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Did You Enjoy Our Slingshot Reportage Last Week? Check out this Slingshot Meriwether!

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Did You Enjoy Our Slingshot Reportage Last Week? Check out this Slingshot Meriwether!

Photo by Mike Curiak

We don’t want to spoil too much about this project, because Mike has documented it so thoroughly, but we’d thought y’all would get a kick out of this Meriwether after last week’s Slingshot gallery. Tukt rear end, 110mm travel fork, 29×2.8″ tires, and just the kind of kooky beauty we’re missing from all the bike trade shows. Check out the full spread at Mike’s Exposure page and see some process photos at the Meriwether Cycles Instagram

Ally’s Hoefer Cycles Custom 29er Hardtail Bikepacking Rig

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Ally’s Hoefer Cycles Custom 29er Hardtail Bikepacking Rig

This one is gonna be a simple write-up. Ally had a really amazing looking custom bike from a builder, Hoefer Cycles, I had never come across before.  I asked Ally about the story behind the bike and she just responded, “I told him I wanted a sweet bikepacking rig that I could ride anywhere.” I reached out to Donald, the man behind Hoefer Cycles, and he corroborated the story and adding that “It’s really fun when someone comes to me with a request as open-ended as hers was and trusts me to deliver.” While handcrafting a detailed and intentional build such as this is nothing simple, the joy it produces is.  Just look at that smile, Donald still remembered seeing Ally’s huge smile as she came back from the first test ride.  After Ally had trouble finding something that truly fit, it seemed Donald had hit the bullseye.

The Esker Japhy is One Scrappy 29er Hardtail

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The Esker Japhy is One Scrappy 29er Hardtail

When one thinks of Esker Cycles, the Hayduke 27.5+ hardtail (reviewed here by Locke Hassett) quickly comes to mind – and in many ways, the Hayduke served as the launchpad for the design of Esker’s latest model, the Japhy.

While the Japhy looks like considerably “less bike” than the 140mm Hayduke with its 120mm fork and 29″ wheels, don’t count it out yet: the Japhy is scrappy and is willing to claw its way through just about anything!

Over the past few months I’ve been riding the Japhy all over our local trails here in Santa Fe and while at first I was hesitant about taking it out on some of the more technical terrain, I found it to be an exceptional climber and a surprisingly fun descender.

So, let’s get into it!

The Why Cycles El Jefe

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The Why Cycles El Jefe

The El Jefe is the latest model to land in the Why Cycles titanium catalog. Think of it as the more serious sibling to the S7 and the Wayward. It’s less swoopy, more serious, lighter, and faster-pedaling, yet it has clearance for a 29×2.6″ tire.

This bike is Why’s first “pro-model”, akin to skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding. Jefe Branham is an ultra-endurance legend based in Gunnison, CO, and has been a friend and team rider for Why for two seasons. His feedback as to what his dream bike would be for going fast in the backcountry informed every decision in the El Jefe design. Jefe’s personal mantra is “Fast or Slow Just Go,” so with his input, Why turned it into a sandblasted graphic on the raw titanium. The lily flower in the graphics is a nod to his two-year-old daughter, Lillian.

With a 73.3º seat angle, a 67.5º head angle, and a 120mm fork, the El Jefe is a nimble, fast, and capable hardtail with pricing beginning at $2,349 for a frame only at Why Cycles.

The Litespeed Pinhoti III Has Longer Travel, Bigger Tires, and More Clearance

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The Litespeed Pinhoti III Has Longer Travel, Bigger Tires, and More Clearance

Named after the Pinhoti Trail, which extends between Snake Creek Gap and Dug Gap within the Chattahoochee Forest into north Georgia, Litspeed’s newest iteration of their hardtail, the Pinhoti III, received some modern updates. Now optimized for a 130mm suspension fork, the Pinhoti III also fits a 29×2.6″ or a 27.5×3″ tire, thanks to an asymmetric dropped chainstay and a new CNC-machined titanium chainstay yoke.

The Geometry has been tweaked as well, with a slacker head angle, longer reach, and a few other tweaks. Litespeed offers various builds (XTR shown here at a retail of $6,699) and finishing kits, and with all these new updates, the size medium frame comes in at just 1,649 grams (size medium)—a savings of 95 grams over our previous version of the Pinhoti. As with all Litespeed bikes, these are made in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

See more at Litespeed.

The All New 2021 Salsa Timberjack

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The All New 2021 Salsa Timberjack

The Salsa Timberjack has been a staple option for those looking for a capable hardtail. This morning, Salsa announced the new 2021 model with a few key updates including top tube mounts for bags, the downtube received Three-Pack mounts, an upgrade to Alternator 2.0 dropouts, improved cable routing, and integrated chainstay protection.

The biggest change is the switch from a 130mm to a 150mm fork and an updated geometry, which you can see above. You can still run a 29er or 27.5+ wheelset on the Timberjack as well. Build kits range from a Ti Timberjack frame for $2,699, GX Eagle 29er for $2,499, SLX complete for $1,799, and the frameset runs $599. Check out more information at Salsa.

Specialized: Disrupt the Decay – Chisel LTD Frameset in Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water

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Specialized: Disrupt the Decay – Chisel LTD Frameset in Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water

The Chisel is an XC hardtail and perhaps it’s this frame’s simplicity that inspired the designers at Specialized to develop a special edition pack, inspired by Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. The pack is dubbed “Disrupt the Decay”.

Key Features:
-Frames come in as light at 1,400g
-D’Aluisio Smartweld technology from M5 alloy hydroformed tubes, which allows for fine-tuning of the ride qualities
-Progressive XC Geometry
-Internal cable routing
-BSA BB
-12x148mm spacing
-30.9mm Dropper post compatible

Available in June 2021. See more at Specialized.

Jonah and His Kokopelli Warthog Ti Hardtail 29er

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Jonah and His Kokopelli Warthog Ti Hardtail 29er

A bike can be a liberating tool for a youngster. I got the first bike that I could travel distances on when I was 14. Granted it was a beach cruiser but hey, we lived at the beach. I’d carry my skateboard and even a surfboard to spots after school and on the weekends. It was a vessel of adolescent liberation.

For Jonah, a local of Santa Fe, and an employee at Mellow Velo, the bicycle has helped develop his independence as well as a vehicle to meander around his homeland. His family is one of the deeply embedded heritage households and have been in the area for hundreds of years. Just north of Santa Fe is the town of Chimayo where his family has been weaving for generations under the brand Ortega.

Brewed in Oregon: A Long-Term Review of the Sage Titanium Powerline 29er Hardtail

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Brewed in Oregon: A Long-Term Review of the Sage Titanium Powerline 29er Hardtail

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a lot of negative internet chatter when bike brands release hardtail trail bikes that are not overly slack, steep, or otherwise geometrically boundary-pushing in some way. My suspicion is that many of these comments come from riders that prefer lifts over pedaling uphill but nonetheless cast a shadow on mid-travel hardtails that are intended for folks that aren’t spending their days in terrain parks.

Sour Bikes’ Pasta Party Hardtail

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Sour Bikes’ Pasta Party Hardtail

Sour makes a whole catalog of mountain bikes but like everything in cycling, nuance is king. The Pasta Party is their latest model. It’s a missing link between the Purple Haze and the Crumble and is targeted for XC, lightweight, singlespeed, big backcountry, and bikepacking riding. The Pasta Party frame weighs 2250g for a small and 2600g for an XL, features an eccentric BSA BB, can be ordered as a frame for use with a suspension fork, or a rigid frameset with a carbon fork, starting at 799€ for the base frame. See more at Sour Bikes.

From the Masters of Metal: a Long-Term Review of the Moots Womble 29er

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From the Masters of Metal: a Long-Term Review of the Moots Womble 29er

Let’s just say I didn’t expect any less than greatness from Moots when it came to the Womble, the latest creation from their shop in Steamboat Springs. From previous experiences, I knew how well Moots’ titanium bikes rode and was looking forward to trying out their take on a modern 29er.

A few years back, I put the Baxter 29er through the wringer on the Steamboat to Fort Collins Ramble Ride, and during my project with SRAM in the Inyo Mountains, I pedaled it high up in the Mojave Desert and through Death Valley, across miles of washboard roads.

If I learned anything from those experiences it’s that titanium is the greatest frame material, especially when it’s wielded by the Masters of Metal. I’ve had the Womble 29er for a few months now, throughout the dusty ‘n’ dry end of summer, well into the snow-filled fall, and am finally ready to make my thoughts official, so read on below.

Canyon’s New Stoic Hardtails

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Canyon’s New Stoic Hardtails

Today Canyon released their Stoic Hardtail models, with affordable pricepoints, modern geometry, and all the style Canyon is known for. The Stoic 4 (pictured here) retails for $1,799 and comes specced with SRAM Eagle NX, a Pike fork, and the Stoic 3 comes with Deore and a Suntour fork, with a retail price of $1,099. These 140mm travel hardtails feature internal routing, a threaded bottom bracket, a 65º head angle, a 75º seat angle, and 418mm chainstays on sizes 2XS-S with 27.5″ wheels or 428mm chainstay lengths for M-XL sized frames.

Head to Canyon to see more.

The Esker Hayduke is Back in Stock with a New Fork Spec

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The Esker Hayduke is Back in Stock with a New Fork Spec

The Hayduke is one of the best steel hardtails on the market and it just got better. Until now, Hayduke completes have been equipped with a 120mm 29er fork built with 27.5+ wheels, which allowed riders to swap between the 27.5+ and 29er wheel sizes. While that same swapping ability still exists for Hayduke framesets, complete builds will now feature a dedicated 27.5” fork with 140mm of travel, allowing Esker to develop a dedicated 29er model down the road. This increased travel with a dedicated 27.5″ wheel means the A-T-C length is the same as a 120mm and 29er wheel, so riders can always buy a frameset and build their Hayduke up that way as well thanks to the Portage dropout system, which allows users to adjust their chainstay length.

Hayduke framesets come standard with Portage dropouts, an axle, seat collar, and a Wolf Tooth Components headset for $750. Complete builds are available in limited quantities at 3 levels starting with H1 at $2000, H2 at $2950, and H3 at $3250. Framesets and completes are available through eskercycles.com.

See more at Esker Cycles.

Kyle From Outer Shell’s 160mm Travel Falconer Hardtail MTB Ultra Light Loaded for the CDT

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Kyle From Outer Shell’s 160mm Travel Falconer Hardtail MTB Ultra Light Loaded for the CDT

Northern New Mexico’s section of the Continental Divide Trail is quite the experience and with its popularity, more and more cyclists are coming to New Mexico to ride 70 miles of singletrack over a 90-mile route. One of my friends, Kyle from Outer Shell, recently came through town with his Falconer hardtail to take on the CDT, so I shuttled him to Cumbres Pass and bid adieu. After his trip, I linked back up with him and shot his wild Falconer hardtail, “loaded” for his time on the trail…

Hard to the Core: The Kona ESD is a Misfit Hardtail

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Hard to the Core: The Kona ESD is a Misfit Hardtail

There seems to exist a set of truisms in mountain biking: your next bike will always be better than your last, my local trails are harder than your local trails, and the fastest local rider isn’t on Strava and humbly rides a singlespeed. Then there’s the local legend, a misfit rider, the slightly anachronistic character that emerges on the trail mid-group-ride on a hardcore hardtail who rides loose and fast and with reckless disregard.

When Kona announced the Honzo ESD earlier this year it came as a great surprise. The original Honzo has remained relatively unchanged since 2012 and this new version looked like a poolhall brawler by comparison. Dominated by modern geometry, BMX inspired frame lines, and a build kit suitable for Bender himself, it was clear this was going to be no ordinary Honzo…

Four Months of Riding Shimano’s 12-Speed Deore M6100: “the People’s Champ”

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Four Months of Riding Shimano’s 12-Speed Deore M6100: “the People’s Champ”

The constant evolution of mountain bike technology over the past few years has been relentless. Mixed in with the breakneck progression comes fierce competition between the two powerhouses of component manufacturing; SRAM and Shimano. While Shimano was arguably a bit late to the 1x game when compared to SRAM’s early adoption of this technology, over the past few years they’ve proven they’re taking it seriously and have completely revamped one of their most beloved groups, Deore with trickle-down tech normally only found on the higher-priced tiers. I’ve been riding the entire M6100 kit for the past four months here in Santa Fe on my Mystic hardtail and I’m ready to talk about it, so let’s drop right in…