Last year, ENVE opened its doors to the public for an Open House event. Once inside, visitors took a tour of its Ogden, Utah facilities and were greeted by two-dozen custom bikes from builders across the globe. This year the pandemic forced ENVE to pivot a bit, holding a virtual tour and framebuilder showcase they’re calling the Builder Round-Up. We’re pleased to once again host this showcase, with two-part coverage, so read on below for a full breakdown on these Beautiful Bicycles along with a few teasers of new ENVE product…
Let’s be honest. Wheel reviews aren’t that interesting. Modern carbon wheels only need to fulfill a few criteria. You mostly want them to disappear as your ride takes over, blurred out… I feel like we post a lot of wheel reviews and I try my hardest to not regurgitate marketing jargon or keywords that get thrown around endlessly in bike media. As a consumer, you probably only care about a few things, of which I’ll address here, while showcasing some fun and different wheel review photos on one of the most recognizable all-road bikes here on the Radavist. Let’s check out the Reserve 35 Wheels below…
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…
When you order a Firefly, you go all in. Take their latest showcase build for example. Complete with Andrew the Maker bags and a painted to match fork, this lightweight bikepacking/gravel race/S24O rig embodies the “the traveler with the most experience, carries the least on their back” mentality. See more at the Firefly Tumblr.
We shoot a lot of bikes here on the Radavist. A lot. From my estimates, including tradeshows, and events like the Chris King Open House, or the Moots’ Employee Bikes, and even the Speedvagen Build Off, we shot 220 or so bikes in 2018. That’s a lot of bikes. A lot of details. A lot of component selection, build styles, and uses. From road, to mountain, and everything in between, noting the permutations that exist in this ever-so-special era in the cycling industry, I really feel like we’ve shown you just about everything you could see this year.
Out of those 220 bikes, I looked at the data in the form of traffic metrics, social chatter, and comments to pick the Top 10 Beautiful Bicycles of 2018. While many bikes had a lot of comments, some had higher traffic or social media shares. Compiling all the numbers, a very compelling list was formed. Not included in this lot are bike reviews, of which Morgan’s review of the Midnight Special and Kyle’s review of his Chubby Cosmic Stallion took the highest metrics from all others on this list. I guess they’re in a league of their own!
At any rate, check out the complete Top 10 Beautiful Bicycles of 2018, in no particular order, below!
Making the best bikes possible has always been Firefly’s agenda. We’ve looked in detail at their new yoke for their all-road bikes and now, here’s their new topper for integrated seat posts, which features their new seatpost clamp and ENVE’s new asymmetrical saddle clamp hardware. For more detailed shots, head to Firefly’s Tumblr.
Looking for some MUSA bling for your bike? Check out these 6Al-4Va Titanium Seat Collars by Firefly. They’re made in the USA, weigh 25 grams, are available in 35mm and 31.8mm, come in brushed or blasted, and are made by Oglewatch Co exclusively for Firefly. These beautiful ti nuggets are $100, or you can add anodizing for $20 extra. Swoop up one at Firefly.
For three years now Firefly Bicycles has worked with the Boston-area’s D2R2 ride and this year, they’re putting up a frame plus an ENVE fork to raffle…
“Firefly Bicycles is thrilled to donate a custom Titanium All-Road frameset to the D2R2 raffle. D2R2 is an unmatched ride that combines some of the best riding in the country with great organization, delicious food, drink, and a reunion of friends from all over coming together for the love of bikes and to help preserve the land on which we are so lucky have the pleasure to ride. It is our honor to partner with this extraordinary event for the third year in a row.”
See more at D2R2.
I’m not sure what the story is behind these two frames are, but I hope there’s a gold one on the way, to complete the primary colors. Or it could be a his and her combination, but whatever it is, they look stunning. Check out more at the Firefly Tumblr.
When designing and conceiving my Firefly all road bike a few years ago, I wanted to be able to fit a 43mm tire, while maintaining a road geometry. “It’s not a cyclocross bike, rather a road bike with bigger tires and disc brakes” I’d tell people. Inadvertently, what I found was by allowing clearances for such a large 700c tire, I’d opened the door to even larger 650b tires.
I first used WTB’s “Road Plus” platform shortly after they released the 47mm Horizon tire. They sent the tires mounted to their Ci24 rims, built to White Industries hubs. While the wheels fit with enough clearances on my Firefly, I wasn’t a fan of the Horizon tires. Sure, they looked great and rode even better on sealed roads, but I found them to be less-than-ideal on the fire roads and singletrack I frequented in the mountains of Los Angeles.
Jump forward a year and WTB’s newest “road plus” tire, the Byway is now available and I’ve been riding them for a few weeks. The difference between the Horizon and the Byway is simple: there’s slight tread on the sides of the Byway, meant to give traction on loose corners. Well, does the Byway live up to the marketing jargon?
For me, wheels can be measured by two factors: price and resilience. I try to act like weight doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t matter until it does. That’s a whole ‘nother discussion though. Anyway, for the past month, I’ve been riding the new Industry Nine AR25 wheels. Marketed for “all road” applications, these wheels use the Torch disc hub system with a three-pawl, 6º freehub mechanism, a 21mm inner width rim, and are laced with 24 Sapim CXray spokes. Industry Nine reduced the pawls by half to cut down on weight, drag and that insanely loud noise they’re well known for. There’s always that moment of anxiety when you spin an i9 hub for the first time. Just how loud is this one going to be?
“One sees clearly only with the heart, anything essential is invisible to the eye.” This quote is from the novella the Little Prince and really resonated with Pat, the owner of this new Firefly disc road. What a fitting mantra for a bike that is designed to climb and descend mountain passes in Los Angeles by utilizing Shimano’s flat-mount disc brakes, White Industry 30mm spindle cranks, a beautiful segmented wishbone seatstay, a Parlee fork and supple Compass tires. Raw titanium bikes don’t usually do it for me, but this one sits like a dream.
Congrats to Pat and the team at Firefly for building up yet another Beautiful Bicycle for the mountains of Los Angeles!
… and can’t wait to ride them more. Sorry, that’s all I can say right now!
Well, it’s not really a gallery, it’s a new website that features a gallery. So if you’d like to drool over some Beautiful Bicycles, go check out Firefly‘s new site!
D2R2 is a big, tough, dirty ride outside of Boston. Year after year people from all over New England come to enjoy a bit of pain in the woods with friends. For the quickly approaching event, the Franklin Land Trust and Firefly are raffling off a custom frame valued over $4,000. Head on over to the Franklin Land Trust for more information!
Tenspeed Hero just announced their new Resort Collection, alongside a new Firefly frame offering. These new Columbus Spirit HSS frames come in a TSH-designed paint job and can be purchased as a frame, or complete, exclusively through Firefly.