It’s hard sometimes to visualize a bike’s potential from just a frame photo, which is probably why Thomas built up one of those 29’r framesets as a complete for a photo shoot. I still think this is one of the nicer 29’r production frames I’ve seen on the market and at that price, who can complain? Lovely. See more at the Horse Cycles Flickr and pricing at Horse Cycles.
I’ve ridden my share of 29’rs and up until recently, I was sold that the Tallboy and Tallboy LTC had the market cornered as far as geometry is concerned. Now, let me say that I’m an enthusiastic reviewer and that can be a double edged sword at times. I’d also note that I don’t particularly like doing reviews, not because they’re not fun, but I couldn’t really care for technical adverbage.
That said, I can tell naunces in geometry and component groups quite well and when something’s good, it’s good. Also, believe me, when it’s bad, it’s bad.
Luckily for me – yay new review bike – I’ve been in absolute love with the new S-Works Stumpjumper FSR EVO 29 – which has been replaced by the standard FSR 29 – and who wouldn’t be? This is a 29’r fans dream bike. Once you strip away the plush, crispness of XX1, the tunability and stability of the Rock Shox PIKE and the Fox Float rear shock, you’re left with one crucial element: geometry…
I wish more of my weeks ended like this… and yes, I have to shoot that bike. I’ve just been waiting for the right time.
Tools of the trade:
Leica M7 / Zeiss 28mm
A reader sent me this just now, scoffing at it and all I could think when I saw it was “holy shit, that looks fun!” Call it a monster cross, or a dirt drop 29’r, bikepacking rig, or whatever… yes, beach racer. This bike looks like a marketing hit gone awry, turned legit trail ripper. Also, I love the bars. All it needs are some 2.5″ gumwall Ardents.
Has anyone seen one in person? See more at Koga.
Thanks for sharing, Sam!
The history of Chumba is one with a somewhat rocky past but it appears the brand has finally hit smooth trails with its recent rebranding and relaunch. When a couple of guys from Austin, Texas took over, they had one thing on their minds: steel. That and making mountain bikes in Texas, designed to thrash our local trails and still perform in the mountains of Colorado.
Earlier this year, we looked at their 29+ Ursa model and yesterday, I met the Chumba team out at Pace Bend Park, a 45 minute drive from Austin, to shred their new made in Texas Stella 29’r hard tail.
I spent the last few weeks getting to know the Turner Czar and rode it just about everyday while in Austin post-Interbike. John had invited me to fly out on his private jet – the Jetavist. Our plan was just to chill and launch water balloons at Lance Armstrong’s house from his adjacent mansion (they’re neighbors you know). This was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, but when we tried to pay the pilot with “internet dollars” he declined, so we were forced to drive out in an old pickup truck instead.
David Turner has been building legit metal bikes in the USA for 20 years now. He and his wife both ride/race regularly. The fact that he has been both building and riding for so long and is actually conducting R&D on his own products is apparent in the ride quality. If you talk to anyone that owns a Turner, they will tell you how great the ride is. Now he is offering carbon models like the Czar to keep pace with the current trend of making featherweight xc bikes.
This bike was perfect for Austin, TX. The place is basically one giant rock! You don’t really “feel” the rear suspension until you need it, which is nice. That paired with the fact that this bike weighs in at less then most hardtails and has two bottle cage mounts (why are people still making xc bikes w/ one cage mount!!!) makes it a perfect bike for long days and mixed terrain combined. It goes over rough sections effortlessly, yet climbs with ease… especially in the chunky stuff.
I’m no rocket ship down the super steep technical stuff, so it was easy to become a fan of the slacker head tube that this bike offers. The 69.8 degree angle makes steep downhill sections feel noticeably more comfortable than a bike with a more aggressive set up. The Turner sizing on this model is also shorter then most other brands. The Czar I was riding was listed as a medium, but felt more like a small/medium (smedium).
This made the bike feel more maneuverable and agile for quick or technical punchy climbs and switchbacks, but I did have to ride a 100mm stem. The demo I road had some skinny pizza cutter Schwalbe tires that would be better suited for a cross bike, but if you swapped those out for something a bit meatier and maybe even throw in a dropper post I think you could ride this bike just about anywhere.
For more information, including purchasing, build options and just plain browsing, head over to Turner Bikes.
*Photographer’s note: We haven’t had much sun at “golden hour” in Austin and it was raining when we shot these photos. That said, the photos don’t do this bike’s finish justice. It really looks great in the sun!
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The story goes: guy orders Ti MTB frame from Firefly, then has his kids Linus and Kayla design the paint for it. Circle A then finishes it off. Pretty rad huh? Check out a few more photos below and the full set at the Firefly Flickr!
During the Amgen Tour of California, I spent eight hours in Santa Barbara with Aaron Stinner. His framebuilding company, Stinner Frameworks has been on fire lately. From building the Mudfoot Elite cross bikes, to speaking at Mission Workshop and unveiling his newest model: the Fundero MTB.
Available in both 27.5 and 29’r these semi-custom frames are meant to take you to the trail and home again in (mostly) one piece, depending on how much you enjoy ripping. For this build, Aaron went with SRAM XO, Stan’s wheels, XT brakes and a White Brothers Loop 120mm fork but build kits are available in any group.
These frames are lightweight, come with a powdercoat, replaceable derailleur hanger and a tapered head tube. If you’re looking for a straight up, made in the USA shred sled, holler at Aaron!
After I shot photos of his workshop, I grabbed Aaron and his 29’r Fundero for a quick photoshoot at a trailhead down the block from his house… Next time, I need to actually shred this thing!
These days, I’d rather test ride new bikes than travel with my own, especially when flying into remote locations. That was the case at the Whiskey Off Road with Blackburn. Prescott ain’t exactly an international hub, so rather than pack up my bike and risk it getting lost, Marin offered to hand over a Rift Zone 29’r for me to rip on while at the event.
48 hours is by no means enough time to do a thorough review, but I’d like to go over a few points, with hopes that an extended product review will take place in the future.
Check out more below!
This bike is an all-purpose, 1-track gobblin’, trail rippin, rigid, bikepacking shred sled. Built by SF’s Falconer Cycles and designed to carry multiple bags, on front and rear racks, for days on end. Basically, it’s artist Chris McNally‘s new love.
In short, it’s a rigid 29’r, more specifically, it’s a touring bike, designed to take on the real Lost Coast route – more to come with Behind the Redwood Curtain – and still be stable enough to take on trails while loaded.
Loaded with Blackburn Outpost racks, Barrier Universal Panniers and other random Blackburn accessories, this bike did it all. From carrying camping gear to the top of Granite Mountain outside Prescott, to a half-full keg down to the Whiskey Off Road bacon handup spot, Chris had the best tool for the job.
See more of this beaut in the Galley!