Happily Stuck in Hardtail Jail: A look at Spencer’s Orbea Loki

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Happily Stuck in Hardtail Jail: A look at Spencer’s Orbea Loki

To fill in the gaps between normal, group-ride-oriented bicycle stories, we’re featuring a few rides from the staff over here at the Radavist, beginning with Spencer’s Orbea Loki.

When it was finally time for me to accept that my fatbike just wasn’t that good of a trail bike, I looked to the next best thing, a plus bike.  I finagled my way into Interbike a few years back and made it my mission to ride all the plus bikes at the dirt demo.  Turns out they were damn fun, the Advocate (now Esker) Hayduke was the winner of the day in my eyes, right in front of the newly updated Karate Monkey.  At the time I worked for a guide company that had a fleet or Orbea’s bikes, and they sent our company a closeout list with some discounted bikes at cost. I saw a swoopy aluminum 27.5+ hardtail that looked like it might just be the ticket.  I figured I could fit an XL and hopefully, that would give me the most framebag space since I planned to use this as that ever-fleeting idea of a quiver killer. 

A Tour of Ken Wallace’s Bisbee Bicycle Brothel

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A Tour of Ken Wallace’s Bisbee Bicycle Brothel

On my way to crashing the beginning of SSAZ down in Bisbee I made a stop by a place I have been wanting to make an excuse to shoot for quite some time now. Now, Bisbee isn’t on the way to anywhere and you really need to make a point to end up there,  I think I heard a rumor that Paul Price called it “Like a Downieville in the desert.” Bisbee is was a mining town turned that turned into an artist haven when the copper mining started to dry up.  The hours at the Bisbee Bicycle Brothel are loose and you can just give Ken a call if you want him to open up for ya. Now when and if you end up in Bisbee, you probably aren’t expecting much of a bike shop, but oh would you be oh so wrong.

Believe the Hype: Hardtail Riding with the Zipp 3ZERO MOTO 29er Wheels

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Believe the Hype: Hardtail Riding with the Zipp 3ZERO MOTO 29er Wheels

When someone makes a big marketing claim, one that promises “compliance”, superb strength, and a ride quality unlike anything else on the market, I can’t help but roll my eyes. This reaction is a sentiment that I’m sure you, the readers of this very website, also feel! The cycling industry is always coming out with the next best thing and trying to get you to buy it. That’s why when I take on something to review, I like to really give it a go because if I’m going to tell you something is worth your hard-earned money, it damn well better perform.

Please don’t mind this introduction, I just wanted to explain how long I’ve been thinking about writing this review and how it’s going to seem that I was paid to sing the praises of these wheels. Spoiler alert, I was not and yes, these wheels really do live up to the marketing hype!

For the past 10 months, I’ve been riding the Zipp 3ZERO MOTO 29er wheels on my hardtail and I am a firm – pardon the pun – believer that these wheels are the best thing to hit the MTB market in some time.

Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship Launches Connected Communities

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Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship Launches Connected Communities

This just in from our friends at the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship:

Sierra Nevada Conservancy awards $360,525 planning grant linking 15 communities by trail

To fulfill the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (SBTS) mission of building sustainable, recreation-based communities, Connected Communities will change the economic future of Sierra, Plumas, Lassen and Butte County forever. Linking 15 California mountain communities across four economically disadvantaged counties by approximately 300 miles of new motorized and non-motorized trails, the Lost Sierra Master Trails Plan and Connected Communities project will be a historic collaboration between federal land managers, regional government, local businesses and concerned citizens.

The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship Announces Mountains to Meadows and Gravelation in Quincy!

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The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship Announces Mountains to Meadows and Gravelation in Quincy!

The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship knows how to throw races. There’s a reason we cover each and every one, year after year! The proof is in the puddin’. Every year, 1000+ racers show up for Lost & Found, even more for the Downieville Classic and with Grinduro leaving Quincy, the SBTS decided to up the ante and continue throwing a weekend event of racing and partying, dubbed Mountains to Meadows. The location is too good to not pick up where Grinduro left off. Mark your calendars for September 24-27, 2020 and read on below.

Am I a Pink Person? Kelsey Reviews Her Scott Contessa Ransom 910 MTB

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Am I a Pink Person? Kelsey Reviews Her Scott Contessa Ransom 910 MTB

A lot of people are qualified to talk about long-travel enduro bikes. You can find me dangling by a thread at the bottom of that list, hanging there with a confusing mix of unfounded self-confidence and extreme midwestern imposter syndrome. I’ve lived near mountains extremely briefly and before that, the closest hill was a highway overpass. At the very least, I can offer you a unique perspective on a big bike. There’s a review in here somewhere, embedded in a long-winded story.

John’s Falconer Chubby Road

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John’s Falconer Chubby Road

A few towns over from Downieville, California, where John works at Yuba Expeditions during the summer months, is Quincy, California where Cameron Falconer‘s workshop is. John and Cam knew each other back when they both lived in the Bay Area and since relocating to what is called the “Lost Sierra,” John really wanted a road bike that could handle the area’s veritable Sierra chunk.

Curtis’ Gold Rush Retrotec Funduro 29er

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Curtis’ Gold Rush Retrotec Funduro 29er

Downieville is a sleepy little town in the Lost Sierra. It was first known as “the Forks” due to its geographical location at the confluence of the Yuba and Downie rivers. Like many towns in the area, Downieville was founded in 1849 during the Gold Rush. Later, it was named after the town’s founder, Major William Downie. As you might imagine, this place has a sordid history during the lawless heyday of gold mining, including being the location for the only hanging of a woman in California history. Josefa Segovia was a pregnant Californio resident of the town and was lynched by an angry mob, accusing her of killing a miner in July 1851.

Nearby, in the Sierra Buttes, the largest gold nugget in California history was found in 1869. It weighed a whopping 109.2 pounds. Gold has always been on the lips of those who flocked to Downieville. Still, to this day, don’t be surprised to see active mining claims and people panning for gold at the confluence of the Yuba and Downie rivers.

Since 1995, the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship has thrown a special little event in this town. The Downieville Classic features an XC race on Saturday and a Downhill on Sunday. The terrain is rocky, steep, and silty, making for a tough day on the bike no matter what you’re riding. While they’re by no means rare, seeing people riding and racing hardtails always causes a stir. So this year, I set out to photograph some of these bikes, including Curtis Inglis from Retrotec‘s own Funduro, a shining, gold nugget of a bike.

BTCHN’ Bikes: the Latest Chapter in Chico Framebuilding

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BTCHN’ Bikes: the Latest Chapter in Chico Framebuilding

BTCHN’ Bikes, the latest chapter in Chico Framebuilding
Photos and words by California Travis

The small college town of Chico, California has been home to a few very notable framebuilders over the years. Jeff Lindsay starting out building road bikes is 1972, and was one of the first pioneers to create mountain bikes under the name Mountain Goat in 1981. Bob Seals (inventor of the Klean Kanteen and Cool Tool amongst other things) took modern geometry and quality materials, combined them with classic curvy steel cruiser aesthetics and founded Retrotec Bicycles in 1992. Mitch Pryor of MAP Bicycles took custom randonneuring frames to the next level of meticulous perfection in Chico and then Paradise.

The Radavist’s 2018 Photographic Year in Review

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The Radavist’s 2018 Photographic Year in Review

We’ve had a busy year at the Radavist and it wasn’t until I combed through each month individually that I could finally realize all the hard work everyone put in over here for the past twelve months. While much of the site is focused on gear in the form of products and bike portraits, my favorite pieces are always photojournals from rides, tours, and trips. There’s something wonderful about peering through the lens of a cyclist and hitching a ride along with them while they pedal along their route.

Compiled in this gallery is a photographic sample from 12 months of content, in somewhat chronological order. It’s trippy to flip through the gallery and see all the unique perspectives. In many cases, a photo is worth a thousand words!

There’s also a list below of the top posts from the site this year, running the gamut from riding in the desert to the WTF Bikexplorers Summit, exploring Crete, mixing snakes and divas in Puerto Rico and much more. They’re in chronological order, so if you haven’t read these articles, you really should!

Rounding out the 2018 Sierra Buttes Triple Crown with Grinduro in Quincy!

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Rounding out the 2018 Sierra Buttes Triple Crown with Grinduro in Quincy!

Grinduro is my favorite cycling event of the year and when you include it in the Sierra Buttes Triple Crown, alongside Lost and Found, as well as Downieville, you’re in for a hell of a weekend. In its fourth year, you could tell the event is dialed but that’s mostly due to the amazing venue that is the Quincy Fairgrounds, Giro, the volunteers, the sponsors, and the Sierra Buttes’ impeccable ability to show everyone a great time!

Spencer’s 1956 Schwinn Cruiser

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Spencer’s 1956 Schwinn Cruiser

When I was an architect, a few clients came to us with project proposals, revolving around a key object like a doorknob, a bookcase, or some other heirloom piece. In essence, they wanted us to design a house around this object. Believe it or not, this happens a lot with bikes as well in what I call “Genesis components.” Someone has a stem like a Ti Grammo Art or a crank like a Kooka and wants to build a complete around that part. More often than not, it’s that heritage piece that really ties a build together. These unifying pieces don’t have to be vintage and they don’t have to be the Genesis piece. Take Spencer’s 1956 Schwinn cruiser build for example.

Spence is an employee at Yuba Expeditions, the shop and shuttle company in Downieville that’s an extension of the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship. Everything sold at Yuba and every shuttle run purchased goes right back to the Buttes. It’s a solid system and gives dudes like Spencer and the rest of the team at Yuba, a great job in an even greater town.

Downieville isn’t a hilly town. It’s pretty flat along the main drag, so Spencer wanted a beater bike to kick around on. That’s when he pieced together this 1956 Schwinn cruiser, which fit a nice knobby tire, a modern unicrown fork, a Brooks Saddle, and yeah, the Genesis piece – the bar that really tied the build together.

A few years back, S&M introduced a new handlebar to their MUSA lineup. The Husky High MX bars are replicas of 1972 – 1977 Husqvarna Motorcycles High Crossbar. Once Spencer saw them, he knew where they needed to go.

Genesis components aren’t always the beginning of a bike build, but they do make a build unique to the owner. The context of this bike made it so unique to me, as it sat next to multiple $10k+ carbon full sus builds. Thanks to Spencer and Yuba for making my last trip to Downieville so much fun!

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Follow Spencer on Instagram and follow Yuba Expeditions on Instagram.

Darren’s Blue Collar Nigel All Road

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Darren’s Blue Collar Nigel All Road

If you look for information on Blue Collar Bikes on the internet, ya won’t find much. Robert Ives likes it that way. He builds bikes, enough to pay his mortgage, and lives a fine life in Sacramento, where he’s been building Blue Collars since 1998. Robert came from Ventana before branching out on his own, where he builds steel bikes, made to take a beating, with the flashiest thing on them being that fancy head badge. I look forward to the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship events because I know someone will have a Blue Collar.

This trip, it was Darren, a good friend of Robert and Paul from Paul Components. Darren began building this frame in Robert’s shop one day and left it incomplete. As he got busy with life, little did he know, Robert was slowly completing this frame. At last year’s Grinduro, Robert handed it over to Darren, who’s been riding it ever since.

After we took on the Classic Downhill shuttle, I grabbed this bike, a Nigel XL, to shoot it behind the Downieville Hardware store. Ya don’t get more Blue Collar than that! If you’d like to read more about Robert Ives’ career and life for that matter, head to Dirt Rag, for a damn interesting read! Check out Blue Collar on Facebook too.

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Follow Blue Collar on Instagram and follow Darren on Instagram.