There are few parts of the United States that better conjure up images of the Wild West than Arizona and, in particular, Tucson. The cactus of Saguaro National Park, the Santa Catalina Mountains and its lions, and even the boneyard of the Davis–Monthan Air Force Base, are icons of both ancient and modern America.
The bikes that were built in Tucson by storyboard artist Ron Stanage and his Hex American Cycle Works are equally essential parts of the landscape.
Some of the most striking features of Ron’s bikes are the head badges. “So far every bike I’ve done has had its own completely unique head badge. This is all thanks to Ed Foster at La Suprema.
“He decided to hand-make me a batch of head badges that were all different so that I could choose one for every bike I make. This particular one is copper with a cloisonne white enamel inlay. The ‘H’ is the same font as my logo (or close to it… it’s changed a few times), and simply stands for ‘HEX’.”
This is the second frame of Ron’s to be featured on The Spoken, and is just as individual as the first. “It’s a cross bike that I made for myself when I was in the middle of having an extreme case of city-itis,” Ron tells us.
“Day after day I was dreaming of riding through dusty, desolate patches of the Arizona wilderness with little more than my rifle and a good sci-fi book. I really needed an escape from my day job so I decided to manufacture a means for adventure.”
“The frame is a blend of True Temper and Columbus tubing. I’m a real fan of True Temper and I really like Hank and Monika at Henry James. They’ve always got some story to tell you.
“If you’re not careful you end up on the phone with them for an hour. The main triangle is a blend of OXPLAT and S3 tubing, the rear triangle is Columbus ZONA. When you use a Richard Sachs BB shell you’re kind of limited to Columbus tubing since it’s the only thing that seems to fit in the sockets somewhat easily.”
When I asked Ron if he really went riding with a rifle, he thankfully replied in the negative, but he did say he’d bring one along if he went on a long tour through the mountains by himself, both for peace of mind and “to see what kind of small game he could scare up”.
Quite an appropriate accessory for the region. It did make me look at his ‘crosser again, which seemed to want to rear up and fire off a round even while standing still.
Yes, it’s got dust and grime on it, but that’s because Ron loves riding it. Special thanks to Ed Foster for the photography and Preston, Ed’s new apprentice. From the sounds of things, Ron has now moved to L.A., so I doubt we’ll be seeing more of his custom frames from Tucson in the future.