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.
Hello, my name is John and I’m a hardtail addict. I’m not sure when or where it began, but when framebuilders send me bikes to review, specifically hardtail mountain bikes, I tend to want to buy the framesets from them. Most recently, this Stinner Frameworks Tunnel 27.5+ bike, which I reviewed a little while back when it was built with Box Components and Magura products.
Coming from my stout and solid Retrotec, the Stinner offered a much lighter, zippier feel. It wasn’t necessarily a better ride, just a different one. One that I liked a lot, save for one major – to me at least – flaw: it only had one water bottle mount on the inside triangle.
The 70’s were the automotive paint design heyday, ATMO anyway. Earth tones and bright hues intersected along cars, vans and trucks via a network of chevrons and stripes. While many manufacturers embraced these trends, it was the niche hobby market who took it to the next level. A whole culture emerged with vans donning intricate designs, long before #VanLife, yet it was the off-road culture that has always piqued my interest, most notably the baja bugs and trucks. Jeremy from Stinner Frameworks has always had an affinity for the early 70’s Baja Bug paint designs, ultimately these became the inspiration for this two-wheeled off-road machine.
In preparation for NAHBS, I like to crank up my framebuilder observation scope, resulting in obsessive Instagram stalking of my favorite builders, even if they’re not attending the show. If you were to ask me the number one challenge builders are presented with currently, in terms of construction techniques, my answer would be swift and without hesitation: 27.5+ yokes. Designing a yoke that will clear the tire, maintain optimal chainline and allow the use of a range of ring sizes is not easy. The issue is sometimes you’ve only got millimeters to spare and while machining or casting a yoke would be an easy solution, you sacrifice weight. If you use normal chainstays and crimp to allow clearance, you weaken those points considerably. A few builders have cleverly designed their solutions. My current favorite is Cameron Falconer, who uses plate steel at the drive side and a normal, bent stay on the non-drive side. The asymmetry doesn’t bother me, yet when I see this design by Konga Bicycles, my mouth begins to water. Check out more at the Konga Flickr!
One of the highlights of our time in Bozeman with Adam Sklar was being able to see not one, but two complete bikes come back from powdercoat and be delivered to their new owners. I already posted a gallery of Sam’s powder blue 29er, on which he then rode a good chunk of the Colorado Trail in what I take to be quite inclement conditions.
The other bike to be delivered is one that you probably noticed in yesterday’s gallery from Sklar’s shop. This gleaming white 27.5+ hardtail was commissioned by a customer from Sklar’s home state of Colorado. Elliot is a former downhill and 4x racer with what sounded like a fairly big set of dirt jumps in his front yard.
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor.
I’m not going to get away without laying down some bad puns here. Sorry if that’s not your thing. 27.5+ tires have really blown up this year. Just look at this year’s NAHBS galleries. You couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a 27.5+ hardtail out there.
Last year, in my long term review of the Surly Ice Cream Truck, I casually mentioned that I thought this bike was a good candidate for a 27.5+ conversion. John told me he had a pair of WTB Scraper rims that had yet to be built up and, with a promise to keep my mouth shut for a while, Surly sent me a proto pair of their now-available 27.5 x 3” Dirt Wizards.
The 27.5+ Dirt Wizards both weighed in at a hair under 1225 grams. Heavy by mountain bike standards, light by fat bike standards. Nice thick sidewalls and big, gummy tread blocks. Promising. John surprised me by having Mellow Johnny’s lace the rims to a pair of Industry Nine fat bike hubs and the project was underway.
Chris Akrigg brings some trials-influenced riding to the trails in Yorkshire.