Category Archives: Reportage
Steve Potts’ Personal Titanium All Road Bike

Jumping back a bit here, to this Steve Potts that was on display at the Chris King Swarm event in Bend

Bikes like this stir the turd that is cycling purists’ perceptions about a lot of things. Take for instance, what the definition of “comfort” means, and truthfully, there is no finite, objective definition of the word “comfort.” Look at everyone from Grant Petersen to Coppi and you’ll see various approaches to cycling fit and enjoyment. Some road racers are more comfortable with enormous stems, slammed to the head tubes. Endurance bikepackers and record breakers often prefer the aero TT-style bar extensions for long hours on the bike. Meanwhile, even in mountain biking, bike fit and comfort varies from 110mm drop stems to 35mm ill lil shorty stems. What I’m trying to say is this is Steve Potts‘ personal titanium all-road bike and this is comfortable to him.

Now I have no idea how old Steve is, but he is one of the original 1970’s Repack renegades who is largely responsible for the sport known as “mountain biking.” He’s been building for over 35 years and to this day, develops some of the most intriguing designs I’ve seen to date. At first glance, this bike might look “weird” but when you lower your broad scope and refine your vision, you can see some truly unique and beautiful details here. Bear in mind, Steve’s fit is probably different than yours, and if you’re like me, I wonder what this bike would look like with a more race-fit geometry and sizing. Even the fork is a thing of mystery. Ask Steve about it next time you see him, he rambled off so many engineering numbers to me that I could barely wrap my head around his design process. In short, it flexes just enough to make even the most washboarded roads a little more comfortable… Hell, when I’m Steve’s age, I hope I’m still riding and I hope my bike looks like this!

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Follow Steve Potts Bicycles on Instagram.

Jun 22, 2018 15 comments
A La Bicyclette Rychtarski Flat Bar ‘Cross Bike – Kyle Kelley

A La Bicyclette Rychtarski Flat Bar ‘Cross Bike
Photos by Kyle Kelley, words by John Watson

A quick and even thorough internet search for the brand Rychtarski doesn’t turn up much. There’s a Facebook page for the brand, as well as a handful of Instagram posts, mostly of singlespeeds and track bikes, with a few modern road or all-road bikes in the mix. For the most part, the Polish brand Rychtarski has a pretty low-key presence at least from over here in the USA. But this bike isn’t a US-based bike, it’s owned by one of the guys at La Bicyclette, and it’s a total beaut!

Made from one of my all-time favorite tubesets, Columbus MAX, this rim-brake, flatbar ‘cross bike is perfect for inner-city living, where getting out of the myriad of paved or cobbled roads, in order to hit the dirt is a must.

Follow Rychtarski on Facebook to see more of their creations!

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Follow Kyle on Instagram.

Jun 21, 2018 11 comments
La Bicyclette… it’s a Family Affair! – Kyle Kelley

Photos and words by Kyle Kelley

La Bicyclette is two bike shops in one! Well, not really, but sorta. There are two retail spaces across the street from each other on the same block, and they’re pretty much polar opposites of each other. You ask how that happens? You have a father who loves cycling and cycling heritage, who wants a well-organized showroom with lots of beautiful new product. Then you have two sons that wanna run a service department where they’re the only ones who know where anything is and slang beautiful vintage track bikes and other odds and ends from around the world! (more…)

Jun 21, 2018 10 comments
Adam’s Performance Synapse – Spencer Harding

Adam’s Performance Synapse
Photos by Spencer Harding, words by Spencer Harding and Adam

A little over a year ago Adam sent me a photo of a rigid 26” bike with a Crust Clydesdale cargo fork on it, which he said was his “baja divide rig.” This would be enough to strike fear into the heart of anyone receiving Nicolas’ emails about the Baja Divide Grand Depart exclaiming “MUST HAVE 3 INCH TIRES!”

Nonetheless, he rolled up to the start on that janky Synapse (the name was crossed out and replaced with Deep Search ala The Life Aquatic). Adam being the extremely adaptable trash panda he is, he made it pretty damn far on the Baja Divide with that rig. (more…)

Jun 20, 2018 24 comments
Steel Cafe: Putting the “Home” in Home Base! – Kyle Kelley

Steel Cafe: Putting the “Home” in Home Base!
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley

It’s been almost a year since I went to France with Sean Talkington of Team Dream Bicycling Team, Ace Carretero from The Sleepers, Tebow the Enduro Pro (a.k.a Team Dream / Ringtail Intern) and Mavic Cycling to follow the Tour De France. This trip was life-changing for me and not a day goes by that I don’t think about something or a moment from this trip. It’s probably the fact that I have all of these French friends on Instagram now, or maybe it’s because I had the best meal of my life there at Miznon (that roasted cauliflower…I hear there’s one in NYC now!)

Whatever it is or was…holy cow…that was an amazing time! (more…)

Jun 19, 2018 2 comments
Golden Saddle Rides: Eric Koston’s All-City Gorilla Monsoon

Eric Koston – yes, that Eric Koston – is hooked on cycling. A few months back, he acquired a Santa Cruz Stigmata, much to the disbelief of internet cycling experts, who claimed he “wouldn’t ride that bike.” There’s something to note about these naysayers, particularly with cycling. At the time, I was bummed out on readers, and Instagram commentators from the Radavist’s audience. What is it about the sport, hobby, and activity of cycling that brews this discontent? At any rate, he proved them wrong. Eric rides bikes.

He shows up at the Golden Saddle Friday rides where he’s learned the ways of riding in Los Angeles, ascending the steep dirt roads of the Verdugo Mountains, tubeless woes, promptly taking a digger on the singletrack, getting his feet wet in the LA river, and cruising up behind the Hollywood sign.

Fishing analogies aside, Eric is hooked.

The skaters turned cyclists Eric hangs with all ride Rivendell, Crust, and All City with more upright riding positions. So he started shopping around and settled on the Gorilla Monsoon, prompting this insane build from the guys at Golden Saddle. All-City and Chris King sent in some goods, prompting the build. All these components are familiar to you, the readers of this site, yet seeing them all in one place makes me feel all tingly inside. Down to the Spitfire top cap! So yes, Eric rides bikes, he’ll ride this bike, and hopefully one day, his friends will take him bicycle camping.

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If you want a custom build like this and live in Los Angeles, hit up Golden Saddle Cyclery.

Jun 18, 2018 46 comments
LA Dirt Rides: On San Gabriel Peak a 4,000′ Descent Awaits

Live in any city for long enough and you’re bound to feel confined after a while. Constricted by repetition, the familiar, the norm. While I’ve only been in Los Angeles for two and a half years, I’ve been riding here for longer and much of that time has been in the dirt. Once the familiar sets in, it takes extra work to break from the shell, oftentimes requiring a catalyst to do so. More often than not in this city, the catalyst takes the form of visitors looking to broaden their perspective on not only the riding in Los Angeles but the entire experience of what it means to mountain bike in the San Gabriel mountains, particularly on some of the longer descents.

There is a shuttle which drops you off at Eaton Saddle, off Mount Wilson Road, allowing you to descend back down to the suburban sprawl, via 4,000′ of elevation loss on ripping singletrack. For me, the hassle of buying the shuttle ticket, getting in the van, and having it drive you all the way up to Mount Wilson isn’t enough to merit the mostly downhill experience, which is why I have only taken the shuttle a handful of times since moving here. It’s not that the descent isn’t fun, it’s just not my idea of an afternoon exercise. Which is why when Colin proposed we take his friends Corey and Dave on a bigger, badder ride, I was all ears. (more…)

Jun 15, 2018 21 comments
The NEW Wicked Fat Chance Enduro is One Rowdy Hardtail

With the rebirth of the Fat Chance brand, the success of the Yo Eddy’s Kickstarter reviving the brand, the team has worked on modernizing the vintage catalog. With the Yo Eddy 2.2, Chris and his team updated the hardtail model with clearances for plus tires, a new dropout design, and boost spacing. But what about people who want a rowdier stance in a bike? Well, for them, Chris and his team designed what they’re calling the Wicked Fat Chance Enduro, a bike that sports an aggressive geometry, designed to go downhill. This prototype sports a longer top tube, a 65º head angle, a boost rear spacing, internal dropper routing, and an even lower top tube, thanks to the braced seat tube cluster. The team at Fat Chance said this bike was designed for a 27.5″ tire, yet another version is on the way that will fit the popular 27.5+/29″ platform.

Head to Fat Chance now to place a pre-order for this frame, which is priced at $1,799 in the Yo Eddy colorways.

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Follow Fat Chance on Instagram.

Jun 15, 2018 24 comments
Old Ghost Road and Heaphy Track – Tom Clayton

Old Ghost Road & Heaphy Track
Words and photos by Tom Clayton

I said to my friend Jesse one day I’d love to do a weeks riding in either New Zealand or Tasmania. Straight away he rolled off a heap of trails he’s got pilling up, as he’s got an encyclopedic brain for good riding and always keen to head out. After no persuasion at all there was myself, Jesse, Teef and Joan at the airport in Melbourne boarding the red-eye for Nelson, South Island New Zealand.

The route we’d planned was a seven day, 600km loop around the Kahuranghi National park—taking in The Old Ghost Road at the south and The Heaphy Track at the North. Fuelled mainly by fish and chips, stout beers and more single track than you could shake a stick at, we saw the best of nature, the friendliest people and an amazing network of eco-tourism.

I’d also get the daily distance wrong by at least an hour, Joan would look handsome in every photograph and we’d get rained on for the last 10km. And probably more fish and chips. A big thank you to The Cycle Shop in Nelson for graciously looking after our stuff while we pedalled around, Curve Cycling for making very fun bikes and our friends at Rapha Australia.

See our route at Ride With GPS.

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Follow Tom on Instagram, Follow Jesse on Instagram, Follow Sarah on Instagram, and follow Joan on Instagram.

Jun 14, 2018 13 comments
A Sim Works Steel Doppo ATB Chubby Road Bike

Doppo translates to “going alone.” On display at the Sim Works Pop-Up at the Cub House was the steel version of their Doppo ATB bike or all-terrain bicycle. We saw the aluminum version from the Chris King Swarm coverage, and we’ve seen this steel model in Japan being manned by Makoto during our Mount Fuji tour.

These frames are made by a builder in Nagoya named Shin Hattori, exclusively for Sim Works, and for the first time, they’re now available in the USA through Sim Works. They feature a number of braze-ons for racks and fenders, as well as a Tange fork with a unique fender mount. This particular model was built up with chubby 650b road tires and fenders.

The Doppo comes in size Small through XXL and will fit a 43mm tire on 700c or 2.1″ on 27.5″ wheels. A frameset retails for $1,680 shipped from Japan via FedEx. Head to Sim Works to see more!

Jun 13, 2018 40 comments