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Equipping an Amateur Bikepacker (and Professional Filmmaker) for the Peruvian Andes

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Equipping an Amateur Bikepacker (and Professional Filmmaker) for the Peruvian Andes

Equipping an Amateur Bikepacker (and Professional Filmmaker) for the Peruvian Andes

Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

When most people think “I’d like to take on my first bikepacking trip,” they don’t think of going to the Peruvian Andes. Well, most people aren’t my friend Ben Johnson. Ben’s a filmmaker and a storyteller, and once an idea gets into his head, it’s hard to shake him of it.

Ben had long been following Ryan Wilson’s work here on the site, and lusted to pedal in the high mountains of Peru. With another film project taking Ben down to Lima, the flights were paid for, and the idea of this side trip and a passion project was sparked.

Lots of people ask Stephanie and me for advice about bike traveling and we’re happy to help. Ben came to us with an ambitious plan, a short timeline to get a bike built, and enthusiasm through the roof. He needed help.

I had recently transitioned away from full-time work to focus on creative projects: the right place and the right time to help Ben get set up for his adventure in the Andes. I’m happy to present the film here, and will get into the details of the bike build below.

Finally… Easton EA90 Aluminum Cranks – Morgan Taylor

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Finally… Easton EA90 Aluminum Cranks – Morgan Taylor

Finally… Easton EA90 Aluminum Cranks – Morgan Taylor
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

Finally. The day we’ve all been hoping and/or waiting for. You can now buy aluminum cranks from Easton.

This was one of the big pieces of feedback that came from my review of Easton’s super-compact double rings on my EC90 SL cranks last year: people loved the idea of the 46/30 ring combo, the adaptability of the Cinch system, and the option to add a spindle-based power meter – but the price of the carbon crank arms was somewhat prohibitive.

So here’s the deal. EA90 crank arms will run you a cool $120 USD, in comparison to $400 for the EC90 SL arms. You still have to buy a bottom bracket for $50 and choose a chainring setup ($80 for a single ring or $150 for a double). But the bottom line is, you can get into a complete EA90 crank for about half the price of the EC90 SL. Cool.

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Rollout: Perspective – Ginger Boyd

This project from Easton features our local riding here in LA with one of our local personalities, Ginger from Machines for Freedom:

“Perspective. Easton joined Ginger Boyd, Brand Manager for Machines for Freedom, in LA to talk perspectives within the cycling industry, opportunities for growth and inclusivity in the sport, and the new MFF podcast – conversations with community builders to learn more about how to improve the diversity of our favorite pastime.”

This one is not to be missed!

Wendy’s Silk Road Mountain Race Bike is Now a Badass Commuter – Morgan Taylor

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Wendy’s Silk Road Mountain Race Bike is Now a Badass Commuter – Morgan Taylor

Wendy’s Silk Road Mountain Race Bike is Now a Badass Commuter
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

Conversations began early this year around what eventually became the Kona Rove LTD you see here. For the past five or so years, our friend Wendy – an accomplished ultra runner in a former life – has applied her endurance racing experience to big solo bike rides. In that time she’s explored southern British Columbia, completed the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, ridden through much of the south-east US, and raced her first ultra bikepacking event, the 2017 Transcontinental.

This year Wendy set her sights on the inaugural Silk Road Mountain Race in Kyrgyzstan, and we began to talk about what kind of a bike she might want to ride. She wanted drop bars, she wanted discs, she wanted steel, and she wanted bigger tires than the traditional road bikes she’d ridden in the past. These conversations led to a bike based around wide 650b tires and Wendy got scheming on a build.

Useful Double Drivetrains with Easton’s Gravel Shifting Rings – Morgan Taylor

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Useful Double Drivetrains with Easton’s Gravel Shifting Rings – Morgan Taylor

Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

Double drivetrains may currently be out of vogue for off-pavement riding, but I think they really do have a place on today’s gravel and adventure bikes. While the chainring combinations in Easton’s Gravel Shifting Rings introduced today aren’t a new idea by any means, they make a lot of sense with the way people are using their bikes these days.

MTB Tech for Road and Cross Bikes: Easton’s EC90 SL Cranks Get the Thumbs Up!

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MTB Tech for Road and Cross Bikes: Easton’s EC90 SL Cranks Get the Thumbs Up!

It was a game changer when 1x drivetrains made the leap from mountain bikes to drop bar bikes. Last year when RaceFace purchased Easton, the merger promised a bit of cross-pollination between RaceFace’s MTB technology and Easton’s road 1x systems. The EC90 SL crank adopted RaceFace’s Cinch system, allowing it to utilize direct mount 1x chainrings and direct mount 2x spiders, all in a road q-factor and chainline. This makes for an incredibly versatile crank interface that not only looks good, but in my opinion, out performs many other cranks. I’ve been riding the EC90 SL cranks on my firefly with a 38t direct mount on SRAM’s 1x Force system with a 10-42t cassette. Mounting them was easy, and there’s a new found confidence in Easton’s beefy bottom bracket. Especially when compared to SRAM’s GXP offering which always seems to creak right out of the box.

Easton’s EC90 SL Cranks are Made in Canada

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Easton’s EC90 SL Cranks are Made in Canada

When Race Face bought Easton a few years back, the company received a thorough makeover, resulting in the EC90 cranks. These hollow carbon crank arms are made in Canada, feature a 149mm Q-Factor, 30mm spindle, are optimized for 2x or 1x performance and come with a bottom bracket. Make sure you check out the EC90 SL cranks for your next ‘cross build.

Aaron’s Stinner Fundero 29’r Hardtail MTB with SRAM XO

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Aaron’s Stinner Fundero 29’r Hardtail MTB with SRAM XO

During the Amgen Tour of California, I spent eight hours in Santa Barbara with Aaron Stinner. His framebuilding company, Stinner Frameworks has been on fire lately. From building the Mudfoot Elite cross bikes, to speaking at Mission Workshop and unveiling his newest model: the Fundero MTB.

Available in both 27.5 and 29’r these semi-custom frames are meant to take you to the trail and home again in (mostly) one piece, depending on how much you enjoy ripping. For this build, Aaron went with SRAM XO, Stan’s wheels, XT brakes and a White Brothers Loop 120mm fork but build kits are available in any group.

These frames are lightweight, come with a powdercoat, replaceable derailleur hanger and a tapered head tube. If you’re looking for a straight up, made in the USA shred sled, holler at Aaron!

After I shot photos of his workshop, I grabbed Aaron and his 29’r Fundero for a quick photoshoot at a trailhead down the block from his house… Next time, I need to actually shred this thing!

An Icarus Road Bike with Shimano Ultegra for My Mom

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An Icarus Road Bike with Shimano Ultegra for My Mom

It says a lot when someone buys the two most important women in their life custom frames from one builder. Ian Sutton from Icarus Frames is a good friend of mine, so when I realized that my mom was in need of a new road bike, I called him up and got the ball rolling.

This is the third custom bike I’ve bought from Ian. The first being my Viking Track, then Lauren’s Porteur and now, this True Temper road bike for my mom.

The geometry is clearly road, but the drivetrain is geared more towards a cross bike. Up front, I chose Shimano‘s Ultegra cross crank, with a mid cage Ultegra rear mech and a 32t cassette in the back. This will help my mom get up steep hills with ease, while giving her the range she needs while riding coastal North Carolina roads.

Circle A nailed the paint, coating the frame and the ENVE fork in a bright “marine” blue.

Easton was kind enough to send along the bars, post, stem and even bar tape. I couldn’t be more thankful! For her wheels, I bought a set of the NAHBS display Chris King Alloy Ride wheels. Taking advantage of the trade show pricing, I also bought some King Cages.

When I dropped the parts off to Mellow Johnny’s I still needed a headset – NoThreadset in Sotte Voce black, a saddle – Fizik Vitesse- and tires – Continental Gran Prix 28c. In the end, it came out great. As shown, it weighs 17lbs on the head.

There is no greater feeling in this world than to see your mother happy, healthy and riding in style. Cycling has no doubt changed her life for the better and to me, this bike was worth the investment. She did her first century last summer and I’ll be pressing her to do another this summer!

Easton Cycling: Win This Hunter Cycles Dream Bike

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Easton Cycling: Win This Hunter Cycles Dream Bike

I really, really, really love the work of Rick Hunter. In fact, if I didn’t have a plump stable already, I would get him to build me something. What? I don’t know but after seeing this Easton Cycling Dream Bike, something tells me it’d look fast!

The fifth installment of the Easton Cycling Dream Bike Charity Sweepstakes looks amazing and all proceeds go to the Red Cross. Check out more at the East Cycling Facebook

… and more photos below!