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A Multi-Bike Review of the Tumbleweed Big Dipper Drop Bars

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A Multi-Bike Review of the Tumbleweed Big Dipper Drop Bars

Wide bars are becoming more and more prolific in the drop-bar MTB, touring bike, and even gravel bike subgenres. A craze that began with the Crust and Ron’s Bikes Towel Rack bars has now become widespread in the industry, with multiple brands putting their spin on an ultra-wide offering. Among these is Tumbleweed, who have worked to design a model suited for the Stargazer touring bike (one of my favorites in that subcategory of drop-bar bikes). Fittingly dubbed the Big Dipper Bars ($115), I’ve been stealthily test-riding them on two recent review bikes. I have some thoughts on the Big Dippers and the appropriate application for wide drop handlebars in general. Let’s check it out below!

Stiggy Pop: A Review of the All-New 2023 Santa Cruz Stigmata

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Stiggy Pop: A Review of the All-New 2023 Santa Cruz Stigmata

Some bikes just hit differently. They grow with an audience, transform the paradigm, and go against the grain. The Santa Cruz Stigmata is one of those bikes for me. 

These days, mountain bike brands are all about gravel bikes, but one company started its foray into drop bars way back in 2007. Santa Cruz Bicycles first launched its quirky and fun ‘cross bike, dubbed the Stigmata, back before disc brakes proliferated the drop-bar bike phenotype. It was made from Easton EA6X aluminum in the USA and had cantilever brakes. It was weird. Funky. Cool. 

Then, in 2015, the brand brought back the Stigmata but in carbon with disc brakes. I spent some time in New Zealand on the bike and logged many miles in Los Angeles. I loved it. So much so that I copied its geometry for my custom Firefly in 2016. Later, the Stiggy got another refresh and the 2019 iteration sported 27.5 x 2″ tires and was a carbon monster truck. I posted that review the day we refreshed our web design of The Radavist.

So when Santa Cruz announced its 2023 model, with the full SRAM AXS kit, including the RockShox Rudy suspension fork, I had to try it out, too. I’ve been ripping around on this lightweight and capable bike here in Santa Fe through the remnants of a dry and dusty El Niño year and have some thoughts on what makes the Stigmata so magical. Check it out below!

San Juan Splendor: Circumnavigation of Mt Wilson

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San Juan Splendor: Circumnavigation of Mt Wilson

While winter has already set in over in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, Todd Gillman and a troop of friends snuck in one last hurrah of the year, a two-day leaf peep bike tour to circumnavigate Mt. Wilson while the leaves were still poppin’. Read on for Todd’s lively route description and file this instant backcountry classic away for next year—you won’t soon forget Aaron LaVanchy‘s stunning photo set…

Losing Our Heads at the Onguza Loskop Local Cycling Festival in Namibia

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Losing Our Heads at the Onguza Loskop Local Cycling Festival in Namibia

Held in Omaruru, Namibia this past July, the Onguza Loskop Local is a weekend festival with “great food, drinks & friends, with a wee bit of cycling thrown in for good measure.” After deciding the event looked really lekker Cape Town locals Stan Engelbrecht and Donnet Dumas made the trip out and each rode the event in divergent fashions—Donnet on a borrowed too-small Giant, and Stan on his ill-advised fixed-gear with skinny tires—and share a joint account of their adventure…

Devil’s Cardigan: The 2023 Australian Gravel National Championships

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Devil’s Cardigan: The 2023 Australian Gravel National Championships

Picture an island 42 degrees south of the equator deep in the middle of winter. Surrounded by great oceans, it is battered by cold rain, snow, and wind. The Roaring Forties haunt the island like the growls of a Devil. Born out of these challenging conditions, The Devils Cardigan seemed the only name fit to describe the Australian Gravel National Championships. 

Read on for Scott Mattern’s recap of Tasmania’s annual off-road rite of passage and how he made it devilishly difficult by combing both the 50km and 100km distances…

The Rough Road Renegade: Introducing the Curve GMX+ Steel

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The Rough Road Renegade: Introducing the Curve GMX+ Steel

Is it a drop-bar mountain bike? A gravel rig on ‘roids? Or a bike from another dimension? When it comes to codifying bikes these days, it’s really easy to get really lost (real quick). However, once in a while, a bike comes along that challenges the norm, flips the bird to conventional geo numbers, and stands alone: not as an outlier, but as an original. Sam Rice has been test riding Curve Cycling‘s long-awaited GMX+ and shares his thoughts on why it isn’t “just another touring bike” below, along with a look at their updated Seek 430 FM carbon fork.

A Bike For A Raft: Musing On Sentimentality And Trading Gear

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A Bike For A Raft: Musing On Sentimentality And Trading Gear

Many years ago my friend Tyler and I traded my Soma Sandworm for his Alpacka packraft. Both of us were ready for an upgrade in our respective realms, so we traded. Years later we now have these two items, which are so storied and niche, that we can’t let them go and even if we could, we’re not sure anyone would want them. Stuck as we are, let’s have story time and walk down memory lane.

Fat Tires in a Skinny Frame: John’s 2012 Bruce Gordon Monster Cross

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Fat Tires in a Skinny Frame: John’s 2012 Bruce Gordon Monster Cross

“It’s just a bike.” The late Bruce Gordon built bicycle frames to enhance his customers’ lives. Through all my interactions over the years, up until his passing in June of 2019, he would take praise for his work, but would always end the conversation with: “It’s just a bike.”

To talk about this bike in particular, you first have to know Bruce. Who he was, his ethos, the mythos, and what he brought to the “g” word: gravel. Bruce was making fat-tire road bikes for a long time. Long before many. He developed tires, toe clips, and helped foster an entire movement of makers in the Petaluma, California area and beyond.

But just like that, he was gone, and he left behind a legacy…

Secrets of the City: A Cycling Tour of Seattle’s Hidden Swim Beaches

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Secrets of the City: A Cycling Tour of Seattle’s Hidden Swim Beaches

It is hard to avoid the bodies of water that surround Seattle. I have always loved the water, from childhood summers spent swimming in Greenlake, to building illicit rope swings in high school, to having a first date on a small strip of sand my family long ago dubbed “Secret Beach.” As I grew up, I learned my friends had their own secret beaches, small access points bordered by tall trees and houses, strips of pebbles off Lake Washington Boulevard with a view of Mount Rainier, and rare sandy beaches touching the icy waters of Puget Sound.

Continue reading below for Conor Courtney‘s two-wheeled explorations of Seattle’s secret beaches…

Hybrid Moments: A Hudski Doggler Review

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Hybrid Moments: A Hudski Doggler Review

As cyclists, we love bikes that can do more than one thing. A Swiss Army knife rather than a scalpel, if you will. So when a bike like the Hudski Doggler passes through my possession, I want to find its limits and then push through them. I’ve spent a few months riding the Doggler around Santa Fe, in and around our beloved Santa Fe National Forest, and I’m ready to spill the beans on what makes this bike so appropriate for gravel and mountain riding…

Returning to Cuenca Los Ojos: Sarah Swallow’s Otso Voytek and Ruta del Jefe Updates

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Returning to Cuenca Los Ojos: Sarah Swallow’s Otso Voytek and Ruta del Jefe Updates

Ruta del Jefe has officially announced the dates and the new venue – March 21-24, 2024 in Cuenca Los Ojos, Mexico –  for the next edition of this adventure, education, community, and advocacy event. Cuenca Los Ojos is a protected natural area in the Sky Islands of the Mexican state of Sonora, southeast of Agua Prieta/Douglas, Arizona. Daniel Zaid and Karla Robles recently linked up with, organizer Sarah Swallow and, below, document her new new Otso Voytek, which she has been using for scouting the 2024 Ruta Del Jefe route. Additionally, Daniel and Karla share an update on the work Cuenca Los Ojos has been doing to provide the best platform for Ruta del Jefe in advance of the event’s first season south of the border…

2023 MADE Bike Showdown: ALUMIWARS – Beach Club Al Dente Gravel Bike Vs. Ron’s Bikes AluMAX Grav Grav Bike

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2023 MADE Bike Showdown: ALUMIWARS – Beach Club Al Dente Gravel Bike Vs. Ron’s Bikes AluMAX Grav Grav Bike

We interrupt our ongoing MADE coverage with an important announcement!

When carbon bicycle frames were first introduced, the evil carbon fiber bike industry did all it could to bad-mouth aluminum bikes. It took decades, but we’re seeing an abrupt re-emergence of aluminum frames, particularly from smaller cottage industry brands like Beach Club and Ron’s Bikes.

Growing up in the 1990s, it was common for publications like Mountain Bike Action to do “shootouts” between two aluminum bikes. So, we at The Radavist thought it’d be fun to pit two of our favorite companies against each other in a democratic voting process. Check out our ALUMIWARS Shootout Special featuring sneak peeks at the forthcoming Beach Club Al Dente aluminum gravel bike and the Ron’s Bikes AluMAX grav grav daddy bike…