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Kona Big Honzo CR/DL Carbon: Good Hardtails will Never Die – Locke Hassett

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Kona Big Honzo CR/DL Carbon: Good Hardtails will Never Die – Locke Hassett

Kona Big Honzo CR/DL Carbon: Good Hardtails will Never Die
Words and bike photos by Locke Hassett, action photos by Spencer Harding

Blurred lines seem to be all the rage in the bike industry these days, and with every season, a new category seems to evolve. Gravel, Adventure, Downcountry, trail…yadda yadda. While this constant categorization is overwhelming, it also means that bikes are simply getting better. Then over here in the corner, sipping scotch while the kids play beer pong and try to “find themselves”, is the humble hardtail MTB. This has been elaborated on to a great extent on this site, so I’ll spare you the poetic wax. Sure, a few folks out there are pushing the boundaries of what to expect with hardtail geometry, with huge forks and headtube angles more suited for plowing a field than climbing a fire road, but for the most part, we can look to the hardtail for consistency.

So, what happens when a company known for rowdiness and generally not caring too much about the status quo takes their tried and true hardtail model and releases a version with boxes checked for the modern consumer (read: big tires and carbon?) That’s what I wanted to find out by spending a few months with the Big Honzo CR/DL.

All Roads with Teravail’s New Rutland Gravel Tires – Morgan Taylor

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All Roads with Teravail’s New Rutland Gravel Tires – Morgan Taylor

Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

Teravail’s Rutland tire is the newest of their gravel-oriented tires, available in 38mm and 42mm sizes for 700c wheels, and 47mm for the 650b wheels – which is what I had the chance to try out for this review.

The Rutland is a relatively chunky dirt road tire, with tightly-spaced knobs in the center section, and more widely spaced intermediate and side knobs. It resembles a scaled-down version of a semi-slick mountain bike tire, and has the manners you’d expect of such a tire: relatively quick on any surface, but with enough bite to give confidence when the going gets loose.

Why I Love the Porcelain Rocket Meanwhile Basket Bag – Morgan Taylor

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Why I Love the Porcelain Rocket Meanwhile Basket Bag – Morgan Taylor

Why I Love the Porcelain Rocket Meanwhile Basket Bag
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

Porcelain Rocket’s Meanwhile basket bag has a lot going for it. It’s lighter than their previous basket bag, fully waterproof rather than mostly water resistant, has tote handles for off-the-bike use, and costs less to produce. Hello, progress! I ordered one for my Wald 137 basket as soon as they became available. Yet, when I started using the bag, I wasn’t immediately taken with it.

Riding Salsa’s New Split Pivot Mountain Bikes on the Black Canyon Trail

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Riding Salsa’s New Split Pivot Mountain Bikes on the Black Canyon Trail

Snow in the High Desert

Hell, we need snow in the Southwestern United States, especially in what is called the Four Corners. All winter, riding plans have been put on hold for Mother Nature’s cool embrace as our landscapes get covered in a thick blanket of soil-enriching snow. With warmer temps, the crypto soil locks in as much moisture as possible, giving water to our desert flora friends. Needless to say, when it snowed over 14″ in Sedona I was a bit sad. You see, Salsa sent out an invite to ride in Sedona last week – to take on some of the best the area has to offer on their newly-designed trail bikes.

The Salsa Cutthroat is Much More Than a Tour Divide Rig

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The Salsa Cutthroat is Much More Than a Tour Divide Rig

Salsa Cutthroat, Much More Than a Tour Divide Rig
Words By Spencer Harding, bike photos by Spencer Harding, with action shots by Locke Hassett

While I was able to finagle this incredibly snazzy bike solely for the purpose of reviewing a framebag on it, I figured why not squeeze a bike review out of it as well? First things first, I’m not a huge fan of riding drop bars and as I mentioned before I’m no ultra-endurance racer, which is precisely what this bike is designed for. So, I may be a fish out of water in that regard, but I think there is still plenty of potential in this bike for us humans who enjoy riding less than 200 miles a day and more than 2 hours of sleep a night.  At face value, this bike is fast, when you point this thing down a dirt road and put some muscle into the pedals it fucking moves, it doesn’t much care for going slow.  When using a combination of the magtank 2000 and two stem caddy style bags, the bike actually couldn’t turn sharply at low speed, but this bike was designed to haul ass on the Tour Divide, not make low speed technical turns.  Lets delve into the specifications and all that jazz…

Industry Nine’s New Hydra Hubs Have More Engagement and Less Noise

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Industry Nine’s New Hydra Hubs Have More Engagement and Less Noise

As you might have guessed by our banner ad this month, Industry Nine‘s had something up their sleeve for a little while now, re-designing their hubs into a new system called Hydra. These new hubs have 690 points of engagement, .52º between engagement, use independently-phased six pawl, 115 tooth drivering. This allows the Hydra system to hold engagement without damaging the hub or its internals, and best of all for most users I’ve conversed with, results in a beautifully subdued ring of the freewheel, rather than a swarm of angry hornets. I was able to put in a few miles on these new hubs, coming off of the older system on one of my hardtails and was able to tell the difference immediately. Check out a few more bits below.

Disconnecting with a SRAM AXS Equipped Moots Baxter

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Disconnecting with a SRAM AXS Equipped Moots Baxter

Let’s rewind a bit, back to the Steamboat Ramble Ride, where I rode this very frame, fully loaded from Steamboat Springs to Fort Collins along with a whole crew of people from all over the country. The whole time I was on the ride, I kept thinking about how much I love drop bar 29ers for tours like that. It’s the best of both worlds – drops for different riding positions and MTB gearing for slogging a loaded bike up mountain passes. In the back of my mind, I began playing out how I could use a bike like this for some of my more ambitious rides in the Death Valley or Inyo Mountains area. Then SRAM contacted me about working on a project with their new AXS components. Initially, their thoughts were to build a custom bike around the interchangeability of the eTap AXS road with the new Eagle AXS system and do a project with this new bike. The subject matter was entirely up to me. Meanwhile, my mind was still on the Moots Baxter and how it would be perfect for this loop I had scouted a year or so ago…

Into the Inyo Mountains: Disconnecting in Cerro Gordo

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Into the Inyo Mountains: Disconnecting in Cerro Gordo

Owens Valley, the Mojave, and Death Valley have been the backdrop for many stories here on the Radavist, but there is one region in particular that has interested me in regards to both the terrain and the history. The Inyo Mountains are ripe for adventure-seekers looking to get off the beaten path of Death Valley National Park or the Eastern Sierra. It can be a very isolating place: the roads are rough, rugged, with little to no cell reception or provisions. If you can, however, access this zone safely, you will be rewarded with unsurpassed views of the Eastern Sierra as the backdrop and colorful geological features abound.

I spend my free time exploring this region for routes that are suitable for travel by bicycle and to be honest, very few have proven to be fruitful in such endeavors. The area is plagued by roads so steep that even an equipped 4×4 can overheat, or miles upon miles of rock gardens, and sand traps. Not to mention the complete absence of water. To ride in this zone, you have to be prepared, both mentally and physically. It’s a region that challenged the native tribes as well as the prospectors who were driven by the desire to strike it rich. There’s a bigger tale here before we dive into our story, that needs to be told. One that hits close to home for us at the Radavist.

Capability and Affordability with the Cannondale Topstone All Road

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Capability and Affordability with the Cannondale Topstone All Road

A few years ago, the disparity between road bikes, disc road bikes, and all-road bikes was very high. It was hard to find a disc road bike or all-road that had hydraulic brakes, clearance for 42mm tires, and extra bottle bosses for under $3,000. In the last year, the amount of all-road models on the market has increased drastically, which is great for the consumer! Bigger brands who typically address racing have looked to expand into all-road, gravel, and adventure platforms. Even Cannondale has thrown their hat in the ring with the affordable Topstone. I can’t help but think about how a bike like this would have blown the market apart a few years ago but how does it stack up against the already hefty list of options out there?

An In-Depth Review of Revelate Designs’ New Dyneema Infused Lineup

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An In-Depth Review of Revelate Designs’ New Dyneema Infused Lineup

Revelate Designs’ Newest Dyneema Infused Lineup
Words and photography by Spencer Harding with additional words by Lael Wilcox 

When I heard that Revelate Designs was planning to release some new bags featuring fancy Dyneema fabrics, I was drooling. For those in the back that remember that pedestrian activity called backpacking, which was my background before bikepacking, you will remember salivating over gram-saving Cuben Fiber everything! I hope our new Dyneema overlords can forgive the reference to the previous name of the fabric, I just get a little sentimental. If you are curious about the name change, you can check this article or fall down a rabbit hole of the many applications of Dyneema fibers here. The most important takeaway is this: Dyneema is the world’s strongest fiber with superior strength to weight ratio, and for a set of bags designed for the express purpose of achieving a FKT (fastest known time) on endurance mountain bike routes, every ounce counts.

Time’s Speciale MTB Pedals are a Much Needed Update

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Time’s Speciale MTB Pedals are a Much Needed Update

There are a few of us out in the world of cycling who have always ridden Time pedals. In a world seemingly dominated by Shimano clipless systems, there are still diehard fans of the French company. It’s been years since Time updated their pedal platform and believe me when I say it’s been long overdue. With recent models lasting mere months, instead of years like their predecessors, I was thinking about making the switch to Shimano. Then the Speciale was announced.

Small Package but Big Fun with the Santa Cruz 5010

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Small Package but Big Fun with the Santa Cruz 5010

In a world dominated by big hitters and in a lineup celebrated by names like the Bronson and Nomad, the 5010 is often overlooked as being a capable all-mountain trail bike. When it was first released, five years ago, the SOLO, as it was called, was marketed as the little-wheeled brother of the Tallboy, which many people regarded as an XC bike. There’s no denying the allure of the almighty enduro bike, which has largely dominated the mountain bike industry over the past many years.

There was always something about the 5010 that has been attractive to me but for whatever reason, I never got to throw my leg around one until we rode them here in the mountains of Los Angeles with a few of Santa Cruz’s employees. People have said the current 5010 is the best yet and since I have no benchmark for comparison, I’m going to have to agree.

So what changed? Other than the standard approach of lengthening, lowering, and slackening? Seriously, how many years can the “industry” state those three geometry adjustments as a reason for the upgrade and most importantly, your money?

A Rad Rod Retrofit: My Firefly 2.0 Chubby Road

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A Rad Rod Retrofit: My Firefly 2.0 Chubby Road

When I began working with the team at Firefly on my first disc brake road bike back in 2014, I wanted it to be perfect. The problem was at the time, the industry was very imperfect when it came to disc brakes on road bikes and all the accompanying standards. That was three or four years ago. Flat mount wasn’t on the table, many road forks used a 15mm thru-axle, and SRAM’s 1x XD driver had just switched to the road market after a successful introduction into the MTB market years prior. Trying to figure out the specs on this bike took a lot of back and forth for both me and Firefly. I wanted this bike to be perfect… this is, after all, a dream bike!

Since getting the Rad Rod in 2015, I’ve had this bike built up a number of different ways, traveled the globe with it, toured on it, and came to the conclusion that I truly do love it. So when Tyler emailed me, asking what I’d think about sending it back for a retrofit, I was intrigued.

His proposal was a rear-end retrofit, with a new Firefly thru-axle dropout but most importantly, a new 3D-printed titanium yoke that would allow for a large tire and the use of a 2x drivetrain. By this point, I’d ridden a number of other drop bar “all road” bikes, but really wanted a straight up “chubby road,” or a disc brake, 650b, 2x road bike.

Beyond Mountain Bikes with the Rocky Mountain Solo 70 – Morgan Taylor

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Beyond Mountain Bikes with the Rocky Mountain Solo 70 – Morgan Taylor

Beyond Mountain Bikes with the Rocky Mountain Solo 70 – Morgan Taylor
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

When you think Rocky Mountain, you think mountain bikes. That’s where their focus lies and for that reason you may not even be aware that they’ve made a handful of drop bar bikes over their nearly 40 years in business.

The Solo has been in the BC-based brand’s lineup a long time – as both a cyclocross and a road race platform – but this most recent iteration skews more toward fat tires, cargo carrying, and, well, slotting a bike into the current hot niche in the drop bar world. It’s a step that, in my opinion, aligns this bike more with the others in the current Rocky Mountain lineup.

A Shout Out to North Shore Racks!

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A Shout Out to North Shore Racks!

When it comes to carrying a lot of mountain bikes, few racks can match the North Shore Rack. While there are many options for carrying capacity from the brand, this post will only address the 6-bike NSR design, since it’s the only one I’ve ever used personally. Granted, the 4-bike NSR will also apply here, since it’s a very similar design. After our Nevada Highway 50 MTB trip, I was impressed with the versatility of this unique rack design. The North Shore Rack carries mountain bikes and mountain bikes only. Due to its fork crown hanger, it has to attach to modern MTB fork crowns, not road bike forks. Yes, it’ll work on rigid forks too!

Two Years In… Packing for a Long-Term Bike Tour

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Two Years In… Packing for a Long-Term Bike Tour

Two Years In… Packing for a Long-Term Bike Tour
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

Packing for a trip that spans multiple years can be a bit daunting.  Especially when you’ll be passing through just about every zone of climate you can possibly imagine, from the humidity and heat of the Peruvian jungle to the bitter cold of winter in the mountains of Patagonia…  Dragging the bike up rugged 16,000ft hiking trails, across remote dirt roads, or even the occasional stretch of asphalt. Walking the fine line between having an excessive amount of stuff or too little is a tricky balance.

My setup has been gradually refined since I first started this trip two years ago, and while it’s far from a “minimal” or “ultralight” setup you might take on a trip that spans a few weeks or less, I think I’ve struck a reasonable balance between having everything I need to live and work on the bike in the long-term, while still being a rig that is fun to ride no matter how rough the terrain gets.

As time has gone on, I’ve found that the overall weight doesn’t really matter as much as how everything is packed.  It’s when bags are bouncing around loosely or swaying back and forth where the size and weight really becomes a burden.  When everything is tight and dialed, it’s just another bike.  “How much does it weigh?” is a question I’ve been asked hundreds of times along the way and to be honest, I don’t have a clue.  Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

There are some things on here that would be overkill for many people (large camera, computer, etc), and some things that would be a bit too minimal for others (clothes, sleeping bag, etc), but this is what works for me at the moment…