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Graphic Artist Iancu Designed a Very Special Ginko Firefly for a Japanese Friend

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Graphic Artist Iancu Designed a Very Special Ginko Firefly for a Japanese Friend

As a designer, sometimes you get a commission that really jives with your hobbies. Graphic artist Iancu met a Japanese Cyclist through the Rapha Cycle Club and designed him a dream bike with Firefly Cycles.

“One of the benefits of being part of an international club, the Rapha Cycling Club, is getting to know great people from all over the world. One of them is Haj, who lives in Miami, US, but was born in Tokyo, Japan.

We’ve been talking about our cycling and Japan interests over the years, and he’s always been very kind and appreciative of my work. He really liked the Quirk bike design I had done before, so he asked if I could help design a bike for him as well. The world-renowned Firefly Bicycles team from Boston were building it. This had all the markings of a dream project, so I said yes, of course.”

Head to Iancu’s Portfolio Site to see the full bike.

Brewed in Oregon: A Long-Term Review of the Sage Titanium Powerline 29er Hardtail

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Brewed in Oregon: A Long-Term Review of the Sage Titanium Powerline 29er Hardtail

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a lot of negative internet chatter when bike brands release hardtail trail bikes that are not overly slack, steep, or otherwise geometrically boundary-pushing in some way. My suspicion is that many of these comments come from riders that prefer lifts over pedaling uphill but nonetheless cast a shadow on mid-travel hardtails that are intended for folks that aren’t spending their days in terrain parks.

Congratulations to Moots for 40 Years of Framebuilding

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Congratulations to Moots for 40 Years of Framebuilding

Moots opened shop in 1981 and have worked their way up to being the Masters of Metal. A lot has changed in the industry in those years, from rim brakes to disc, 3x to 1x, and more. Yet in that time the brand has remained steadfast in the industry, building road, mountain, gravel, and more in Steamboat Springs. For 2021, every bike to come out of Moots will have this unique head badge to commemorate their time melting metal. If a frame is too rich for your blood, they even made bottle openers. See the full story at Moots!

The Radavist’s Top Ten Beautiful Bicycles of 2020

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The Radavist’s Top Ten Beautiful Bicycles of 2020

Each year I like to look at our content in its entirety and reflect back on bikes that took you, the readers of this website, by storm. Back in the mid to late 2000’s it was all fixed gears, then came the gravel bikes, the tourers, the MTBs, and the kooky, eccentric builds you’ve come to enjoy checking out in full-res detail. We’ve got some incredibly talented individuals contributing to this site and their hard work is something I cannot express my gratitude for enough. Going back through the 2020 content here at the Radavist, I am amazed at what we were able to accomplish all things considered.

For this year’s Top Beautiful Bicycles of 2020, we have compiled a great list of ten bikes, ranging from rim brakes to fixed gears, basket bikes, and more. This list is based on web traffic, commentary, and social media chatter, and each of these builds really brought something unique to our content. We omitted bike reviews here but included production bikes. Oh and I hope you like baskets!

Let’s jump right in!

From Coil Back to Air: John’s Pumpkin Spice Starling Murmur 29er

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From Coil Back to Air: John’s Pumpkin Spice Starling Murmur 29er

Since moving to Santa Fe, I’ve ridden my mountain bikes almost exclusively, which is a stark contrast to how much time I would spend on my drop bar bikes in Los Angeles. It’s not that there isn’t gravel in our area, it’s just that mountain biking is so accessible, so remote, and so sheltered from the wind and the sun, it’s a no-brainer.

Another major difference is whereas I’d drive to the trailhead in LA, I find myself riding to the trails here 99.9% of the time, even on my Starling Cycles Murmur, which is a really big bike to pedal across town, up the foothills, and into the mountains.

These miles spent on my full suspension had me spending a lot of time adjusting the coil system this bike was built on. Some days, I’d pedal with only a hip bag, while others, I’d lug a heavy camera bag around. This 10+ pound differential made it somewhat awkward to adjust the coil shocks as I found myself smack dab in the middle of the two coil weight zones. While the ride quality of the coil system is undeniably noticeable, it felt like I needed something less finicky.

So, when Fox reached out, asking if I wanted to try out their new fork and rear shock, I jumped on the opportunity. Little did I know I’d gravitate back towards air after vibing so hard on the coil shocks’ ride quality…

From the Masters of Metal: a Long-Term Review of the Moots Womble 29er

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From the Masters of Metal: a Long-Term Review of the Moots Womble 29er

Let’s just say I didn’t expect any less than greatness from Moots when it came to the Womble, the latest creation from their shop in Steamboat Springs. From previous experiences, I knew how well Moots’ titanium bikes rode and was looking forward to trying out their take on a modern 29er.

A few years back, I put the Baxter 29er through the wringer on the Steamboat to Fort Collins Ramble Ride, and during my project with SRAM in the Inyo Mountains, I pedaled it high up in the Mojave Desert and through Death Valley, across miles of washboard roads.

If I learned anything from those experiences it’s that titanium is the greatest frame material, especially when it’s wielded by the Masters of Metal. I’ve had the Womble 29er for a few months now, throughout the dusty ‘n’ dry end of summer, well into the snow-filled fall, and am finally ready to make my thoughts official, so read on below.

Kris Henry on His New 44 Bikes Full Suspension Steel MTB: the Snakedriver

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Kris Henry on His New 44 Bikes Full Suspension Steel MTB: the Snakedriver

My first taste of full suspension came when I was working as a wrench at a shop in Quakertown PA just after graduating from college and not really having a plan. On mornings off, I’d take out a demo and ride the local trails up on South Mountain in Emmaus. Those bikes were terrible. But at the time, I was young and loving any bicycle I could get my hands on. That was 1998. A degree project when I went back to school confirmed I didn’t have a clue about geometry, handling, let alone suspension kinematics. Fast forward to 2012 when I hung my shingle out starting 44 Bikes, I became solely focused on honing geometry and understanding fit. But deep down, I wanted to build a full suspension bike but I knew I wasn’t ready. Which brings us to the here and now. Things began to click after building hundreds of bikes and dozens of prototypes where I finally felt like I had a grip on geometry and handling. I wanted a new challenge. So in the Spring of 2019, I started acquainting myself with a platform I had largely ignored.

Sturdy Progress: Inside / Out at Sturdy Cycles

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Sturdy Progress: Inside / Out at Sturdy Cycles

Andrew stops mid-sentence, pauses, “ooooooh!…….. Oooooh…. oooooh!” his pitch rises to a maniacal school child giggle of surprise and wild childlike delight, like a two-year-olds first taste of cake. Visceral and uncontrollable joy. “Tom!?! Is this a prototype or is this a FUCKING!…. ok…. That’ll do it!” a long pause of wild-eyed observation glancing desperately around the room, eyes hungry for an affirming reaction but forced to settle for Tom’s grinning but nonchalant response of “yea, they’ve gotten lighter as well”. Another longer pause as dust from Tom’s stoic “yogi bear” response settles, a mumbled and affectionate “asshole.” The recording tapers off into minor expletives, mumblings, and the low noises people make to indicate affection for bits of metal when they’re together in sheds.

the Fairlight Secan MKii

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the Fairlight Secan MKii

The Secan MKii and Faran MKii sit together as a family of products as they share many of the same design features including tire clearance, tube shaping, and dynamo integration. Both models are extremely versatile and they can cover everything from commuting to self-sufficient touring. Whereas the recently launched Faran MKii is a dedicated off-road tourer, the Secan MKii is an all-capable gravel bike.

The Secan MKii features custom-shaped and butted Renolds tubing: 853 DZB down tube, 853 seat tube, 853 top tube, and a 631 CNC’d oversized head tube. Both the Secan MKii and the Faran MKii utilize 14mm stays.

Think of the Secan as a more robust off-road machine with an oversized head tube, larger tubing, but the same fat tire (68mm) clearance as the Faran. Both have integrated dynamo setups, Fairlight’s signature dropouts/brake mount design, and beautiful paint jobs.

Head to Fairlight to see more.

Introducing the Vanilla Classic Road Bike with Custom CycloRetro Engraved Shimano Dura Ace

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Introducing the Vanilla Classic Road Bike with Custom CycloRetro Engraved Shimano Dura Ace

My normal yearly schedule usually includes a visit or two to Portland, Oregon, a mecca for bicycle framebuilders. Over the years, I’ve been a part of documenting the projects that come out of the Vanilla Workshop, so when a sweet project like this comes along, I like to elevate it to the Reportage section of the site. Sure, this bike isn’t going to be for everyone, nor is it by any means accessible, but as cyclists, we should be able to appreciate beautiful pieces of craft and thoughtfulness. At least that’s how I look at it!

Anyway, this Vanilla Classic road bike build with custom CycloRetro Engraved Shimano Dura Ace is a blast from the past… and that’s its intent! Read on below for more words and beautiful photos from the Vanilla Workshop.

Haute Neanderthal: Inside Rock Lobster Cycles

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Haute Neanderthal: Inside Rock Lobster Cycles

Just before Covid hit the US and races were canceled indefinitely, I had a conversation on a ride with good friend Brendan Lehman (who is sometimes, more often than not, known as the official unofficial mis-manager of the Rock Lobster race team) about joining the risk of Lobsters and racing on a custom frame built by Paul Sadoff himself. I’d been riding with the Rock Lobster crew here in Santa Cruz for several years and we all seemed to share a common bond in doing remarkably stupid endurance rides, putting mental and physical limits to the test for fun and adventure. Since I first laid eyes on one, there has always been something alluring to me about a classic, team issue, seafoam green Rock Lobster. Not only will I get to ride and race on this custom bike built for my body dimensions, but I also get the pleasure to ride it with the builder himself. As a photographer, I figured it would be great to capture the build of my custom frame from start to finish and get to know Paul a little better in the process.

The Bikes of the 2020 Chris King ‘Not So’ Open House Part 02: Pursuit, Rock Lobster, Sage, Speedvagen, Sycip

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The Bikes of the 2020 Chris King ‘Not So’ Open House Part 02: Pursuit, Rock Lobster, Sage, Speedvagen, Sycip

With Covid-19 throwing a wrench in the spokes of the traditional tradeshow schedule, even open houses have had to switch to an online, or virtual, format. We saw this earlier in the year with ENVE and now, the 2020 Chris King Open House. While it wasn’t safe to travel to Portland to document the bikes, Chris King’s in-house photographer Jacob Olsen did a stellar job at documenting all ten bikes, while videography team Modify Content knocked out some great, in-depth video profiles of these handmade marvels. We’ve got part two today, featuring Pursuit, Rock Lobster, Sage, Speedvagen, and Sycip, so let’s jump right in…

The Bikes of the 2020 Chris King ‘Not So’ Open House Part 01: Bingham, Breadwinner, Caletti, DeSalvo, Mosaic

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The Bikes of the 2020 Chris King ‘Not So’ Open House Part 01: Bingham, Breadwinner, Caletti, DeSalvo, Mosaic

With Covid-19 throwing a wrench in the spokes of the traditional tradeshow schedule, even open houses have had to switch to an online, or virtual, format. We saw this earlier in the year with ENVE and now, the 2020 Chris King Open House. While it wasn’t safe to travel to Portland to document the bikes, Chris King’s in-house photographer Jacob Olsen did a stellar job at documenting all ten bikes, while videography team Modify Content knocked out some great, in-depth video profiles of these handmade marvels. We’ve got part one today, featuring Bingham, Breadwinner, Caletti, DeSalvo, and Mosaic, so let’s jump right in…