race, as he escaped a disqualification to finally pull ahead and then apologize while on the podium.
However, the positive stories are out there. Out of the limelight in Bozeman, there’s a soft-spoken, up-and-coming candidate who avoids hardline philosophies and worked hard to unite the red and blue. Adam Sklar’s results speak for themselves:
Sklar has been building bikes in Bozeman for six years and has already evolved quite a bit as a builder, despite being just 23 years old. He first started out as a mountain biker, and first experimented with building bikes by brazing. Now, he’s found his calling as a cyclocross racer and dirt road explorer, and has shifted to TIG welding. Yes, he’ll build you a mountain bike—he welcomes all and doesn’t discriminate—but says his brazing days are largely over.
At the 2017 Paul Camp, Sklar brought this classy steel monster cross machine for journalists to ride. I didn’t have a chance to swing a leg over it, as it was a bit small and there was only so much time in the day (see my impressions of the Falconer Drop Bar mountain bike here). However, after most attendees headed home, I chatted with the young builder before he embarked on a road trip.
Sklar cites mountain biking in high school as his first real foray into the cycling world, and credits fellow Bozeman builders Carl Strong and David Kirk with offering advice on how to set up his business. Sklar’s shop is less than two miles away from Strong’s, putting him a few pedal strokes away from helpful input.
Sklar enjoys cyclocross racing and exploring the dirt and gravel roads of Montana, so he values versatile bikes that can handle both racing and adventure. His steel monster cross reflects that philosophy. There’s no underside-of-top-tube-mounted cables or housing to make run-ups any more painful, while there’s ample clearance for mud or fat tires. For Chico, his bike was equipped with 27.5 x 2.1″ WTB Nano rubber, but would fit 700×40 tires.
Sklar’s design aesthetic incorporates a lot of curves, but they’re gentle and subtle, not as central to the design as the swoopy Retrotec or Van Dessel WTF frames. The top tube has a gentle arc, while the chainstays are shaped and curved behind the bottom bracket for tire clearance.
The bike on display featured a tapered head tube, intricate housing guides by the rear derailleur, a T47 threaded bottom bracket, Paragon thru axle dropouts, and a classy post-mount rear caliper brake mount.
Cyclocross frames run $2250, while custom steel forks run an additional $475. His show bike featured an ENVE Cross Fork, which adds $375.
Ready to pull the trigger? Sklar said he currently has about a three-month wait.
See the full photo gallery below.
More info: sklarbikes.com
Sklar Bikes Monster Cross Bike Photo Gallery: