We love a good hardtail shredit and Connor Fearon knows how to take the right lines, the hard way…
Over the past few years, I’ve found myself only riding 150mm travel hardtails and full suspensions with slackened front ends and steep seat tubes. In my mind, why would you want anything else? Then I moved to Santa Fe, where we have even bigger backcountry loops, steep climbs, and long, rocky descents. Yet, we also have sweeping, undulating XC trails. Suddenly, all those 150mm bikes are a little too much for a lot of the trails here, most of which are in my neighborhood. Then Chumba came to the rescue, sending along their Sendero 130mm 29er hardtail for me to review and I fell in love with XC bikes once again.
Read on for how this beauty of a bike handles our chunder and Chamisa-lined trails here in Santa Fe…
Next month, Cotic will have the new SolarisMAX in stock. While the geometry is only receiving a minor update – a 0.5deg steeper seat angle per size – the biggest update comes in its cargo capacity. More bosses have been added to the downtube, all at 64mm centers. This allows more versatile luggage and water options, as you can now carry two bottles on the down tube (as before), or a bottle with Anything Cage 3 boss mount style luggage, or just one bottle high up the tube within easy reach. You can also add a Cotic custom shaped frame bag for bikepacking.
Head to Cotic to reserve your SolarisMAX and to see more info.
Since NAHBS 2020 was canceled, framebuilders are have been announcing new models via their social media outlets. One such company is Calfee, with its made in California new hardtail. We reached out to Calfee to see what this was all about, so check out more info below!
Like their 27.5 Bfe hardtail, the Cotic BFeMax is a trail-ready hardtail, just built around 29er x 2.6″ wheels and a massive, 160mm fork. The strength of this frame relies on trusty Reynolds 853 for the downtube and Cotic’s signature detailing, including their plate brake bridge, triple triangle seat tube cluster, and oversized tubing.
The geometry is progressive but still very moderate compared to where other companies have taken MTB geo over the years.
These bikes look great, so hop on over to Cotic to see more details.
It had been years since I’ve ridden singlespeed and to be honest, I was pretty reluctant to do so here in Santa Fe. We’ve been in town for about two months now and it’s taken a while to get used to the elevation. Our house is at 6,800′ and the local trails start around 7,000′, shooting up to 12,000′. It’s a lot to take in but for the more flowy cross-country trails, I felt like I could get away with one gear and I knew just the bike for it!
My Retrotec is one of those “forever” machines. I could never sell it as it feels like it’s a part of this website. Plus, the maker – Mr. Curtis Inglis – is just such a stand up guy. When you ride a Retrotec, you put a smile on Curtis’ face and if you’ve ever met the guy, you know that’s well worth it!
Back in 2016, at the end of the #dflthedivide trip, there was a great little 40th-anniversary party at FreeCycles in Missoula to celebrate Adventure Cycling turning 40. At this party, there was a real nifty bikepacking rig from a small company that was right at home in a nonprofit shop. The Advocate Cycles Hayduke. Now, Advocate has transformed into Esker Cycles, and though the road and touring frames are no more, Hayduke Lives! (on). These are my impressions of this nifty hardtail.
GT has redesigned its Zaskar hardtail into two build specs, the Zaskar LT Elite (£999/€1199) and the Zaskar LT Expert (shown here £1,299 / €1,499). The Zaskar LT frame has been thoroughly modernized with a 66º head angle, a 75º seat angle, and 450mm chainstays. These bikes come built with 1×12 drivetrains and feature GT’s signature triple triangle. Right now, these models are only available to the European markets but I would think the Zaskar LT will be available in the USA as well shortly. Head to GT to see full specs and more information.
Santa Fe is a very singlespeed friendly town, especially the in-town XC trails, with their swoopy turns, punchy, short climbs, and flowy descents. Kyle Klain is a photographer, a cyclist, a lover of the American West, and quite the character. We spent some time chatting about Four Corners and our favorite places to bounce around on dirt roads in 4x4s and on bicycles. While he has a very all-mountain capable full suspension, this Sklar hardtail just looks like a dream…
While most hardtails we feature here are long, slack, and low, we still love riding XC and that pleasant middle-ground an all-rounder hardtail offers. Titanium wizards MOOTS just launched their Womble 29er, which fits a 2.6″ tire, has a 67º head angle, and 57mm of BB drop. The geometry on this bike looks like an ideal all-rounder bike, perfect for XC trails, bikepacking, and a bit of all-mountain underbiking. Check out more of this beautiful steed at MOOTS.
Also, check out our Shop Visit to MOOTS from a while back for more titanium wizardry!
To fill in the gaps between normal, group-ride-oriented bicycle stories, we’re featuring a few rides from the staff over here at the Radavist, beginning with Spencer’s Orbea Loki.
When it was finally time for me to accept that my fatbike just wasn’t that good of a trail bike, I looked to the next best thing, a plus bike. I finagled my way into Interbike a few years back and made it my mission to ride all the plus bikes at the dirt demo. Turns out they were damn fun, the Advocate (now Esker) Hayduke was the winner of the day in my eyes, right in front of the newly updated Karate Monkey. At the time I worked for a guide company that had a fleet or Orbea’s bikes, and they sent our company a closeout list with some discounted bikes at cost. I saw a swoopy aluminum 27.5+ hardtail that looked like it might just be the ticket. I figured I could fit an XL and hopefully, that would give me the most framebag space since I planned to use this as that ever-fleeting idea of a quiver killer.
This video from our friend Jeff really fits into the site’s content this afternoon, which is funky steel bikes!
The seed was planted last summer during a weekend visit to Cameron Falconer’s compound in Quincy to ride singletrack in Plumas National Forest, one of my favorite local playgrounds. I already had a 5-year-old Falconer hardtail that I loved and rode everywhere, and there was nothing wrong with it.
Well, there actually was something wrong with my bike on that Saturday (a component failure), so I borrowed one of Cameron’s personal steel hardtails to ride on Sunday. Luckily for me we ride roughly the same size bike. Cameron has experimented with quite a few geometries over the years since he made my last bike, and the loaner I was on happened to be one of his latest designs. We were riding big chunky rough stuff in the Lakes Basin area and I was bouncing through big rock gardens more comfortably than with my old bike, feeling a lot more stable, and by the end of the ride I was like, “BUILD ME ONE LIKE THIS.
The Why Cycles team has been constantly working on their Wayward 29+ platform MTB since its inception, so there’s no surprise that V2 is still the same bike but with a few new details. Why used their tubing of choice, 3/2.5 titanium, and added their unique cold-formed shaping to really tune the ride quality. The geometry has been corrected to fit a 120mm fork (instead of 100mm), giving the bike a more balanced feel. The next change is an increase in standover clearance, yet the biggest change is a product spec. Why Cycles worked with Sean Burns at Oddity Cycles, the master manipulator of titanium, to offer a suspension-corrected Squid fork option for the Wayward along with his Lowrizer titanium handlebars. The team at Why have dubbed this the Squidward.
Pricing for the V2 remains the same with a frame (including headset, seat collar, anodized water bottle bolts and rear axle) coming in at $2449. Frame and fork options start at $3049 with a RockShox Yari and a $1000 upgrade for the Oddity Squid fork. Complete builds with SRAM components and Industry 9 wheels start at $4799.
See more at Why Cycles.
When someone makes a big marketing claim, one that promises “compliance”, superb strength, and a ride quality unlike anything else on the market, I can’t help but roll my eyes. This reaction is a sentiment that I’m sure you, the readers of this very website, also feel! The cycling industry is always coming out with the next best thing and trying to get you to buy it. That’s why when I take on something to review, I like to really give it a go because if I’m going to tell you something is worth your hard-earned money, it damn well better perform.
Please don’t mind this introduction, I just wanted to explain how long I’ve been thinking about writing this review and how it’s going to seem that I was paid to sing the praises of these wheels. Spoiler alert, I was not and yes, these wheels really do live up to the marketing hype!
For the past 10 months, I’ve been riding the Zipp 3ZERO MOTO 29er wheels on my hardtail and I am a firm – pardon the pun – believer that these wheels are the best thing to hit the MTB market in some time.
With a 68º head tube angle and a 74º seat tube angle, the Rangefinder might not be the shreddiest hardtail out there but it’ll be a more than capable bike for most trails. Plus, we need more approachable and affordable mountain bikes in this industry. With a 27.5+/29er wheel platform, a dropper post, and SRAM’s SX Eagle kit, you get to whet your appetite for trails and bikepacking all for under $1,300. Not bad.
There’s also a Deore build for a mere $1,099. Check out more of the Rangefinder at Salsa.
MTB wheels, especially the ones with aluminum rims, are easily the most abused product in my bike closet. They’re also the hardest to review, honestly. Reviewing wheels accurately and in a comprehensive way can be as elusive as a fast friend’s wheel in the woods. When Industry Nine gave me a set of their Backcountry 360 wheels, featuring their new Hydra hubs last year, I was amazed at not only the build quality of the wheels but the vast improvement of their newly-engineered Hydra hubs. Read on below.
I’ve been a fan of Cjell Moné‘s bikes for some time, from seeing his custom TDR bike on the wall at Adventure Cycling HQ to him writing about brazing alongside masters for his production run of frames. Until recently, I had only thrown my legs over Kirsten’s personal frame at infamous Brush Mountain Lodge waiting out snow on the TDR. Cjell and I have quite a disparity in size thus making his personal bikes out of the question. A few weeks ago, Cjell let me know that Nate from Blue Dog Bikes in Tucson was purchasing his “demo” bike that was my size and that I should take it for a spin. I jumped at the chance, I was always too self-conscious to ask an operation as small as his to put together a bike solely for me to rip and review. But since someone else already had the bike and was nice enough to let me rip it for a few days, shred I will.