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So far it’s a solo ride.

On the Road Part 1: Julius' Scarab Apuna Journey

Julius Berith |

After living in the Bay Area for a few months, I realized I would need a road bike to supplement my gravel bike to take advantage of the beautiful roads and fast-paced group rides we are lucky enough to have at our doorsteps. The bike I chose was a Scarab.


When I learned that Above Category was getting ready to launch a partnership with Scarab Cycles, I jumped at the chance to build a Scarab road bike. I knew of the brand from my time in Florida, where I learned about their artisan work through Jake Gillmore of Miami Bikes and his Scarab Apuna, a custom steel All-Road bike that's based on the design of a road bike but with clearance to fit wider tires (700x28-700x38 or 650Bx35-650B-42).

I met Jake the day before the Florida Gravel State Championships when I stumbled into his shop to get some last-minute work done and we've been friends ever since. Jake has raced his Scarab a lot and had nothing but positive feedback about the brand. He's one of the rare people you meet who's always smiling and happy; it must be a Colombian thing because every time I talk to Santiago Toro, the founder of Scarab Cycles, his face is full of joy.


I believe in custom bikes because not everybody is 5'10' with a size 10 shoe (44 for our European friends). Scarab, like Above Category, starts their Customer Experience journey with an initial consultation to learn more about the rider and what type of bike they're looking for. They have lots of questions and documents to get all the measurements to produce a tailor-made bike that's going to ride as you've requested. I wanted a lightweight road bike that could double as a commuter, with room for 32mm tires and fenders. Uniquely, Scarab will schedule a virtual call with the company's founder and head of design to walk through their proposed geometry, explain the whys and why-nots, get your feedback and make changes in real time.


When it comes to finishing your Scarab, the company has a 70-page paint brochure (yes, really) that's absolutely beautiful and slightly overwhelming at the same time. I chose to combine two designs: the company's Bicolor scheme, which incorporates two elemental colors to visually divide the bike, and Chiva, artwork inspired by Colombia's multi-colored rural buses. The Chiva artwork is unique to each rider and is painted by an actual Chiva bus painter. Incredible!


A frame this gorgeous deserves a custom wheel build! So stay tuned for more on that and other plans and a long-term review in a few months. This week, we've got a tentative build planned and a group ride with Santiago this Saturday, 4/27. Santiago is also bringing several Scarab models to the AC studio - prepare to feast your eyes.

If you're interested in learning more about the brand or have any questions, please stop by the shop or call.

Ride with AC and Scarab this Saturday - Reserve to Ride here →

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