Bike Hacks: How to Never Forget Another Piece of Riding Gear

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Bike Hacks: How to Never Forget Another Piece of Riding Gear

For those of us who have (or choose) to drive to our rides, there’s always a risk that we’ll leave something important at home. And usually, we don’t realize it until we park the truck, unload the bike, reach over to the passenger seat, and … well, shit. Travis Engel knows this feeling all too well, so he’s got a hack to make sure he always has what he needs, as long as he always has his truck.

I Am Not SPOX: A Spinergy MXX 30 Wheel Review

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I Am Not SPOX: A Spinergy MXX 30 Wheel Review

After the bike industry woke up from its fever dream of futuristic mag wheels, Spinergy held on for one more go with their fiber-spoked SPOX lineup. Unfortunately, those first-generation SPOX would join the rest of those early carbon wheels to be remembered as educational, innovative, but ultimately failed experiments. But a lot has changed since then. Fiber technology has made huge leaps, and it’s now possible to weave a spoke that is stronger and lighter than steel. Berd spokes have been twisting our expectations for the past year, but Travis Engel was more curious about what Spinergy has learned in the past decades. Their MXX 30 mountain bike wheels, laced with their unique PBO spokes, make some bold claims. Travis spent a couple months on them to see if they delivered.

Down With the Thickness: A Race Face Chester Grip Review

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Down With the Thickness: A Race Face Chester Grip Review

Normally, this review would get shuffled into a Radar Roundup. Let’s be real, it’s just a mountain bike grip. But Travis Engel has been using the new Race Face Chester for a few weeks now, and he thought it deserved a spotlight, thanks to its two available sizes and surprisingly clever design. Also, the next Radar Roundup isn’t until Monday, and the Chester launch will probably be old news by then. It’s just a mountain bike grip.

Almost Dialed: A Bookman Volume 800 and 1500 Bicycle Light Review

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Almost Dialed: A Bookman Volume 800 and 1500 Bicycle Light Review

How functional does a gimmick have to be for it to stop being called a gimmick? Consider down-tube storage compartments for example. They seemed like a novelty at first, but use one for long enough and you might wonder why they’re not on—or in—every new bike. Travis Engel had a similar experience testing the Bookman Volume 800 and Volume 1500 bike lights. They’re loaded with gimmicks, some of which should probably be standard on every light. Still, they’re not quite perfect.

Collect ’em All: Seven Bicycle Tools You Rarely Need but Should Have Anyway

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Collect ’em All: Seven Bicycle Tools You Rarely Need but Should Have Anyway

Really, how often are you pressing in a headset cup? Or cutting a steerer tube? The answer is probably just a little more than “never.” But Travis Engel would say that’s still enough to merit having the right tool when the time comes. This list contains some cheap (and some not-so-cheap) additions to your garage that could come in clutch when you’re preparing for a ride or a road trip and suddenly find yourself in greater need than a simple set of open-ended wrenches can satisfy.

The Dust-Up: We Need A Better Way to Measure MTB Seat-Tube Angle

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The Dust-Up: We Need A Better Way to Measure MTB Seat-Tube Angle

Today’s edition of The Dust-Up is a nerdy little tour through the world of effective seat-tube angles. Travis Engel thinks that the way we measure them is a little … obtuse. That number on your bike’s geometry chart may not mean what you think it means. He informs his opinions by talking to some mountain bike brands who are taking a fresh look at this deceptively complex dimension.

The Ten Best Horror Films for Adventure Cyclists

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The Ten Best Horror Films for Adventure Cyclists

Just like the rows of bagged candy at your grocery store, or the fountains of pumpkin spice latte at your coffee shop, you can’t escape Halloween once October hits. Not even here at The Radavist. Travis Engel has jumped on the spooky-season bandwagon with a list of scary movies (and one scary short film) that will strike a nerve for anyone who likes riding to the middle of nowhere…

Bike Hacks: Why Prism Reading Glasses are My new Favorite Bike Camping Accessory

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Bike Hacks: Why Prism Reading Glasses are My new Favorite Bike Camping Accessory

One helpful tip for getting a good night’s sleep while bike touring is to mimic your home sleeping experience as closely as possible. Cotton pillowcases or fleece sleeping bag liners can ease your mind by tricking your body. But you should apply that logic to your entire pre-sleep ritual. Have some dessert, brush your teeth, and once you’re all tucked in, do some light reading. Travis Engel is here with a bike hack that may make that last part a little easier to do in the wild.

Room For One Less: An e*thirteen Helix Race 9-52 12-Speed Cassette Review

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Room For One Less: An e*thirteen Helix Race 9-52 12-Speed Cassette Review

When modern wide-range cassettes first hit the market, it was the giant 50-tooth (and now 52-tooth) cogs that grabbed all the headlines. But 1X drivetrains arguably wouldn’t have taken over if it weren’t for the 10-tooth cog down at the other end of the stack. That’s how brands can claim their 500, 510 and 520-percent gear ranges. Still, it wasn’t enough for e*thirteen. They introduced a lineup of cassettes with 9-tooth cogs, allowing for lighter, more compact setups with as much as 556-percent range.

And then, earlier this year, they introduced a 12-speed cassette that spanned from 9 teeth to 52 teeth, netting a 578-percent range. Travis Engel had to get his hands on one, but not for his mountain bike. He wanted it for his multi-headed beast of a gravel, touring and bikepacking bike. Range is king if you can’t (or won’t) run a front derailleur. But is one less tooth worth bowing down to?

Pump It Down: Why Every Rider Can Benefit From Volume Spacers, and How to Use Them

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Pump It Down: Why Every Rider Can Benefit From Volume Spacers, and How to Use Them

Before you even hit the parking lot to test ride a suspension bike, most shops will walk you through a careful sag and damping adjustment. But few of them will tell you that there is a whole other dimension of control inside your fork or shock’s air spring. By inserting or removing volume spacers, you can make your suspension more or less resistant to bottom-out. In turn, that may allow you to run more or less preload. This deceptively simple adjustment has gotten a reputation for being only for racers, or nerds, or nerdy racers. But Travis Engel believes everyone can benefit from volume tuning. So, he has this quick explainer on what it can do for you, and how you can try it for yourself.

Flexing Muscles, Not Stays: A Pivot Mach 4 SL Review

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Flexing Muscles, Not Stays: A Pivot Mach 4 SL Review

In the world of cross-country bikes, there’s a trend of pivots disappearing. Not the brand “Pivot,” but the actual pivots. Specialized heaved the Horst Link, Trek axed its ABP, and Santa Cruz vetoed the VPP. The idea is, at around 100-millimeters or so of travel, weight savings and stiffness take precedence over kinematics. But Pivot (the brand) stuck to their guns for the recently revamped Mach 4 SL cross-country bike. They tweaked their DW Link and refined their carbon layup, claiming better ride quality and a half-pound lighter frame. They sent their flagship build to Ryan LaBar in northern Michigan, and it seems he’s putting this bike on a pedestal, without even needing to put it on a podium.

SRAM Introduces Powertrain E-MTB Motor System

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SRAM Introduces Powertrain E-MTB Motor System

Totally no big deal if you’ve got better stuff to do, but if you wanna read about “Powertrain,” SRAM’s first-ever E-MTB motor, Travis wrote this post. Like, he didn’t ride it or anything, but it’s big news, and we figured you might want to know about it. He talks about stuff like the different modes and how the buttons work and a thing about auto-shifting. No rush, though. The post will just be sitting here. So if on, like, Friday night you’re, like “Oh yeah, that SRAM e-bike thing…” and you haven’t read Pinkbike’s review or whatever, just come on back. But again, not a huge deal if it slips your mind…

Under the Hood: Reviewing Gravel Drop-Bar Dropper-Post Remotes from Crankbrothers, PRO, ENVE, Easton, and Wolf Tooth

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Under the Hood: Reviewing Gravel Drop-Bar Dropper-Post Remotes from Crankbrothers, PRO, ENVE, Easton, and Wolf Tooth

MicroSHIFT, SRAM, and now Shimano all offer gravel brake levers with built-in dropper post remotes. And there are ways to hack most left shifters to work great as dropper remotes. But if you aren’t currently in the market for a new drivetrain, or if you run a front derailleur, there aren’t many good plug-and-play options that work comfortably from both the hoods and the drops. Travis Engel found just five of them, from ENVE, Crankbrothers, PRO, Easton/Fox, and Wolf Tooth. It turns out they’re all very special in their own little ways.

Right to Replace: Why the Wolf Tooth Zero-Offset Chainring Is Exactly What SRAM Transmission Needed

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Right to Replace: Why the Wolf Tooth Zero-Offset Chainring Is Exactly What SRAM Transmission Needed

Amid the circus of Trojan hangers and load-bearing derailleurs, few of us paid any mind to SRAM Transmission’s humble front chainring. All it got was praise for its two removable bash guards, and scorn for its eight-bolt interface. But the T-Type chainring reflects some fascinating choices. Choices that prevented you from using any competitor’s chainring, and by extension, any competitor’s crank … until now. Wolf Tooth recently released Transmission-compatible chainrings that can be paired with many common cranks. Travis Engel talks about why that matters, even though his Cane Creek eeWings aren’t exactly common.

Reboot Damping: A Review and Retrospective on the Fox Float [2023]

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Reboot Damping: A Review and Retrospective on the Fox Float [2023]

The new 2023 Fox Float rear shock is not any flashier than its predecessor. In fact, it’s less flashy. Fox abandoned the blue lever’s not-too-hard, not-too-soft “Middle” setting, leaving riders the simple, classic choice between “Open” and “Firm.” Travis Engel loved the idea, and could gush all day about its implications for the future of trail bikes, and how it relates to their past. Now, he’s finally ridden the new Float so he could make sure of it. And he’s talked to some folks at Fox so he could make sense of it.

Assembly Required: Are Lugged Carbon Mountain Bikes Having a Moment?

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Assembly Required: Are Lugged Carbon Mountain Bikes Having a Moment?

No matter how innovative or controversial a given mountain bike technology may be, it’s usually just a means to an end. A way to add efficiency or capability. Sure, these technologies can often make for utterly spectacular rides. But bikes themselves—especially full-suspension bikes—rarely add any soul purely for soul’s sake.

That may be why we love to highlight bikes like the REEB SST, Chromag Darco, and, of course, the Starling Murmur. These bikes have esoteric quirks usually found only on hardtail, gravel, and town bikes. And they just happen to also offer utterly spectacular rides.

But when Travis Engel noticed function-first stalwarts, Pivot and Specialized suddenly teasing in-house experiments in lugged carbon fiber, he wondered if there might be a new search for soul afoot…

Bike Hacks: How to Keep Your Brake Levers Symmetrical on a Modern Gravel Handlebar

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Bike Hacks: How to Keep Your Brake Levers Symmetrical on a Modern Gravel Handlebar

There’s a classic, time-honored technique to help you evenly position your drop-bar brake levers by using a ruler or straightedge. If you know, you know. But handlebars have changed, and the ruler method sometimes won’t apply. So, Travis Engel is here to share a bike hack to help keep the brake lever positions symmetrical on today’s shallow or oddly shaped gravel bars. There’s no ruler involved, but you will make use of some items you may already have in your home office.