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.
The newest bike to hit the Bombtrack lineup is their Cale hardtail, a 27.5+ or 29er frameset with extra cargo mounts, a geometry tuned for all-mountain riding and bikepacking.
-MRP Ribbon SL 120 mm travel suspension fork with Boost spacing and 35mm stanchions.
-Bombtrack Illusion 35 mm oversized handlebar, 800 mm wide and Bombtrack Chase stem with 40 mm extension.
-WTB STi4 TCS 2.0” tubeless ready front rim, WTB STi40 TCS 2.0 tubeless ready rear rim.
-WTB Vigilante 2.8” TCS tubeless ready tires, tough and high grip front, tough and fast rolling rear.
-Sram GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain with 10 – 50t cassette, GX Eagle Boost crank, Sram Dub bottom bracket and 30t direct mount chainring.
-Magura Trail Sport hydraulic disc brake with four front pistons and two at the rear for maximum power and control.
-Magura Storm SL.2 180 mm rotors.
-KS E30i 30.9mm dropper post with 150mm travel.
Frameset: 649,99 € // 729,99 U$ // 595,00 £ // 799,00 CA$
Complete: 3.399,00 € // 3.749,99 U$ // 3.300,00 £ // 4.999,99 AU$
See more information at Bombtrack.
This is not an XC race bike. This is not an XC race bike.
The Nordest Bardino 2 is an all-mountain/enduro/trail bike and yes, it is a hardtail! Designed for a 140mm to 170mm fork, with the ability to run either 27.5″ x 3″ / 29″ x 2.6″ wheels, a short reach, optimized for 40mm stems, and weighing in at 5.84lbs for a size M/L, the Bardino is a modern bike that won’t break the bank at 495,04 €, shipped in the EU! Head to Nordest to check it out in detail.
Yes, you’re right. That ain’t gold. It’s anodizing. Drew from Engin Cycles is a master of the craft that is designing, engineering, and fabricating titanium bicycles. At this year’s Philly Bike Expo, Engin’s hardtails commanded attention with this one, in particular, bringing the bling. Its incredible anodization and design work was done by Jake Beadenkopf.
With such intricate masking and design work on a bike like this, one can only ask the question: “what will it look like dirty?!” If you’re the owner of this amazing Engin, please do us a favor and post some photos in the comments of how it looks with some dirt on it. I think I speak for everyone reading this when I say you have one stunning bike!
For the tenth anniversary of the Philadelphia Bike Expo, PBE introduced a diversity and inclusivity scholarship to support women, trans, and POC frame builders who have been underrepresented at bike shows and the industry at large. SRAM is stepping up to sponsor the PBE Inclusivity Scholarship whose inaugural class consists of Moth Attack, Pedalino Bikes, Schön Studio, and Untitled Cycles.
Marin’s new Pine Mountain hardtail is a $2099 hardtail with more than enough bottle bosses to bolt on a full-size framebag or cargo cages. While the profile might look a little ridiculous, this is what the people want isn’t it? Honestly, bottle bosses don’t bother me, especially when they’re plugged with rubber stops, not bolts. Good on ya, Marin for making an affordable hardtail with lots of versatility built in. See the full spec sheet at Marin.
This year at Grinduro, eight frame builders presented bikes in partnership with Maxxis, Sram/Zipp, Columbus, and Hope Tech. The theme? What is your ideal Grinduro bike? Cody Leuck brought this Plimsoll Buckshot, a Tomac homage hardtail, with unique seat and chain stay yokes…
After sharing the Mystic Alluvium earlier this month, we’ve received a lot of emails requesting the geo sheet. While numbers and degrees aren’t exactly intellectual property, initially I felt a little weird posting them for the entire internet to see. Adam and I put a lot of time in designing the geometry for this bike and I didn’t want to just give away all that work. Later I realized it really doesn’t matter and we only dialed in the geo for the size large and size medium anyway.
I thought it would be fun to just open source the sheets for other people to hand them off to a builder of their choice. Even if no one follows through with that, it’s still a neat project to share. I’ve been riding this bike as a 29er with a 150mm fork over the past few weeks and it’s even better now!
See the full spread below.
With a complete build starting at $2,199, the Norco Torrent looks to be a contender for riders looking for a new hardtail to take on their local trails. With a 64º head tube angle, a 76º seat tube angle, a 150mm RockShox fork and 29’r wheels, it will gobble up mountain chunder for breakfast. Head to Norco to see all the specs and other pricing options.
Cotic’s BFe is their veritable do-it-all hardtail trail shredder. The BFe can be built with a 120-160mm fork, 26″x3″ or 27.5″ x 2.6″ tires, with completes starting at £1799 or £549 with 148mm Syntace X-12 thru-axle, Seat QR, chainstay protector, and all your hose clips and parts. The BFe is the UK brand’s answer for a versatile hardtail. See more at Cotic.
Over the years, I’ve had the honor to throw my leg over many bikes, try them out, write a review, and then send them back. While the bikes return to their companies, the experience stays with me, and in the time I’ve been running this website, I’ve developed my own belief for what the perfect geometry for a hardtail mountain bike is. About a year ago, I began talking with Adam Sklar and Colin Frazer, who were about to launch a new production, US-made frame company called Mystic. We wanted to test the waters with a Radavist edition frame, dubbed the Alluvium. After chatting about numbers and branding, we felt like we were getting closer to releasing this frame. Then the reality of such an undertaking took hold and we killed the project.
During the ENVE Open House framebuilder exhibit, one builder traveled further than the others: Mark from Prova Cycles in Melbourne, Australia. I’d never seen a Prova in person. Instead, I’ve had to check out his work via the lens of FYXO and the Prova Instagram. Mark learned at the Bicycle Academy in the UK and has been really putting in work on his brand. Let me tell you. It shows.
Hardtails. Antiquated examples of mountain bike technology to some but to others, they’re liberated and simplified machines. Each year, I plan on riding a full suspension in Downieville, yet I always end up bringing my hardtail for one reason or another so this year, I took a look at just some of the bikes that were rolling around this Gold Rush town.
Downieville is a sleepy little town in the Lost Sierra. It was first known as “the Forks” due to its geographical location at the confluence of the Yuba and Downie rivers. Like many towns in the area, Downieville was founded in 1849 during the Gold Rush. Later, it was named after the town’s founder, Major William Downie. As you might imagine, this place has a sordid history during the lawless heyday of gold mining, including being the location for the only hanging of a woman in California history. Josefa Segovia was a pregnant Californio resident of the town and was lynched by an angry mob, accusing her of killing a miner in July 1851.
Nearby, in the Sierra Buttes, the largest gold nugget in California history was found in 1869. It weighed a whopping 109.2 pounds. Gold has always been on the lips of those who flocked to Downieville. Still, to this day, don’t be surprised to see active mining claims and people panning for gold at the confluence of the Yuba and Downie rivers.
Since 1995, the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship has thrown a special little event in this town. The Downieville Classic features an XC race on Saturday and a Downhill on Sunday. The terrain is rocky, steep, and silty, making for a tough day on the bike no matter what you’re riding. While they’re by no means rare, seeing people riding and racing hardtails always causes a stir. So this year, I set out to photograph some of these bikes, including Curtis Inglis from Retrotec‘s own Funduro, a shining, gold nugget of a bike.
That’s right. It can be done and it’s a lot of fun. We’re heading to the Downieville Classic this weekend and while I’ll be out on the course shooting photos of the race, I’d love to feature a gallery of all the hardtails that are being ridden at the Classic. Each year, it’s the bike I bring with me and I am always amazed at how many people are there racing on their steel hardtails as well. So, if you’re at the Classic, make sure you flag me down with your bike because this should be a great gallery!
Bozeman, Montana is a magical place to mountain bike in the summertime. Last year’s trip was epic, so this year we wanted to re-visit this quaint little mountain town. While we were there last month, I was able to shoot Adam Sklar’s latest project, the Sweet Spot 29er MTB. While Adam usually takes on custom bikes, the Sweet Spot will be the brand’s first production model. The Sweet Spot is made in Bozeman, Montana, just like all Sklar Bikes. The aim here is to lower wait times, while not sacrificing quality. It also enables Adam to sell a model that is in-line with his philosophy on mountain bikes.