David Smith’s 10 Speed

David Smith's 10 Speed

There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia or reminiscing about erstwhile style — it’s handy being able to look back and see where we got things right — but it’s more interesting to take those influences and integrate them into a modern application. Photographer and designer David Smith has taken the revered 10 speed road bike and completely reinterpreted it into a modern format.

The 10 speed transmission is making a comeback, not just among those who appreciate retro lugged steel beauties: downhill mountain bikers now use only 10 gears with SRAM’s 2012 XO group. David applied the same arrangement, giving the bike a solid, power-driven look. Titanium tones, gum sidewalls, brake hoods and black suede combine to produce a stylish ride that’s hard to pin down.

The profile of H Plus Son TB14 rims hearken back to the era that gave rise to the original 10 speed, but still manage to look completely fresh, as do the Cannondale Hollowgram cranks. There’s traces of Chris Bishop and Black Cat Bicycles in the overall build, who David cites as influences but, to David’s credit, it’s a completely original streetfighter. Check out more of his photography on his website.

David Smith's 10 Speed
David Smith's 10 Speed
David Smith's 10 Speed
David Smith's 10 Speed
David Smith's 10 Speed
David Smith's 10 Speed
David Smith's 10 Speed

  • Teo

    wonderful frame, understated but perfectly balanced and detailed. The use of a DH group is an original idea, bravo!

  • Stew

    anyone have any idea where those bars come from? they look great!

    • James Swanson

      The 3-bolt clamp suggests they are repainted Ritchey monocurves. Are those actual quick-releases?

  • Bravo! We have seen the future… but do trim that rear QR skewer. Spiny has a nasty scar from a skewer that stuck out like that.

  • belligero

    What a ride. The attention to detail is near-perfect and yet not. Integrated seatpost shows commitment, although eschews practicality. Rear skewer could definitely lose the gouge extension as Spiny said, but the sexy rims almost compensates. The nearly-but-not-quite-aligned tire/valve interface seals the deal. This bike is real-world sexy.

  • belligero

    Subject-verb disagreement there; I’m massively embarrassed. “The sexy RIMS almost COMPENSATE […].” I can’t see any “edit” functionality so I’ll simply post this as an addendum and hang my head in late-night semi-drunken shame. Until next time, keep fit and have fun.

  • near miss

    I have to disagree with the success of this as a road bike, it is undoubtedly beautiful but a roadie has double chainrings for good reason – why not just do something that works rather than a half attempt at nostaglia for the sake of trying to be different?

    Bar end shifters on a drop bar is hardly modern, more like something totally retro-grouchy, unwilling to accept that STI’s simply are better in every sense. Add a chainring, FD and DA7800 levers and not only would this still look stunning but it would be highly practical.

  • Mostlypedals

    For reference. 1×10 drivetrains are not some wild new thing in the mountain bike world, and definitely not something SRAM invented just this year for gravity use. Since the adoption of 10-speed by the mountain world (in, um, 2009? Earlier?) weight-conscious XC dudes and gravity racers alike started running 10x cassettes with a single ring and a guide up front. It’s light, it mostly works fine, and it’s simple.

    SRAM should be commended, however, for some of their excellent innovations, such as the Avid Elixir brake.

    As for the 10-speed machine pictured here,. Absolutely astonishing, looks like it’d be a serious joy to go out and hammer around on!

  • Tony Johnson

    Interesting build, very clean, what brake levers are those?

  • 34×28

    Nice build, v clean, anyone know what brake levers those are?

  • Shouldn’t there be more info on this bike? Such as what material it is made of? Titanium or steel? If steel, which type?

  • such clean lines.!. could almost be a stealth bike… 8-D … this bike is a visual blast.!. 🙂 … wish i could ride it as well…

  • Vernor

    This is pure Santa Cruz. Spare parts bike turned performance machine. The strange hub/rim combo (don’t think Easton signed off on these). Funky frame (yeah, you should get the whole story on that?). The cranks. Everything here points to industry guy with a garage full of randomly acquired parts and no cash flow.

    Separately, David’s photo of the Latino mt bikers in BIKE mag was a favorite from last year.

  • anyone who knows what frame it is?

  • jd.

    currently building something similar. single ring. 10 speed. this is a real inspiration.
    it can work. it will be ace. just have to take my time and get it right.