Land Shark Bicycles is founded by John Slawta. The company is based in Talent, Oregon, United States. Slawta named his frames after the protagonist in an old “Saturday Night Live” skit that played off the “Jaws” movies.
Building bikes became serious business for Slawta and Land Shark in 1986 when he was asked to build several for a group of professional riders, including Andy Hampsten, Roy Knickman, and Steve Hegg. Slawta responded by building what became some of the most sought-after bike frames available. A 1988 letter from Andy Hampsten, then riding in Belgium on one of Slawta’s bicycles, hangs on the wall in John’s Land Shark fabrication shop. “Thanks for the bitchin’ bike,” says Hampsten, who went on to win the Giro d’Italia riding his Land Shark.