Category Archives: Reportage
Smashing the Middle Ground on the S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29
S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 29

I’ve ridden my share of 29’rs and up until recently, I was sold that the Tallboy and Tallboy LTC had the market cornered as far as geometry is concerned. Now, let me say that I’m an enthusiastic reviewer and that can be a double edged sword at times. I’d also note that I don’t particularly like doing reviews, not because they’re not fun, but I couldn’t really care for technical adverbage.

That said, I can tell naunces in geometry and component groups quite well and when something’s good, it’s good. Also, believe me, when it’s bad, it’s bad.

Luckily for me – yay new review bike – I’ve been in absolute love with the new S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29 – which has been replaced by the standard FSR 29 – and who wouldn’t be? This is a 29’r fans dream bike. Once you strip away the plush, crispness of XX1, the tunability and stability of the Rock Shox PIKE and the Fox Float rear shock, you’re left with one crucial element: geometry…

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Oct 30, 2014 18 comments
Santa Cruz to Big Basin Overnighter – Brian Barnhart
Santa Cruz to Big Basin Overnighter

Santa Cruz to Big Basin Overnighter
Words and photos by Brian Barnhart

I agreed to this trip before I knew where we were going or what we were doing. I recently moved to Santa Cruz from the east coast and take any chance I get to explore the area with friends. I’m primarily a BMX rider / commuter who does the occasional tour, as is my friend Mike who invited me on the trip. Our friend Chris, on the other hand, rides trails every morning and gets a kick out climbing a long steep hill. Finding out on Friday night that we were about to climb 6000 plus feet was a bit painful sounding, but we were up for the adventure.

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Oct 29, 2014 3 comments
My Rowdy Rosko Hardtail 29’r with XX1
My Rowdy Rosko Hardtail 29'r with XX1

In the world of custom hardtail mountain bikes, there exist a few key factors that determine shredability. The most important, at least in my opinion, being the head tube angle. Next, is the rear chainstay length and both of which, affect wheelbase and thus how flickable the bike is. I knew I wanted Seth Rosko to build it…

Follow the key measurements, or increments with a solid build kit and you’ve got a hardtail that can behave like a trail bike, under the right rider of course…

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Oct 27, 2014 72 comments
A Fool’s Errand: The RGR in Boulder – Kevin Scott Batchelor
A Fool's Errand: The RGR in Boulder

A Fool’s Errand: The RGR in Boulder
Words by Kevin Scott Batchelor, photos by Kevin Scott Batchelor and Jason Paul Stewart

When Jeremy Dunn called me and said Rapha was planning to hold a Gentlemen’s Race in Boulder, I was, plainly, stoked. I’ve always followed the coverage of the other races and hoped we’d have the chance to share our characters and terrain here in Boulder with everyone, too.

And… Here we go!

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Oct 23, 2014 17 comments
Spencer’s Icarus Forest Service Green Light Tourer
Spencer's Icarus Forest Service Green Light Tourer

Ian at Icarus has been making random frames when he has free time in standard stock sizes, ranging from road bikes to everyday commuters or light tourers like this bike. He then sells them on his site and lets the customer pick out a paint color. That way, they can skip the queue and they only have to wait for paint, not the entire frame building process.

Spencer pounced on this bike when it went up on Icarus’ Instagram and immediately knew what color he wanted: Forest Service Green.

From there, it went to Circle A for paint and was built up with mostly spare parts. I sold him some shifters, he had a spare Wolf Tooth ring, some old race wheels and other random (well loved) bits and pieces. He ordered the PAUL-specific Paragon cantilever posts to give the touring cantis some added stiffness.

Yesterday, he took it all over town, on trails, roads and various errands. We shot it in front of a new mural over here on the East Side of Austin and you know what? I really, really like this bike.

Oct 22, 2014 73 comments
From the Bontrager Vaults
... with a rigid "composite" fork.

Last year, I had the opportunity to photograph Keith Bontrager both at a Q&A session at Mission Workshop and his home in Santa Cruz. Between those two events, I was commissioned by Bontrager / Trek to document some of, as they described, Keith’s Relics.

Everything from early integrated bars to the first rolled rim, jerseys, musettes, hubs and yes, complete bikes. Normally, this would be a job any photo and bike geek would take their sweet time with, but my window was two hours, including studio calibration.

It was a blur but I got to spend some quality time with these products and I did my best to document their details and nuances. Remember, at this stage in the game, Keith was making these frames in a tiny garage in Santa Cruz…

Check out some of my favorite selections in the Gallery and please, feel free to add anything you’d like in the comments!

Oct 21, 2014 13 comments
Scott’s Rock Lobster Cyclocross Race Bike
Scott's Rock Lobster with SRAM RED

If I were to ever want an aluminum cross bike, I would go to one man: Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster. His signature mint green frames are iconic and every time I see one, I can’t help but stop the owner and ask them about their bike. Everyone builds these differently, there’s no official Rock Lobster build group. While many prefer the “team issue” golden Paul touring cantis, Scott went the way of the black MiniMoto, matched with SRAM’s Red cross group and White Industries hubs. My favorite little detail, however, are the Paul quick releases.

At this weekend’s races, I snatched this bike from Scott’s team, Embros’ tent and took it out for some photos. It was remarkably the same size I’d ride so I got a feel for what it’s like to ride one of these iconic bikes.

Best of luck this season, Scott and remember, Rubber Side UP!

Oct 20, 2014 12 comments
Setting the Hook at the 2014 Cyclocross Scuffle in Elgin
Here's where he caught fire!

While this is a gallery showcasing the 2014 Cyclocross Scuffle in Elgin, Texas, it’s also a tale of what I believe is one of the best cross courses of the season thus far. Let me preface this by saying most courses in the Austin area are jokingly called “grass crits.” That means, a lot of straight ways, usually 4 – 6, which gives a lot of riders who might not have bike control the upper hand over those who aren’t in prime fitness coming off road season.

As someone who doesn’t race road, but rides a lot of trails on his cross bike, I hate these courses. Even with recent weight loss, I still huff and puff on all the straight aways and tear apart the technical “features.” Meanwhile, it’s the opposite for the fellas who raced road all season and didn’t touch their cross bike all summer…

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Oct 20, 2014 12 comments
Pulling the Trigger on the Bullitt Cargo Bike – Kevin Sparrow
Lily before the Riverwest24.

Pulling the Trigger on the Bullitt Cargo Bike
Words and photos by Kevin Sparrow

Bakfiets, bucket bike, cargo bike, or long john; no matter what you call it, this is a true workhorse of a bike. The Bullitt from Copenhagen, seem to be the cargo bike of choice for working messengers around the globe. My first opportunity to ride one was when I was working for Breakaway Couriers right here in Milwaukee. I have always wanted one for myself but had no idea just how much until my last trip to Amsterdam. There, I borrowed a friend’s bakfiets from the brand Work Cycles and took my wife Dani and daughter Lily for a riding tour of the city. After that one afternoon, I was convinced that I needed one. As soon as I got back from that trip I started researching what was available and affordable within the U.S.

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Oct 17, 2014 30 comments