Ben from Heath Creek Cycles shares with us his customized Surly Karate Monkey with some details we think the singlespeed readership will really appreciate. You don’t have to go full-custom to have a customized bike! Check out a few quick words from Ben below, along with more photos from Josh Kowalski, who manages Continental Bikes in Duluth, MN…
Taking versatility to a whole new level, the latest mountain bikes from Salsa Cycles feature a whole slew of new details. The Blackthorn is an all-mountain 29er with 140 mm rear and 160 mm front travel. While Cassidy is an enduro 29er running on 165 mm rear and 180 mm front suspension travel. What makes these bikes really unique is they share the same frame components, which can be altered via a series of small component swaps, all on board the Split Pivot suspension design.
Salsa dubs this the Split Pivot+ platform. By swapping to the appropriate links and suspension, you can swap Blackthorn’s 140 mm rear and 160 mm front travel to Cassidy’s 165 mm rear and 180 mm front travel.
Head over to Salsa to see more on the Blackthorn and Cassidy!
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.
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…
Like their 27.5 Bfe hardtail, the Cotic BFeMax is a trail-ready hardtail, just built around 29er x 2.6″ wheels and a massive, 160mm fork. The strength of this frame relies on trusty Reynolds 853 for the downtube and Cotic’s signature detailing, including their plate brake bridge, triple triangle seat tube cluster, and oversized tubing.
The geometry is progressive but still very moderate compared to where other companies have taken MTB geo over the years.
These bikes look great, so hop on over to Cotic to see more details.
Santa Fe is a very singlespeed friendly town, especially the in-town XC trails, with their swoopy turns, punchy, short climbs, and flowy descents. Kyle Klain is a photographer, a cyclist, a lover of the American West, and quite the character. We spent some time chatting about Four Corners and our favorite places to bounce around on dirt roads in 4x4s and on bicycles. While he has a very all-mountain capable full suspension, this Sklar hardtail just looks like a dream…
As a kid of the 90’s, Rawson was really drawn to bright colors. Chartreuse, turquoise, fuchsia, purple, and other hues really stuck with him as a kid. Perhaps that was the inspiration behind this Orbea Alma M-LTD rigid 29er.
With the pandemic putting a halt to NAHBS and our post-NAHBS framebuilder ride/showcase in Sedona this year, we decided to pull something together with our friends at ENVE to commemorate their new Foundation AM30 MTB wheel launch. When ENVE moved into its new carbon manufacturing and testing facility, they worked hard to push the progression of carbon wheel design and manufacturing. Over three years later and thousands of hours developing, today they launched their Foundation Collection, a completely new wheel line that marks a new milestone in wheel design. In short, for those of us who aren’t interested in graphs or projections, ENVE launched a $1600 made in the USA wheelset and to help showcase these new wheels, we pinged three frame builders to showcase these wheels. The last in the series is Retrotec with a beautiful Funduro 29er.
Back in the summer of 2011, Dario took off on a solo tour, from his home town to Rome and back. This tour totaled over 2072.7km and changed the way he looked at the world. Tours and long rides on a bike are like that. Those long hours pedaling can really bring out the creative juices. The endorphins, the sights, sounds, smells, and the people you meet on the road broaden your perspective. You’ll often hear of these experiences as being life-altering and for good reason.
While in Rome, Dario met the team at Associazione Ex-Lavanderia, a bicycle frame building school and when he returned home, be began welding. Many hours were spent perfecting the art and over the past few years, Dario has had many teachers to aid his torch. Mattia (Legor), Dario Pegoretti, Gianni Gilardi and Preda, Stucchi and Perego have all passed down their knowledge to Dario.
When the time was ready, he launched Bice Bicycles where Dario builds road, all-road, gravel, touring, and mountain bikes. I was set up with a review of his most interesting offering, the Wandrian, through Biciclista, the US distributor for Bice Bicycles and Ingrid Components.
A few years back in 2018, I shot Bailey’s Salsa Woodsmoke, just before he took off on the Tour Divide. The bike was dialed at the time, with all the kinks worked out and he pedaled it from Canada to Mexico. Now here we are, two years later, Bailey has a shop in Santa Fe called Sincere Cycles and one of the brands he carries is Moné Bikes, based out of Silver City. As soon as he opened his shop, he ordered a custom Moné to once again take on the Tour Divide.
Long-time readers will recall this bike from 2015. That photoshoot was a lot of fun and while we lost a bulk of the gallery images when our server failed, a few photos survived, including a drive side shot and the Brüt Rosé spray photo, which still to this day is tooooo hawt.
When someone makes a big marketing claim, one that promises “compliance”, superb strength, and a ride quality unlike anything else on the market, I can’t help but roll my eyes. This reaction is a sentiment that I’m sure you, the readers of this very website, also feel! The cycling industry is always coming out with the next best thing and trying to get you to buy it. That’s why when I take on something to review, I like to really give it a go because if I’m going to tell you something is worth your hard-earned money, it damn well better perform.
Please don’t mind this introduction, I just wanted to explain how long I’ve been thinking about writing this review and how it’s going to seem that I was paid to sing the praises of these wheels. Spoiler alert, I was not and yes, these wheels really do live up to the marketing hype!
For the past 10 months, I’ve been riding the Zipp 3ZERO MOTO 29er wheels on my hardtail and I am a firm – pardon the pun – believer that these wheels are the best thing to hit the MTB market in some time.
When it comes to a hardtail, it’s hard to beat one made from titanium, especially with all the boxes checked. The new Sage Cycles Powerline 29er features all the modern accouterment you’d expect from a modern bike, with a head tube angle of 67.5º, a seat tube angle of 73.75º and 50mm of bottom bracket drop, the Powerline is meant to be a nimble race bike, a bikepacking rig, or just your daily go-to mountain bike. Other details include 2.5″ 29er tire clearance, a 1x specific design with a 34t chainring, internal dropper routing, and boost spacing. Each Powerline is made in Portland, Oregon, with a retail of $3,100 for a frame. See more at Sage Cycles and see more photos below.
Each year, Niner builds a handful of custom RIP 9 RDO bikes, painted in a custom theme, and auctioned off to raise money for IMBA. This year, a small, medium, and large up for auction on eBay, so if you fancy one of these builds and have some coin to toss at a good cause, check them out!
See the auctions at eBay and more photos below.
This year at Grinduro, eight frame builders presented bikes in partnership with Maxxis, Sram/Zipp, Columbus, and Hope Tech. The theme? What is your ideal Grinduro bike? For each gravel bike in the morning, we’ll present a mountain bike in the afternoon. This round, we’re matching the BTCHN’ gravel bike with this Sklar Rigid 29+.
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.
Luca Shaw takes the new and improved Tallboy out on the World Cup course to make it to the XC finish… Discover the new Tallboy for yourself at Santa Cruz Bicycles.
ENVE has been supporting frame builders, both in the US and internationally for years now and has developed a symbiotic relationship with these artisans, who choose to put their forks, bars, and wheels on customer’s build kit lists. With this catalog of talent at their fingertips, they decided to have an Open House to celebrate not only their factory and offices in Ogden, Utah but the frame builders who choose ENVE to build out their complete bikes.