Category Archives: Austin
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
Ross’ Icarus Light Tourer
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Since moving to Austin, Ian from Icarus has been making custom steel frames for my friends. Many of which have requested an all-arounder of sorts from him. Ross already has a pretty deep stable of frames. A Richard Sachs cross, a Speedvagen road and now this Icarus light tourer.

I say light tourer because Ross is a bit of a camping weight weenie. Usually a bivy sack will do the trick on top of his titanium Tubus rack. For the front end, Ross chose a Wound Up fork for its fender mounts and tire clearance. He didn’t want ‘cross clearances’, just room for a 28c and fenders. Right now, he’s got it set up for a few weekend outings and just the other day, he put over 300 miles on it.

Other highlights are the split-paintjob chevrons, precisely finished by Bryan Myers at Fresh Frame and full Campagnolo gruppo. Personally, this is one of my favorite Icarus frames, mostly because it’s so tailored to Ross’ idiosyncratic tastes. Check out more below!

Dec 2, 2013 16 comments
Well That Was Cold…
WeWentYonder-1

At this point, we’ve all come to accept the fact that the Brovet is cursed! Yonder Journal was in Austin for Brovet #04 this past weekend and after all the warm weather we had the past few weeks, mother nature turned on us yet again.

The temperature dropped over 40 degrees in 7 hours and as we set out into the mid-30 degree, rainy, windy weather, all we could do was laugh. Ok, so no one cried, but we were all pretty broken.

Even though we didn’t finish the route I planned, we all completed the altered course. Check out a few Instagram photos from the ride below! Of course, there will be more from Yonder Journal and myself in the future…

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Nov 25, 2013 3 comments
Matt’s Samson Basket Track
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If you were around in the mid-2000′s, rode a track bike on the streets and still have that frame, chances are, it might look like this. I love seeing friend’s zippy, fast, track-drop equipped bikes get swapped out for a spinny gear, risers and a Wald basket. When Matt wanted something more lively to ride to work each day, he bought his friend’s old Samson track bike and quickly made the transition to basket track.

Matt is co-owner at Flat Track Coffee, my local shop and every day he rides to work in Vans, with his made in the USA, Austin-based, Helm boots in the basket and a few bags of coffee for customers. This bike is always parked inside the shop and finally I got around to photographing it. Personally, I love this bike so much, as I’m sure Matt does.

See more in the Gallery!

Nov 20, 2013 9 comments
Jeff’s All-City 853 Macho King Hydro Disc Cross
Beautiful Bicycle: Jeff's All City 853 Macho King Hydro Disc Cross

Being the brand manager for a company like All-City certainly has its perks. One of which being you get to cook up ideas for new bikes, ride said bikes and have your buddies Instagram and photograph these bikes. My job, although the later is already understood, was to make said bike plenty dirty for the photo shoot.

Since Jeff from All-City got into town for the Keep Cross Weird race, we’ve been riding everyday and aside from one MTB session, it’s all been on the local roads, trails and tracks here in Austin. Rocks, mud, river crossings, sand, limestone and more, the whole time Jeff was so stoked to be riding this bike. Why? Because it’s unlike anything All-City has cooked up before.

Hydraulic disc brakes, courtesy of SRAM, a disc Whisky parts fork, Reynolds 853 tubing and a mix of other spare parts Jeff had lying around, certainly put this bike in the well used category. When I asked if Jeff wanted to wait for his new cranks, seatpost and saddle to come in prior to shooting the bike, he replied “this is how I ride my bikes!”. Honesty that matters.

The All City 853 Macho King is a prototype and whether it goes to production or not, depends on the people’s demands. If you like this bike and want to see it go to production, holler at Jeff in the comments!

Check out more #lightbro shots in the Gallery!

Nov 19, 2013 48 comments
Keep Cross Weird Photos!
The mud run up / photo: Nick Cantrell

What an event! For the past year, I’ve been putting in intense laps on this little piece of singletrack over on the east side of Austin. It’s not much, but for me, it got me in mode for cross season. When I casually mentioned the idea about doing a race here in Austin to Jeff from All-City, he was so down. The only question was: is it gonna be weird?

I never thought making an event weird was the key ingredient. I was just reminded of the cheesy tie-dye “Keep Austin Weird” shirts but when Kyle and Jeff got into town, they wanted to know how the race was going to be weird.

Honestly, I did very little, other than make a tough, technical and different race go down. 50 people registered, twice as many spectated and about 30 finished. There were glow-sticks marking off the treachery, log hops, muddy run ups, a 200-foot sand sprint, fast, twisty singletrack, a long wooden staircase run-up and a creek crossing.

One guy raced it on a BMC track bike, another on a fixed gear, there were three mountain bikes, a bunch of cross bikes and a basket bike. Oh and Tucker showed up on his neon pedicab.

The fastest lap was 9 minutes and the winner did an extra because he didn’t believe me that the race was done.

So in the end, this race was pretty fucking weird and no one was hurt! We ended the night at Yellow Jacket Social Club where I threw all the race money back at the participants with a keg of beer and cash prized for the top 3 and 1st lady.

There were a bunch of photographers on hand, but I chose to post Nick Cantrell‘s and Gideon Tsang‘s photos from the Yellow Jacket.

Check out Erik Binggeser’s photos here, Dirt Drops’ here and J.A. Hicks’ very pro photos here!

Austin, you surprise me every time.

Nov 18, 2013 9 comments
Keeping Cross Bikes Weird
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After finally slowing down, and slipping into my routine back home, I got bombarded with out of town company. Austin’s a city that fairs well with guests. Typically, all I have to do is take my friends to my local spots and they have a blast.

Unlike previous trips, I rode around without a camera, but as the saying goes: the best camera is the one you have on you. Here are two iPhone photos from this past week that embodies how I like to ride my cross bike in Austin.

Nov 17, 2013 4 comments