Today, we’re elated to announce a project that has been in the works for some time: our own special and limited edition Radavist Mosaic GT-2X complete bikes. There’s a lot going on with these bikes, so let’s jump right in!
Inspo and Intent
There’s just something about the design of vintage Toyota Land Cruisers: The lines, the metal interior, the solid axles, and the stance of these vehicles are unlike anything else, in my opinion. These ’70s Japanese 4x4s also have incredible colors with names like Dune Beige, Desert Tan, Pueblo Brown, Pollux Orange, and Nebula Green. The latter is my all-time favorite FJ/BJ/HJ color.
Back when this website became a real job, around 2009, I began embracing other hobbies as a creative escape from bikes. I soon discovered a love for vintage Land Cruisers. My personal collection has run the gamut of turbo diesel Cruisers with an HJ61, an HDJ81, and my current rig, an HJ75 Troopcarrier. It’s kind of funny, because for seven years when I lived in New York, I didn’t even own a car. Now, I’ve found a way to tap into this inspiration to help create a few special bikes that I think anyone will appreciate.
One of my first assignments when The Radavist merged with The Pro’s Closet, was to design TPC and Radavist edition Mosaic gravel bikes. Like me, TPC’s founder Nick Martin also has an affinity for classic Cruisers. He has an FJ45 Troopy from Australia and a North American spec FJ60. Both are clad in “Desert Tan” and both are in their original condition, patina and all. With our mutual affinity for Cruisers, I decided to approach this project with a specific design intent of using these classic off-roaders to inspire custom Mosaic bikes that would be just as capable.
Studio photography by Elizabeth Wilcox
Generally, there are two approaches to classic cars: On one side of the coin are the restored beauts, and on the other, modified rigs. While I love the classic look of an FJ restored to factory specs, I prefer modified rigs. My old HJ61 was on a big lift, bumpers, and a custom paint job. My HDJ81 was a full-blown rock crawler with a long-travel suspension kit, 35″ tires, and all the armor needed to survive some of the West’s most challenging trails. Our Troopy is a dirt road tourer, modified with a pop-top roof conversion, ARB armor, and a full build-out for camping. This is the rig I use to travel around the West to bike events.
As you can tell, I love obsessing over Cruisers, and you know I’m passionate about bike design — the intersection of these hobbies is where it gets interesting! Looking at both sides of the vintage coin inspired Nick and me to design two TPC Mosaic builds. In keeping with Nick’s love for pure OEM restorations, the first bike is inspired by the old Toyota stripes found on 40- and 60-series Cruisers, in both Desert Tan and Nebula Green. These bikes are crisp, perfect, and streamlined examples of Mosaic’s precision craftsmanship. You want a classic, efficient gravel bike? This is it.
Then, for The Radavist, I tapped into my taste for modified fourbies, or 4x4s. We took the chassis of a GT-2X gravel adventure bike and made it fully custom, something like a modified rock crawler of a classic Cruiser. This is something Mosaic has never done before, and something I’m really proud of, so let’s check it out in detail below.
The Radavist GT-2X with “FlexTech”
Over the years, we’ve been inundated with technology that is intended to smooth out the ride quality of gravel bikes. Suspension forks, elastomer stems/seatposts, and yeah, goofy double-decker carbon handlebars engineered to “flex” over rough terrain. Meanwhile, carbon frames and forks are clearly the culprits here. Even with carbon fiber engineered to be “compliant” over the rough stuff, those frames never hold up to steel, or titanium for that matter, in terms of all-day comfort in rugged and rough terrain.
Taking the flat bar Mosaic GT-2X and its titanium chassis, I wanted to add the right amount of flex for this rigid bike. Knowing a 2.2″ would fit into the frame, we designed a steel fork with cargo bosses and rack mounts to replace the ENVE Adventure fork these bikes are usually specced with. I worked with Simple Bicycle Co to engineer a steel fork that would be plenty beefy for riding singletrack, yet would flex for and aft over washboard corrugations, roots, and rocks alike, all while lookin’ damn good, of course.
To tackle the problem of ass fatigue, something that can really ruin your day, we got Mosaic to make a titanium seatpost that would also flex and absorb the rough stuff that Forest Service roads will throw at you. But what about the bars? Riders typically complain about wrist fatigue, brought on by both a stiff fork and carbon handlebars. We hollered at our friend Keaton down in Albuquerque at DOOM Bars to make us the first batch of titanium DOOM bars. Coupled with a 50mm, 22.2 clamp PAUL Boxcar stem, we had a winning combination. These bars have a beautiful back sweep and offer the right amount of flex when the descents get going fast!
Ti frame = check
Ti bars = check
Ti seatpost = check
Steel fork = check
These components complete the four pillars of comfort while adding to, not taking away both the aesthetics of the bike and the ride quality overall. I jokingly called this setup “FlexTech” on our tour (more on that to come tomorrow).
The GT-2X is Mosaic’s flat bar, light touring bike with a nod to the 90s-era ATB and XC NORBA racing machines. It’s not super slack, nor is it a full-blown adventure touring bike like the Otso Fenrir, Tumbleweed Stargazer, Kona Sutra ULTD, or my personal Sklar tourer. All of these bikes are excellent, robust touring platforms and are plenty of fun to ride unloaded but there’s something to be said about a lightweight bike with an XC geometry that not only gets the job done but is incredibly responsive and snappy bike to ride unloaded.
Let’s look at the geometry…
I rode and reviewed a size 58cm here. We kept the fork steerer long for the new owners of these bikes to do as they please with them, so don’t mind the additional spacers… ;-)
When loaded up for an overnighter or a short-length tour, the GT-2X is just at home on gravel roads as it is on XC singletrack. Now, looking at these numbers, you’re able to note how the geometry of the GT-2X is worlds away from something like my Sklar touring bike which, in a lot of ways inspired this love for steel forks on titanium frames. My Sklar is much longer (wheelbase) and much slacker (head angle), as it’s a touring bike intended to be loaded down with 50lbs of gear and water. These Radavist GT-2X bikes are not intended to be loaded like that, but rather to be used as a lightweight tourer, and as such make for a super snappy and responsive ride quality when your bags and camping gear aren’t strapped or bolted to it.
NOTE: These bikes use a 50mm stem and wide bars with plenty of backsweep, so you should size up if you plan on ordering!
We talked a little about the cockpit, peripheral components, and modus operandi behind these bikes, but let’s chat about the drivetrain. The best gravel drivetrain is a MTB drivetrain. That’s my two cents on the matter and when it comes to Shimano, the best kit is 12-speed Deore XT. The brakes feel the smoothest, the shifting is crisp. It’s a workhorse parts kit and while it’s come a long way from Deer Head, Deore is still one of the best, most reliable, mechanical groupsets out there. We paired the stock drivetrain of XT with a 34t Wolf Tooth chainring. This allows for a solid 10-51t range in the rear with a 34t ring in the front, maintaining a wide range for traversing, climbing, and descending.
The bling of this build aside from the titanium components has to be the Industry Nine Trail 270 32h wheels with WTB Nano 29×2.1″ tires. A fun factoid about the tires, they first came out in 1999 as the “Nanoraptor” and the 40mm tire was one of the first dedicated gravel tires back in 2014! I love the Nano tread pattern and felt like it was a nice homage to the history of XC bikes and current gravel bikes.
We wanted to nod to ’90s MTB design so we went with silver spokes and hubs, bringing this very modern bike into throwback status. The alloy rims allow for a bit of flex and soften the ride up considerably compared to a robust and stiff carbon MTB rim.
Each of the four bikes we used in this shoot has a custom Rogue Panda framebag, utilizing our Monsoon Camo pattern, designed by Cari Carmean. These bags are super limited with only four in existence. They will be available to buy with each Certified Pre-Owned Radavist Edition GT-2X complete. As for the pattern itself, look out for more products this fall with the design!
To finish off the build, we had Mosaic rough up the transition lines between the paint and the raw titanium to make it look extra tough while keeping the logos masked off with a razor edge. The raw areas of the frame are the ones you’re most likely to chip up with normal use, so why not express that in a detail that looks legit? This process was something I first specced in my Firefly. As always, Mosaic’s in-house paint department knocked this out of the park!
Riding The Radavist Edition GT-2X
Tomorrow we’re launching some Reportage from our trip to Northern Arizona where we’ll douse you with photos a plenty but let’s take a minute to talk about the intent behind these Radavist Edition GT-2X bikes.
What I wanted to achieve with these bikes is the veritable “quiver killer.” I think there’s a good number of people in the alt-cycling community who might not race gravel events or ‘cross races or even bikepacking races. They just enjoy riding mixed terrain with some underbiking thrown in. I wanted these bikes to handle summertime touring jaunts into the woods or mountains with friends, playful XC trails, and master those big and burly gravel climbs we all love. By utilizing a lightweight platform like the GT-2X, we were able to achieve all that and more.
Weighing in at 22lbs with the framebag and pedals, my size 58cm GT-2X fits a niche within my preferred riding style somewhere between “underbiking” and “overbiking.” The bottom line is the mountain bike industry is selling bikes that exceed the need for what most people ride. Even here in Santa Fe, at the terminus of the great Rocky Mountains, I can honestly say this bike handles 80% of our trails with ease. I’d ride this bike on anything I’d ride my hardtail here. The remaining 20% is what I’d call in a big rig like my Starling Murmur. As for gravel climbs, XC-oriented descents, and swoopy town trails, the GT-2X with a 29er by 2.1″ tire eats that stuff for breakfast. Pointing a lightweight bike with wide bars down chundery chutes is quite the thrill, y’all!
We kept the bars wide and uncut so each bike’s new owner could dial in the width they’d want. On our trip, we only cut down the 50cm model’s bars from 880mm to 790mm, as shown above, the minimum width DOOM Bars recommend for their offerings. The rest of the bikes remained uncut. This wide stance helps steer the bike while loaded, gives extra leverage for punchy climbs, and opens up your lungs so you can huff and puff at 8,500′ elevation with ease. ;-)
Overall, I felt like these Radavist Edtion GT-2X bikes, much like early mountain bikes of the 1980s and 1990s are meant to do all things dirt-related. Sure, you might have to walk a few chunky sections of trail at first, but at least a 22lb build won’t hurt your back in the process.
Can You Buy One?
You bet! We made a run of these bikes, four of which were used on our trip and come with Monsoon Camo framebags from Rogue Panda, and will be sold as Certified Pre-Owned. We also have brand new bikes, for sale now at The Pro’s Closet with our Summer ’22 product launch!
The Radavist edition Mosaic GT-2X bikes carry a retail price of $8,999 for a new complete and $8,549.99 for a Certified Pre-Owned bike with a Rogue Panda framebag.
You can read about The Pro’s Closet builds over at the TPC Magazine.
Specs for the Radavist Edition Mosaic GT-2X
- Frame: Titanium Mosaic GT-2X
- Fork: Simple Bicycle Co Unicrown with rack and 3-pack cage mounts
- Drivetrain: 12 Speed Shimano Deore XT
- Brakes: Shimano M8100
- Chainring: 34t Wolf Tooth
- Wheels: Industry Nine Trail 270 32h 700c
- Tires: WTB Nano 2.1″
- Headset: Cane Creek
- Stem: Paul Boxcar 50mm 22.2 clamp
- Bars: Titanium DOOM Bars 880mm wide 21º backsweep
- Grips: Vans Cult Gum
- Seatpost: Mosaic Titanium with ENVE hardware
- Saddle: Fizik Argo
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