On the 1st of July 30-some people showed up for the Dungeons and Dragons-themed Wildcat. Wildcats are alleycat-style checkpoint races, but on dirt, and with no experience necessary. These champions came to the Santa Cruz Forest above UCSC to prove that the Sharpie was indeed mightier than the sword. Four checkpoints scattered about the woods stationed with wizards and space wolves. Each racer had to throw a 20-sided dice and if they threw an 11 or lower they would have to spin in a circle 20 times. If they threw higher then a 12, they’d get their manifest signed and head to the next checkpoint. It was madness.
Keep Santa Cruz Cross
Photos and words by Chris Corona
I’ll never forget when I first moved to Santa Cruz, standing in line at the grocery store and seeing mountain bike mags where tabloids usually sat. I rode XC MTB for several years in Philly and I just moved to MTB heaven. The dirt here is soft, smooth and loamy. The scent of the redwoods paired with the ocean mist is a smell like no other. The weather is mild and fog can roll in just as fast as it burns off, depending on nature’s mood. The scenery is like no other here – seeing a visitor’s look on their face staring at a giant redwood is priceless. Seeing the look on their face when they are standing on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, just 20 minutes after the giant redwood is even better.
Akira is our friend from Kobe, Japan and every year he comes to visit us in Los Angeles, usually bringing a new Kinfolk frame with him. He works for Kinfolk in Japan, coordinating the frame construction and paint design, as a side job. During the day, he goes to a very traditional office job in Kobe, so working for Kinfolk offers him creative expression, as well as a little extra money to keep his love of cycling funded.
Unfortunately, my time in Santa Rosa, Napa, and Petaluma is coming to a close but man, what a trip this has been! We got tons of great content on the way next week, but for some teasers, check out our Instagram.
Leading up to the Land Run, I was advised by all to put 700c wheels and a fast rolling “dirt” tire on my bike of choice, that way, if it was muddy, there would be plenty of clearance. I knew I wanted to ride my Crema on the course, with its more upright riding off-road position, versus the Firefly which is more elongated as per a road fit. When carrying a camera pack, being more upright really helps out in terms of soreness and the Crema has been my go-to for such outings.
The Land Run 100 draws people from all over the world, including Texas. Austin drove in from Austin, with his brand new Chumba Terlingua, ready to roll 100+ miles single speed. With no rain in the forecast – #RIPmud – he packed in a big tire and got ready to ride the rolling hills, through the red dirt countryside.
While there were many exceptional builds at the event, I have to say, this was one of the most original I saw. With Onyx Racing Hubs, an Absolute Black ring, Paul Klampers, Hope Rotors, WTB Riddler tires, matching spoke nipples and a mean, race fit, this bike looked as good in motion as it does sitting here.
Austin, great to meet you, pardna’, tell the grackles I said I miss them!
Follow LandRun 100 on Instagram
It’s springtime and brands are injecting a bit of color into their offerings, including Niner, whose designs this year are looking great. Our two favorite models, the RIP 9 RDO and he RLT 9 Steel got some camo-inspired paint. The JET 9 RDO and the RIP 9 RDO also got internal cable guide tubes to make installation and maintenance easier. Head to Niner to see all the build offerings for their models.
Last year, we got an early, early look at the All-City Cycles Gorilla Monsoon when Jeff came to town and brought the bike with him to ride in LA and the Mojave. It was like having an elephant in the room everywhere we went, or I suppose a gorilla. No matter where we took the bike, people were blown away, but quickly were told to keep it under wrap. We couldn’t acknowledge its existence. Well, last week during the NAHBS madness that ensues here once a year, All-City finally released the Gorilla Monsoon, which means I can now share my photos of this bike and a few riding shots I took during that week.
Whisky Part’s Private Stock: Ben’s Rock Lobster and Steve Potts
Photos by Kyle Kelley, words by John Watson
Private Stock. A term reserved the best of the best when it comes to distilling American whiskey, Scotch whisky, and bourbon. For Whisky Parts Co, a brand within the umbrella that is Quality Bicycle Products, their aim is to design the best parts possible and get the most people using those parts as possible. Part of that comes from OE sales and the other brands within QBP using Whisky Parts when it makes sense, yet there is a growing demand from Domestic and International frame builders, to create products specifically for niche market requests. We’ve seen Whisky do so with their road, cross and mountain forks, as well as their wheels and components over the years.
For Ben Witt, Whisky’s marketing and sales director, he felt the need to not only embrace the niche market of frame building, but to use the parts for two of his own bikes; a Rock Lobster all-road and Steve Potts dirt drop mtb. We’ve seen a number of Private Stock builds from the Whisky team here on the Radavist over the years, but these two are some of the best.
Thanks to Ben for taking the time to let us showcase these bikes and Kyle for the great photos! My fingers are cold just typing this up!
I found myself the other day, about to defend a comment on Instagram about “why would anyone want to ride a 27.5″ cross bike?” but I realized something; you can’t explain to people how and why these bikes are so fun. You’ll just have to wait for them to try one out for themselves. The problem is, it’s hard to roll a 2.1″ tire on most production bikes unless they were specifically designed for it. Right now, there is maybe a handful of those bikes rolling around and a lot more custom steel bikes. So every time I see a production bike, especially one made from carbon, I have to share it. Which is why I welcome the Bombtrack Hook EXT-C to a singletrack near you…
Head to Bombtrack to see all the details.
When you’ve got a good thing going, why change it? For Saja, he loved his Breadwinner Holeshot singlespeed ‘cross bike so much that when it came to buying a hardtail mountain bike, he looked to the Portland-based framebuilders yet again. Breadwinner has two mountain models, the Goodwater and the Bad Otis, with the latter being a more trail-ready and rowdy big brother to the slimmer, while still shreddy, cross country-oriented Goodwater. The difference between the two mountain models come down to head angles and fork travel. The Goodwater touts a 140mm fork and a 67.5º head angle, which delivers a more than capable bike, suitable for our mountains here in Los Angeles.
Reno is a shit hole. This is the unsolicited and resounding opinion given to me by friends and strangers alike in the months leading up to this year’s Cyclocross Nationals in Reno, Nevada. More or less, the transaction would play out like this. Other People: Are you going to race through to Nats? Me: Yes. Other People: Cool. Reno is a shit hole. See you there. Me: Vague staring, plus some blinking.
I’m sure CX Hairs has a full queue from the CX NATS coming through their YouTube in the next few days, but let’s kick it off with the men’s singlespeed race.
Our thoughts go out to everyone in California who have lost their homes, their businesses and their local trails to these ravenous fires. The boys down in Goleta, a small town outside of Santa Barbara, at Stinner Frameworks were lucky. Real lucky. I don’t think anyone needs to remind them of that. With the Thomas fire reigning in heat, as California’s second largest fire on record, the shop at Stinner was busy preparing their own fire. This Romero frameset was hand-delivered to the Cub House last Friday so that Eric would be able to spend his Holiday break riding the mountains of Los Angeles.
As part of Stinner’s “The Collection,” this magenta and cyan coat was done in-house at Stinner, at no additional charge. These “stock” paint options usually offer a bright, colorful option, paired with a more subdued variant. This year’s other option is a matte desert tan and grey paint job, similar to the livery on the Stinner Hardtail I reviewed earlier this year.
Eric’s choice in build kit on this stock-sizing Romero features a Deda F-64 DB fork, which offered me something different to document, in what is usually a sea of ENVE forks. He also chose a KMC chain to match the paint, along with a combination of silver and gunmetal components like Onyx Hubs and a Chris King Headset, with a Paul stem. My favorite, perhaps unintended matching bit is the SRAM Force protective film on the rear derailleur. I couldn’t bring myself to pulling that off, though.
Is it one’s riding that evolves first? Or is it the bike that is the catalyst for evolution? Bicycle design, much like one’s riding style, evolves over time, triggered by a series of environmental or equipment changes. Perhaps your everyday singletrack just gets tiresome and you’re looking for a way to change it up, or maybe your road bike gathers dust during ‘cross season. At some point, riders look for excuses to shake things up, as a break from the painful monotony of riding bikes by the rules and luckily for us, the offerings from companies follow suit, evolving their lineup in the same sequence.
A number of brands have taken a look at their ‘cross bikes and asked what the next step in evolution would be, or perhaps, what it should be. What seems like ages ago, we were all riding singletrack and fire roads on 32mm tires, burnin’ brake pads as our cantilever or v-brakes smoked our sidewalls. Then came disc brakes, which offered more control, options for larger tires and other benefits. All the while, frame builders were experimenting with multiple wheel size options, brought along by the popularity of disc brakes. Soon 27.5″ (650b) wheels began popping up on drop bar ‘cross bikes, yet these weren’t really “cross” bikes anymore. They had evolved past that.
Ibis recently took a long hard look at their classic ‘cross frame, the Hakkalügi. These frames started out as steel, cantilever bikes, marked by classic Ibis stylings and most notably, the Mike Cherney fabricated “hand job” cable hanger. Like Ibis’ mountain bikes, once carbon fiber became the preferred material, the Hakkalügi went through the motions, too. Carbon canti, then carbon disc but the whole time, these bikes stayed true to classic ‘cross frame tire clearances and geometries, always feeling like outliers in the brand’s catalog. Ibis knew it was time for a change.
Over the past week, nature flipped a switch. Suddenly, like migrating birds, the 100º weather had flown to the southern hemisphere, leaving behind clouds, cooler temperatures and even traces of precipitation. Basically, the perfect ingredients for successful dirt bike rides. All summer, I’d stuck to shorter, partially shaded rides, or banked on getting in my mileage before the heat of the day and now I felt comfortable taking off up my favorite dirt climbs.
This is the eleventh layout of the Radavist 2017 Calendar, entitled “Night Vision” Shot with a Canon 1dx and a 24-70mm lens in the Verdugo Mountains, Glendale, California.
“Just cuz the sun is setting earlier and earlier doesn’t mean you can’t shred all day.”
For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2017 Calendar – November. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)
The mobile background this month is from Mount Lowe Railway Click here to download November’s Mobile Wallpaper.
River City continues their Cross Crusade video coverage with the race from Alpenrose.