With 120mm rear travel, the Trail 429 isn’t a big bike and because of that, it’s even more versatile. Here’s the launch video from Pivot, with the Puget Sound as the backdrop. See more of the Trail 429 at Pivot.
I’m going to nerd out here. Fair warning. When I see a bike like the Kona Sutra ULTD hit the internet, I feel mixed emotions. Part of that has to do with my love of the now-dead “adventure” category Specialized launched a few years back, beginning with the AWOL. I had some good memories on that bike and it feels like eons ago. If you remember, this was around the time people started calling bicycle touring “bikepacking”.
The AWOL was a touring bike in the sense that it had rack mounts, clearances for, at the time, big tires and it came specced in both its Poler and Trans-Continental limited-edition build kits with racks and panniers. Sounds like a touring bike to me! While this isn’t an article about the AWOL, I can’t help but see the face-value similarities between it and the Sutra Unlimited, or ULTD for short.
Now, the AWOL came out in 2014, and in these past six years, a lot has changed in the touring or bikepacking world for me but one thing remains constant: I love fat tire tourers, and the Sutra ULTD really impressed me. It pulled at all the heartstrings…
To make a sub $3,000 Ripley, Ibis moved to an aluminum chassis, with a few geometry tweaks to make for a short-travel trail bike. Check out their launch video for the new Ripley AF featuring Pat Smage and some glorious Utah singletrack.
-130mm front travel⠀
-120mm dw-link rear travel⠀
-2.6” tire clearance⠀
-Aluminum front and rear triangle⠀
-Available in four sizes S-XL, fits riders between 5’ and 6’6⠀
-Frame weight of 7.45 w/ shock⠀
-Complete builds starting at 30.5 lbs / 13.04 KG⠀
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a lot of negative internet chatter when bike brands release hardtail trail bikes that are not overly slack, steep, or otherwise geometrically boundary-pushing in some way. My suspicion is that many of these comments come from riders that prefer lifts over pedaling uphill but nonetheless cast a shadow on mid-travel hardtails that are intended for folks that aren’t spending their days in terrain parks.
Some people were excited by the announcement that Esker Cycles had restocked their beloved Hayduke hardtail but saddened by its migration to a long travel 27.5″ wheeled chassis. To this Esker just announced their new Japhy hardtail 29er. A completely new bike, dedicated to 29″ wheels, a 120mm travel fork, and similar detailing as the Hayduke, the Japhy fills the niche left by its rowdier sibling’s revisions. Head to Esker Cycles to see all the juicy details.
The Hayduke is one of the best steel hardtails on the market and it just got better. Until now, Hayduke completes have been equipped with a 120mm 29er fork built with 27.5+ wheels, which allowed riders to swap between the 27.5+ and 29er wheel sizes. While that same swapping ability still exists for Hayduke framesets, complete builds will now feature a dedicated 27.5” fork with 140mm of travel, allowing Esker to develop a dedicated 29er model down the road. This increased travel with a dedicated 27.5″ wheel means the A-T-C length is the same as a 120mm and 29er wheel, so riders can always buy a frameset and build their Hayduke up that way as well thanks to the Portage dropout system, which allows users to adjust their chainstay length.
Hayduke framesets come standard with Portage dropouts, an axle, seat collar, and a Wolf Tooth Components headset for $750. Complete builds are available in limited quantities at 3 levels starting with H1 at $2000, H2 at $2950, and H3 at $3250. Framesets and completes are available through eskercycles.com.
See more at Esker Cycles.
Previously available with their GMX and ATB framesets, Ride Farr’s new steel forks were developed as an alternative to 80-100mm travel suspension forks. With clearance for a 3″ tire, 31.8mm steel fork legs, and boost 110 spacing, with an a-t-c of 483mm, these forks look to be a great option for converting your hardtail to a rigid bike for touring.
-Plenty of cargo bosses
-Oversize 31.8mm Cromoly Blades
-Tapered Steerer: 1.5 to 1.1/8”, 300mm Length
-Boost 110 Spacing Lower Spacing
-15mm Thru-Axle M1.5 Thread ( CNC Machined Alloy Axle Supplied )
-Axle to Crown: 483mm
-Reference Weight : 1390g ( with 190mm Steerer Tube )
While these forks ($145) are now on backorder, Ride Farr has some samples for sale ($110). See more at Ride Farr.
“Are those GOODYEAR MTB tires?!” Since first building up my Starling Murmur, I have received more questions on its tires than the bike itself. On my preferred terrain, tires don’t last long, sometimes I’ll get a month out of them, sometimes it only takes a single ride for me to have a few Dynaplugs in them, so when tires last nine months, I am beyond impressed. I’ve had great luck and a good run with the Goodyear 29 x 2.6″ Escape tires, so let’s take a quick look at these robust tires…
The constant evolution of mountain bike technology over the past few years has been relentless. Mixed in with the breakneck progression comes fierce competition between the two powerhouses of component manufacturing; SRAM and Shimano. While Shimano was arguably a bit late to the 1x game when compared to SRAM’s early adoption of this technology, over the past few years they’ve proven they’re taking it seriously and have completely revamped one of their most beloved groups, Deore with trickle-down tech normally only found on the higher-priced tiers. I’ve been riding the entire M6100 kit for the past four months here in Santa Fe on my Mystic hardtail and I’m ready to talk about it, so let’s drop right in…
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.