Category Archives: Reportage
Jotunheimen Super Randonnée – Johan Björklund

Jotunheimen Super Randonnée
Words and photos by Johan Björklund

In late July it was finally warm and dry in Sweden, so we decided to go to cold and wet Norway and ride the Jotunheimen Super Randonnee, 600km with 10 600 meters of elevation. We had been talking about it for the last two years when Daniel, Even and I suddenly decided to ride it without doing any real planning.

A Super Randonnee is a 600km brevet, but with a minimum of 10 000 meters of elevation gain. In return, you get a more generous time limit, from 2017 and forward 60 hours and before that 50 hours plus one extra hour per additional 1000 meters of elevation. They’re run as permanents, so you can ride it when you want with the permission from the local organizer. The regular brevet card for stamping at gas stations is partly replaced by awkward staged photos where the bikes of all riders with an attached plastic sign have to be visible at specific locations. (more…)

Aug 30, 2017 24 comments
Jimmy’s All-City Big Bad Big Block Street Track

Track bikes in the city can turn any ride into a completely new experience and perhaps that’s what Jimmy was looking for when he built up his new All-City Big Block. That and an excuse to put all his balleur parts he’d been hoarding on a new bike. Why wouldn’t he? These frames are beautiful with their sparkle paint job and street-friendly geometry. The velo hip will note the special edition Phil Wood splatter track hubs, the Sim Works Caroline stem, White Industries pedals, Sugino outboard bottom-bracket cranks with a RWB AARN chainring and a super rare grey suede Selle Flite saddle. To be completely honest, when I saw this bike all built up at Golden Saddle Cyclery, where Jimmy is the manager, I couldn’t believe how well it turned out. The best part is, Jimmy actually rides this beaut too! Well, sometimes, anyway.

Keep crankin’, Jimmy!

Aug 29, 2017 29 comments
Inside / Out at Outer Shell in San Francisco – Spencer Harding

Inside / Out at Outer Shell in San Francisco
Words and photos by Spencer Harding

When we set out on the DFL the Divide trip earlier this year I noticed a bunch of my bay area friends were rocking bits and pieces by Outer Shell. Kyle’s work continued to pop up in my world and one day I noticed that he had pretty much made my dream camera strap, I emailed him as quick as I could to get in on the next batch. Kyle has been putting his own very thoughtful twist on many now classic bike packing bags for a few years. With a background in engineering and a focus on versatility and durability, Kyle started Outer Shell. (more…)

Aug 28, 2017 19 comments
Golden Saddle Rides: Nathan’s San Gabriel Sunset Fade Ritchey Timberwolf

There’s nothing like a California sunset, especially over the San Gabriel Mountains here in Los Angeles. Those faded evenings usually come after an all-time MTB ride and for Nathan, he was craving some trail time. Sure, he’d ridden a lot of the singletrack in our great city on a bike before: his Rock Lobster all-road, but he wanted to finally rip them up – and himself – on a proper MTB. He went to the team at GSC and began talking to them about a Ritchey Timberwolf build. One unlike any the shop had put together before. GSC contacted Ritchey and requested one of their special Heritage paint jobs, then Mike, a mechanic at GSC talked to Nathan about a build kit. A Fox 36 fork would take the hits, while a Shimano drivetrain would offer smooth, worry-free shifting and braking. Wheels, featuring White Industries and durable rubber from Onza paved the way for one slick build. Being Nathan’s first mountain bike, it’s had a number of crashes already, but with each ride, he gets more and more accustomed to speed and cornering on loose and sandy trails.

The Timberwolf is a very popular hardtail option, I reviewed one and loved it. I know a number of you have these bikes, so share them in the comments.

Aug 24, 2017 32 comments
Carlos’ Spectre Fab Commuter with Sim Works Fun 3 Bars

Sometimes, you come across a part and literally imagine a bike that would best suit it. This mindset seems backwards but it happens all the time. People justify a complete bicycle over a vintage French chainguard or a set of fenders, I’ve even seen people obsess over a crankset, yet in this case, it was the Sim Works Fun 3 bars that got Carlos‘ brain ticking over a bike. Having extensive experience fabricating bicycle frames, he found himself in the unique position to begin making his own bikes. It’s one of those things where if he had more free time, it probably would have already happened, but having to work full-time as a fabricator has put a damper on his plans of launching a company. For now, all he has is a name, a direction, and this bike.

Spectre Fab will eventually be a no-nonsense, tig-welded, custom and stock frame company specializing in bikes that like to get thrashed and used, not abused. This bike, in particular, is meant to handle like a fun, zippy track bike but with gears, bigger tires and yeah, the unique and fun riding position of the Fun 3 bars.

Carlos has taken this bike all over the dirt roads in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and then some. It’s his go-to commuter, cutty singletrack machine, with plenty of details to make even someone like me spend extensive time investigating it, piece by piece. I love bikes like this because ultimately, it’s their owners who have the idea, but it’s the bike that does all the talking.

Keep an eye on the Radavist for future updates as events warrant on Spectre Fab.

Aug 23, 2017 25 comments
Nate from Monkey Wrench Cycles’ Hunter Commando Tourer

Nate from Monkey Wrench Cycles’ Hunter Commando Tourer
Photos by Kyle Kelley, words by John Watson

Nate and the entire Monkey Wrench Cycles gang have done a lot for US framebuilders over the years, as evident in their in-house museum where you can find vintage Moots MTBs, alongside Steve Potts’ creations, while a modern Hunter Cycles might be hanging out as well. The thing I can appreciate about what I’ve seen coming from MWC is all their bikes have the same modus operandi: fat tires, practicality and a stance that commands trail time. I mean, honestly, a vintage MTB is still an ideal touring bike and in a lot of ways, the bikes the MWC team are always building up are just “modern” vintage MTBs. Take for instance this Hunter Cycles from 2013 NAHBS in Denver. (more…)

Aug 22, 2017 24 comments
Monkey Wrench Cycles: Make a Grown Man Break Down and Weep – Kyle Kelley

Monkey Wrench Cycles: “There are some places so beautiful they can make a grown man break down and weep.”
Words and Photos by Kyle Kelley

The quote above is a pretty famous quote from a little book by Edward Abbey called The Monkey Wrench Gang and I think it even better describes my experience at Monkey Wrench Cycles in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Until Instagram, stories of Monkey Wrench Cycles only came to me via people visiting California from the Midwest or friends who’d moved from the Midwest out to California. I’d never seen the interior of the shop, I’d never seen the exterior of the shop. My relationship with the shop was very much like the relationship to your favorite book. Yes, my imagination was piecing together a floor plan, and characters, but nothing could compare me for the moment I walked into that shop. (more…)

Aug 21, 2017 29 comments
The Ramen Journals: North Fork of The Flathead River – Ty Hathaway

Words by Ty Hathaway, photos by Ty Hathaway and Julia DeConcini

It wasn’t but a few minutes of being back in the van after floating the Snake River that Julia was already figuring out what river was next and how to make it better. We had already gotten some good info about the North Fork of the Flathead River in Montana from a good friend of ours who grew up taking family trips down the section. He made it sound like some kind of magical dream land filled with big fish, crystal clear water, and endless scenery. Naturally, this would be our next river of choice, but this time we would do an overnight and with no van shuttle. (more…)

Aug 17, 2017 19 comments
Jay Petervary’s Dirty Dirty Tour Divide Salsa Cutthroat

I first met Jay Petervary back when Salsa took me on the Cutthroat launch on the Tour Divide. Admittedly, Jay was friendly, but you could tell there was apprehension. He was about to embark on the TDR on a new bike and had plenty of other things to think about, rather than making small talk with a photographer / blogger. I hadn’t seen Jay in years, until this year’s Saddle Drive when he greeted me with a smile and a firm handshake. Jay’s like that. He’s the nicest guy you’ll meet, but like all athletes, before a race, he’s reserved and focused. Catch him post-race or at a Salsa event and he’ll wax poetic tales of racing, or just shoot the shit in an intoxicatingly positive manner. The dude has a smile as big as his accolades.

After hearing that he brought this year’s TDR Cutthroat to Saddle Drive, I really wanted to photograph it. There’s something telling about a bike, all dusty and sated, that you just can’t get from documenting a show bike, or something that’s brand new. This bike has character and best of all displays Jay’s personal choice when it comes to products. Industry Nine wheels, a power meter and a mix of Salsa and Bike Bag Dude bags. There’s nothing overtly corporate or branded about this rig. It’s punk rock from a dude who has nothing to prove at this point in his career.

Jay, you keep on ramblin’ round the world, doing your thing and I’ll catch up to you again in the near future. High fives, buddy!

Aug 16, 2017 29 comments
Golden Saddle Rides: My Twilight Yellow Stinner Tunnel 27.5+ Hardtail

Hello, my name is John and I’m a hardtail addict. I’m not sure when or where it began, but when framebuilders send me bikes to review, specifically hardtail mountain bikes, I tend to want to buy the framesets from them. Most recently, this Stinner Frameworks Tunnel 27.5+ bike, which I reviewed a little while back when it was built with Box Components and Magura products.

Coming from my stout and solid Retrotec, the Stinner offered a much lighter, zippier feel. It wasn’t necessarily a better ride, just a different one. One that I liked a lot, save for one major – to me at least – flaw: it only had one water bottle mount on the inside triangle. (more…)

Aug 15, 2017 44 comments