Category Archives: Reviews
F*ck Yeah Desert Tan Stinner Frameworks Tunnel Hardtail with Box Components

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…)

Jun 19, 2017 11 comments
Calfee’s Manta RS All-Road is a Smooth Ride for Rough Roads

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…)

Jun 13, 2017 20 comments
Riding e-Fatbikes on the Beach to go Surfing in France

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.

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May 19, 2017 39 comments
Giving My Firefly a Dose of Road Plus with WTB’s Byway 650b x 47mm Tires

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…)

May 3, 2017 97 comments
The All In Multitool and MAGNETS!

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…)

Apr 14, 2017 7 comments
Smooth Rolling with Industry Nine’s AR25 Disc All Road Wheels

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…)

Mar 30, 2017 30 comments
Gearing up for Life on the Bike: Camera and Tech – Ryan Wilson

Packing for an open-ended bike tour through remote areas of developing countries can be a bit intimidating. You don’t want to get there and realize you’re missing something crucial that you’re going to have trouble finding locally, but you don’t want to overpack and feel required to haul a bunch of stuff that you don’t really need.

With that in mind, I wanted to start a series of posts discussing my personal gear setup and some of the things I’ve learned in my first 7 months of living on the bike in South America. First up I’ll dive into my electronics setup and touch on the question I get asked most frequently… “what camera are you using?” (more…)

Feb 28, 2017 31 comments
Don’t Call it a Cross Bike: the Caletti Scrambler Flat Bar City Shredder

Ok, maybe you can call it a ‘cross bike, because that’s truly what it is at its roots. Before we get ahead of ourselves here, let’s take a step back. There are stigmas attached with the words “commuter” “city” “townie” and even “cross” bike. There are certain checklists that apply to each of those permutations. The most notable being fender and rack provisions. Even with the latter, “cross” purists want drop bars and 32mm tires for a bike to be true to its UCI roots. This bike has no provisions for racks or fenders, is sold with a 40mm tire, flat bars and a bell. It’s not as much as it is. It is whatever you want it to be. (more…)

Feb 22, 2017 119 comments
MTB Tech for Road and Cross Bikes: Easton’s EC90 SL Cranks Get the Thumbs Up!

It was a game changer when 1x drivetrains made the leap from mountain bikes to drop bar bikes. Last year when RaceFace purchased Easton, the merger promised a bit of cross-pollination between RaceFace’s MTB technology and Easton’s road 1x systems. The EC90 SL crank adopted RaceFace’s Cinch system, allowing it to utilize direct mount 1x chainrings and direct mount 2x spiders, all in a road q-factor and chainline. This makes for an incredibly versatile crank interface that not only looks good, but in my opinion, out performs many other cranks. I’ve been riding the EC90 SL cranks on my firefly with a 38t direct mount on SRAM’s 1x Force system with a 10-42t cassette. Mounting them was easy, and there’s a new found confidence in Easton’s beefy bottom bracket. Especially when compared to SRAM’s GXP offering which always seems to creak right out of the box. (more…)

Feb 21, 2017 11 comments
My Retrotec Funduro is Rollin’ Again with SRAM GX, Level ULT Brakes and Terrene Chunk Tires

It’s a damn shame. Yeah, it really is. It’s a shame that this bike sat in my storage room, with no drivetrain or brake parts for so long. After reviewing this Retrotec Funduro 27.5+ hardtail a few months back, I couldn’t send the frame back to Curtis. I just loved it so much. After some emailing, he agreed I could buy the frame, but I had to send the Shimano parts back to Retrotec HQ in Napa and buy him a new Chris King 40th group.

Months later, Chris King asked to have the bike for their 40th Anniversary show, so I cobbled together a partially working build with a new SRAM Eagle group and sent it to Portland for display purposes only. Partially working? Huh? You see, SRAM and Shimano do chainring offset very differently and SRAM’s Eagle ring isn’t available in 0mm offset, like their other drivetrain systems are and like Shimano’s XTR cranks are designed, so even though it looked damn fine with all that glistening gold on it, the chainring wouldn’t clear the stay… (more…)

Feb 13, 2017 31 comments