Category Archives: Reviews
An Ode to the 1-Up Rack

While not everyone needs a bike rack, or even a car, plenty of people out there rely on their automobiles to transport their bicycle or bicycles to a cycling destination. Here in California, it’s easy to hop in your car and be transported to a completely different environment within a few hours, sometimes even fast enough to get in a good pedal before sundown.

Over the years, I’ve used just about every mainstream market bike rack. While they all do the job, only one excels. The 1-Up Rack is hands down the best bicycle rack on the market and the fact that it’s made in the USA is an added bonus. I’ve been using mine for over a year now and while it pinched my pockets upon purchasing, I have no regrets. (more…)

Oct 19, 2016 43 comments
Jump Around with Kyle and His Niner RIP 9 RDO
Jump Around with Kyle and His Niner RIP 9 RDO

Bounce, bounce, bounce. Every time I’ve ridden mountain bikes with Kyle over the past year, he’s barely had both wheels on the ground. He’s been riding a carbon Niner RIP 9 RDO, with Shimano XT and all the dressings of one of Niner’s three-star build. It’s still an expensive bike, when compared to something like a hard tail, yet the $5,700 pricetag doesn’t pinch as much as some other full suspension bikes featured here on the site in years past. (more…)

Sep 27, 2016 23 comments
Bang for Your Buck: the Ritchey Timberwolf 27.5 Hardtail MTB
Bang for Your Buck: the Ritchey Timberwolf 27.5 Hardtail MTB - Photo by Kyle Kelley

When I first saw this frameset, I was in love. Why? Well, when a company like Ritchey makes a hardtail mountain bike that only a few months prior was something you had to order from a framebuilder, you know they’re paying attention. Before the Timberwolf, Ritchey’s mountain bike offerings were built with cross-country geometries. Personally, I like slack front ends and longer travel forks. They still climb great but the difference in descending is noticeable, especially after getting bucked for hours on end while riding our Southern California trails. Yeah, the Timberwolf is a new breed of mountain bikes, from a company founded by one of the forefathers of the sport. The best part is, you can get rowdy on this bike for hundreds less than a custom frame.

At $899, the Timberwolf comes as a frame with bright orange paint and classic Ritchey logos. Or you can buy it complete, as equipped here for $3,499 (minus the dropper post.) When people email me asking what mountain bike frame they should start out with, if buying used isn’t an option, I point them to the Timberwolf. Why? Let me break it down… (more…)

Sep 14, 2016 67 comments
My Agave Marginata Crema Cycles Duo 27.5″ Cross Bike
My Agave Marginata Crema Duo 'Cross Bike

Holy. Shit. This. Bike.

HSTB. The Crema Duo changed Los Angeles’ riding for me. In fact, it changed how I feel about the potential for ‘cross bikes to be the most versatile bike in your stable. Take everything you love about your bike and turn it up to 11. Big tires, disc brakes, lightweight, snappy geometry and the ability to hold your own in a pace-line, while still being able to crush singletrack and fire roads all in a tight package. (more…)

Aug 30, 2016 51 comments
Riding the Oregon Outback on the Ren Cycles Ivan – Gabe Tiller
REN Ivan on the Oregon Outback

Riding the Oregon Outback on the Ren Cycles Ivan
Photos and words by Gabe Tiller

Earlier this summer I set out for my fourth journey on the Oregon Outback. Each time I had ridden a different steed ranging from touring bike to plus bike and this round was no exception: I had the chance to borrow REN’s titanium cyclocross race machine: the Ivan. It’s an adaptable beast, perfect for those masochists who like to race singlespeed as well as Cat A/B. Luckily I was doing neither, and instead going on a 360 mile jaunt through Oregon’s famous Outback. (more…)

Aug 25, 2016 32 comments
Six Months of Stoke on the Retrotec 27.5+ Funduro
Six Months of Stoke on the Retrotec 27.5+ Funduro

Say what you will about hardtail mountain bikes. Die hard park rats think they’re antiquated, beginners often times think they’re hard to ride and the most common complaint I hear is that it’s hard getting bucked all over the place without rear suspension. Granted a lot of those common conceptions can have some truth to them, yet with the advent and availability of new rear spacing, dropper posts that work really well and bigger tire sizes, a hardtail can be pretty damn capable and even a lot of fun. For the past six months, I’ve been riding what I consider a new benchmark in hardtail mountain bike design: a 140mm travel, slack and low, 27.5+ hardtail, complete with a dropper post and a 1x drivetrain. This one in particular was built by hand in Napa by Curtis Inglis of Retrotec. So what does the creator of this beast call it? Well, what else? It’s a Funduro.


Aug 9, 2016 45 comments
Gettin’ the Reynolds ATR Carbon Disc Wheels Dirty
Gettin' the Reynolds ATR Carbon Disc Wheels Dirty

Centerlock disc, XD driver compatible, thru axles, tubeless-ready, 29mm wide and 28mm deep. These details a few years ago might have had more in common with a XC MTB wheel than a ‘cross or all road bike but alas, technology has changed and specs are slowly migrating over from flat bars to drop bars. The Reynolds ATR, or all terrain road, wheels are carbon fiber wheels meant to take you from paved roads to dirt and vice versa. They’re light and resilient but best of all, they won’t bottom out your credit card. (more…)

Aug 8, 2016 9 comments
Golden Saddle Rides: 44 Bikes 27.5+ Rigid MTB – Ryan Wilson
44 Bikes 27.5+ Rigid MTB

Golden Saddle Rides: 44 Bikes 27.5+ Rigid MTB
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

As I was planning for this trip to South America I started thinking about what bike would be ideal to tackle a broad range of terrain and would be comfortable over the long haul. I went back and forth through a number of options, but I never quite found a stock option that fit all of my criteria (and fit me). I knew I wanted a rigid steel frame that could fit a plus sized tire, have loads of mounts, thru-axles, ample mud clearances, and a good amount of space for a frame bag. I started to focus in on B+ as the happy medium between 29 and 29+. I also liked the versatility of being able to put on a standard 29er wheelset at some point in the future without it throwing the geometry way out of whack. (more…)

Aug 3, 2016 50 comments
Call it a Comeback: Specialized Brings Back the Sequoia and its Versatile Design
Specialized Sequoia

The Specialized Sequoia was first designed by Tim Neenan in the early 1980’s. Later, Jim Merz improved upon the design of this versatile bicycle. While the 1980’s steel Sequoia had a certain panache, the aluminum models of the 2000’s somehow lost their sex appeal. Maybe it was the industry at the time, or maybe it was the “hybrid-looking” silhouette of the bike, but whatever the reason, the Sequoia died out in the 2000’s. In its time however, the steel Sequoia from the 1980’s received a cult-like following.

“In the early 2000’s, Bicycling Magazine asked several industry luminaries what they thought the best bike ever built was. Grant Petersen, founder of Rivendell Bicycles, nominated the 1983 Specialized Sequoia.” Adventure Cycling, August 2003.

Fast forward to modern times. The cycling industry is enamored with the outdoors. Bikepacking, touring, bicycle camping and S24 rides are all the rage. Hell, even Adventure Cycling is celebrating the Bikecentennial this year! All the brands have taken a stab at designing the best-suited bike for the aforementioned activities. While Specialized wasn’t by any means the first to the party in terms of “adventure bicycles,” they have staked their claim to the movement. (more…)

Jul 10, 2016 182 comments
Drinkin’ the Kalimotxo Santa Cruz Bicycles Bronson CC
Stunts! - photo Kyle Kelley

Try it and you’ll be addicted. Kalimotxo, the Spanish drink made from equal parts red wine and cola. It’s unexpectedly refreshing. For 2016, the latest rendition of Santa Cruz’s fabled Bronson came dressed in a bright fuschia color and named after this tasty beverage. Now, normally bright pink isn’t my color of choice, yet there was something so appealing about this particular paint scheme that actually made me want to demo the Bronson more than ever before.

Since its inception in 2013, the Bronson has been one of Santa Cruz Bicycle’s most successful bikes. Last year, it got a face-lift, which drastically altered its stance and updated the Bronson’s geometry to fit in with where the industry seems to be heading with its all-mountain bikes. In short: It’s the reigning champion of trail or all-mountain riding and in a world of slacker, lower and longer, actually defends its title quite well. (more…)

Jul 6, 2016 17 comments