Category Archives: FEATURED
Tim’s Argonaut Disc Road
Beautiful Bicycle: Tim's Argonaut Disc Road

When Ben from Argonaut Cycles designed and developed his first road frame, he was content, but that didn’t mean his desire to create the best made in the USA carbon fiber road frame was sated. Ben knew the market was changing and wanted to have even more options for his customers to select when purchasing a custom bike.

With the popularity of gravel / dirt rides and races, he knew that his current racing geometry would need some finessing and with the increasing demand for disc brakes, the opportunity arose to adapt.

A bike suited for off-road riding has a few tweaks to the geometry. The rear end will be slightly longer, the bottom bracket, just slightly lower and the head tube loses around half a degree. This enables the bike to still handle fast on sealed roads, but really be at home on dirt. Tire clearances are important as well. These bikes fit a 28mm tubeless road tire with ease, which is all you need for gravel. Remember, this isn’t a cross bike.

The Argonaut Disc Road bikes that the Rapha / River City Bicycles team rode during the Rouge Roubaix were developed for off-road conditions, while staying true to their race machine pedigree.

For those familiar with the Di2 hydro system, you’ll note the front plate of the shifters were painted black. Other than that, it’s pretty straight forward. 140mm disc rotors, Argonaut Made in the USA frameset, ENVE bars, ENVE stem, ENVE wheels with custom decals and dripping with Chris King’s precision components.

Tim from the team has the first production model. After an afternoon of shooting photos and video of the bike in action, I took it out for some portrait photos.

This bike ripped apart the dirt and stood out from the pack at the Rouge Roubaix. See more in the Gallery!

Mar 12, 2014 39 comments
The 2014 Rouge Roubaix
What's this? John from River City is already having problems?

Back in 1999, a rider named Jon Anderson got the idea to start a group ride in his old stomping grounds around St. Francisville, Louisiana, West Feliciana Parish and Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Jon had been riding these roads since the early 80’s, as a form of escapism and reflection. Like most cyclists I know and ride with, Jon enjoyed a bit of pain at the hands of the dirt gods.

It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that the Rouge Roubaix shifted from being a group ride to a sanctioned event. Racers from all over the Southeast came out for promises of punchy, steep climbs, lots of gravel, scenic roads and yes, pain. It boasts 100 ish miles, with 30-40 miles of undulating gravel and dirt roads. This year, the Rouge is being run by Will Jones, the current organizer and I gotta say, he really delivered a hell of an event!

As part of an ongoing story detailing the design of a new disc road bike, Ben from Argonaut Cycles flew out two members from the Rapha / River City Bicycles Team to race with as well as Brian Vernor and myself to document the event, the culture surrounding it, the performance of the bicycles and let’s be honest, to experience one of the oldest and most intriguing gravel races in the United States.

See more narrated photos in the Gallery and don’t miss those last two photos!

Mar 12, 2014 45 comments
Backbone – The Santa Monica Mountains on Cyclocross Bikes
At this point, Eric crawled out of his pain cave and was in great spirits.

I’d like to think the kind of riding my friends and I enjoy would be considered “dumb”. From the freestyle on track bikes, all the way to the trail riding on cross bikes (even road bikes), sometimes, it’s just more fun to use the lesser-capable tool for the job. When Sean from Team Dream asked if Ty, Eric, Kyle and I wanted to ride Backbone trail during my last trip in LA, I said hell yes. Then I asked “which bike should I bring to LA?” The answer was what I had hoped for: cyclocross.

My bike has been through the ringer and it’s still one of my favorites to ride. Climbing some serious mountains, both on sealed and gravel, blasting trails in Texas, Vermont, California, Australia, Minnesota or where ever my travels take me. It’s been the most diverse beast in my stable. This ride however, this ride outdid just about everything else.

The day would be big. 60 miles and 7,500′ of climbing. 85% on dirt. Most of it on legitimate / illegitimate singletrack. There were very few chill spots. This was a MTB ride on 33c tires and drop bars. Even as part of our group passed a guy on a full sus MTB riding a downhill section, the dude had the audacity to label our cross bikes as “cheater bikes”. Ok Mr. fullface helmet and pads.

For as many fire road climbs, there were 1-track descents. Nothing was too technical or difficult to ride down, but some parts were too steep to climb with a 34/28. To top it off, I broke my fucking pedal in half at mile 20, Eric was just getting over a serious injury from a car hitting him and we were grossly unprepared for the lack of water.

High points: finding water that had been stashed in the bushes for months (the labels were bleached out, condensation formed at the top – i.e. it had been forgotten), the damn Coke machine at the Malibu Creek State Park (make sure you have plenty of $1 bills – I had 10), the subsequent swimming hole and wearing a hip bag, stuffed with a mushy breakfast burrito from Pedalers Fork.

THE HERO OF THE DAY WAS CARLA, SEAN’S GIRLFRIEND FOR DROPPING US OFF AND PICKING US UP!

We started at the Yerba Lot trailhead (one, 10 mile section is closed to bikes, so we had to re-route around that) and ended at the Santa Monica pier inside the photo booth.

I know I post a lot of ride photosets, but this one is not one to be missed! Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery!

Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4 / Kodak Portra 400

(more…)

Mar 7, 2014 16 comments
Peacock Groove
Peacock GROOOOOVE!

Erik Noren. There can be only one. This man makes me laugh more than anyone else at NAHBS. Every year, the man behind Peacock Groove outdoes himself and wows the crowd with his tribute bikes. Some are Voltron-themed, others pay homage to the Evil Dead, while others are just so damn rad! Peacock Groove is unlike any other frame company I know of…

While I expected to see Erik in the throes of production for NAHBS, I didn’t expect to see his long-time side project “The Plus System” underway. While I won’t go into too much detail on what the Plus System is, I will say it’s a line of in-house designed and manufactured headsets, available with a Peacock Groove frame. There’s more to come on that – at NAHBS, for now, let’s look at some photos from Erik’s well kempt work space.

Mar 6, 2014 4 comments
Spencer’s Landshark Road
Spencers-Road-Landshark-COVER

John Slawta’s work is easily some of the most recognizable in the world. While many have attempted to emulate his paint jobs over the years, even a subtle coat like this one is still strikingly unique. Landsharks are known for one thing: their paint, which is a shame. It’s only a disservice in the sense that Slawta’s fillets are undeniably clean.

Whereas some builders need to cover their work with flashy paint (called the pig with lipstick phenom), Slawta could walk away with a single color just fine. Yet, his bikes are all wild. Even when it comes to just two or three shades of blue (don’t mind the gypsum road residue splatted on the seat tube).

Spencer bought this frame off eBay and began to scrounge up parts. While it appears to be a balleur build, it was still done on a budget. The wheels were gifted to him by his dad (the bike would have still looked great with a box section rim), who also rides, the bars and stem were from his local shop’s spare parts bin. The SRAM Red though, that was purchased new.

Taking a vintage steel frame and dressing it up in a modern component group is by no means anything new, but there’s something special about seeing one done so tastefully…

See more in the Gallery!

Mar 6, 2014 25 comments
Up To Inspiration Point – The Wrong Way
Hippy roost

Talk to anyone familiar with the trails in this area and they’ll tell you that we went up to Inspiration Point the wrong way. Truth is, however, we’ve been going up the right way too often (on cross bikes) and wanted to try something new. Riding, or in this case, hiking up a downhill line ain’t fun. Especially on a long travel bike.

Kyle from GSC, Sean from Team Dream and myself had a lotta fun on the mountain that day. I was riding the Foes F275, we did a quick review, stopped a lot for photos and blasted down one of my new favorite trails.

Our route for the day: lower Merrill to upper Merrill, to Inspiration Point, back down upper Merrill, down a trail called Monkey Face, to Sunset, Brown and El Prieto. It was a short day on paper, but a big ride on the legs. Any MTB riding in Los Angeles is tough on the legs…

If you’re from the area, you know how fun that is. If you’re not, well… check at the photos in the Gallery!

Mar 6, 2014 7 comments
Kyle’s All-City Space Horse Dirt Tourer
Kyle_SpaceHorse-COVER

From snowy Minneapolis to sunny SoCal…

What better place to shoot this bike in Los Angeles than a spot that Kyle calls “Little Big Sur”. In actuality, it’s near the top of Griffith Park, just 30 minutes and 1,000′ in elevation gain from Golden Saddle Cyclery. This is the shop’s official sunset beer spot.

Just about every time we ride up, Kyle’s been on his All-City Space Horse. We’ll poach the horse trails as the sun is setting, rather than take the road and climb in half the time (they’re freaking steep). Usually, I’m huffing, out of the saddle on a cross bike, but Kyle kicks it into his triple and spins on up.

This bike is setup for the kind of rides Kyle enjoys: fully-loaded dirt S24 camping trips in the Angeles National Forest. He’s taken it up Mt. Lowe in the middle of the night, down a dirt track off the backside of Gleason and all over the San Gabriel Mountains. The build specs tell the tale:

Surly’s do-all Rack up front holds his E3 lamp, powered by a SON hub. Sitting on top is the JANDD Briar beer cooler rack bag (in stock at GSC). His shifting relies on Retroshift and Shimano. PAUL Minimotos provide the stopping power. A well-used Selle Anatomica saddle has seen its share of spills and thrills and those Bruce Gordon Rock n Road tires keep his rear wheel roostin’ turns.

This is probably one of the nicest Space Horse builds I’ve seen! I love the brown Chris King NoThreadset too. See more in the Gallery and remember, if you’re in LA and want a similar build, the guys at Golden Saddle Cyclery can make it happen!

Mar 4, 2014 34 comments
The Minneapolis River Bottoms on Fatbikes
Because this dog rips!

Warning: this post contains the bane of everyone’s existence this winter – snow. I apologize and promise to bring warm vibes from here on out. Seriously.

I absolutely love riding my Pugsley around Austin. Both on and off-road, it’s been a blast and the number one question I get is: “what’s that bike for?”. My answer “snow”… This causes a look of puzzlement on their faces. There’s no snow in Texas! Naturally, but it’s still fun to motor around town and hit some trails.

Riding a fatbike in the snow is something I’ve yet to do, so when Jeff told me to stay a few days longer after Frostbike, I brought my Pugs and threw on some platform pedals. Our first stop (and as it turns out, only stop) was the River Bottoms. Kyle and I had been there before with Jeff, in the summer months and I was eager to see how much it had changed after the all snow and freezing temps.

We kitted up in waterproof fabrics and wool, set our PSI to around 8 and 10, brought some snacks and of course, Baroo, Jeff’s Basenji / Red Heeler mix trail dog… What happened next was a mix of riding and an “Adventure by Hike”.

Mar 3, 2014 7 comments
Exploring the Frozen Apostle Island Sea Caves
Rad Reportage: Exploring the Frozen Apostle Island Sea Caves

Some of the best experiences I’ve had on “bike trips” haven’t been related to cycling at all. Case in point: in the early talks of the Frostbike agenda, Jeff from All-City recommended that we drive 4 hours north of Minneapolis to the southern shore of Lake Superior.

In this frozen land, there were caves, which during the summer months, held many great alcoves and vistas out over the lake, but in the winter, when it’s cold enough, they became in chrysalis. This isn’t an annual occurrence either. This year was the first year in a decade that the water has been cold enough to freeze.

Everything is frozen, even the water that typically seeps through the sandstone cliffs, causing cascades of icicles, many of which are big enough to deliver a fatal blow if they were to fall. Behind these curtains, lie numerous caves, most of which are covered in a solid 3″ of ice on all surfaces. It’s really something else.

Tuesday morning, Jeff, Kyle and I ventured out into the madness and at some point I expected to see 7′ tall albino penguins or at least a shoggoth. But alas, the Old Ones are long gone.

See more in the Gallery!

Feb 28, 2014 19 comments
Whisky Parts Surly Krampus MTB
Beautiful Bicycle: Whisky Parts Surly Krampus MTB

I love how you can take a frame that’s very accessible and affordable, strip it, then paint or powdercoat it. From there, you can either rebuild the stock kit, or build it up with choice components. For Matt at Whisky Parts, he did the latter.

Matt put a Whisky fork, bars on the front, a Whisky seatpost, Chromag stem, saddle, Industry Nine wheels, Middleburn cranks, HOPE pedals, Hope brakes and a Chris King bottom bracket. The all black component list just makes that gold powdercoat pop! I think this bike was my favorite at Frostbike and I gotta tell ya, it makes me want to do something rad with my Pugs…

See more in the Gallery!

Feb 28, 2014 15 comments