Category Archives: Reportage
The Shredona MTB Festival
Photos and words by Locke Hassett
A few weeks back, some of the biggest names in the dirt cycling industry gathered for a long weekend in Sedona, AZ, one of the world’s top destinations for off-road radness for the Sedona MTB Festival. This gathering truly felt like a festival as opposed to an expo or trade show. Live music, food carts, beer gardens and group rides took up much more time than showing off their product. A few familiar faces and plenty of absolutely gorgeous bikes abound. Group rides with local framebuilder Richard of Moustache Cycles, Sam Schultz (another Montana boy) with Rocky Mountain and Kitsbow, a huge group of lady shredders, and a skills clinic taught by Krista Rust made for plenty of fantastic riding and conversation over everything from flow trail to sandstone rock gardens and creek beds.
If you are looking for a trade show that helps build stoke in the MTB community, the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival should be at the top of your list. Ride the latest offerings of MTB tech on world class trails, eat the best damn breakfast burritos in AZ (Thanks 3s in the Trees!), meet local makers (Rogue Panda, Guerrilla Gravity, Moustache Cycles), and soak in spring in the desert. What’s not to love?
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Turquoise can be a beautiful color, in the right context and while this bike was born and has spent most of its life in Bozeman, Montana, it really came alive in Moab, Utah with all of its red rock cliffs and invasive dust. Katie and Steve (that shredder dude from all of our riding reportage) are good friends with Adam Sklar. Steve’s shop, Altar Cycles, is adjacent to Sklar‘s workspace and Katie runs a local sports massage company. Together, they’re an inspiring couple who can hold their own on mountain bikes. I won’t even get into the meal they cooked up for us on our last night in Moab…
Katie’s Sklar is a 27.5 hardtail, built with Race Face, RockShox, Pro2 EVO hubs and some good n grippy Maxxis rubber. After riding for a few days on such amazing trails, I can tell Katie knows how to jive with this bike. Hopefully I can make it to Bozeman this summer to shred their local trails.
These days, the options for a touring bike are plentiful, especially when tapping into the framebuilding community. Yet, many of these US-made frames will set you back thousands of dollars. For people who can’t quite drop over $2,000 on a frame, Crust Bikes offers up the Dreamer. With clearances for 2.2″ 27.5″ tires with fenders, tons of braze-ons for extra bottles, a steel fork and lightweight tubing, these Dreamer frames are made right here in Los Angeles and come in at $1,450, painted. This is not a heavy duty touring bike, it’s a lighter, zippier version of the Crust Evasion.
Having watched Darren, the builder of these frames, shred the shit out of this bike, I’m sold. Sign me up. If you’d like a Dreamer, head to Crust Bikes for more information. They’re expecting these framesets any day now.
Before NAHBS coverage engulfed this site, our Moab crew was looking for another ride to undertake before uprooting and driving to Salt Lake City for the convention show. Porcupine was closed, due to snow and as a consequence, mud. Other trails like Portal might be too rowdy for our group and we’d already explored a lot of the other trails in the area. That’s when Josh, a local, and part owner of the Robber’s Roost condo we rented, recommended we do his favorite shuttle ride in the area: Navajo Nascar. (more…)
The NAHBS 2017 Awards
Photos by Brad Quartuccio
Each year, a panel of judges pick out the creme of the crop from the many builders showcasing at NAHBS to hand out a series of prestigious awards. This year, I thought I’d pull our NAHBS documentation to a close with a superb gallery, compiled by Brad Quartuccio. Enjoy! (more…)
Each year at NAHBS, I like looking for innovative design solutions and this year, the bike that really resonated with me was this Steve Potts Silk Ti soft tail mountain bike. It’s got S&S couplers and a rear rack for touring. These days, you see nothing but bikepacking rigs for MTB tourers at NAHBS and on the internet, so seeing a ride like this is almost out of place. Then you look closer. Yes, the chainstays are made from a piece of laser-cut titanium, but check out the rack! Steve engineered a leaf-spring stabilizer on this rack, so when you hit a rough patch, the 1.75″ travel rear “shock” absorbs the terrain and this rack, due to its design, remains free of any jostling that might jettison your panniers onto the road or trail.
It’s hard to even begin to display how it works, but when you sit on the bike and compress the shock, the rack, with or without weight, keeps its normal height. Kooky? You bet. Smart? Uh huh. After all, this is NAHBS…
After the dust from the explosion of hydraulic disc brakes, electronic and wireless shifting settled over the bike industry and ultimately, NAHBS, I found myself tuned into the classic road bike offerings. There’s a misconception that steel is heavy, and perhaps many of the readers of this website aren’t privy to that, but plenty of conversations with cyclists prove this negative connotation exists.
This year at NAHBS, Carl Strong of Strong Frames looked to break that stigma, with a classic road bike, built with Dura Ace that weighed in at 16lbs. Carl described this bike as a throwback to the 7402-era race bikes. He even used Dura Ace hubs on the wheel build. It’s easy to get caught up in technology at NAHBS, but bikes like this just make me swoon.
This bike is proof that if you take a clean, straight-forward all road or ‘cross bike and put a Lauf Grit on it, you’ll turn heads. That’s what I did anyway as I walked the aisles at NAHBS this year. Don’t get me wrong, the Lauf didn’t make or break this bike. I really like what Proudfoot is doing. Their frames are all $1,750 and are made by hand in Golden, Colorado. You could say they’re void of ostentation, and rely on precision construction and welding to promote their products. The result are mountain and all road bikes, available in a handful of colors.
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If the Necronomicog would ever come out of retirement, this would be its bike of choice. This year at NAHBS, SRAM had a four bikes on display, including this Shamrock road with eTap. The paint job is one of my favorites at the show. It’s not overly complicated, or bright and that’s why I like it.
Like tree branches reaching for the ground against a deep blue sky, this bike is reminiscent of those long rides where you’re trying to get home before the pitch black hits.
This year at NAHBS, Moots debuted their Chris King collaboration color dubbed emerald. Much like its namesake, this color really pops, like a well-fertilized lawn in suburbia. Moots decided to display this new hue on their Routt RSL, built with Dura Ace.
It’s hard to photograph titanium bikes with this lighting setup, but this bike with those green components made the struggle well worth it.