Category Archives: Reviews
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 60 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
Bang for Your Buck: the Ritchey Timberwolf 27.5 Hardtail MTB

When I first saw this frameset, I was in love. Why? Well, when a company like Ritchey makes a hardtail mountain bike that only a few months prior was something you had to order from a framebuilder, you know they’re paying attention. Before the Timberwolf, Ritchey’s mountain bike offerings were built with cross-country geometries. Personally, I like slack front ends and longer travel forks. They still climb great but the difference in descending is noticeable, especially after getting bucked for hours on end while riding our Southern California trails. Yeah, the Timberwolf is a new breed of mountain bikes, from a company founded by one of the forefathers of the sport. The best part is, you can get rowdy on this bike for hundreds less than a custom frame.

At $899, the Timberwolf comes as a frame with bright orange paint and classic Ritchey logos. Or you can buy it complete, as equipped here for $3,499 (minus the dropper post.) When people email me asking what mountain bike frame they should start out with, if buying used isn’t an option, I point them to the Timberwolf. Why? Let me break it down… (more…)

Sep 14, 2016 69 comments
My Agave Marginata Crema Cycles Duo 27.5″ Cross Bike

Holy. Shit. This. Bike.

HSTB. The Crema Duo changed Los Angeles’ riding for me. In fact, it changed how I feel about the potential for ‘cross bikes to be the most versatile bike in your stable. Take everything you love about your bike and turn it up to 11. Big tires, disc brakes, lightweight, snappy geometry and the ability to hold your own in a pace-line, while still being able to crush singletrack and fire roads all in a tight package. (more…)

Aug 30, 2016 52 comments
Riding the Oregon Outback on the Ren Cycles Ivan – Gabe Tiller

Riding the Oregon Outback on the Ren Cycles Ivan
Photos and words by Gabe Tiller

Earlier this summer I set out for my fourth journey on the Oregon Outback. Each time I had ridden a different steed ranging from touring bike to plus bike and this round was no exception: I had the chance to borrow REN’s titanium cyclocross race machine: the Ivan. It’s an adaptable beast, perfect for those masochists who like to race singlespeed as well as Cat A/B. Luckily I was doing neither, and instead going on a 360 mile jaunt through Oregon’s famous Outback. (more…)

Aug 25, 2016 32 comments