Fat bikes. They’re the cycling industry’s lost children. The forgotten ones. Remember when every brand under the sun had a fat bike in their catalog? Now there are only a few brands still putting in the PR&D required to make these bikes less cumbersome, less heavy, and more like a true-to-form mountain bike. One of those brands is Otso, whose Voytek is all the above and more. I’ve held onto this bike for probably longer than they anticipated, cycling through the winter months, into the spring, and well into the summer. I’ve ridden it in its thicc 26″+ form and now in its chonk 29+ form and have pulled together a comprehensive argument for why bikes like the Voytek hopefully stay around for a while…
I grew up working at a Specialized shop, and learned how to mountain bike by watching Ned Overend’s Performance Mountain Biking technique VHS. While I always appreciated the refreshing ideas of small makers, I thought it advantageous for larger brands to be able to invest more in their materials and construction. This was a time when top-end bikes were made of metal, and made domestically.
Metal Matrix (M2) composite is a prime example of this. The big S sourced a 6061 alloy infused with an aluminum oxide ceramic particulate by Alcan. Say that again, backwards now. Alcan called it Duralcan, and I am proud to display their logo on my top tube—that cool typeface!
Available in red (26″ pictured) or grey (27.5″), the newest tire from Ultradynamico is ATB-inspired. Convert your 90s MTB into a modern, supple, planing machine.
-Race compound for superior grip in all conditions.
-Luxurious high TPI mystery casing sourced from a Moroccan street bazaar which may vary in hue
-Tread rubber extended down sidewall for added protection without sacrificing the premium ride quality of our most flexible casing
-Continuous ramped center delta for a fast roll when propelled, and confident braking traction when modulated
-Side knobs won’t let you down, or let you fall down in loose, dry corners
-Wide knob spacing sheds mud and makes artistic patterns in the space dust
-Did you know the triangle is the strongest shape in this dimension?
-27.5 pairs as a front with our ROSé or CAVA 650b in the rear for a fast and fun slackened ATB rat-rover
-Tubeless compatible for a rover mimicking psi of 20-30psi
-Tires packaged and sold individually.
-Each set of commemorative 26″ MARS tires comes with a 13″ x 19″ poster from painter Bryan Buswell. Posters ship separately in a proper tube and will arrive a few days after your rubber.
-27.5″ x 2.2?? available in GREY compound only and 26″ x 2.2?? available in RED compound only.
-605g and 600g
In stock and shipping now from Ultradynamico.
Finally, a knobby 26″ tire from René Herse. The Humptulips tires are named after a ridge on the southern edge of the remote Olympic Mountains, home to a spectacular gravel loop. These tires are 2.3″ wide, come in three casings, in black or tanwall. Head to René Herse for more information.
Got an older 26″ MTB frame and want some tires that are a little sprier? Check out Rene Herse Cycles’ latest dual-purpose knobby tire, the Humptulips Ridge 26″ x 2.3″, named after a remote ridge in the Olympic Mountains that offers some of the best riding in the PNW. Like most Rene Herse tires, the Humptulips Ridge is available with three casings, so riders can choose performance and durability to suit their needs: supple Standard (560 g; $ 74), ultra-fast Extralight (530 g; $ 89), and extra-tough Endurance (560 g; $ 89).
Check out more at René Herse.
The almighty basket bike. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Doesn’t need flashy components. Just build it out for practical uses… like wallrides!
Earlier this year, Bailey got the idea to convert this older Rocky Mountain Hammer frame into a basket bike. His intent with the bike was to have a no-nonsense, do-it-all beater that he could lock up anywhere and not worry about it. Yet, because it’s Bailey, there was a twist to this bike’s use…
Austin has a certain gravity. It attracts cyclists of all wheel types and for Matt, he wasn’t drawn here for the road cycling, or mountain biking. Matt began his experience with the bicycle on a BMX. He’s from Australia and Austin has always been the mecca for BMXing in the US. His friends here range from pros to companies like T-1, where he stays while in town.
It wasn’t until a surf trip in Mexico a while back where he finally got a bicycle. If you’d call it that. A clapped-out rig took him for hundreds of miles to visit a friend before he finally realized what he wanted in a bike. Later, a custom Bilenky allowed him to tow his surfboard on trips and the touring hook was set.
Fast forward a few years and Matt wanted to do something on his own. Since he’s not a framebuilder, he met up with a friend who’s dad was. They began talking about cycling and what it meant to Matt before drafting up a CAD drawing and getting a few prototypes made overseas. Crust Bikes was born. Sort of. Still incubating, this company right now spreads the stoke over Instagram, where Matt shares his travels and sells small items like patches, bottles and trucker caps.
Matt hopes to be building frames here in the States, under the welder of an experienced builder up in the North East. His first model would be this Evasion touring bike. Built for 26+ (Knard 3″), 650b or 700c wheels, the Evasion has the clearance and the confidence for everything from a sub 24 hour camping trip to full on excursion style riding.
I caught up with Matt last week and shot some photos of this unique rig. Built with a Rohloff, it’s virtually maintenance free. The Swift Industries bags, Brooks Saddle and other companents tell a tale through their patina. One that you too can follow along at @AFewSketchyMoments and @Crustbikes on Instagram