Where do we even begin here? Boone is what I would consider a friend. Someone I met years ago in Portland who is now in Bend and still doing what he loves: making rad shit. Right now, however, he’s making rad shit for himself. When he and I first met, he was working for Argonaut Cycles but that wasn’t his first framebuilding job. As with everyone making bike frames, there’s a story to tell, and that’s what we’re doing here today, so sit back, turn on some metal, and check out the wild shit inside Boone Metal Fab.
“Gravel bikes are just XC bikes from the 1990s.” “What is this, a 90s XC bike?” “Everything old is new again!”
Read any “gravel” bike review here and you’ll see some version of one of these statements in the comments section. People love to say that modern gravel bikes are just mountain bikes from the 1990s. Well, I hate to break it to ya but they’re not. They might be the same in that a 1996 Lemond road bike is like a 2020 Specialized Roubaix. It has two wheels, a crank, bars, seatpost, and a saddle, plus a lot of other parts but let’s be honest, nuanced bike design is a lot of what we cover here at the Radavist.
This is a 1996 Ibis Mojo built up like a “gravel bike” and yeah, it might be similar in spirit but there’s a lot going on here. Let’s take a closer look…
Well, it had been since March since I left our quaint little town of Santa Fe due to the pandemic. All of my photoshoots, rides, and trips were either postponed or just canceled for the year up to this point. Which, as you all know quite well, can be quite the shock when you spend much of the year on the road! One of the postponed jobs that didn’t roll off the face into the abyss was shooting the new Argonaut Cycles frame and assemblage process. So that found me in Bend, Oregon for a few days and I had a hankering to ride something new…
A lot of people are qualified to talk about long-travel enduro bikes. You can find me dangling by a thread at the bottom of that list, hanging there with a confusing mix of unfounded self-confidence and extreme midwestern imposter syndrome. I’ve lived near mountains extremely briefly and before that, the closest hill was a highway overpass. At the very least, I can offer you a unique perspective on a big bike. There’s a review in here somewhere, embedded in a long-winded story.
Our friends from Seattle depart on a bicycle tour to Bend on what looks to be a perfect weekend getaway!
As the snow melts in the high desert of California, Nevada, Oregon, and the rest of the West, small towns like Bend, Oregon begins to welcome the influx of mountain bikers thirsty for a hefty serving of dirt, before the sun cooks it into dust. It just so happens that Memorial Day weekend in Bend has historically been prime for such a feast of trails.
Years back, the Chris King Gourmet Century was held in this mountain town, tapping into not only the vast amount of singletrack but also the food culture. While the Gourmet Century brought about a lot of good times, it ultimately was a lot of work, eventually causing the brand to move onto more low-key, informal gatherings. That’s where the Swarm idea came from. In short, Chris King wanted to engage with the community of Bend, one of their local dealers, Crow’s Feet Commons, and do it in a lower-stress environment. It was open to the public and best of all, free.
As the invites were posted on social media and this website, none of us knew exactly how many people would show up. Since it was Memorial Day Weekend, the town of Bend was busting at the seams already with tourists and mountain bikers seeking solace on the trails of this mountain bike mecca. Our trip to the event began in Los Angeles, where we loaded up the Cruiser with everything we’d need to camp, ride bikes, hike, and document the happenings. Two days later and we were rolling into the sleepy town of Bend, just prior to the three-day weekend and the first ever Chris King Swarm.
Over the next two weekends, we’ll be hitting two events: the Chris King Swarm in Bend and the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship’s Lost & Found. Both events have a strong community tie-in for the type of riding we pursue over here, as well as a strong support from various brands and personalities. We hit the road tomorrow and from that point forward, you can expect coverage from Central Oregon and the Lost Sierra. See you on the road and if you’re going to these events, be sure to stop and say hello!
Chris King is Swarming Bend, Oregon this weekend, with group rides and parties planned. We’ll be making the drive up, so if you’re going to be there, come say hi. Check out all the details below, from the Chris King Instagram.
If Bend isn’t on your list for US mountain bike destinations, it should be and while you’re there, swing by and see the guys at Argonaut Cycles!
Photos by Dan Sharp
The Chris King Gourmet Century brings the wonderful world of food together with bikes, in a whole new way. Recently, the event landed itself in Bend for a day of MTB riding and gorging on delicious food, as prepared by Chris King chef, Chris Diminno. Having been on the receiving end of Chris’ cooking many times before, I’d say the attendees got their share of gourmet snacks as well as plenty of Bend dirt.
Check out a few more photos below and see the full report at Chris King’s Blog.