2023 Recap - another big year at Sklar Bikes
2023 was a big year here at Sklar Bikes and it is hard to believe it has already gone by. We learned a lot. We still are learning a lot. 2023 felt like a tipping point for our transition from one-man custom frame shop into bike company with the successful launch of our first production bike - the SuperSomething - and a ton of behind the scenes work that should have us launching the next two bike models in 2024 - The Tall Tale and PBJ.
Thanks for following along, spreading the word, even just reading this blog post. It feels amazing to be building community around this brand and it has felt good to meet so many fans and customers this year.
Anyhow, lets hop into a few of the things that happened this year...
The last custom frames
In February I built my last two custom frames for some Bozeman locals. These two frames marked the end of a three-year journey to get my build queue down to zero. They were pretty quintessential Sklar which felt pretty fitting. The first was a Titanium singlespeed for Josh. Most of the first twenty-something frames I built were rigid SS 29ers so it was fun to revisit that. The second was such a nice Titanium gravel bike for Meagan with a really nice steel fork. That bike is pretty much my picture of the best high-end gravel bike you can do.
Will I be building more bikes by hand in my shop in the future? Yes, I'll be doing prototypes and the occasional "micro-batch" of new models or super fancy Titanium bikes, but there will be no more custom bikes coming out of my shop and I am quite happy about that.
Shortly after wrapping up the last custom frame builds a shipping container showed up at our door with the first batch of SuperSomething gravel framesets and it was a sight to behold. Some pals came by and helped us unload and sort. The framesets had been two years in the making and seeing them all in person was quite surreal. The shop was filled to the brim and then emptied out as we sent them off to happy customers around the world.
Winter Break in Arizona
With our frames shipped out Jordan and I headed to Tucson for a well deserved break. We camped out near Tucson, spent mornings sipping coffee and soaking up the sun before a daily ride around the beautiful roads and trails out there. My favorite ride was down a section of the Arizona trail from our camp in the San Rafael valley and then taking the gorgeous road climb back up to camp at sunset. I sure do love the riding and the company down there.
Sklar X Radavist Collab
It's no secret that the Radavist has been a big part of Sklar's success so it was fun to do something a little more formal with our pals there and do a special colorway SuperSomething in collab with our favorite bike blog. 2011 me was definitely freaking out about this one and the bikes turned out really sweet.
On June 9 I took off on the tour divide on my trusty SuperSomething. Was it fun? Maybe. You can read all about my thoughts on that here.
Tall Tale Prototypes
In late June I wrapped up a prototype hardtail frame for myself and Jordan. These are the Tall Tale mountain bike frames that will be our next production model (pre-order coming February, shipping July-ish). We had so much fun riding them all summer. I am excited to get them out into the world. Gosh I love a fun hardtail.
Seatposts and stems!
This fall we got in our new Titanium Seatposts and prototype Super Stem Thing Stems. These are a step for us towards building out each bike model with a few complimentary products that we feel embody the design of the bike. Stay tuned for more handlebars, headsets, other things we like in the future.
We published 4 issues of Sandwich Mag in 2023 - a fun photozine that to be honest is mostly a fun creative project for myself. It was nice to have and stick to a goal of one a quarter but we'll do it a little bit differently moving forward. Hope you enjoyed it if you got one!
New location in California
I moved to the bay area in September. Although I have never spoken about it much through the business, this came as no surprise to anyone who knows me. I love it here so much and couldn't be happier to live somewhere with year round riding and a lot more going on. The past month I have been busy building out a new shop space for prototyping and fabrication in a dreamy building that I share with a few cool friends. Matt who does Pass & Stow Racks, Erik Billings of Billing cycleworks and Wesley who does Piecemeal Vintage (fun to see all the furniture he has coming in here too). Stay tuned for info on a shop warming party if you are in the area.
What's on deck for 2024?
January 14th will mark 10 years for Sklar Bikes which is hard to believe but the numbers don't lie. It should be an exciting year in terms of product. Tall Tales will be here this Summer and I am hoping to have PBJs in before the end of the year. I'll be doing a super small batch of Titanium SuperSomethings this Spring (drop me a line if interested). Real excited to have a full line of products that really represent what we are all about.
Wow, that was a big year. Thanks for being a part of it, thanks for reading this far. Let me know what you liked or what you want to see in the comments and happy new year!