Category Archives: Reviews
Shared trails mean shared responsibilities and as cyclists, we always have to work hard to gain respect from hikers and horseback riders. One of the ways we can do that is to use an awareness bell. Unlike a traditional handlebar bell, awareness bells ring constantly, always alerting trail users of our presence. My issue with them has always been the inability to lock them out, which means they’re always ringing.
These CBW Designs awareness bells utilize a patent-pending design that locks the clapper out against the lip of the bell. It’s on a spring, so attaching and detaching is easy. While you’re climbing, simply pull the clapper down and attach it on the two notches, then when you start to descend, pull it down and let it ring.
Guess what? These things are LOUD and they take a bit to get used to, but I’ve already had countless trail users compliment the sound, saying they heard me far enough away that they could yield or step aside and allow me to pass without being scared.
Trail users should all consider an awareness bell. It’s not enough to yell around blind turns or to ring a traditional handlebar bell on trails with a lot of traffic. As always, say hello, smile, wave and pass with plenty of room. Don’t be a dick.
As a Radavist, I swear to shred and recently that word’s been used a lot in terms of bike reviews. Shredding doesn’t imply you’re the fastest, or the best at hucking, it’s subjective, dependent upon your skill level and the trails you ride. Here in Southern California, the landscape is arid, exposed, rocky, rutted and loose. Having a nice and nimble bicycle underneath you aids in that ever-elusive atavistic urge to play.
Hardtails are my favorite form of mountain bike. Sure, there’s a time and a place for a full sus, when the trails are steep and technical, just like there’s a time and a place for a rigid, when you want to hone in your skills like a sharpened battle axe. Having just gotten my Rosko 29r dialed into what I would consider perfection, I was a bit hesitant to take on anymore hardtail reviews.
Then Kris from 44 Bikes up in New Hampshire came knocking at my inbox with a proposal. He’d build me a Marauder 29r to demo, Fox, SRAM, Thomson, WTB, RaceFace, Industry Nine, ENVE would supply the goods and I’d get to try it out for an extended review. Nice! What’s the catch? Well, when you review a bike and you like it so much, you might just end up wanting to buy it. Dowhhh… (more…)
Since relocating to Los Angeles, a land with endless dirt in both the fireroad and track variety, my preferences have shifted a lot in terms of what I want a bike to take on. Capabilities are often grown in the industry piecemeal, then once and a while, a bike comes along that asks a question: what if?
The Cannondale Slate is a what if bike. What if 650b or 27.5″ wheels with a 42mm tire makes more sense for “all-road” riding? What if a damn Lefty shock with just the right amount of travel can instill confidence in new riders while offering an added fun bonus to experienced athletes?
Last February, I got to take a prototype Slate out for a spin and recently, Cannondale sent me a production Slate Force CX1 build to try out. I’ve been spending the past week or so thrashin’ and crashin’ this machine. While many exceptional bikes pass through this website, both for review and for personal acquisition, I will say this is the most fun I’ve had on a bike review. (more…)
This bike should need no introduction to the readers of this site. It’s All-City’s flagship road model, made from Columbus Zona tubing and available this year in a classic throwback magenta and pink paint job. The Mr. Pink is one of the best steel road bikes on the market. It’s affordable and capable with the only limitations being those which you set yourself.
So what drew me to review this beaut? For the first time since this bike’s launch, I felt drawn to it in more than just an aesthetic attraction. All-City as a brand has hit the point now where they’re improving on their current catalog piecemeal, rather than focusing on launching entirely new models. At least that’s my observation and the Mr. Pink got some much-needed upgrades. (more…)
“If Ferrari made an off-road vehicle, that’s what it’d be like to ride the Santa Cruz Stigmata.”
That’s been the simile I’ve used countless times when describing how this bike rides. In fact, I still can’t think of a better way of describing the Stigmata’s handling and capabilities.
Seven months is a long time for a review and honestly, I wanted to get this up before ‘cross season began but with very little expectations to race this season, I quickly realized that I had been using the Stigmata in every other way than it’s market intention. That’s the beauty of ‘cross bikes though, right?
Let’s step back a bit and look at what this bicycle is. (more…)
Remember this one? From NAHBS? It was one of my favorites in the show. Everything about it just looked right. First impressions are everything you see and these days, with the whole bigger is better mentality about tire clearances, it was nice to see something embrace a modest tire so elegantly.
Mosaic‘s GS1 disc all-road bike is a custom steel or titanium frameset, offered by the Colorado-based frame builders.
Let me reiterate that: this is not a production model with stock sizing. It’s made with 100% custom geometry. A custom geometry ensures this bike will fit you like a tailored suit.
The GS1 is a road bike with disc brakes and room for around a 38mm tire. It has a road bottom-bracket drop (72.5mm) and a slightly slacker head tube than your average road frame (72.5º). Side note: I like how those two numbers match up so perfectly. The 420mm stays and 1033.5mm wheelbase can be best interpreted as smooth sailin’ down your favorite road, be it dirt or sealed. (more…)
In recent years, bikes of all kinds have been segregated into smaller and smaller categories, marketed to more and more specific uses. Meanwhile, riders are looking for a performance machine that allows them to enjoy a wide range of riding. Splitting the difference between categories can make for a confusing experience while looking for a bike. The Brodie Wolff is one such bike, with DNA from a variety of places. I’ve spent the past few months ripping the Wolff on roads, trails, and everywhere in between.
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…)