Category Archives: Reviews
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
Testing Out the Sony A7rii During This Weekend’s Events

This goes without saying, but this website is as much about cycling as it is photography. There are countless times during every workday where I just want to go on a bike ride, but feel obligated to bring a camera along to document any kind of radness that might happen along the way. Thus, my biggest challenge I deal with day to day is problem-solving the balance between cycling and photography. For me, there are two modus operandi present: large and small-scale production. Whereas the large combines the use of a large DSLR and telephoto lenses or off-camera flashes and small relies on my rangefinder with primes, utilizing natural light. What I’ve found is the only deciding factor between the two is whether or not I feel like wearing a photo bag while I pedal around the city of Los Angeles and what kind of shooting I’ll be doing. (more…)

Jan 23, 2017 55 comments
Kyle Sending it On His New All-City Log Lady Singlespeed MTB

A while back, Kyle reviewed the mostly stock complete Log Lady before sending it back to All-City so they could use the bike in their demo fleet. Truthfully, I, like many of the readers who commented on that post, were bummed to see that bike go. As a photographer, I love shooting with Kyle when he’s stoked on something and that bike was perfect on our local trails, for him especially.

In an industry where many people want more travel, not less and even more gears, not one, the Log Lady stands out as an archaic, living fossil of the mountain bike evolutionary timeline. For some people, riding a bike like this down technical trails would be a nightmare, but for dudes like Kyle, it’s a buckin’ good time. (more…)

Jan 12, 2017 48 comments
Outershell Makes the Best On-the-bike Camera Bag

I get this question all the time: “How do you carry your camera on your bike?” and the answer varies. It depends on the bike and the camera used, different cameras require various amounts of space and have varying weights. More on that later, but for now, let’s look at the best on-the-bike camera bag for medium-sized cameras I’ve ever used.

Outershell’s Drawcord Handlebar Bag isn’t a “camera bag” per se, but it is with one simple hack.

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Jan 11, 2017 44 comments
My 44 Bikes Marauder Hardtail is Steady Shreddin on Ibis 941 Wheels

Since this bike first showed up at my door here in Los Angeles, I’ve really enjoyed riding it. While the kit that Kris from 44 Bikes delivered for the review interim was more than acceptable, it felt good putting both my old parts on it and new wheels, which made a world of difference. Wheels are like that though. You think everything is peachy-keen one day and the next you’re rolling on new wheels, having your mind blown. Call me naive but I didn’t think a wide rim like the Ibis 941 would make that big of a difference on a hardtail. Truthfully, it didn’t feel like it until I seat the WTB Trail Boss 2.4″ tire on the 41mm outer, 35mm inner width rims.

To say it was like a whole new bike might be over-doing it, or perhaps it captures my enthrallment or excitement. Either way, I do not want to take them, or these tires off my 44 Bikes Marauder anytime soon. (more…)

Nov 2, 2016 34 comments
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 59 comments
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 24 comments