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Conversations with Tom Ritchey Part Two: The Influence of Jobst Brandt

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Conversations with Tom Ritchey Part Two: The Influence of Jobst Brandt

This is part two of an in depth conversation between Tom Ritchey and Ryan le Garrec where Ryan seeks to identify key periods in Tom’s life alongside key people. Perhaps second only to Tom’s father, it seems that Jobst Brandt had significant influence of the young Tom. Below, Ryan shares excerpts from Tom’s side of their conversation that highlight Jobst’s character, his notorious rides, and his lasting impact. Enjoy!

The Cub House Builds: Sycip Disc Road with Campagnolo Ekar

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The Cub House Builds: Sycip Disc Road with Campagnolo Ekar

Los Angeles’ cycling culture is full of people who value California-made bicycles. During a week hanging out at The Cub House, I ogled a few bikes that were just too good not too show off as in-depth feature galleries here. My favorite of the bunch was very likely this custom Sycip disc road, built with Campagnolo Ekar, the Italian brand’s official “gravel” groupset. Sycips are super clean bikes, and this one has a beautifully scalloped, segmented seat stay, so let’s check it out in detail below…

A FoCo Collabo: Josh’s Bender 29+ Touring MTB with Oddity Squid Fork

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A FoCo Collabo: Josh’s Bender 29+ Touring MTB with Oddity Squid Fork

Will Bender is a bicycle frame builder based in Fort Collins, CO. His custom frames run the gamut from all-road to gravel, touring, and modern hardtails. Last summer, Josh paid Will a visit to document his shop and learn about his background and approach to building bikes. While he was there, he enlisted Will to build the touring MTB of his dreams — a comfortable 29+ rig capable of carrying heavy loads and designed to harmonize with the Oddity Squid Fork made concurrently by another Fort Collins frame builder, Sean Burns. Continue reading below for the full rundown on this build…

Our Town Makes ONGUZA: Bicycles Made in Namibia

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Our Town Makes ONGUZA: Bicycles Made in Namibia

What do you picture when you hear “African bikes”? There’s a good chance you’re not thinking of a luxury, world-class bike. And you’re not alone. We need to change the way people think about goods made in Namibia – and from Africa as a whole. Name a luxury brand from the African continent…? Yeah, we have our work cut out for us. Onguza is making handbuilt steel frames in Omaruru and helping to put Namibia on the map of international frame builders.  Continue reading below as Dan Craven gives us a look into starting the brand and his motivations.

An Evolved Steel Trail Bike: REEB Cycles SST Full Suspension Review

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An Evolved Steel Trail Bike: REEB Cycles SST Full Suspension Review

While steel full-suspension bikes are nothing new, there has been a resurgence in recent years with many small framebuilders making trail-ready, competent bikes that leave their genetic predecessors in the proverbial dust. When I first rode a Starling Murmur in 2019, I wasn’t prepared for how engaged I felt with the trail or the flex and movement the Murmur provided. If you like the feel of steel hardtails or gravel bikes, chances are you’ll vibe more with a steel full-suspension than a carbon model.

These bikes are incredibly niche (though you can find them being made in workshops worldwide), and they still feel like a product from a cottage industry, not an engineered machine. It wasn’t until I spent some time with the REEB Cycles SST that I felt like steel full suspension bikes had finally leaped into the next stage of their evolutionary process. Let’s take a look at the SST below.

Cub House Builds: Jared’s Beach Club Gravioli

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Cub House Builds: Jared’s Beach Club Gravioli

Beach Club is the bicycle brand of Danny Heeley and Sean Talkington, who also run Team Dream Bicycling Team and The Cub House in San Marino, CA. Danny and Sean launched the brand with the Discless Road model earlier this year and followed up with a disc-equipped gravel bike called the Gravioli. While Josh was in town for Team Dream’s 10th-Anniversary Party, he pulled aside an objectively stellar Gravioli build that had just been completed for Jared, rode over to one of San Marino’s most photogenic alleyways, and documented it as you see here. There’s a lot to enjoy about this bike, so let’s check it out in detail below!

Quirk Cycles and the Kintsugi-Inspired Mamtor All-Road

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Quirk Cycles and the Kintsugi-Inspired Mamtor All-Road

The Mamtor from Quirk Cycles is UK-based framebuilder Rob Quirk’s all-road model, designed for mixed paved and gravel riding with clearance for up to 700 x 38c tires. The Kintsugi-inspired Mamtor was one of our favorite bikes from this year’s Bespoked where it won “Best Finish,” and today, along with a brief glimpse inside Quirk’s workshop, Rob gives us a full rundown of this ornately-finished machine by Velofique Designs, accompanied by a gorgeous photoset from Nikoo Hamzavi. Enjoy!

Soften the Ride: A Review of the Mosaic x TPC GT-2 45 with Cane Creek eeSilk Components

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Soften the Ride: A Review of the Mosaic x TPC GT-2 45 with Cane Creek eeSilk Components

When the summer months roll through Santa Fe, my drop bar bikes tend to get hung on the wall in favor of my flat bar mountain and touring bikes. The main reason is that our “gravel” in town is exposed, hot, and windy. Rather than battle the elements on gravel roads, we escape from town into tree cover and savor our luscious singletrack. 

So when we released The Radavist edition Mosaic bikes, both in the GT-2X and GT-2 45 models, I had my friends at The Pro’s Closet hold onto a size 58cm GT-2 45 mechanical bike for me to ride this winter. In the interim, I did my best to “soften the ride” by incorporating Cane Creek‘s popular eeSilk components.

Well, I’ve spent some time riding the bike, both in Santa Fe and down in Southern Arizona, and am ready to spew my thoughts in a fully-detailed review, so let’s get to it!

The Shed of Shred: A Workshop Visit with Starling Cycles

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The Shed of Shred: A Workshop Visit with Starling Cycles

Midlife crises come in all shapes and sizes. For some, a bright red Mustang relieves the itch. For others, some Eat Pray Lovin’ on a beach in Bali is just the ticket. But for Joe McEwan, Founder of Starling Cycles, chucking in his job as a successful aerospace engineer to build steel mountain bikes in a garden shed was just what the doctor ordered.

In this shop visit, we dig into the brand’s origin story, go behind the scenes at their Bristol workshop and learn why their signature single-pivots and retro rear shocks prove that simplicity never goes out of fashion.

2022 Philly Bike Expo: The Show and Custom Bikes Part 01 – 44 Bikes, Bishop, Breadwinner, Coast, Hot Salad, Junkyard Cats, Maiorossé, Royal H, and WZRD

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2022 Philly Bike Expo: The Show and Custom Bikes Part 01 – 44 Bikes, Bishop, Breadwinner, Coast, Hot Salad, Junkyard Cats, Maiorossé, Royal H, and WZRD

When I lived in New York City, we rode our bikes to Philadelphia every year for the Philly Bike Expo. At the time, the event was hosted inside an old armory in the city, and featured a handful of framebuilders, makers, and companies with roots mostly in commuter cycling. Back then, the Philly Bike Expo felt like a family. I moved out of the Northeast shortly after and was really looking forward to reconnecting with old friends.

The last time I made it to an Expo was in 2012, and a lot has changed. While the same soul is still very much present, the venue, size, and impact of the Philly Bike Expo have grown. After a two-year pandemic hiatus and a relatively subdued 2021 year, it was back and bigger than ever for 2022. Cari and I flew to Philadelphia to get out of Santa Fe for a few days, soak in some big(ger) city food, and take in the Expo, so let’s get to it.

Inside/Out at Oddity Cycles: Mastering the Dark Arts of Framebuilding

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Inside/Out at Oddity Cycles: Mastering the Dark Arts of Framebuilding

Looking at an Oddity Cycles-designed frame, handlebar, or fork, you might think that it was welded in a circus sideshow tent by a depraved, frazzle-haired, torch-wielding, radical. That these wildly bent steel and titanium tubes, contorted and bonded into freakishly beautiful forms, could only have originated in the darkest corners of a PT Barnum exhibition. And that’s exactly what Sean Burns, founder, designer, and fabricator wants you to think. So, on this eve of All Hallows, let’s pull back the curtain on this iconic framebuilder, and his assistant “Spooky,” along with a close look at a couple of Sean’s personal two-wheeled creations…