Reviews

category

Lael Rides Alaska: Touring the Dalton Highway and Gear Breakdown

Reportage

Lael Rides Alaska: Touring the Dalton Highway and Gear Breakdown

Dalton Highway

We land in Deadhorse on the North Slope of Alaska in the evening under sunny skies and drag our cardboard bike boxes out of the single gate terminal. We’re the only passengers on the flight not starting a two-week work shift on the oil fields. The wind is ripping so fast, it’s hard to put the bikes together. We help each other. We velcro bags to our bikes and load up our camping gear. It’s cold enough that we put on all of our clothing layers. We cram days’ worth of food into every pack. The workers at the airport are kind and helpful. A woman gives us directions to the shop where we can buy a camping stove canister and a can of bear spray that we couldn’t bring on the plane. She asks us to leave our bike boxes in storage. They always save the big ones for hunters.

Rippin’ Ass in Ripton & Co’s Action Jorts: A Review

Reportage

Rippin’ Ass in Ripton & Co’s Action Jorts: A Review

I’m not going to lie, when I first saw the post about Ripton & Co I thought it was a joke, and if it wasn’t a joke why have I missed the business opportunity of the decade sitting right in front of my face. At a startling $89 for a pair boutique cut off jorts, I was stunned. I was shortly connected to the Jort Lord, Elliot Wilkinson-Ray, who asked what size I wanted and if I wanted the shorts hemmed or cut off, I chose to go with cut off to go for the full jort experience.

A Review of the Wahoo Roam and a Reluctant Luddite

Reportage

A Review of the Wahoo Roam and a Reluctant Luddite

To start, my Review of the Wahoo Roam is definitely going to be a bit narrow in scope, I don’t often ride road bikes, have a bunch of random sensors all over my body and bike, or keep meticulous logs of all my riding, so about 50% of the cool shit this device can do goes untouched by me.  You’re probably asking, what the hell do you ride and why are you talking to me about this? Well, I like to do short mountain bike rides and longer touring routes, both of which are super rad to have a GPS device for.  I also dabble in route creation, Im no Sarah Swallow, but I’ve been dipping my toes in the water and having a Wahoo has made that a more fruitful experience.

Forged in the Heat of Albuquerque: DOOM Bars

Radar

Forged in the Heat of Albuquerque: DOOM Bars

The bicycle industry has many layers within the realm of the maker. There are framebuilders, wheel, and component manufacturers, and yes, bar makers. When I moved to New Mexico, I was eager to get to know some of the local metal alchemists. Then the pandemic really hit, so I began to scroll around Instagram, looking for signs of steel and brass. That’s when I found Doom Bars, a small, solo operation based in Albuquerque.

When I saw the bars they were listing for sale on their account, I sprung on a pair of nickel-plated bars, which I just installed on my Retrotec. Let’s take a closer look…

All Road All Day with the Reserve 35 Wheels

Reportage

All Road All Day with the Reserve 35 Wheels

Let’s be honest. Wheel reviews aren’t that interesting. Modern carbon wheels only need to fulfill a few criteria. You mostly want them to disappear as your ride takes over, blurred out… I feel like we post a lot of wheel reviews and I try my hardest to not regurgitate marketing jargon or keywords that get thrown around endlessly in bike media. As a consumer, you probably only care about a few things, of which I’ll address here, while showcasing some fun and different wheel review photos on one of the most recognizable all-road bikes here on the Radavist. Let’s check out the Reserve 35 Wheels below…

Two Years and a Few Falls on the Ron’s Bikes Dirt Tourer

Reportage

Two Years and a Few Falls on the Ron’s Bikes Dirt Tourer

I had been holding back on these notes for about a year now because I felt that calling it a “review” sounded like too much. The audience here is used to deep comprehension reviews and it’s very intimidating to put it in the same category when my experience with bicycles is reduced to the five I’ve owned in my adult life, this one included. So instead this is more of a short story about a bicycle, with hints of technical information where it feels required.

Convert Your 15mm TA Gravel Fork into 12mm with JJP&E’s Conversion Kits

Radar

Convert Your 15mm TA Gravel Fork into 12mm with JJP&E’s Conversion Kits

I’d assume many of you, like me, have a 15mm thru-axle gravel fork that you would like to convert to 12mm. Every time I review gravel or all-road wheels, they come in 12mm and I have to spend time searching and ordering 15mm cups for the hubs. Let me tell you, it’s a waste of time. I looked for a while for a conversion kit to change my 15mm fork to 12mm but never found anything. The other day, I stumbled upon an eBay seller who makes a handy 15mm to 12mm conversion kit for just about every fork on the market. The account is JJP&E and it really is as simple as you’d imagine! Check out an in-depth look below…

Lael Wilcox’s Kenai 250 2021 Specialized Epic Evo Pro with Hope Tech

Reportage

Lael Wilcox’s Kenai 250 2021 Specialized Epic Evo Pro with Hope Tech

The Kenai 250 is a 257-mile, self-supported mountain bike race in the Kenai peninsula, the only area in Alaska with a large network of singletrack trails maintained by the forest service. The race organizer, Michael Braun, stitched together a route that connects the trails with highway miles. It’s 60% singletrack and 40% pavement. The race has been going on since at least 2013. This year, with 36 starters, it’s a record setting year for participation. This will be my first time racing it. I grew up in Alaska. It’s amazing to have the opportunity to ride and race in my home state. A couple weeks ago, Rue and I went out to tour the trails– several of which I’d never ridden. In a single day, from my bike seat, I saw a moose cooling off in a pond and both a lynx and a grizzly bear crossed my path. Alaska is still very wild. I’m really looking forward to riding through the night and experiencing this full route in one go. It would make a great multi-day tour as well.

Chunder and Chamisa on the Chumba Sendero 29er Hardtail

Reportage

Chunder and Chamisa on the Chumba Sendero 29er Hardtail

Over the past few years, I’ve found myself only riding 150mm travel hardtails and full suspensions with slackened front ends and steep seat tubes. In my mind, why would you want anything else? Then I moved to Santa Fe, where we have even bigger backcountry loops, steep climbs, and long, rocky descents. Yet, we also have sweeping, undulating XC trails. Suddenly, all those 150mm bikes are a little too much for a lot of the trails here, most of which are in my neighborhood. Then Chumba came to the rescue, sending along their Sendero 130mm 29er hardtail for me to review and I fell in love with XC bikes once again.

Read on for how this beauty of a bike handles our chunder and Chamisa-lined trails here in Santa Fe…

1×13 Shifting with Rotor on the Merlin Bikes Sandstone Gravel Bike

Reportage

1×13 Shifting with Rotor on the Merlin Bikes Sandstone Gravel Bike

Hydraulic shifting? 13 speeds? What in tarnation?

That’s what was going through my head when I first saw Rotor’s 13-speed drivetrain kit at Sea Otter last year. The 1×13 kit is a follow up to Rotor’s Uno 2x groupset from four years ago. Like the Uno, the 1×13 uses hydraulically-actuated shifting for a groundbreaking industry first. As you might imagine, this tech is pricey, and probably not for everyone, myself included, but over the past few months, I’ve enjoyed riding it on this beautiful titanium chassis by none other than Merlin Bikes. Check out a full review of Rotor’s 1×13 and the Merlin Sandstone Gravel bike below.

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

Reportage

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

Radar

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?

Radar

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

Reportage

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

Reportage

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

Radar

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

Reportage

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”.