This week’s Readers’ Rides comes from Kane, who has a 1996 Bontrager Race frame with a Racktime rack. Read on for words and photos by Kane below…
Stashing tools on your bike is an easy way to make sure you’re always prepared, even if you’re forgetful. The Bontrager BITS Integrated MTB tool uses compression and replaces your bike’s star nut. You simply remove it from your steerer and remove the multi-tool, which has multiple hex bits, a screwdriver, and a chain breaker, along with storage space for quick links.
BITS comes with two bolt lengths and multiple spacers are included for use on nearly all frame sizes and steerer tube lengths. It won’t work with forks with carbon steerer tubes or bikes with threaded headsets, unfortunately. So not many gravel bikes will work.
Head to your local Bontrager dealer for more!
With a weight coming in at 1575grams and setting you back $1300 for the wheelset, the Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V is a bomb-proof, yet most importantly, more affordable carbon wheels option, perfect for road, all-road, or straight up gravel riding and racing. To be honest, with a price point like that, it’s hard to deny the appeal of these wheels but let’s dive into the details of Bontrager’s assembled in the US carbon disc wheels. I’ve been using these wheels for over eight months now and have some thoughts on what to expect…
Bontrager announced a major change to its warranty program for carbon wheels recently, upgrading the program to include a lifetime warranty against defect while keeping the Carbon Care Wheel Loyalty Program, which offers free replacement or repair of any Bontrager carbon wheels that sustain damage from riding within the first two years of ownership. This new lifetime warranty covers all Bontrager carbon wheels for road and mountain bikes and comes at no additional cost to the purchaser. It includes all Bontrager carbon wheels purchased aftermarket as well as those that come stock on Trek bikes. This program applies to the original owner only.
Bontrager just announced the newest addition to their footwear catalog, marketed towards gravel riding and bicycle touring. The GR2 is an off-road specific shoe, with lace closure, a grippy sole and visual cues to the outdoor industry. This vibrant mustard-yellow with red laces and a speckled sole is quite the looker, or there’s a more muted all-black model. A Tachyon rubber outsole gives the shoes plenty of grip, while the Gnarguard upper reduces wear and tear from hike-a-bikes. The GR2 retails for $139.99 and is in stock now at Bontrager stores.
Bontrager has developed a line of bikepacking bags designed to specifically fit the Trek Checkpoint yet the three universal sizes will fit any number of other frames. These half-frame bags use water-resistant fabrics, easy-pull zippers, a bright fluoro interior, and use a soft strap that won’t marr your frame’s paint. Also included in this drop is a top tube bag. These bags are available at your local Trek dealer.
Bontrager’s new Bat Cage rose like a phoenix from fishing nets in Chile and Giro’s Renew line recycles fishing nets and nylon.
Responsible recycling doesn’t just mean washing out your plastic containers before chucking them in the bin. Brands have looked at the world’s abundance of plastic, particularly sea plastic to make everything from apparel to bottle cages. Two brands taking the charge are Bontrager with their Bat Cage and Giro with their new Renew apparel line, using recycled plastic fishing nets to weave in recycled nylon, polyester, and elastane, including Econyl® Lycra® made from reclaimed fishing nets and other ocean debris.
Yes, this is responsible, and yes it is marketing, but I commend these two brands on making a difference. Check out more images below.
Speed. It’s a motivation for many on the bike and while it’s not something we necessarily pursue over here at the Radavist, there’s a certain beauty found within documenting it. The desert has a long history with speed. From iconic Trophy Trucks, to the Baja 1000 and the salt flats at Bonneville, the desert offers an iconic backdrop for the pursuit of speed.
As you’ve noticed, much of my free time – in the shoulder seasons anyway – is spent in the Mojave, Sonoran and Colorado deserts, the three zones surrounding Los Angeles. One of those zones that has always resonated with me, in both a geological and photographic manner, is Searles Valley surrounding Trona, a small town with a large mineral mining operation. Trona is named after the mineral they mine there and is very much active. From the supersonic, bird-deterrent sound canons, to the trains leaving with full cargo cars, the industry surrounding Trona extends well beyond the bustling town limits.
Luckily, someone somewhere made the conscious decision to set aside a region that borders this mineral extraction site known as the Trona Pinnacles. These tufa spires were formed as gas exited an ancient lake bed 10,000 to 100,000 years ago. Roughly 500 of these spires litter the landscape, with some reaching as high as 140 feet. The resulting landscape is straight out of a Hollywood SciFi flick, which is why I’ve wanted to do a commercial cycling shoot there since first coming to this region a few years back.
Aero carbon clinchers with tubeless capabilities that are made in the USA, offer exceptional braking in dry or wet conditions, minimal branding and come with proprietary DT Swiss hubs. That’s a brief description of the Bontrager Aeolus 3 TLR wheels, which I might add, are hands down the best carbon clincher I’ve ever ridden but they come at a price…
Apologies for double-dipping in Bontrager today!
It’s been torrentially downpouring for the past few weeks in Austin, which flushes those dirt-obsessed back onto the roadways. My MTBs are gathering dust and yet my Argonaut Cycles road bike has been incredibly happy. Coincidentally, we did a photoshoot here in Texas Hill Country with Bontrager last week, which left me with a set of the new Aeolus 3 TLR wheels to review. So now it’s got a new pump and new shoes to skate around town on.
There’s a lot of made in the USA goodness going on. Check out more below.
The idea of buying an air compressor has come across my mind a few times. With three of my personal bikes being tubeless and a few other review bikes in queue also running tubeless, there’s a lot of tire and wheel swapping happening in the office. Bikes come in with a cyclocross tire and I immediately put on WTB Nanos. MTB tires fall victim to Austin’s craggy limestone and need replacing. Just about every few days, I was finding myself heading to Mellow Johnny’s to get tires put on. While I love giving them the business, I’d rather do that shit myself…
Back to the air compressor conundrum. I love those things, but they’re load and you can’t toss them in the back of a pickup truck or race vehicle with ease. When Bontrager came out with the FLASH Charger floor pump I remember thinking “oh, neat” before scrambling back out on the road for a few weeks. It wasn’t until recently that I bit the bullet and bought one.
At $120, it’s a bit more money than a low-end air compressor, but it uses no electricity, is much more quiet and honestly, seats up tires just as easy…
Last year, I had the opportunity to photograph Keith Bontrager both at a Q&A session at Mission Workshop and his home in Santa Cruz. Between those two events, I was commissioned by Bontrager / Trek to document some of, as they described, Keith’s Relics.
Everything from early integrated bars to the first rolled rim, jerseys, musettes, hubs and yes, complete bikes. Normally, this would be a job any photo and bike geek would take their sweet time with, but my window was two hours, including studio calibration.
It was a blur but I got to spend some quality time with these products and I did my best to document their details and nuances. Remember, at this stage in the game, Keith was making these frames in a tiny garage in Santa Cruz…
Check out some of my favorite selections in the Gallery and please, feel free to add anything you’d like in the comments!
Last summer, after Keith Bontrager spoke at Mission Workshop, I got to spend a few hours with him back in his home town of Santa Cruz, California. The intention was pretty simple, gather some ‘lifestyle’ photos for Trek and Bontrager to use in ads, magazines and their photo annual book.
This is the bike that really put Ian from Icarus Frames on the map. Well, at least that’s what I think anyway. My reasoning? It was one of the first truly over-sized / shaped tubesets he fillet brazed and the Fresh Frame paint job was so loud at the time, that I don’t think anyone was coming close to hitting that mark. Seriously, what the hell is up with those chevrons?!
When Chris built this up for the 2011 Philly Bike Expo, it had a Dura Ace group and Chris was still working on his fitness. Since living in Austin for over two years, he’s finally got this bike dialed in with performance in mind. Switching the King headset out for the Crank Brothers Direct SL Cobalt allowed him to lower the front end considerably. He then sold the DA, leaving this and his Serotta both full-SRAM.
What sets this build off the charts in my opinion are the wheels. Working at Mellow Johnny’s, Chris has access to some really great wheels, namely the Bontrager Aeolus 5 clincher. These lightweight race wheels are made in the USA and turn this every day road bike into a mean, lean race machine.
It’s hard to believe that Chris has had this bike since 2011. It seems so long ago. In that time, the neon orange paint has faded a bit, but the bike is every bit as stunning! See some more updated photos in the Gallery.