Category Archives: Reviews
Is it one’s riding that evolves first? Or is it the bike that is the catalyst for evolution? Bicycle design, much like one’s riding style, evolves over time, triggered by a series of environmental or equipment changes. Perhaps your everyday singletrack just gets tiresome and you’re looking for a way to change it up, or maybe your road bike gathers dust during ‘cross season. At some point, riders look for excuses to shake things up, as a break from the painful monotony of riding bikes by the rules and luckily for us, the offerings from companies follow suit, evolving their lineup in the same sequence.
A number of brands have taken a look at their ‘cross bikes and asked what the next step in evolution would be, or perhaps, what it should be. What seems like ages ago, we were all riding singletrack and fire roads on 32mm tires, burnin’ brake pads as our cantilever or v-brakes smoked our sidewalls. Then came disc brakes, which offered more control, options for larger tires and other benefits. All the while, frame builders were experimenting with multiple wheel size options, brought along by the popularity of disc brakes. Soon 27.5″ (650b) wheels began popping up on drop bar ‘cross bikes, yet these weren’t really “cross” bikes anymore. They had evolved past that.
Ibis recently took a long hard look at their classic ‘cross frame, the Hakkalügi. These frames started out as steel, cantilever bikes, marked by classic Ibis stylings and most notably, the Mike Cherney fabricated “hand job” cable hanger. Like Ibis’ mountain bikes, once carbon fiber became the preferred material, the Hakkalügi went through the motions, too. Carbon canti, then carbon disc but the whole time, these bikes stayed true to classic ‘cross frame tire clearances and geometries, always feeling like outliers in the brand’s catalog. Ibis knew it was time for a change. (more…)
I try to ride with an awareness bell on our front-range trails here as much as I can, but I’ve found myself always having to slide it back into position since its strap is just a piece of velcro and handlebars are tapered. Last night, I removed the strap and mounted it directly to my Light and Motion Urban 500 light – I also run a 800 lumens light on my helmet.
The bell stayed put and didn’t move at all, allowing it to resonate down the trail to alert runners, hikers and other cyclists. This time of year, our trails are very crowded at sunset, with athletes trying to soak in the last bit of light, and running an awareness bell just makes it safer for everyone.
Widefoot, makers of the Liter Cage, now offer their Nalgene-friendly bottle cages in a black powdercoat finish, for those of you who prefer black components, to silver. I used these on my Hunter in South Africa, toting two, 1.5L Nalgenes on 115 miles of washboarded desert roads during the Karoobaix without issue. I do however recommend using one of their multistraps to keep the bottles from popping out on descents. Check out the Blackened Liter Cage at Widefoot!
Floyd’s of Leadville has expanded their CBD oil line, with multiple options now, in various milligram or milliliter servings. CBD oil has changed my recovery process and helped me get a better night’s sleep after big days on the bike. That’s not just a pitch either and I’ll go one step further. Two months ago, I decided to take some time off from alcohol. It was running my life and I was using it to disconnect or unwind from a busy day, but mostly it helped me sleep at night. The problem is, as I get older, alcohol takes a beating on my body and I just felt like shit all the time. I switched to smoking more weed and taking these Floyd’s of Leadville CBD capsules to aid in sleeping, or smoking a mellow sativa-high weed. After two months, I feel better, both about myself and about my riding. Which is very important since my job is bikes!
Now, not everyone can walk into a dispensary and buy weed. I understand that, but these capsules will ship anywhere in the US since CBD oil is natural, THC-free supplement. It really does make a difference. Hell, I even give my dog a pet CBD supplement to help his arthritis. See more information at Floyd’s of Leadville!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve received numerous emails from readers, politely asking the Radavist to weigh in on a pressing debate. The discussion in question began with Bike Snob’s piece for Outside Magazine on the importance or at least the value of the fully rigid mountain bike. This piece was then replied to by Vernon at Pink Bike, who called riding rigid ridiculous and likened it to being kicked in the balls numerous times. Side note: if you get hit in balls riding a bike, you’re doing it wrong. Now, both op-ed pieces should be taken with a grain of salt, since they are, after all, just that: opinion pieces. Nothing is stated as fact in either article, although Vernon’s piece does seem to fit in with Pink Bike’s readership, who are quick to chime in that even hardtails are ridiculous.
Are they, really? Well, here’s the thing, I’m going to address this “debate” with a few points, beginning with… (more…)
Over the years, Mission Workshop has made a handful of staples in my cycling apparel wardrobe and without a doubt, the Merino Core collection has been a game changer. I wear the long sleeve merino Perimeter shirts every time I hit the dirt and oftentimes, I’ll continue wearing them all day after the ride. They’re my camping staples, my touring staples and I’ll throw one in my camera bag if I’m going to be out after the sun sets. These shirts are durable, moth-hole resistant due to the nylon weave and best of all, look damn good in a plethora of earth tones. Head to Mission to see the full Merino Core lineup and if you’re in LA or SF, you can swing through one of their storefronts.
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…)