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Rebounding with the 2020 Cannondale Topstone 650b and its All-Carbon Lefty Oliver Fork

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Rebounding with the 2020 Cannondale Topstone 650b and its All-Carbon Lefty Oliver Fork

Out of all the bikes I personally reviewed or even rode last year, the Cannondale Topstone carbon was not my favorite. Yet, I really loved the 2018 aluminum Topstone! Go figure. As I stated in the initial review, it felt too gimmicky for all the engineering that went into it. I felt like it was lacking something extra to truly make it stand out from Cannondale‘s history of making kooky, yet practical suspension bikes. A whole year has passed but my wish would finally come true. Was it worth the wait or the extra engineering? Read on below to find out.

The Radavist Authors’ Favorite Small Business Products: John Watson

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The Radavist Authors’ Favorite Small Business Products: John Watson

John Watson picks up this series we began with Ryan Wilson during the pandemic. Consider this a shout out to our favorite small businesses in the cycling industry. Here are some of John’s personal picks.

Small businesses are the foundation of the outdoor industry and many have been seriously impacted by the pandemic over the last couple of months. While money is understandably tight for a significant portion of people, if you do have the means and are dreaming up your next bike trip or local ride, I wanted to offer up a few suggestions for gear that I believe is worthy of investing in from some of my favorite small businesses in the industry.

Which Water Filter is Your Favorite?

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Which Water Filter is Your Favorite?

On a recent ride, I broke out my trusty Mini Sawyer filter, after storing it per the instructions and cleaning it the night before, to find that it just didn’t work all that well anymore. Granted this filter had probably only been used once or twice before. The stream from the filter was more of a trickle which struck me as odd as I haven’t filtered any silty streams. Granted, when you’re re-hydrating, you should be sipping water, not chugging it so it didn’t bother me at the time. Filling my bottles though, took forever.

It leads me to think there has to be a better filter for smaller, back-country rides where water is a concern. We have lots of streams, creeks, and tributaries here to drink from on big rides, which is nice but I’d love to find a better filtering option. We use an MSR pump filter for bike and backpacking trips but they take up a lot of space. Filters like the Scout Inline and MSR Thru-Link inline filters look appealing but what if you don’t ride with a bladder all the time? Steripen? Iodine? Surely you’ve got opinions, so we’d like to head what you use!

John’s Retrotec As a Singlespeed 27.5+ Using the Phil Wood Eccentric BB

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John’s Retrotec As a Singlespeed 27.5+ Using the Phil Wood Eccentric BB

It had been years since I’ve ridden singlespeed and to be honest, I was pretty reluctant to do so here in Santa Fe. We’ve been in town for about two months now and it’s taken a while to get used to the elevation. Our house is at 6,800′ and the local trails start around 7,000′, shooting up to 12,000′. It’s a lot to take in but for the more flowy cross-country trails, I felt like I could get away with one gear and I knew just the bike for it!

My Retrotec is one of those “forever” machines. I could never sell it as it feels like it’s a part of this website. Plus, the maker – Mr. Curtis Inglis – is just such a stand up guy. When you ride a Retrotec, you put a smile on Curtis’ face and if you’ve ever met the guy, you know that’s well worth it!

Monkey Wrenching with the Esker Cycles Hayduke Hardtail in Arizona

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Monkey Wrenching with the Esker Cycles Hayduke Hardtail in Arizona

Back in 2016, at the end of the #dflthedivide trip, there was a great little 40th-anniversary party at FreeCycles in Missoula to celebrate Adventure Cycling turning 40. At this party, there was a real nifty bikepacking rig from a small company that was right at home in a nonprofit shop. The Advocate Cycles Hayduke. Now, Advocate has transformed into Esker Cycles, and though the road and touring frames are no more, Hayduke Lives! (on). These are my impressions of this nifty hardtail.

The Radavist Authors’ Favorite Small Business Products: Ryan Wilson

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The Radavist Authors’ Favorite Small Business Products: Ryan Wilson

Ryan Wilson kicks off a series we’re launching during the pandemic, a shout out to our favorite small businesses in the cycling industry. Here are some of Ryan’s personal favorite products!

Small businesses are the foundation of the outdoor industry and many have been seriously impacted by the pandemic over the last couple of months. While money is understandably tight for a significant portion of people, if you do have the means and are dreaming up your next bike trip or local ride, I wanted to offer up a few suggestions for gear that I believe is worthy of investing in from some of my favorite small businesses in the industry.

REEB Lickskillet: the Mad Max Gravel Racer

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REEB Lickskillet: the Mad Max Gravel Racer

For the astute bike nerd, with the unfettered access to the internet that many of the socially distant are currently experiencing, it is evident that hardly a day passes without some bike brand announcing their revolutionary new gravel bike into an increasingly crowded marketplace. Shorter chainstays! Bigger tire clearance! More braze-ons splooshed all over the frame! Into this current apocalyptic wasteland of the gravel racer without a race is born the Lickskillet. Springing from the loins of REEB (yes, that is BEER spelled backward) the venerable bike/brewing company in Longmont Colorado. As they say, each REEB is “Barn Built Because it Matters”.

Got a Lot of Bikes But Little Space? Check Out the BikeHand Wall Mount Hangers

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Got a Lot of Bikes But Little Space? Check Out the BikeHand Wall Mount Hangers

Bicycle storage in your home or apartment is hard! Especially when your bikes have wide bars and big tires. Over the years, I’ve found the best way to store bikes is hanging from the wall but the main issue is finding hangers that are durable, won’t scratch your wheels, and won’t bend over time. When we moved into our new home, I hung my bikes in a small room and posted about the process on Instagram. In doing so, I got a lot of requests for a write-up here on the Radavist. So here we are!

Now, I did a lot of research and found the best option for wall-mounted hangers but you should know there are a few key details you don’t want to miss.

Dust in the Wind: Six Months of Bliss on the Bice Biycles Wandrian 29er Gravel Bike

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Dust in the Wind: Six Months of Bliss on the Bice Biycles Wandrian 29er Gravel Bike

Back in the summer of 2011, Dario took off on a solo tour, from his home town to Rome and back. This tour totaled over 2072.7km and changed the way he looked at the world. Tours and long rides on a bike are like that. Those long hours pedaling can really bring out the creative juices. The endorphins, the sights, sounds, smells, and the people you meet on the road broaden your perspective. You’ll often hear of these experiences as being life-altering and for good reason.

While in Rome, Dario met the team at Associazione Ex-Lavanderia, a bicycle frame building school and when he returned home, be began welding. Many hours were spent perfecting the art and over the past few years, Dario has had many teachers to aid his torch. Mattia (Legor), Dario Pegoretti, Gianni Gilardi and Preda, Stucchi and Perego have all passed down their knowledge to Dario.

When the time was ready, he launched Bice Bicycles where Dario builds road, all-road, gravel, touring, and mountain bikes. I was set up with a review of his most interesting offering, the Wandrian, through Biciclista, the US distributor for Bice Bicycles and Ingrid Components.

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. 

John’s Starling Murmur 29er

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John’s Starling Murmur 29er

After reviewing the Starling Murmur Factory early last year, I placed a deposit for one myself, springing for the made in the UK front triangle, made in Taiwan rear swingarm model, in a larger size than the demo large I reviewed. Joe and I discussed the bike, I sent in the money needed and waited. A few months later, Joe alerted me that the bike was done and he shipped it to the United States. Little did I know that I wouldn’t see the bike for almost 8 months later.

Shifting the Paradigm with the Titanium Knolly Cache

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Shifting the Paradigm with the Titanium Knolly Cache

Are you ready for the next paradigm shift in drop bar bikes? In news that will come with little to zero surprise, this same shift began in the mountain bike world nearly a decade ago. It took a while for people to jump on the bandwagon, but once they were on, the entire industry figured it out. Now it’s drop bar’s turn. Here we go with the titanium Knolly Cache.

The Gravel Antichrist: the Evil Chamois Hagar Gravel Bike Parties Hard

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The Gravel Antichrist: the Evil Chamois Hagar Gravel Bike Parties Hard

Now, I’m not a religious person, but I did grow up in a Christian church, so I am well aware of the characters, entities, and symbolism that exists in the Bible. Using the word “Antichrist” in the title of this review will ruffle some feathers, but hear me out. If we look at the phrase metaphorically, the Antichrist is opposition to the status quo, said to appear before the end of the world. Now, reading the reactions to this bike online, many would have you believe it is the harbinger of doom for the gravel world and ya know what? If that is the case, burn it down because the Chamois Hagar is exactly what the gravel world needs…

Her Knight in Shining Armor: Brenda’s Otso Warakin Stainless

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Her Knight in Shining Armor: Brenda’s Otso Warakin Stainless

Returning to Minneapolis from my solo bike trip in Scotland, the last thing on my mind was riding bikes. Turns out pushing your fat bike through rivers, bogs and pouring rain for three weeks makes you want to never look at a bike again. I needed a break and I had planned on recovering by a lake for the rest of the summer. That is until I received an email that my new gravel adventure bike was ready in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Tested and Still True: Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V Gravel Wheels

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Tested and Still True: Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V Gravel Wheels

With a weight coming in at 1575grams and setting you back $1300 for the wheelset, the Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V is a bomb-proof, yet most importantly, more affordable carbon wheels option, perfect for road, all-road, or straight up gravel riding and racing. To be honest, with a price point like that, it’s hard to deny the appeal of these wheels but let’s dive into the details of Bontrager’s assembled in the US carbon disc wheels. I’ve been using these wheels for over eight months now and have some thoughts on what to expect…