Category Archives: Reviews
For some reason, when Gevenalle first launched, I didn’t want to like their shifting mechanisms. They just seemed too contrived. A solution for a problem that didn’t exist. Perhaps it was their marketing, claiming to be designed for cyclocross racing. Sure, I read the product descriptions, the PR, looked at the photos but I still wasn’t convinced.
It wasn’t until I began to see the Gevenalle shifters on touring bikes that my interest was piqued. “Now that makes sense” I thought. Not running traditional road shifters on a touring bike is completely reasonable. The same can be said for barcons or downtube shifters. Why take your hand off the lever to shift? Sure. I get that.
The Gevenalle shifting system I recently spent time with is the GX shifters for mountain bike derailleurs. More specifically, a shifting system ideal for long-cage, dirt tourers like the Elephant NFE. (more…)
While we took a look at my own touring bike yesterday, I will say this with confidence: had I ridden the Elephant Bikes National Forest Explorer prior to ordering my Woodville two years ago, I would have drastically changed my views on 650b, disc brakes and trail.
The National Forest Explorer is a low-trail, 650b bike with disc brakes and a decent, not copious amount of tire clearance. These NFE’s are made by Glen Copus in Spokane, WA and pack quite the wallop of versatility in a beautiful, forest service green package. They’re made from lightweight steel for just the amount of liveliness. (more…)
Cross is coming, cross is coming! But then cross is over, just as quickly as it came and you’re left with a bicycle that is only alive for about an hour on a closed course, right? I’d sure as hell hope not. Strap some bags on it, take it on singletrack, shred it on gravel. Cyclocross bikes are incredibly versatile and with so many options out there these days, it’s hard to sift through them all.
That’s where brand recognition helps. For those of you who have ridden Niner’s bikes, you know they’re thoughtful, ripping machines and when they announced the RLT 9 Steel earlier this year everyone’s interest was piqued including mine. Let’s face it, there aren’t a lot of high-grade steel ‘cross frames out there. There are a lot of “custom butted” or “special recipe” tubesets, which have a place for sure but there’s something recognizable about the words “Reynolds 853.”
In the short time that Chumba found a new home outside of Austin, they’ve been pushing hard on expanding their made in Texas frame catalog. With rowdy hardtails, 29+ and finally, a full fatbike, the brand has something for everything from bikepacking to daily trail riding. Their first full fat platform bike, the Ursa Major has landed and it’s one of the most surprising fatties I’ve ridden.
Austin isn’t exactly ideal stomping grounds for a fatbike. Not a straight out of the box kit anyway. Once you dial in your tire and rim selection, go tubeless and can achieve the much-needed traction for both loose corners and slick limestone, you’re good to go. Getting that tire pressure right is crucial, especially with a suspension fork. That takes a little bit of trial and error and a few trialside adjustments. In my experience anyway.
What Morgan touched on with his Ice Cream Truck and RockShox Bluto review applies here. While a lot of what he was talking about in his review was foreign to me at the time, even after just a single afternoon on the Ursa Major I began to understand his points.
Forging Ahead on the Foundry Overland
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson
A couple months ago Foundry sent over their new titanium cross/gravel bike, dubbed the “Overland“, for me to spend some time running it through the wringer. From long mixed-terrain rides, endless dry/dusty Southern California fire roads, through alpine snow storms (two), bike park single track, and trekking through wilderness with it strapped to my back. This versatility is really what the Overland is built for. Foundry’s slogan may be “racing matters”, and I’m sure this bike would perform well in a frantic one hour burst on a cross course, but it is perfectly at home traversing backroads and exploring some off-the-beaten-path single track.
Futurism and the Specialized Enduro Expert Carbon 29
Words by Kyle Von Hoetzendorff, photos by Ethan Furniss
Before we begin let me give you a little background about who I am and how I found myself writing this review. I grew up in Bishop, CA. I raced mountain bikes there as a kid. Then I stopped, the reason is a tired story, and one that you have most likely heard before, it has to do with hormones, cars, beers, and girls. When I moved to Santa Barbara, CA to attend college and I started working at a shop called Velo Pro. This is where I started riding downhill bikes. Then I stopped, did some rock climbing, school, babe chasing, etc. A decade ago I moved to Portland, OR and once again I found myself at a shop, working at the Fat Tire Farm and riding downhill bikes. This is where it gets interesting. First came seat droppers and with it a yearn to explore more trails. I started riding trail bikes, then picked up riding road bikes and cross bikes. For the past three years I worked for Chris King, and my job gave me the chance to ride a wide variety of bikes. Through mutual friends and shared adventures John and I became friends and I have been lucky to post a couple rides and adventurers all the while sharing with him some of my favorite MTB videos and articles from around the web. It turned out that John needed a bike reviewed, so here I am. Lets get started.
There’s nothing like taking a brand new bike and throwing it into the proverbial fire.
Bikes like this are not meant to be babied, nurtured, wiped down with a micro-fiber cloth and sprayed with chemicals to make them look shiny. They’re meant to be abused, smashed, shredded and put to the test, straight out of the gate. Especially bikes specifically designed for arguably one of the most intense endurance races in the Continental United States.
The Salsa Cutthroat is what I would call a first for the company. In the sense that it’s a bike designed for a specific event: the Tour Divide Race.
What do you do when an accomplished athlete backs you on a gamble and encourages you to do something different. Something that might change the face of “all-road” cycling forever? Or at least for a little while anyway…
The story of the bike goes back to March in 2014, when Tim Johnson and his wife Lyne were riding in Louisville along the bourbon trail. David from Cannondale put one of these bikes under Tim and watched the atavism take over. Tim hit every curb cut in sight, skidded around corners and sprinted like he was riding his EVO… Tim’s a cross racer through and through, so dirt and speed are his top priorities. Oh and fun. Having fun too. Right Tim?
Without getting too far ahead of myself here, I have to admit the giddiness flowing through my veins at the moment. I’m in Banff, Alberta at the start of the Tour Divide Race, arguably one of the most intense self-supported off-road races. I’m here with Salsa Cycles, and while we’re not doing the entire TDR, we are riding a three-day section of the race. Why? Because Salsa has supported racers and riders in the TDR for years and all the time and energy put into supporting athletes who train for to events like this has culminated in a bike that’s just being launched.
At this point, if you’re even reading this still and haven’t sprung right into clicking through the gallery images, I need to point out that Salsa champions the drop-bar off-road touring and racing bike. They love the hand positions, the unique stance and the options for drivetrains. That said, over the years, they’ve perfected what is arguably their best “all-road”, dirt-tourer: the Cutthroat.
Niner’s ROS 9+ One Hell of a Good Time
Words and photos by Kyle Kelley
The White Rim Trail in Utah’s Canyonlands NP has been on my radar for awhile. I imagined I would do it on a cross bike, carrying only the necessary food and water, one small camera and riding from the early morning to early evening. The reality ended up being quite a bit different. I rolled out on a Mid-Fat outfitted with custom bike bags, carrying 7 liters of water and enough food to feed a kindergarten class for two days! Shit… I even brought an abnormally large camera (at least for me) in addition to my standard point and shoot just because there was still room in the bags. I was rolling in luxury and the bike that made that possible was the Niner ROS 9+!