Category Archives: Reportage
Chunks’ Nagasawa – Morgan Taylor
Chunks' Nagasawa

Chunks’ Nagasawa
Words and photos by Morgan Taylor

When we think of building a bike, there’s usually an aesthetic ideal and a finished product in mind. While many of the beautiful bicycles we pore over are works of perfection, the range of aesthetic ideals is as varied as the riders who put them together.

I’ve known Chunks since the early days of fixie freestyle. We used to get together on a weekly basis to do backwards circles and bunny hop converted road frames – sound familiar? That weekly gathering gave us the motivation to ride through winters, sharing laughs and forging friendships along the way.

At the time, the NJS track bike was an aesthetic ideal it seemed we all lusted for. The race-bred, yet street-tough style led many down the path of looseball hubs and B123s in less than optimal conditions. Some went even further, to a carefully curated, freshly imported Keirin frameset dripping in Nitto and Dura Ace.

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Nov 21, 2014 12 comments
Confidence with the Wraith Fabrication Paycheck – Andre Chelliah
Confidence with the Wraith Fabrication Paycheck

Confidence with the Wraith Fabrication Paycheck
Words by Andre Chelliah, photos by John Watson

This is a continuation of a series of reviews, beginning with the Initial Reaction to the Wraith Fabrication Paycheck

Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not the best off-road rider, but the Wraith Fabrication Paycheck had me feeling steezy. John says “Confidence is everything” when it comes to riding off-road, and I can now attest to that. Riding a bike you’re comfortable on, brings confidence. That makes it easy to go fast and take chances.

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Nov 20, 2014 32 comments
Long Term Review: SRAM Roam 60 29r Wheels
SRAM_Roam60-15

I’m pretty adamant in believing that out of any bike you own, your MTB deserves carbon wheels more than the rest. Now, my point that I’m trying to make – without getting too far off-topic – is out of all your bikes, your MTB gets abused the most and is required to do the most. With road and even cross wheels, you’re rarely taking big hits off-axis and you’re certainly not charging rock gardens. Regardless of tire size, a MTB benefits from a carbon wheel, both in durability and performance. Just ride a set and you’ll see what I mean.

That said, I’ve never been convinced that a set of proprietary wheels is a worth while investment, when compared to a set of hand laced wheels. The problem is, those hand-built wheels get expensive when you’re talking carbon fiber rims, laced to a DT, King, White Industries or the like hubset.

If you do decide to pull the trigger on a set of carbon hoops, there are so many options out there. Do you want XC race-light or “trail” wheels? Well, SRAM made it easy with the Roam 60. They’re nearing the weight of an XC wheelset (1650 grams for a 29r) with the durability of a legit trail wheel. I tend to over compensate my inability to connect what I see myself doing in my head, to what actually happens on the bike, with products that are engineered for even gnarlier undertakings. In short: I like riding beefy products on my XC rig, because it’s not just a XC rig.

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Nov 19, 2014 17 comments
Iowa’s Mt. Krumpit and Jingle Cross – Andy Bokanev
Iowa's Mt. Krumpit and Jingle Cross - Andy Bokanev

Iowa’s Mt. Krumpit and Jingle Cross
Photos and words by Andy Bokanev

“And they told you Iowa was flat,” it was before noon and I’m pretty sure the beer the dude was holding was not his first. His geographically themed heckle was aimed at a random backmarker struggling his way up Mt. Krumpit with the “why I am doing this?” look painted all over his face. This was just one of many similar experiences this weekend at Jingle Cross hosted in Iowa City, Iowa.

The three day race kicked off under the lights on Friday evening in freezing conditions with the temperatures hovering in the mid teens. Saturday brought about more cold and snow just in time for the UCI C1 race. It continued snowing through the night so when everyone showed up for a the last day of racing the ground was completely covered in the white stuff eventually giving way to a thin layer of mud.

Some observations:

-Caroline Mani from not wearing any leg warmers. There is no amount of vaseline and embro in the world that would convince me to do the same.
-The race is extremely well organized featuring one of the best (if not THEE best) cyclocross course in the United States. If there is one race that deserves World Cup status, this is it
-Just like bottled water on hot and humid days there is a tariff on hot chocolate on extremely cold days. The going price for a cup of hot chocolate on Sunday was $6
-It not as cold when it’s snowing
-The course layout was different all three days which kept things interesting and challenging
-People in Iowa love pizza

So do not let the weather scare you, Jingle Cross is absolutely worth the travel.

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Follow Andy on Instagram.

Nov 19, 2014 13 comments
Golden Saddle Rides: Sam Potts Modern Classic Road
Golden Saddle Rides: Sam Potts Modern Classic Road

Golden Saddle Rides: Sam Potts Modern Classic Road
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley

There seems to be small resurgence in frame building here in Los Angeles. GSC has been working with a few builders first hand and I’d guess there are even more working with other shops around the city. It’d be interesting to see how many people are actually building bikes in and around Los Angeles at the moment.

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Nov 18, 2014 24 comments
Kyle’s Mosaic MT1 Hard Tail XC MTB
Kyle's Ti Mosaic Hardtail XC Machine

With special emphasis on hard tail… This Mosaic MT1 is unique.

Kyle’s no stranger to xc racing. He’s competed in – and won – a number of state and regional championships and has been climbing the ranks of the local race series. The angles on this bike are very XC-race specific (72.5 STA 70.5 HTA) and the parts were specified for, you guess it, racing. Just look at that cassette. That’s how someone who usually races singlespeed in the geared category – and wins – specs a cassette.

Sure, the 3T bars are a bit narrow by today’s standards, but as a XC racer, Kyle knows exactly what he wants. Take for example, the detail that stands out the most, the integrated seat post, something you don’t often see in a MTB. In fact, Mosaic doesn’t traditionally make ISPs on their mountain frames and for good reason. If you hit a drop and land on the saddle awkwardly, you could kink or worse, break it.

Prior to building the bike, Aaron from Mosaic double checked that Kyle knew what he was doing. From there, the seat tube was reinforced and Kyle’s bike was ready to go. I love the curves and tubing diameter of titanium mountain bikes and this hard, hardtail has got to be one of the more unique custom frames I’ve shot this year.

In Austin, Mosaic Cycles can be ordered through Austin Bikes.

Nov 17, 2014 15 comments
Wednesday Night ‘Cross Practice on Randall’s Island – Chris Lee
Evan Murphy gives instructions to a group of racers before starting drills.

Wednesday Night ‘Cross Practice on Randall’s Island, New York City
Photos and interview by Chris Lee

Ride over to soccer field 70 on Randall’s Island in New York City around 7 pm on a Wednesday and you’ll be met with bikes rolling around in grass and dirt, someone yelling “come on you can do it!” and a group of 15 or so racers running drills around cones and trees. This is the home of the weekly ‘cross practices in New York City.

Evan Murphy, a cat 2 cyclocross racer, runs these weekly practices with his teammate, Kyle Murphy, a cat 1 racer, every Wednesday on Randall’s Island. The Murphy “Brothers” bring cones and homemade barriers to run drills and mock races. These practices not only build the skills needed to become a better racer but also helps build a community of racers in a city and in a sport where stepping out of your comfort zone is the name of the game.

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Nov 17, 2014 1 comment
We Wait All Year for This, Right?
The 2014 ATX CX Cup

“Cross is coming” “Cross is coming”.

All year, we wait for cross reason. Truthfully, it’s the only racing I actively seek out. Sure, if there’s a MTB race nearby, I’m not going to say no, but cross is the only form of racing I truly love.

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Nov 16, 2014 17 comments
#MadeRADbyTony: The Starmac
#MadeRADbyTony: The Starmac

#MadeRADbyTony: The Starmac
Photos by Carson Blume Photography, words by Chris Riekert

“How about a little comet?” Tony says while deep in his element. “Yea… right there. Perfect.” Watching Tony paint, I realize he isn’t talking to me, but rather coaxing the paint out of his airbrush. In a dimly lit pop-up tent pitched in his backyard, Tony’s workspace smells like a lack of ventilation in a chemical plant.

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Nov 14, 2014 17 comments
David’s Zanconato Cross Bike
David’s Zanconato Cross Bike

David, or as many refer to him as “the Wilcox”, is a bit of a legend in the Boston-area, much like Mike Zanconato, the builder of his trusty cross bike. Since 1998, Zanconato has been building custom bicycles in Massachusetts, which is where David got this matte-black beauty.

While Tim and David were in town this week with the Rapha mobile cycle club Tillie – after a grueling drive straight from Louisville – I shot photos of his race bike, still caked with Kentucky mud. His build is steller with Chris King, CX1, Wolf Tooth and yes, a Quarq power meter.

See more in the Gallery!

Nov 13, 2014 7 comments