Navigating the Lost in the French Maritime Alps – Ty Hathaway
Words by John Watson photos by Ty Hathaway
The French Maritime Alps are riddled with the remnants of man’s conflict of bygone eras. With the most recent being the Italian invasion of France in WWII. The Battle of France took Italian troops over these very mountains as they lay claim to Benito Mussolini’s demands for a ‘surplus population’. Or, in short, simply expanding the Italian empire.
As it goes with war, many souls are lost, leaving nothing but the roads, paths and man’s ruin…
I love long-term reviews. “Here, take this bike, travel with it and shred it for around six months, then send it right back to us.” Pretty ideal, huh? Especially when there’s a no-strings-attached policy. If you like it, do a review, or don’t, no big deal. Just get out and ride it. For The Radavist, that’s how I like to do product reviews: honestly and with no commitments. The problem is, you’ve got to be really stoked on a bike to want to ride it a bunch, and then photograph it / write about it.
Reviewing bikes is something I don’t often do, partially because I rarely get the chance to ride anything else besides my own bikes but mostly because so few companies contact me to review their bikes. One of the companies that has embraced what I’m doing over here is Santa Cruz and I can’t complain. Great company, great bikes and as I said before, no strings attached.
When Santa Cruz offered to send me out a Tallboy LTC with SRAM’s new – at the time – XX1 groupet back in December, I obliged! Who wouldn’t? I traveled with it, raced it a few times and rode the shit out of it for half a year.
While the world of the $8,000 – $10,000 MTB is certainly saturated at this point, I’ve ridden a few of them and yet I keep wanting to come back to the Tallboy and its unique riding characteristics. The best way I can describe the way this bike rides is solid. There’s no “plastic feel” to the frame, no annoying resonance when you hit technical sections and when the bike tells you to go in a particular direction, it’s usually on point… What often requires honing are your own skills and your confidence on that bike in particular.
So what do frame builders think of their own bikes? Kris from 44 Bikes has some interesting things to say about his own Huntsman’s component selection, which I think it spot-on for the kind of riding Kris likes to take part in and for the kind of bike his clients often request.
See more at 44 Bikes and thanks for sharing Kris!
Tyler from SRAM, Lyle from Mission Workshop / Acre, Ty from Golden Saddle and Ross Measures were in the French Alps with Adrian Marcoux for a few days of straight up ripping (and getting lost).
Over at Bike Mag, they’ve put together an extensive story of this trip, in a four-day series. Head over to read Day 1 of Following Cards and click through to Day 2 – 4 when you’re done.
I’ve learned a lot in the past two years and so has Ben at Argonaut Cycles. He looks at his made in the USA, fully custom carbon road bikes as a project that’s ever-evolving. With each frame, he learns more not only about his customers, but his own process. My Argonaut was perfection in my eyes and while I loved it, some things about it made it less than ideal for my lifestyle and by that I mean, I travel. A lot. At the time, Ben didn’t offer a traditional seat post, only an ISP…
Today, FYXO and I took the trip down to Geelong to visit Darren at Baum Cycles. After we toured the new Baum facilities, we ate some lunch at a local cafe and took to the You Yangs trail system.
The next few hours, I spent all my energy chasing after a neon streak in the bush. In fact, it became a point of fixation for me, as I struggled to keep up with the extremely fit rider pedaling this machine.
Ryan works at Baum and he rides a Baum. This bike is the fruit of his labor at Baum and it’s one of the company’s most famous rides. Or at least one of my favorite rides from the company.
SRAM XX1, ENVE, Chris King, you name it, it’s got it and then some. Like a bright chartreuse paint job with neon pink accents and a carbon Selle Italia saddle shell – leather saddle just get wrecked on a MTB anyway…
For me, the thing I brought away from this ride was seeing a Baum completely smash these trails. In an age where digital presentation is everything, I rarely see a Baum outside of the photo studio. It really brought the reason why Darren builds these machines to the forefront.
Baum makes MTBs fit for thrashing their local trails and that’s exactly what Ryan did. All afternoon… Stay tuned for more photos from my Shop Visit and MTB shred sess with Baum. For now, check out more photos of this rad bike!
I love how even the simplest Bishop road bike has so much attention to detail. Seriously, look at that lug thinning! See more of Curtis’ road at the Bishop Flickr.
When Austin, Texas based Fairdale first came onto the cycling market, it all began with the Skate Rack. Soon, ex-pro BMXr Taj Mihelich and his team at OTX began designing commuter bikes and other around-town / get outta-town rides.
From there, Fairdale grew and in my opinion, it wasn’t until the Weekender OG that the company reached its full potential. A 1×9 disc, townie bar cruiser quickly took over. Now just about every city has fleets of Weekenders rolling around, all built up differently, as per the customer’s specific needs. Even the production models have options now: a drop bar with disc and a canti version.
For 2014, Fairdale is set to release their most ambitious project yet: the Goodship road bike. A race-inspired geometry, paired with Fairdale sensibilities. Utilizing the Odyssey integrated head tube, scaled for a road bike, an ENVE road fork and a custom pulled Japanese Drawnright tubeset. This tubeset is custom butted, heat treated, custom shaped and tuned to Fairdale’s specifications.
The world is still a little upset over last year’s SRAM Red hydraulic disc debacle. In this video, SRAM outlines the 2015 model and its improvements.
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!