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A Look Inside Santa Cruz’s Spokesman Bicycles Outpost and Their Wild Custom Builds

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A Look Inside Santa Cruz’s Spokesman Bicycles Outpost and Their Wild Custom Builds

Santa Cruz has no shortage of bike shops. This sleepy little beach town might be known for its surfing and pesky vampires, but the road and mountain riding is exceptional. With a myriad of dirt and paved roads snaking their way through coastal redwoods, and dusty, steep mountain bike trails, any cyclist can spend days upon days exploring the terrain. Spokesman Bicycles is one of the powerhouse shops in Santa Cruz and just recently opened up what they’re calling Outpost on the West Side of town, right next to their friends Sawyer and Co, a surfing lifestyle shop.

One Ride With Shimano GRX Gravel Group on an Ibis Hakka MX

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One Ride With Shimano GRX Gravel Group on an Ibis Hakka MX

The Old Growth Classic took place this past weekend – 500 riders took to a grueling 55-mile course through coastal redwoods and old-growth groves. At the end of the day over 8,000′ of elevation gain would be throbbing through the legs of every person that crossed the start and finish lines. I had planned on bringing my Sklar with me to ride and photograph the course, but Ibis reached out and asked if I’d like to ride their Hakka MX with Shimano’s GRX drivetrain and a new ENVE spec build. Here’s what I thought about the build kit on this bike, specifically GRX…

The New Ibis DV9 Hardtail

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The New Ibis DV9 Hardtail

Be it for singletrack slaying, bikepacking, and beyond, the new Ibis DV9 throws its hat in the ring of carbon hardtails. It’ll fit a 2.6″ 29’r wheel, is designed around a 100mm fork, comes in an variety of build specs, and has an updated geometry. See all the specs at Ibis.

Gettin’ Dirty with the New Ibis Hakka MX

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Gettin’ Dirty with the New Ibis Hakka MX

Is it one’s riding that evolves first? Or is it the bike that is the catalyst for evolution? Bicycle design, much like one’s riding style, evolves over time, triggered by a series of environmental or equipment changes. Perhaps your everyday singletrack just gets tiresome and you’re looking for a way to change it up, or maybe your road bike gathers dust during ‘cross season. At some point, riders look for excuses to shake things up, as a break from the painful monotony of riding bikes by the rules and luckily for us, the offerings from companies follow suit, evolving their lineup in the same sequence.

A number of brands have taken a look at their ‘cross bikes and asked what the next step in evolution would be, or perhaps, what it should be. What seems like ages ago, we were all riding singletrack and fire roads on 32mm tires, burnin’ brake pads as our cantilever or v-brakes smoked our sidewalls. Then came disc brakes, which offered more control, options for larger tires and other benefits. All the while, frame builders were experimenting with multiple wheel size options, brought along by the popularity of disc brakes. Soon 27.5″ (650b) wheels began popping up on drop bar ‘cross bikes, yet these weren’t really “cross” bikes anymore. They had evolved past that.

Ibis recently took a long hard look at their classic ‘cross frame, the Hakkalügi. These frames started out as steel, cantilever bikes, marked by classic Ibis stylings and most notably, the Mike Cherney fabricated “hand job” cable hanger. Like Ibis’ mountain bikes, once carbon fiber became the preferred material, the Hakkalügi went through the motions, too. Carbon canti, then carbon disc but the whole time, these bikes stayed true to classic ‘cross frame tire clearances and geometries, always feeling like outliers in the brand’s catalog. Ibis knew it was time for a change.

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3rd Gens a Charm with the New Ibis Ripley

The OG Ripley was the first modern full suspension mountain bike I rode, years back. Having only ridden hardtails and rigid bikes before, the Ripley opened my eyes to just how fun full sus bikes can be. A lot has changed since then and while I’m still a dedicated hardtail rider, the new Ripley has piqued my interest. See more at Ibis and I can’t wait to shred one of these!

My 44 Bikes Marauder Hardtail is Steady Shreddin on Ibis 941 Wheels

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My 44 Bikes Marauder Hardtail is Steady Shreddin on Ibis 941 Wheels

Since this bike first showed up at my door here in Los Angeles, I’ve really enjoyed riding it. While the kit that Kris from 44 Bikes delivered for the review interim was more than acceptable, it felt good putting both my old parts on it and new wheels, which made a world of difference. Wheels are like that though. You think everything is peachy-keen one day and the next you’re rolling on new wheels, having your mind blown. Call me naive but I didn’t think a wide rim like the Ibis 941 would make that big of a difference on a hardtail. Truthfully, it didn’t feel like it until I seat the WTB Trail Boss 2.4″ tire on the 41mm outer, 35mm inner width rims.

To say it was like a whole new bike might be over-doing it, or perhaps it captures my enthrallment or excitement. Either way, I do not want to take them, or these tires off my 44 Bikes Marauder anytime soon.

Santa Slays the Trans-Fat from Ibis

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Santa Slays the Trans-Fat from Ibis

Ibis took their all-rounder Trans frame and fattened it up, just in time for the holiday snow season. The Trans-Fat is a first from Ibis and from what I’m reading, it looks to be a contender in the ever-so-growing, almost engorged fatbike market. Available now in limited quantities, with more stock coming in February. Check out more details below and read up at Ibis!

24 Hours of Recovery in Downieville

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24 Hours of Recovery in Downieville

‘Cross bikes, ‘cross bikes, ‘cross bikes…

Look. I love cyclocross bikes but I was beginning to get a little Grinduro’d out. After a weekend of shooting, talking, riding and basically living bikes at the event, I wanted a recovery day. Decompression. Detachment. Whatever you want to call it. I needed a vacation. Ok, not really. I just wanted to ride mountain bikes and be out of cell reception for 24 hours.

Luckily, we were already in the midst of some incredible mountains, so it was literally a no-brainer to hop on the road and book it up to Downieville. That place has always carried such a mystique for me. I’d never been before, for various reasons, but had ridden all over California so I was familiar with the terrain. But still. There’s something about that trail network that had been beckoning me for years.

It was my friend Andrea‘s birthday on Monday and she too wanted to ride there one last time before the season ended. She’s been numerous times, so it worked out perfectly. Sunday morning after Grindruo, we would leave Quincy, drive an hour or so, get to town, pass out, wake up for a morning shuttle, take it super chill, shoot photos, eat gummy worms, sip the flask and barrel along the downhill line, ending at the river…

There was one detail we were missing: bikes. ‘Drea and I were on Grinduro-ready rigs, not 6″ trail bikes.

Luckily Yuba Expeditions had rental bikes for around $100 a day. I scooped up a Ibis Mojo, Andrea got a Santa Cruz Nomad and we were good to go. Oh and tubes. Oh and I needed knee pads. Now we’re good to go.