Category Archives: Reviews
Review: The Specialized Edition AWOL Transcontinental Touring Bike
Specialized Edition AWOL Transcontinental

As someone who has everything he needs in a touring bike, I’ll admit that I was a little apprehensive to spend a weekend on the new Specialized Edition AWOL Transcontinental touring bike (due out in late February). Honestly, it just didn’t seem like my kind of rig. I like cantis, the feel of a traditional drivetrain and the look of a 110mm stem.

Now, from what I had seen of the AWOL, it was the exact opposite and that bothered me. A lot. First of which was the riding position. The bars were level, or even higher than the saddle, due to the massive head tube and positive rise, 80mm stem. It looked like a MTB, not a touring or rando bike with its compact geometry.

Next up, a Gates Carbon Belt Drive and an 8 speed Alfine hub – there’s no way that gear range would be wide enough! The bike relied on TRP’s Hylex single speed hydraulic disc brakes. Up until this point, every hydro disc system I’ve ridden on drop bars has felt horrible, especially when compared to my XT and XTR setups on my mountain bikes. Even my SLX on the fatbike felt better…

My opinions aside, the bike still intrigued me and one thing I’ve been trying to work on is separating my somewhat arrogant opinions and being more open minded about product reviews.

When Erik told me that he really wanted to do a ride that was mostly dirt on the AWOL, I figured what the hell? Up to this point, the AWOL has been showed on road, not off-road. Besides, what’s the worst that could happen? Maybe some of my opinions would change and I’d have to pull my foot from mouth.

That’s exactly what happened. Check out more below!

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Jan 15, 2014 110 comments
The PiNP Top 10 Albums of 2013
PiNPLP

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll notice that in lieu of Tuesday Teardown, I’ve started a #PiNPLP hashtag. I wish I could stay on top of reviewing music, but it’s been increasingly difficult over the years. What I have been on top of however, is expanding my catalog into some pretty strange and obscure acts.

Here’s a disclaimer first: PLEASE go out to your local record shop and have them order these albums for you if you’re interested in including them in your own catalog. They could really use your business.

This year’s Top 10 Albums of 2013 is hardly all metal but there are some very dark bands in there. I’m pretty stoked on this list, so check it out, in no particular order below!

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Dec 31, 2013 8 comments
The 2013 PiNP Holiday List

Look, I already feel a bit self-conscious about how much PiNP encourages our consumer habits but it’s a part of life and I’d rather direct you to some legitimate holiday goods, then have you read some bogus list elsewhere. Most of these products on this list are in my personal collection and have become staples in my day to day life.

Some notes: Buy local if you can, your local bike shop probably sells gift certificates, so support them first and foremost. Most of these products are more “lifestyle” than cycling-related but there’s more to life than bike shit, right? Finally, most of these products are made in the USA!

Check out a few choice products you could buy this holiday season below!

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Dec 9, 2013 13 comments
Review: Santa Cruz Tallboy LTC with SRAM XX1
... and yet, this bike just crushes.

Over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of sampling the MTB industry’s best 29r’s on the market. All of which, I might add, are exceptional machines and with the right parts and group, can easily be tailored to your riding style and home terrain. While my Indy Fab rigid has proven to be more than fun on my local trails here in Austin, it’s still a rigid bike, limiting not only the lines you can take, but the speed at which you can take them. The latter being one thing I’ve found out the hard way: the faster you thrash, the harder you crash.

One might argue that riding a new bike on unfamiliar trails is a true test of the bike’s performance and the rider’s ability. While I’ll surely agree with that, seeing as how my experiences with many 29r’s have been on new trails, I will say that ripping your local trails on a new bike is the true test. Especially a more than capable ride like Santa Cruz’s Tallboy LTC. Add a Sram XX1 group and ENVE‘s tubeless-ready wheels and you’ve got more than enough reason to thrash fast.

At this point, I’ve spent enough time on a Tallboy to back my bold claims and even with this bike’s accumulated accolades since its inception, I don’t think anyone will disagree with me.

Check out more of my Trail Tested review of the Santa Cruz Tallboy LTC below!

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Dec 4, 2013 56 comments
Down and Orange
Giro Insulated Vest in Orange

This fall, I’ve embraced the hue of the season. Hunter, or safety orange and two brands have done the same: Giro and Rapha, each in their own unique way. A wise man once told me that a *down vest, or jacket could be the difference between an enjoyable ride and an utterly miserable death march.

Check out more below!

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Nov 27, 2013 13 comments
How I Got Fat with Surly’s Pugsley
Pugsley-COVER

Before I begin this whole review, let me just say that this bike has been an absolute blast. If you have no interest in riding a fatbike, you should really try one out, they’re a lot of fun. In fact, it’s hard to convince me to ride my other bikes. No lie…

Ever since riding the Krampus back in Minneapolis, I wanted to get my hands on a full fat. Then, when Surly announced that sick limited edition Pugsley, I pulled a few fingers (backwards), sold my soul and got on the list for one.

So how’s it ride? Is it heavy? What are my thoughts? Surely, I have some critiques. Check out more below!

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Nov 21, 2013 39 comments
Review: Brooks Cambium C17 Saddle
Product Review: Brooks Cambium C17 Saddle

For whatever the reason, this saddle has generated more hype than any I can recall. Perhaps it’s because Brooks isn’t exactly associated typically with vegan saddles? Or maybe it’s the unique nature of the material application? Rubber, really?! I’ve heard a lot of positive and negative feedback but that didn’t stop me from picking up a Cambium C17 from my local shop to try out (I still hadn’t received mine from Brooks to review, so I figured what the hell)…

Check out more below!

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Nov 20, 2013 30 comments
I’m Really Loving the Tenspeed Hero Stealth Club Jersey

“IT IS FORBIDDEN TO FORBID!”

It’s hard to believe that this is the typical Austin “fall riding” wear. Short sleeve jersey and bibs. Maybe arm warmers. Out of all my road-cycling kits, for some reason I keep coming back to this combo: the Tenspeed Hero Stealth Club Jersey and the Team Dream ENDO Compression bibs.

Both fit exceptionally well and are classic additions to anyone’s collection. In fact, I’m a huge fan of everything Tenspeed Hero is doing but I had never owned one of their jerseys before. They’re made in Italy, from tech fabrics and the fit is pretty spot on. I haven’t owned a club-fit jersey (size large) in over a year, so I was surprised at how the chest in particular felt a little more roomy than my tradition size large race fit kits.

What can I say? I don’t have to do posts like this but I’ve been really digging this jersey!

Nov 11, 2013 4 comments
Wolf Tooth Components: Made in the USA – 30t Single Ring Precision

One of the reasons why I’m going XX1 on my new Rosko mountain bike is the simplicity of running a single ring up front. When you lose the front derailleur, it lightens the bike up, while freeing up your trigger location for a dropper post or front fork control. XX1 runs a 32 or 34 up front and up to a 42t cog in the back, which is an incredibly wide range.

But what if I want to run a single ring up front with my XT setup? Before, you’d have to have a chain keep, which isn’t an issue, but it certainly doesn’t look as sharp without anything holding your chain to the ring. One of the first things I noticed on Tim’s Yeti SB95c that I rode was the Wolf Tooth Components 30t 104BCD ring.

Check out more below!

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Oct 29, 2013 16 comments
Review: Yeti’s SB95c 29′r Carbon MTB
COVER_Yeti

Over the past few years, the mountain bike industry has been gradually dialing up the pricepoints on their carbon full suspension offerings. It’s relatively easy to walk into a shop and see complete rigs toppling the $5k mark with an XT kit, or $10k with XX1 and ENVE. That or coming in a hair shy.

For what it’s worth, the technology you’re given at the high end is a lot more merited than the high end road market. Or at least in my opinion. In short: you get a bigger bang for your buck dropping $5k on a MTB than you do on a road bike (custom market excluded). There are more moving parts, more technology and both help achieve the ultimate squish.

XT, XTR, XX1 are all worthy groups for a rig like the Yeti SB95c. Topped off with your choice of Rock Shox or Fox forks and shocks, you could come pretty damn close to the ever-elusive perfect ride.

Recently, I was loaned a top of the line Yeti SB95c 29′r to rip through some local trails here in Melbourne, thanks to My Mountain. While the terrain wasn’t as nearly as gnarly as my last outing in the Alps, they proved to be ideal testing grounds.

Now, what on Earth would I have to say about this bike? Keep in mind, this was one of many high-end 29′r I’ve gotten to put a few hours on in the past year… Giving me a bit of perspective as I shop for one of my own full sus rigs.

Check out my full review below and more photos in the Gallery!

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Oct 29, 2013 12 comments