I’m bad at keeping secrets, but let’s just say something rad is on the way next week in California.
October will be here before you know it and with it, comes Grinduro, a different kind of bike race. After my pre-ride photoshoot, one thing became evident: the best rig for this race is a cross bike. Don’t even try to ride a road bike, because you’ll be walking and if you ride a MTB, you might clock in a better time on the descents, but there’s a 25 mile climb.
When Giro announced the Grinduro, Santa Cruz framebuilder John Caletti of Caletti Cycles began working on a cyclocross bike for the event. With bent seat stays, clearances for a 40mm tire, disc brakes and no-rattle housing, this bike is the ideal weapon for a day filled with Sierra Nevada gravel and crag.
My favorite detail on this frame in particular however is the Geoff McFetridge artwork. The evil mountain awaits and Grinduro is coming… Best get your rig ready.
Cyclocross bikes may be designed to race for 45 minutes to an hour in various conditions, but their beauty lies in their versatility. I’ve put in a lot of time on my cross bike over the years, and only a fraction of those hours were spent racing. Instead, my bike’s been on road, trail, dirt, gravel and frontage road rides. With the right gear range, which is now as simple as a cassette or a chainring swap, a cyclocross bike could very well be the only drop bar bike you’ll need.
Companies like Niner are banking on that and while they offer a few ‘cross bikes, the RLT9 Steel is their flagship steel rig. Made from oversized Reynolds 853, with a pressfit 30 bottom bracket and a sweet carbon fork, the RLT9 Steel is being marketed to the “adventure” crowd.
What better way to test a bike’s capabilities than to pull one right from the box, strap three day’s worth of camping gear on it and chase 20 people around the mountains, roads and singletrack in central California?
That’s exactly where my relationship with the RLT9 Steel began… In the San Jose airport.
Literally seconds after walking into the 2015 Sea Otter Classic, I ran into Nick and Matt from SF. They had driven in that day and rode their lock-up MTB commuters down to the show. In SF, with bike theft at an all-time high, having a beater that is both cheap and functional is key.
Matt’s Trek 890 features porteur bars, a rear rack, a porteur rack and a Strawfoot bag for cargo. Meanwhile Nick’s Mongoose utilizes dirt drops and barcons. Both bikes have a fair amount of beausage and can both be maintained with a local bike shop’s parts bin.
Thanks to Matt and Nick for embracing my request for a wheelie photo!
For 2015, Ritte Racing has reenvisioned their Snob road frame to fully adopt disc brakes with 30mm tire clearances in mind. The new OS 630 Stainless frame is custom hardened in-factory, laser mitered and tig welded to last a lifetime. Each Snob Disc comes with a 1-1/4″ Enve Disc Road fork and Chris King IS-8 headset. To provide an ample platform for butting those oversized tubes together, the Disc Snob uses a PF30 bottom bracket, which coincidentally delivers stiffness where riders like to feel it.
This particular bike was on display at Sea Otter and was built using the latest working prototype Paul Klamper disc brakes. All I can say is there’s a whole lotta bad-assery going on here. Good job, Ritte!
Expect the Disc Snobs to drop in June with an MSRP of $3,000.
The guys over at Franco had two new bicycles with them at the 2015 Sea Otter Classic. One was a flashy cyclocross racing frame with a carbon fork and carbon wheels. The other, however was a little more unique. It was the same frame, yet built with a steel fork, Di2, disc brakes, fenders and painted a forest green. While the fork they had with them was a painted All-City fork, Franco Bicycles will be making their own, in the same facilities that make their frames here in the USA.
These frames are multi-use, semi-customizable, and are made in the USA for under $1,500. Available in Summer of 2015, you can reach out to them and get put on the waiting list. Head over to the Franco Grimes site for more information.
For the 2015 Sea Otter Classic this year, Mavic wanted to showcase a few influential designers as a platform to display their newly-branded and redesigned Crossmax SL Pro wheels. They contacted Sean Talkington of Team Dream Team who led them to Aaron Stinner of Stinner Frameworks and Jordan Low Custom Paint.
For Sean, he wanted a do-it-all 29’r hardtail, setup for minimal bike packing and everyday trail riding. For Chad, his 27.5″ hardtail is a straight-forward XC race machine. Once Aaron Stinner knew the silhouette, Sean began designing the frames. The resulting designs were inspired by 90’s era fluoro paint jobs, using Mavic’s signature yellow color as a starting point.
These two bikes were unveiled tonight at a Mavic event in Monterey, California on the first day of Sea Otter. Swing by their booth at #559 to see these beauts in person.
To commemorate their new ultralight Addict cyclocross bike, Scott Sports had Marcel Wildhaber’s special edition bike on display at their Sea Otter Classic booth. While the production Addict touts the same frame details, the paint job on this one was too good to pass up on… more. camo.
The Addict CX is being marketed as one of the lightest framesets on the market. Weighing in at a cool 1300g (frame and fork), it’s a claim that’s easily backed up. With internal routing for everything, including a dropper post, thru-axles and a removable front derailleur clamp, the Addict CX’s minimal profile is both appealing to those obsessive mechanics, as it is to racers.
While the production Addict comes with clinchers, Marcel’s bike had some juicy FMB tubies glued up, providing that last little bit of flair to an already sick race machine. There’s more information to come on the Addict CX at Scott Sports and more photos in the Gallery!
Since the beginning, Rick at D&D Cycles has painted the Ritchey frames that found their way to him, including the popular Commando mountain bikes. This irregular pattern was something that the Ritchey factory overseas couldn’t emulate, so the team brought this new Swiss Cross straight to D&D Cycles for the appropriate treatment.
For 2015, Ritchey will now offer up any steel frameset with this paint option. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got an older Swiss Cross or a new Break-away, any of their steel frames can be painted like the old Commandos. Simply contact them for more information.
See more photos of this beaut in the Gallery.
Over the next few weeks, Speedvagen will be rolling out a few new bike models, the first of which being the Rugged Road. Like a cross bike, but with some geometry tweaks, the Rugged Road is closer to a road bike than a cross bike, as the name implies. It’s meant for gravel descents with rutted corners and long days in the saddle, rather than an hour of being raced in a cyclocross course.
This frame in particular utilizes the Speedvagen new HollaText scheme with a cream base color; a color we’re the brand will be working with for 2016. It’s built with Di2 and hydraulic discs with room for 40mm tires. As for the geometry tweaks, the most notable is the lower bottom bracket, making it super agile while cornering and keeping the rider’s center of gravity low, despite the larger tires.
To lighted the bike up a bit, customers can opt for a carbon seat tube, which sleeves into the bottom bracket and seat tube cluster. When painted, you can hardly tell, yet it shed substantial weight off the frame. The paint work on the DT Swiss hubs is an accent that Speedvagen has been doing since 2008.
There’s more information on the Rugged Road to come, so stay tuned at Speedvagen.