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Josh’s Amigo Bug Out feat. Ingrid Drivetrain, MRP Baxter Fork, and Industry Nine UL250 Wheelset

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Josh’s Amigo Bug Out feat. Ingrid Drivetrain, MRP Baxter Fork, and Industry Nine UL250 Wheelset

Earlier this year, I purchased a Bug Out, the new “stock” steel frame offering from Zach Small’s framebuilding operation Amigo Frameworks. While visiting Zach in Nashville, we spent a few days building it up in his shop before heading out for first impressions on some springtime Middle Tennessee mixed-terrain riding at the Gosh Darn Gravel Gathering. Since then, I’ve put hundreds of miles on the Bug Out and swapped components a few times to get it where it is now—an intersection of pure enjoyment and mechanical perfection. Genre-wise, this bike pushes a lot of boundaries, and I’m not sure what it is: Dropbar MTB? Adventure bike? ATB? Touring bike? Monster Gravel? At some point, labels stopped mattering, and I realized this might be the most fun bike I’ve owned. Let’s look at the Bug Out, and some build highlights, in detail below and find out why!

Back in School at The Bicycle Academy of Frome, England

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Back in School at The Bicycle Academy of Frome, England

From its crowd-funded origins in 2011,The Bicycle Academy (TBA) has arguably become the most influential framebuilding school in Europe. With names like Ted James, Robin Mather, Paul Burford, and Tony Corke of Torke Cycling, gracing the past and present roster of instructors, it’s no wonder that TBA has seen over 1,000 framebuilder graduates leave its halls.

TBA’s current space is a large, purpose-built warehouse with a semi-open plan on a labyrinth-like industrial estate just outside of the town center in Frome, England. Even with its spacious design, every corner is jammed full of amazing bits of work, every surface adorned with tools or momentos and every wall covered in paraphernalia that induces positive vibes. It’s a fortress for community building and the halls themselves seem built to foster forward-thinking, where shared mantras include, ”what good will I do this day” “make the new” and my personal favorite “flux is thicker than water”.

Many of the faces are TBA come and go—that’s, of course, the nature of a school—and the fluid shifting keeps the place brimming with energy and dynamism. But a few figures have become cornerstones of the institution. Below, let’s dive into some of the conversations I recently had with a few TBA long-haulers.

Ballz’ JP Weigle Fat Tire Road Cruiser

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Ballz’ JP Weigle Fat Tire Road Cruiser

I met Ballz last August while riding around Brattleboro VT. Afterward, I was welcomed back to Nutmeg Country for pizza, more group rides, and tour guiding. While there I spent the night in Ballz and Troy’s Garage, also known as the Nutmeg Country Historical Preservation Society Of Alt Cycling, or something along those lines. No, really, they had it all: everything from prototype Crust Leather Handlebars to prototype Nor’Easters. So, seeing a one-of-a-kind J.P. Weigle wasn’t out of the ordinary, but I didn’t quite grasp what I was looking at.

From The Pro’s Closet: Ross Shafer’s 1984 Salsa Cycles Custom

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From The Pro’s Closet: Ross Shafer’s 1984 Salsa Cycles Custom

I doubt the readers of this website need an introduction to the brand Salsa Cycles, but what about the brand’s genesis? Today’s From The Pro’s Closet bike features Ross Shafer, the founder of Salsa’s 1984 Custom. This bike, much like Salsa itself, is riddled with lore, so we pinged the lore meister himself, Tasshi Dennis, to dish out the goods. Grab a bowl of chips and a dish of salsa, and get yourself a big scoop below…

Restoring a Classic MTB Part 01: John’s 1990 Team Yo Eddy!

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Restoring a Classic MTB Part 01: John’s 1990 Team Yo Eddy!

Vintage bikes have always had a home on The Radavist. From shooting Sky’s wonderful collection from Velo Cult, to showcasing stunners in Los Angeles, and basket bike/resto mod conversions in Austin, there’s something about these 26″ wheeled, friction shifting, hand-made beauts that have always caught my eye. Over the past year, there’s been an uptick in the number of vintage bikes we’ve showcased, in part because joining with The Pro’s Closet gave us access to TPC’s Museum bikes, a veritable treasure trove of exciting and influential builds to unpack. Each bike is an earmark in cycling history, each with its unique story to tell. Additionally, I have had the time and resources to work on such restoration projects for the first time in years.

This year, we’ve featured my 1982 Ritchey Tam and my 1984 Mountain Goat, representing what I love about the early 1980s mountain bike design. With flat top tubes, big tire clearance, friction shifting, and geometries still relevant today, the 1980s bikes were more geared toward exploration than the racing geometries the NORBA era brought about. I couldn’t buy one of these classics when I first started riding in the 90s (my first bike was a rigid Gary Fisher Tassajara), but I could always count of Mountain Bike Action and my local bike shop to keep the eye candy in steady supply. Since then, one elusive bike model has remained the apple of my eye: an early 90s Yo Eddy! When Mike Wilk wrote about TPC’s Grello Yo!, it made me nostalgic tailspin.

I casually reached out to Martin at Second Spin Cycles, who had just bought a big Fat Chance collection from out West. I asked if he had a Yo Eddy that would fit me and, as luck would have it, he did. But it needed some work…

Starling Cycles Murmur Stainless x Hope x Bristol Bicycle Restoration

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Starling Cycles Murmur Stainless x Hope x Bristol Bicycle Restoration

We’ve heard John sing the praises of his Starling Murmur over the past three years, and with good reason! Starling really has pushed the zeitgeist of carbon full suspension mountain bikes with their steel bikes, and to commemorate the launch of Starling Murmur Stainless pre-orders, the brand teamed up with Hope and Bristol Bicycle Restorations to cook up something special. Let’s check the press release from Starling out below!

Concours de Machines 2022: Backstage of the Adventure with Cycles Manivelle

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Concours de Machines 2022: Backstage of the Adventure with Cycles Manivelle

Each framebuilder has probably their own relationship with the Concourse de Machines. Mine is not monochrome.

On the one hand, there is the excitement of creating a product with soul and sharing it with the framebuilding family. Our profession is “socially” atypical. It is at the same time very solitary: us and our ideas, our tools, the calm atmosphere of the workshop. And it is also inevitable to expose the brand/our work on social networks, the only lever to promote ourselves autonomously, without counting on the press. During the CDM contest, this too virtual sphere becomes the timespan of a few days entirely palpable and real. I find in the other framebuilders a sensitivity, convictions, a listening that it is hard to find in someone who did not go through the same choice of professional life as me. For many, it remains one. The contest is also about that: talking about our joys, our doubts, our desires, our difficulties, and that makes it very attractive to me.

On the other side, there is this shell that I try to put on myself since the frustrations felt during the CDM 2019. I had a bad experience putting so much soul into a project to feel pretty much unconsidered. Too young, too shy to show off, not enough in the good papers. So I take advantage of each edition to remind myself that we are doing this competition above all for ourselves, to continue to invent ourselves. The look of others is sometimes pleasant and often relevant, but it should not affect our own.

Under No Pretext Should Radness Be Surrendered: Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol Review and Factory Visit

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Under No Pretext Should Radness Be Surrendered: Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol Review and Factory Visit

The Trail Pistol is Guerrilla Gravity’s short travel trail bike with 29″ wheels and 120mm of travel. It’s the type of bike that seemed to fit my riding style, and I was super excited for the opportunity to spend some time with one for a long-term review. Since the factory where these bikes are made is just a short drive from where I currently live, it made sense to combine the review with a more in-depth look at the brand, their manufacturing process, and the modularity of their bikes. The original article was close to 6500 words, so we decided to split it up a bit for everyone’s sake. Next week, we’ll share a slightly shorter article that takes a look at the modular frame platform, new paint schemes for the brand, and the next-gen Gnarvana, which is GG’s long travel enduro bike. Let’s get to it!

Engin Cycles Port Royal Crankset Review: A Modern Crank With a Vintage Silhouette

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Engin Cycles Port Royal Crankset Review: A Modern Crank With a Vintage Silhouette

Modern tech, bikes, and components were lost on me over the previous few years. Sure, I talk about all that here at “work,” but in my personal life, I have spent more time looking backward, not forward, with bikes. Maybe it was because all the major manufacturers wanted journalists (if I can even call myself that) to review new gear that wouldn’t hit consumers for another year or so. Or perhaps I felt like there was inherently more to learn from the past than new tech and its marginal gains mantra.

Having spent a lot of time curating a few vintage builds, re-evaluating my own stable, and pouring over old bike catalogs, there’s something about the aesthetic found in the 1980s and early 90s mountain bike components that hits the nail on the head. Be it the eeWings cranks, those nifty Cyber Cranks, or these Engin Cycles Port Royal cranks, what’s old is new again in terms of design silhouette.

When I first saw these cranks, I immediately felt like they were an homage to the first gen M700 Deore cranks by Shimano, which did in fact come in black. (Ritchey Commandos were specced with an all-black Deer Head group!) Yet, the thing I liked about them the most was the slim profile, 30mm spindle, and the fact that Engin Cycles, a framebuilder I hold in deep regard and respect for, machines these in Philly!

I’ve had the Engin Cycles Port Royal Cranks ($575) on my Starling Murmur for a while now and finally have some thoughts I can share with y’all, so read on below for a quick review…

We’ll Be at Bespoked 2022!

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We’ll Be at Bespoked 2022!

Bespoked is Europe’s largest handmade bicycle show and it’s taking place in just under two months, from October 14-16, at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark. As you might have heard, our friend Petor Georgallou, who has documented previous Bespoked shows for us, has purchased the show! So, to let Petor focus on running the show rather than documenting it, we’re stoked to announce that we’ll be there photographing bikes AND giving out awards and prizes for a yet TBD category.

If you haven’t already purchased tickets to attend, you can do so over at the Bespoked website. Also, be sure to sign up for Bespoked’s newsletter, which will have a discount code in the upcoming edition.

There are still a few exhibitor booths remaining, but they are going fast, so reserve yours now!

Inside / Out at Bender Bicycle Company of Fort Collins, CO

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Inside / Out at Bender Bicycle Company of Fort Collins, CO

I’ve always wondered if there was something special about the water in Fort Collins that makes it a hotbed for legendary bicycle frame builders. Is the Poudre River’s clean mountain water that so famously supplies New Belgium, Odell, and numerous other local breweries in some way responsible for the wildly beautiful frames made by the likes of Black Sheep Bikes, Oddity Cycles, or Moonmen Bikes? Well, the answer is probably not, but Fort Collins’ water is delicious and it’s a great place to build bikes. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting with the Choice City’s newest framebuilder, Will Bender, of Bender Bicycle Company. Will has been making frames part-time for a handful of years now, with some truly beautiful machines under his belt, and he just recently moved into a new shop space to start building full-time.

Below, let’s take a look at Bender Bicycle Company as well as some of Will’s recent customer builds!

From The Pro’s Closet: 1987 Steve Potts Signature

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From The Pro’s Closet: 1987 Steve Potts Signature

This entry from The Pro’s Closet museum is my personal favorite bike I’ve shot thus far. It’s not often you find such a clean and pristine example of a 1980s Potts Signature, complete with WTB dirt drops, a LD stem, and a full WTB/Suntour Grease Guard kit. Today we’re stoked to feature this gem with words by the Vintage MTB Workshop‘s Tasshi Dennis so read on below for more!