Beautiful Bicycles

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John’s Moots Womble 29er Hardtail Updates: Chris King Fusion Fiber MTN30 Wheels and the New Rock Shox Pike Ultimate

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John’s Moots Womble 29er Hardtail Updates: Chris King Fusion Fiber MTN30 Wheels and the New Rock Shox Pike Ultimate

I’ve been privileged to throw my leg around many fine bicycles, and two years ago, when I got to review a Moots Womble, I fell in love. It’s incredibly light and capable, but, most importantly, it pedals pleasantly whether you’re climbing or descending. It’s the bike I ride the most here in Santa Fe, and while it often gets in over its head, so to speak, I find it capable enough for a proper all-mountain experience. I’ve climbed with it from town to our towers (12,500′) and took it right back down the guts of the Rocky Mountains on a long, 15-mile singletrack descent. It’s taken me across the Uncompahgre Plateau and all over Northern New Mexico. While it only has a 140mm travel fork, it’s honed my riding skills to where I feel like I’ve mastered this titanium chassis. Yet, I’m not opposed to upgrades or using this trusty bike as a lab rat for product tests.

Over the past few months, I’ve been giving two new products a proper thrashin’ from New Mexico to Montana, so let’s see what I think about the Chris King FusionFiber Wheels and the new RockShox Pike Ultimate below.

From Baden-Württemberg to Frankfurt: A EUROBIKE 2022 Über-Gallery

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From Baden-Württemberg to Frankfurt: A EUROBIKE 2022 Über-Gallery

A few weekends ago I found myself at Eurobike in its new Frankfurt übervenue. Eurobike has always been huge, but this year I was made acutely aware of the distances involved by the cab driver who dropped me off at the wrong entrance, and then charged an additional nine Euros for the 10-minute cab ride to the correct entrance. I bumped into another journalist who showed me her step count for the day, which prompted me to check mine, showing that I’d walked almost 60km or 40 miles of Shimano blue carpets over the space of two days. Shocking!

John’s Rivendell Hunqapillar 29er Klunker: AKA the Klunkapillar

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John’s Rivendell Hunqapillar 29er Klunker: AKA the Klunkapillar

Cruiser, Klunker, ATB.  These terms get thrown around a lot and yet they represent pretty much the same thing: a rigid mountain bike. For me, the granularity of these denotations is intriguing. In modern times, these words have people debating about the proper nomenclature for each of these bikes, and there are opinions on every side of this argument. For those curious, I understand that a Cruiser is a coaster-brake bike with no gears and no hand brakes. A Klunker is a rigid mountain bike with gears and hand brakes. An ATB is simply an “all-terrain-bicycle” and was historically used to refer to a mountain bike with flat bars. “ATB” was used to denote a new, increasingly popular form of cycling at the time: “off-road” riding. AKA, riding on dirt, not pavement. Since the genesis of the term “ATB”, it has been co-opted to mean drop bar bikes as well. Being the trend-setter he is, once Ultraromance dubbed these bikes “ATB,” everyone jumped on board.

Time is a flat circle, like a wheel, so what was once a pariah in the cycling industry is bound to become the savior at one point. That’s kind of how mountain biking started, right? A bunch of misfits took the hills of Marin and the mountains of Colorado and began riding inappropriate bikes inappropriately.

Then, thirty-odd years later, Grant Petersen of Bridgestone and Rivendell fame designed the Hunqapillar, a true-to-form Klunker. I first rode one back in 2014 and immediately was drawn to the bike’s capabilities and unique ride quality. Yet, for some dumb reason, I didn’t buy one and missed out on every opportunity to own a size 62cm until recently. So why did the guy with too many bikes buy a Hunq? Well, read on below to find out.

A Three-Season Review with the Fairlight Secan 2.5

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A Three-Season Review with the Fairlight Secan 2.5

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to ride and review a lot of interesting bikes, from hand built one-offs to small batch customs and a whole lot of factory production models. In all that time I’ve only found a few bikes that I really didn’t want to let go of. The Fairlight Secan 2.5 is one of those few.

This bike is perhaps the most adaptable drop bar bike I’ve ridden. To help make that point, Fairlight sent me two dynamo wheelsets to use for the review, and I’ve spent three seasons riding the bike in various configurations. Under myself and my friend Andrew, who helps edit my rambling reviews, the Secan has completed four 200 km brevets, and has been my go-to distance bike for the review period.

Josh Reviews His Mash-Up Sklar Sweet Spot: The Sweet Jammer

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Josh Reviews His Mash-Up Sklar Sweet Spot: The Sweet Jammer

The Sweet Spot from Bozeman, MT-based Sklar Bikes is a steel hardtail mountain bike designed to be a venerable quiver-killer. Built around 150mm of front suspension, with clearance for up to 29 x 2.8 tires, its geometry embraces builder Adam Sklar’s mantra of “fast is fun, but fun is fun-er.” Sweet Spots were Adam’s first foray into offering a small batch frame design and sizing, which he hopes will make his bikes more accessible and faster to produce.

I picked up a Sweet Spot of my own earlier this spring after many years of searching for the perfect hardtail. Due to a few requests I had to make it even sweeter, it turned into a custom project that retained the established Sweet Spot geometry and material selection. Below, let’s take a closer look at my build in addition to a brief interview with Adam about these bikes and his design/build process!

Inside / Out at Santa Barbara’s Boom Boom Bike Room

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Inside / Out at Santa Barbara’s Boom Boom Bike Room

I met Alex when he was probably 15 or 16 years old in our local Santa Barbara bike shop Velo Pro. I had recognized him from punk/hardcore shows and I vividly remember him wearing a Minderaser shirt. He came up and was like “what’s up dude I’ve seen you at shows I had no idea you were into bikes!” After that he and I became close friends and over the past 10 or so years I’ve watched him and his wife Erin get married, open two businesses, and have a child. These two not only have, but live, that DIY lifestyle they are no bullshit about anything and it’s been awesome to watch. As soon as they told me they were opening a bike shop next to their barbershop I knew it would be something special. They’ve curated a style unlike anything seen in Santa Barbara and have built an entire community around the bike shop. It doesn’t matter if you’re a gravel grinder, BMX wheelie kid, or a commuter you will be welcomed into the Boom Boom family. If you’ve never been to Boom Boom Bike Room just imagine the video of Bad Brains playing CBGB in 1982 as the intro to The Big Take Over is starting and then the entire room explodes. That’s the energy that Boom Boom is putting out in our community!

From The Pro’s Closet: A Scrapyard Find 1983 Series III Breezer Mountain Bike

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From The Pro’s Closet: A Scrapyard Find 1983 Series III Breezer Mountain Bike

Part of the fun in restoring vintage bikes is the process and sometimes that process feels more like a puzzle than a transaction. From finding the correct components, to frame finish repair, and even saving a frame from a metal scrap yard! The Pro’s Closet‘s founder, Nick Martin, shares with us the wild story about how he came to own a truly rare frame, a Breezer Series III, by rescuing it from a scrapyard in Canada! Read on below for this wild tale!

Longer, Higher, Calmer: Kyle’s Longterm Review of the Myth Zodiac Steel Full Suspension 29er

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Longer, Higher, Calmer: Kyle’s Longterm Review of the Myth Zodiac Steel Full Suspension 29er

We were catching our breath after the short climb from Warner Lake up to the top of Hazzard County. Burro Pass was a riot–we yipped and hollered the entire way down. After a quick sip of our drinks and admiring the view, we got back on the pedals and began the broad, fast winding trail down the open scrub of this famous section of The Whole Enchilada. Popping and jibbing, sliding, and tucking, we were fully in ‘the flow’…until…THWACK! I slowed down and found a spot to pull off and investigate the source of the racket. My wheels were true, the tires firm, fork and shock yet sprung, when the problem revealed itself: I had impacted a loose chunk of sandstone that penetrated the downtube on my carbon frame…

The TRAKA 360 Film: Special Edition OPEN WI.DE Gravel Bike

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The TRAKA 360 Film: Special Edition OPEN WI.DE Gravel Bike

This coming Wednesday, June 15th, The Service Course is throwing a film premiere of its latest project, which follows its mechanic Diederik Deelen as he takes on The Traka 360, Girona’s premier gravel race. The screening takes place at Hors Categorie Girona and is free and open to the public. On display at the event will be this custom-painted OPEN bike, fitted with ENVE components and a hydro-dipped paint job, marvelously created by Sergio Vergel Escribano. We got an exclusive first look at this bike and are pleased to share it with you below!

From The Pro’s Closet: Juli Furtado’s World Championship Yeti C-26 – A Glued Together ‘Stud Mufin’

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From The Pro’s Closet: Juli Furtado’s World Championship Yeti C-26 – A Glued Together ‘Stud Mufin’

The late 80s and well into the 90s marked a sea change in mountain bike design. Suddenly bikes that were designed to ride fire roads and trails with no real intention were being hurdled down mountains at breakneck speeds. Competition between the brands within the burgeoning sport was fierce, and the race to produce lightweight racing bikes had begun. Perhaps the most infamous of these experimentations is the Yeti C-26, and today, we have some juicy photos of Juli Furtado’s C-26 WC race machine with an entertaining account of this bike’s genesis by Mike Wilk…