Most of you know I’m attracted to weirdos and eccentric people, so of course I love stopping by the BTCHN Bikes shop here in Chico to see what Tyler is welding on. He’s spent most of his life racing all types of motorcycles at insane speeds, and has been adapting the hyper-analytical engineering he’s learned in the motorized world into pedal-powered machines he pushes to equally scary speeds. He’s also one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever met, so imagine that he’s yelling and gesturing wildly with his hands as you read this interview about his latest prototype.
When I decided I wanted a custom bike there was only one person I really wanted to make it a reality. I’ve worked with Mike DeSalvo before, back when I was living in Portland, painting the first run of Speedvagen cyclocross bikes. I knew since this bike would be a once in a lifetime bike I wanted to go with titanium, and Mike is one of the best in the industry.
Black Cat Bicycles presents the 2020 edition of the Hello Monsta! The perfect gravel bike scaled up. Designed around 27.5 x 2.4” tires, but fully compatible with 700 x 40mm tires(!) without compromise to chainstay length, bb height, or steering trail dimensions. Let’s get real. Most of these features are ancillary to the fact that this bike just rips. The Hello Monsta! is great for exploring chunky backcountry, touring the world, or rallying your local favs. We shot this bike at NAHBS and it got a lot of attention. It’s finally available for ordering!
The frame and fork set will have the following features and specs:
-Custom sized frame and fork, tailored for you
-110 x 15 and 148 x 12 hub spacing-mtb boost
-1x or 2x drivetrain
-27.5 x 2.4” tires
-73mm British threaded bottom bracket shell
-1 1/8″ threadless unicrown fork for maximum ride quality
-front and rear flat caliper mounts for maximum versatility
-27.2 or 30.9 seatpost, internal dropper port if desired
-S bend seatstays
-Art School dropouts or Swinger single speed dropouts
-Custom blended rugged tubeset for aggressive riding
-Cable or electronic shifting
-Drop or flat handlebar
-Dear Landlord rack available, but not included
-Original paint always available and starts at $1000
-$4600 frame and fork. White Industries custom crankset and headset included.
“Where’s your Dreamer?” “What happened to the green Dreamer?” “Do you ever ride your Dreamer?”
Since posting up the gallery of my Crust Bikes Dreamer, it’s been the bike people email me about the most. I get various questions, ranging from the ones I listed above, to questions on the Microshift and how I like the Dreamer platform. When I first got the bike, Crust Bikes and Darren Larkin, the builder of the Dreamer frames, were working on a few details. What I ended up with was a bike that was in-between versions and a few things weren’t working out so well. This prompted me and Darren to talk about the bike in detail and him offering to take it back to update and fix a few things. Read on below to find out what happened between these two models.
Kona’s popular Libre DL all-road model has some changes in build spec for 2020. Most notably is the wheel package. The Libre DL now comes with 650b/27.5 wheels and a 2x Shimano GRX 800 drivetrain, giving this capable bike even more range. The Libre DL’s frame is made using Kona Race Light technology and is mated with an Easton carbon bar, Race Face carbon seatpost, Easton EA70 AX wheels and a Kona Verso Carbon touring fork. Retail for the complete build is set at $3999 with the frameset coming in at $1999.
-Frame Material: Kona Race Light Carbon
-Fork: Kona Verso Full Carbon Flat Mount Disc
-Wheels: Easton EA 70AX 650b
-Crankset: Shimano GRX 810
-Drivetrain: Shimano GRX 810 11spd
-Brakes: Shimano GRX 810 160mm front / 160mm rear rotor
-Seat Post: RaceFace Next Carbon
-Cockpit: Easton EC70AX bar/Easton EA90 Stem
-Front Tire: WTB Venture TCS DUAL 650bx47c
-Rear tire: WTB Venture TCS DUAL 650bx47c
-Saddle: WTB SL8 Pro
With a 68º head tube angle and a 74º seat tube angle, the Rangefinder might not be the shreddiest hardtail out there but it’ll be a more than capable bike for most trails. Plus, we need more approachable and affordable mountain bikes in this industry. With a 27.5+/29er wheel platform, a dropper post, and SRAM’s SX Eagle kit, you get to whet your appetite for trails and bikepacking all for under $1,300. Not bad.
There’s also a Deore build for a mere $1,099. Check out more of the Rangefinder at Salsa.
When the Salsa Warroad launched, it was marketed as an endurance road bike, to be ridden all day on various surfaces, both paved and dirt, yet I wouldn’t characterize it wholly as a gravel bike. Not by today’s standards. These days, bikes like the Ibis Hakka, the Santa Cruz Stigmata, and the Trek Checkpoint – just naming bikes we’ve reviewed here in the past year or so – fly that banner with their massive tire clearances. Yet, the Warroad has carved a niche in this ever-expanding marketplace where companies are making moves to make you use your wallet. Well, I’d like to think that we offer no-bull reviews here on the Radavist and after spending a considerable amount of time on this bike, I’m ready to do just that…
Cervelo‘s flagship gravel bike, the Áspero, just got a new build kit option with smaller wheels and higher volume tires. I got to check out this limited edition build kit while I was in Portland and I must say, the details on it are impressive. Read on for a more in-depth look.
Over the years, I’ve had the honor to throw my leg over many bikes, try them out, write a review, and then send them back. While the bikes return to their companies, the experience stays with me, and in the time I’ve been running this website, I’ve developed my own belief for what the perfect geometry for a hardtail mountain bike is. About a year ago, I began talking with Adam Sklar and Colin Frazer, who were about to launch a new production, US-made frame company called Mystic. We wanted to test the waters with a Radavist edition frame, dubbed the Alluvium. After chatting about numbers and branding, we felt like we were getting closer to releasing this frame. Then the reality of such an undertaking took hold and we killed the project.
With the launch of AXS, SRAM reached out to specific manufacturers and offered the ability to mix their Eagle rear MTB derailleur and cassette with the Force AXS shifters and brakes. This offers up the best of both worlds with a wide gear range and the ergonomics of road shifting. It took a while for this offering to hit the market for companies to spec complete bikes and 3T was finally able to implement the mixture, so they made an extra special limited edition Exploro. These limited edition completes will come with the 3T Torno crank, a full-carbon design, including the spider and axle, built to be tough and lightweight. Head on over to the 3T Exploro page to see pricing and your local dealer to order.
A bike that’s perfect for its one imperfection. Mick hasn’t ever owned a new bike. Not new, new. Like pulling a brand new frame out of a box, new. It’s not that he was opposed to new bikes, he just never really found a company or a frame that fit his ideologies. Over the past few months however, Crust Bikes‘ offerings have really piqued his interest. He works at Golden Saddle Cyclery, a shop that churns out balleur Crust builds all the time. When he saw the new Nor’Easter, it strummed his heartstrings.
Ringing in a new era for Ribble Cycles is their HT TI titanium hardtail. With a 64° head angle and 150mm of travel up front, this 27.5 x 2.6″ hardtail is designed to compete in a world dominated by full suspension designs. Fully-built completes start at $2,815.06. See more at Ribble.
Remember that Horse Cycles Shop Visit that Ian and Kevin from ENVE worked on for the Radavist last year? It featured Kevin’s Horse Cycles all-road that was an homage to the late Ezra Caldwell – may he ride in peace! Well, Kevin was just in Bozeman for the Swift Campout – which unfortunately got snowed out – so he made the best of the 7-hour drive up from Salt Lake City and spent the extended weekend riding MTB trails on his newly converted Horse Cycles.
Kris Henry at 44 Bikes recently completed this beautiful Marauder build, with a dual usage; touring bike and full-on trail attack mode. This 27.5+ platform is quickly adaptable for when that itch for wanderlust strikes. You can see the entire build process, from the cutting of tubes, to welding, and the final product over at the 44 Bikes Flickr.
Last year, we got an early, early look at the All-City Cycles Gorilla Monsoon when Jeff came to town and brought the bike with him to ride in LA and the Mojave. It was like having an elephant in the room everywhere we went, or I suppose a gorilla. No matter where we took the bike, people were blown away, but quickly were told to keep it under wrap. We couldn’t acknowledge its existence. Well, last week during the NAHBS madness that ensues here once a year, All-City finally released the Gorilla Monsoon, which means I can now share my photos of this bike and a few riding shots I took during that week.
I found myself the other day, about to defend a comment on Instagram about “why would anyone want to ride a 27.5″ cross bike?” but I realized something; you can’t explain to people how and why these bikes are so fun. You’ll just have to wait for them to try one out for themselves. The problem is, it’s hard to roll a 2.1″ tire on most production bikes unless they were specifically designed for it. Right now, there is maybe a handful of those bikes rolling around and a lot more custom steel bikes. So every time I see a production bike, especially one made from carbon, I have to share it. Which is why I welcome the Bombtrack Hook EXT-C to a singletrack near you…
Head to Bombtrack to see all the details.
What McGovern Cycles is bringing to the carbon fiber road bike market is not necessarily a new concept, but seeing it made in California is a first for me. His 27.5 carbon fiber road bike will fit a 27.5 by 2.1″ tire or a 700 by 45mm, is light as hell, features beautiful details, and has the stance of a race thoroughbred machine. These frames are built using tube-to-tube construction, not a mold, so a completely-custom geometry is possible. The 3T Luteus 2 fork gives ample clearance, without drastically increasing the ATC measurement. Last but not least, can we talk about that paint job? Outstanding work by John Slawta of Landshark!
Is it one’s riding that evolves first? Or is it the bike that is the catalyst for evolution? Bicycle design, much like one’s riding style, evolves over time, triggered by a series of environmental or equipment changes. Perhaps your everyday singletrack just gets tiresome and you’re looking for a way to change it up, or maybe your road bike gathers dust during ‘cross season. At some point, riders look for excuses to shake things up, as a break from the painful monotony of riding bikes by the rules and luckily for us, the offerings from companies follow suit, evolving their lineup in the same sequence.
A number of brands have taken a look at their ‘cross bikes and asked what the next step in evolution would be, or perhaps, what it should be. What seems like ages ago, we were all riding singletrack and fire roads on 32mm tires, burnin’ brake pads as our cantilever or v-brakes smoked our sidewalls. Then came disc brakes, which offered more control, options for larger tires and other benefits. All the while, frame builders were experimenting with multiple wheel size options, brought along by the popularity of disc brakes. Soon 27.5″ (650b) wheels began popping up on drop bar ‘cross bikes, yet these weren’t really “cross” bikes anymore. They had evolved past that.
Ibis recently took a long hard look at their classic ‘cross frame, the Hakkalügi. These frames started out as steel, cantilever bikes, marked by classic Ibis stylings and most notably, the Mike Cherney fabricated “hand job” cable hanger. Like Ibis’ mountain bikes, once carbon fiber became the preferred material, the Hakkalügi went through the motions, too. Carbon canti, then carbon disc but the whole time, these bikes stayed true to classic ‘cross frame tire clearances and geometries, always feeling like outliers in the brand’s catalog. Ibis knew it was time for a change.