Category Archives: Reviews
Without a doubt, the most polarizing bike of the year on the site (thus far) is the Speedvagen Urban Racer. A veritable atavist catalyst, this two-speed internal coaster brake bike is meant to keep you on your toes and out of the saddle the second you throw a leg over it.
Its one caveat is the coaster brake. Fun for around town for sure, but I found after prolonged use, especially in the hot hot hot summer months, once it’s cookin your ability to brake safely is jeopardized. Granted, that’s the fun of it, right? Sure but last month I put on a Paul Klamper disc brake as a bit of added protection. Luckily, since Speedvagen uses an ENVE ‘cross fork on the bike, it was an easy install.
So far, so good and it’s still one of the most fun bikes I’ve ridden… Now it’s just a bit safer.
Something Different with Twin Six’s Titanium Rando
Photos and words by Kevin Sparrow
My quest for finding the perfect all-around bike began last summer just before cross season. Cyclocross bikes have always been my choice for an every-day bike. But the problem was I didn’t want to buy another cross bike that was designed for 60-minute dirt crits when most of my miles are spent commuting on pavement. I was in pursuit of something different.
Last year at Interbike, Twin Six surprised the industry with a whole line of “T6 Standard” steel bikes including a 29er, a rando, and a cross bike. On paper, the Standard Rando was exactly what I was looking for in both geometry and aesthetics. By the time winter came around, T6 went all-in and started offering a titanium fat bike and by spring, titanium versions of the 29er and cross bikes. It was also around this time that I started seeing hints of a Ti Rando popping up on T6 employee social feeds, and I was getting antsy for a new bike. I decided to reach out to Brent, T6 co-owner, and he explained that what I was seeing were Ti Rando prototypes. They had the same geometry as the steel rando except for a 44mm HT and a four water bottle mount option. Brent offered me a pre-release one-off and I excitedly accepted. Decision made, deposit down, and 6 weeks later I was and owner of a Twin Six Ti Rando.
Two months in and over 1500 miles commuted on it, and now I am ready share my initial stoke with this bike.
No one ever said “a fork is a fork.” Well, maybe they did but I doubt they were talking about suspension and in the case of the Rock Shox RS-1, this is unlike any other fork on the market today. Before I get ahead of myself here, I’ve struggled with how to address this review. Without sounding like a copy and paste of marketing jargon, it really is the best fork I’ve ridden, for my specific type of use: XC riding with a bit of rowdiness. (more…)
Photos by Kyle Kelley
This website focuses a lot on Made in the USA products, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t share products like this when I put them through the ringer, especially if it saves you some money.
The summer sun is unforgiving and while I’ll wear sun sleeves and a normal jersey on my road bike, I spent a good amount of time this year looking for long-sleeve sunblocking options for mountain bike rides. A large misconception about long sleeve shirts is that they’re too hot to wear on a sunny summer day and while that can be true for materials like cotton, there are silkweight options that will wick sweat, keep you cool and most importantly protect your arms from the sun’s harmful rays… (more…)
Racing and Riding the Fairdale Goodship
Words by Andre Chelliah, photos by John Watson
When Taj from Fairdale reached out to us and asked if we were interested in testing their steel road bike, the Goodship, I had a hard time containing my excitement. Fairdale, who has an office in Austin is a staple of the cycling community here. You can’t go to a downtown restaurant, East Side bar, local swimming hole, or ride through campus without spotting a Fairdale between the legs of an excited Austin dweller. The company radiates positive vibes and makes quality bicycles. (more…)
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.