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Beautiful Builds: John’s Starling Murmur 29er

When you think of steel full suspension bikes, you probably think of all the kooky and weird designs that came out in the late 90s that were awkward… to say the least. Yet there is a new wave of modern steel full suspension mountain bikes gaining hold, including the Starling Murmur. In the latest Beautiful Builds video, John showcases his personal Murmur, why he likes it, and what made him want a steel full suspension…

 

Ruta Del Jefe 2022: Jordan’s Sklar 29er Touring Bike

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Ruta Del Jefe 2022: Jordan’s Sklar 29er Touring Bike

While I pull together our Ruta Del Jefe coverage for tomorrow’s post, I wanted to share with you a bike that has eluded me over the years. I’ve long admired Jordan’s Sklar Bikes 29er tourer but never got a chance to document it because before I could, it got stolen! Jordan got it replaced by an identical bike and in some form of celestial serendipity, my path crossed with Jordan this weekend and I got to relish the experience of photographing this lovely machine!

Jarrod from Hope Cyclery and His Self-Made 160mm Raw and Rowdy Hardtail

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Jarrod from Hope Cyclery and His Self-Made 160mm Raw and Rowdy Hardtail

It’s easy to wax poetic about handmade bikes and makers. Hell, it’s one of the main motivations for me to start this website over 15 years ago. Documenting builders, makers, and creatives within the industry has long been a favorite project of mine but you don’t have to be a career framebuilder to build a bike frame.

Jarrod Bunk is co-owner of Hope Cyclery, hosts of the Higher Ground 100, and pillars of the Johnstown, PA cycling community. Jarrod wears many hats and one of the recent projects he helped foster was Megan Dean from Moth Attack teaching a framebuilding class at the Center for Metal Arts in Pennsylvania.

Jarrod facilitated this event, shot some photos of Megan’s classes, and afterward, Megan asked Jarrod if he’d want to build his own frame, to which he obliged…

Alex’s Tall, Lean, and Mean Custom Slug Bicycles Gasser Rigid Titanium 29er

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Alex’s Tall, Lean, and Mean Custom Slug Bicycles Gasser Rigid Titanium 29er

Slug Bicycles is based in the Bay Area and designs custom titanium frames that are built overseas in China, while also building upon, and growing, their community through supporting organizations including Outride nationally and locally with Trips for Kids Marin. Today we’re featuring Alex‘s custom 29er that he rode last year in Santa Fe. John met up with Alex to shoot this custom Gasser mountain bike and we’re stoked to share it in its bead-blasted glory! Read on below for some words by Alex, along with the full build kit breakdown…

A Review of the All-New Moots Routt ESC Adventure Gravel Bike: Don’t Call it a Baxter

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A Review of the All-New Moots Routt ESC Adventure Gravel Bike: Don’t Call it a Baxter

The Baxter was a blip in a long line of adventure bikes to grace Moots’ 40 years of building frames in the Rockies. Personally, I really liked the Baxter. It held its own in the Steamboat Ramble Ride and tackled our “Disconnected” project in the Inyo Mountains with SRAM but the Baxter had some quirks that needed to be addressed. With the Routt ESC, Moots did just that, abandoning the Baxter model altogether.

In an era where adventure, gravel, touring, and bikepacking bikes are seeing lots of permutation, there’s no time for nostalgia. Brands need to address their bike’s quirks and redesign as needed. That’s where the Routt ESC comes in. It’s like the Baxter and the Routt gravel line had a lovechild, which resulted in a completely new paradigm within the Moots catalog. Let’s check out this new Routt ESC bike in more detail below!

Radar

Introducing Our Beautiful Builds Video Series! Beginning with John’s Retrotec Funduro

Beautiful Builds. Like Beautiful Bicycles but in video! For our first video in this series, John goes over his Retrotec Funduro with videographer Justin Balog in beautiful Santa Fe, NM. Check the video out above and be sure to like and subscribe to The Pro’s Closet’s YouTube, where we’ll be hosting our videos from here on out…

Many thanks to the Fat Tire Society for maintaining these wonderful trails and to our creative director Cari Carmean for the kick-ass Beautiful Builds type treatment!

Music: Electric Wizard “Dunwich”

René Herse Got a Big Shipment of Tires In

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René Herse Got a Big Shipment of Tires In

If you’re one of the people patiently waiting for a model René Herse tires to land in stock, today is your lucky day. This morning the Seattle-based tire manufacturer just received a shipment of their most popular rubber including the 650B x 55 Umtanum Ridge, 700C x 35 Bon Jon Pass, the 26″ x 2.3″ Rat Trap Pass, and more. Head on over to René Herse to see the full stock availability.

The Otso Cycles Fenrir Touring Bike is a Drop Bar 29er Stainless Steel Monster!

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The Otso Cycles Fenrir Touring Bike is a Drop Bar 29er Stainless Steel Monster!

Is it a gravel bike? A drop bar 29er? Or something else entirely? When it comes to the nomenclature surrounding these modern touring bikes, I often scratch my head, pondering an answer to this question. My usual inclination is to envelop these bikes under the umbrella of “adventure bikes” but then this bike landed in my lap. The Otso Cycles Fenrir is aligned with bikes like the Kona Sutra ULTD and the Moots Baxter but Otso did something different – i.e. better – than its competitors. The Fenrir took it up a notch and has utilized boost spacing wheels, which in my mind, put this in the drop bar 29er category.

I’ve had the Fenrir for a while now, have taken it on an overnighter, and have ridden some of my favorite mixed terrain routes here in Santa Fe with it. On washboarded sandy roads to singletrack, doubletrack, and gravel, the Fenrir is a hell of a bike and one that I really resonated with, so let’s check it out in detail below…

Mason Cycles Introduce Its Made in the UK RAW Hardtail

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Mason Cycles Introduce Its Made in the UK RAW Hardtail

Featuring custom shaped Dedacciai Zero/Zero Uno tubing, mixed with Reynolds, a 66º (sagged) head angle, clearance for a 29×2.6″ tire and a 34t chainring, 73mm stainless BSA threaded bottom bracket shell, the Mason Cycles RAW is a made in the UK expedition-ready hardtail that’s available as a frame, frame+fork, or two build kits, SLX or Deore XT.

The RAW takes touring and long-distance rides seriously, with 15 discrete integrated bottle/bag/accessory mounts, including semi-custom options such as male threaded/standard bottle bosses or top tube pack mounting points. It also has rack mounts and is designed for a 120mm travel fork.

There’s so much to unpack with this one, so hop on over to Mason to see the RAW in its full glory!

Improving on a Icon: A Review of the New 2022 Santa Cruz Chameleon 29er Hardtail Mountain Bike

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Improving on a Icon: A Review of the New 2022 Santa Cruz Chameleon 29er Hardtail Mountain Bike

Back in 2018, I reviewed the Santa Cruz Chameleon in the 27.5+ platform with a tricked-out build spec thanks to Hope Tech. Much like its namesake, the Chameleon really stood out from the crowd of other production hardtails on the market, making it a proper icon in the world of hardtail mountain bikes. Fast forward three years and I’ve had the new and improved 2022 Chameleon model under my butt for a few weeks now, have taken it on similar terrain as I did in Los Angeles with its predecessor, and have a few thoughts about the two models. Which one is worth your money? Read on below to find out…

Rigid and Spellbound: The Sour Bicycles Pasta Party 29er SSMTB with BERD Wheels

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Rigid and Spellbound: The Sour Bicycles Pasta Party 29er SSMTB with BERD Wheels

In some form of intergalactic serendipity, this review coincides with the 2021 International Singlespeed Day, so hopefully, this article inspires you to dust off the ol’ Cruiser or SSMTB and get out for a sunset shred with your friends.

I’ve had the Sour Bicycles Pasta Party for longer than I’d like to admit for a review period but with supply chain shortages, I decided to scrap my original plans for the build as a geared hardtail and assembled it with various spare parts and some new fancy BERD wheels which ended up resulting in one very unique rigid singlespeed 29er.

The Pasta Party is a strange bird with a few clever details and a few quirks, so read on below for my review of this unique chassis offering from the German brand Sour Bicycles…

Cjell’s Moné Hardtail with a 130mm Lefty Fork

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Cjell’s Moné Hardtail with a 130mm Lefty Fork

These days, it’s hard to set your bike brand apart from others within a specific niche but if there’s one thing Cjell has achieved with his brand, Moné Bikes, it’s just that. Moné frames are instantly recognizable with their large, bountiful brass beds of fillet brazing, unique tubing bends, intricate and ingenious singlespeed-friendly dropout designs, and yeah, rat rod aesthetics. Cjell and I have met before, albeit briefly, but at last weekend’s Dangerbird event, we got to spend a lot of time on the bike with each other, which helped me gain an even deeper appreciation for the brand, the bikes, and the man who designs and even builds some of them.

Guerilla Gravity’s New Pedalhead 29er

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Guerilla Gravity’s New Pedalhead 29er

Guerilla Gravity is best known for their made-in Colorado carbon and aluminum full suspension bikes but today the brand announced its updated steel-framed hardtail 120-140mm travel 29er. The Pedalhead got a revamp including bosses for better frame storage of bottles and cargo gear and most impressively, a new modular dropout system that allows riders to transition from gears to singlespeed riding with a twisting of a few bolts.

The Pedalhead comes in a few build configurations starting at $3,495. Head to Guerilla Gravity for more!