Category Archives: Reviews
Ever since Brian Vernor first told me about Omata and consequently, seeing their Kickstarter begin last year, I was intrigued by their unique cycling computer. I, like many people, still wear a wrist watch, in an era when we are constantly glued to our phones or laptops. Let’s be honest, a classic watch is a luxury item. We don’t need it to function in today’s world, yet many people still use them, even when there are loads of “tech” watches on the market, there’s something comforting about an analog face. Personally, I’m not against GPS watches like my Suunto, yet I would never wear an Apple Watch, or any other square and super tech-looking watches. Perhaps that’s what drew me to the Omata.
Its design aesthetic and m.o. appealed to me. The data is presented in an analog, almost static interface, with the most notable visible change being the speedometer hand. All other functions move so slowly on the face that you really spend more time looking at the road and less at the computer, another gripe I have with instantaneous cycling GPS devices – there’s just too much information being displayed, or flashing simultaneously – they’re distracting. My read on the Omata One, after a few rides, is that it is as luxurious as a wrist watch, yet completes the aesthetic of a bike, rather than competes with it. Expect a full review once I log more miles with this device, I was just so intrigued by it that I had to post something in the interim. If you’re interested in pre-ordering, or just reading more about the One, head to Omata.
I’m not sure how many of you caught this in the gallery showcasing my Stinner hardtail but we ran into an issue when building the bike up. I wanted to run Klampers on this bike, since I’m using it for some bikepacking trips in the near future and I really liked the way the Retrotec I rode at Paul Camp’s Klamper brakes felt with the short pull lever. So, when I bought the frame from Stinner, we began building it and ran into a problem. It’s a common issue, when a frame is designed to run modern hydraulic disc brakes and you try to run a cable actuated brake like the Klamper, with its high cable entry point. Basically, if we ran the cable through the braze-on and into the Klamper, it wouldn’t work; the bend was too abrupt for the cable.
When I brought it up to Aaron at Stinner, he suggested using a V-Brake noodle, so I passed the idea off to Mike at Golden Saddle Cyclery. This is what he worked up. A simple noodle, with rubber heat shrink tubing around the metal part, so it won’t scratch the seatstay. Personally, I think this is an elegant solution.
Dynaplug has saved my ass on more than one occasion, especially on our sharp, rocky trails here in Los Angeles and literally a half mile in on our shuttle in Downieville last weekend. Unfortunately, the Dynaplugs are only efficient when you can access them quickly and mine are usually at the bottom of my camera bag, which forces me to plug the hole with my finger while I dig through my bag with one hand. Luckily, Dynaplug has been working on a solution to that problem with a new handlebar mount clamp that will hold their tire repair capsules. The nicest part about this system is it’ll save you precious seconds when it comes to rescuing your ride.
Once they release these, I’ll post again. If you haven’t checked out Dynaplug, do so at their site, or holler at your local shop to get them signed up as a dealer! Dynaplug is made in Chico by a group of rad people!
The Cosmic Stallion
As brands and their customers evolve, so do their products and one company where that is most true is All-City. For a company that started with fixed gears only, to move from road bikes, cross bikes, touring bikes, a mountain bike and now, a dedicated all-road racer. The Cosmic Stallion is the latest bike in the All-City catalog and it’s their best yet. (more…)
When I first heard the news that Box Components had branched over from BMX racing products to mountain bike componentry, I was eager to get some hands-on experience with their shifter, derailleur, and big-range cassette. A few weeks later, the Box rep visited Golden Saddle Cyclery and I was able to see it. Albeit not on a bike, so when Stinner Frameworks offered to build a review bike for me, built with Box, for NAHBS, I was stoked. I love riding and reviewing hardtails and since Stinner is one of the local builders in the Los Angeles area, I like helping him out when I can, particularly when it comes to mountain bike design. Aaron Stinner had been working on their Tunnel hardtail design over the past year. Previous versions popped up here on the site and with some feedback, he had finally moved closer to nailing down the official Stinner Frameworks hardtail. The team had two bikes on display at NAHBS this year, Kyle’s Grateful Shred 27.5+ and this Fuck Yeah Desert Tan 27.5″. I was excited to try it out, but I was also looking forward to putting miles in on Box Component and Magura’s latest offerings. (more…)
We’ve seen a lot of design gimmicks to make rough roads more pleasant on ‘cross or all-road bikes, mostly in the form of suspension forks, yet I personally feel like there’s more that could be done in terms of frame design. While I’m not an engineer, I feel like achieving comfort on rough roads can mostly be done in the frame itself. That with larger volume, lower pressure tires, a carbon fiber bicycle can really show its true potential when the going gets tough.
Granted, there have actually been a good number of attempts at this over the years, but mostly from the bigger brands with extensive engineering teams, with access to custom layups and large production numbers, but it wasn’t until I saw the Calfee Manta RS at NAHBS this year, that I really thought frame design and compliance had been approached in a different, honest design language. (more…)
No, this isn’t a troll and yes, I’m aware of the polarizing nature of this particular topic of discussion but I can’t help but say I had a lot of fun making this short gallery.
As the editor, or owner, or whatever you want to call me, I tend to hold a certain sensitivity to topics here on the site. Or at least I am mindful of the Radavist’s impact on riding, even in the smallest of ways. E-bikes, for whatever reason, tend to generate a lot of flack and rightfully so. There’s the issue of trail stewardship, of accessibility, or perhaps it just looks wrong on paper. Or in this case, on screen. There have been tons of op-ed pieces circulated over the internet over the years, of all I have not read. Personally, I’m more of an experiential learner. I like to actually try something before putting my opinion down. Just a few weeks ago, I was finally able to truly use an e-bike. Not just in a cruise around a bike shop’s parking lot kinda way, but actually use one.
When designing and conceiving my Firefly all road bike a few years ago, I wanted to be able to fit a 43mm tire, while maintaining a road geometry. “It’s not a cyclocross bike, rather a road bike with bigger tires and disc brakes” I’d tell people. Inadvertently, what I found was by allowing clearances for such a large 700c tire, I’d opened the door to even larger 650b tires.
I first used WTB’s “Road Plus” platform shortly after they released the 47mm Horizon tire. They sent the tires mounted to their Ci24 rims, built to White Industries hubs. While the wheels fit with enough clearances on my Firefly, I wasn’t a fan of the Horizon tires. Sure, they looked great and rode even better on sealed roads, but I found them to be less-than-ideal on the fire roads and singletrack I frequented in the mountains of Los Angeles.
Jump forward a year and WTB’s newest “road plus” tire, the Byway is now available and I’ve been riding them for a few weeks. The difference between the Horizon and the Byway is simple: there’s slight tread on the sides of the Byway, meant to give traction on loose corners. Well, does the Byway live up to the marketing jargon? (more…)
Ever go on a ride and forget your multitool only to find yourself needing to adjust your stem or bars? Sure, laying out this scenario might be a bit cheesy, but we’ve all done it and personally, I like to “set and forget” a lot of my gear. Which is why the All In Multitool piqued my interest when I first saw a prototype last year. Check out more below. (more…)
For me, wheels can be measured by two factors: price and resilience. I try to act like weight doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t matter until it does. That’s a whole ‘nother discussion though. Anyway, for the past month, I’ve been riding the new Industry Nine AR25 wheels. Marketed for “all road” applications, these wheels use the Torch disc hub system with a three-pawl, 6º freehub mechanism, a 21mm inner width rim, and are laced with 24 Sapim CXray spokes. Industry Nine reduced the pawls by half to cut down on weight, drag and that insanely loud noise they’re well known for. There’s always that moment of anxiety when you spin an i9 hub for the first time. Just how loud is this one going to be? (more…)