#MTB

tag

2024 Rocky Mountain Instinct Review: A Cosmic Trigger

Reportage

2024 Rocky Mountain Instinct Review: A Cosmic Trigger

John likes to review a carbon full-suspension bike at least once a year to challenge his opinions on his preference of chassis material, and this summer’s bike is the 2024 Rocky Mountain Instinct. Thanks to new geometry, details, and a simplified RIDE-4 adjustment, the Instinct proved to be a very capable 140/150 trail bike. Perhaps the bigger picture of this review is John’s ever-questioning of his quasi-religious, cult-like zealotry for metal bikes…

Starling Cycles Relaunches and Redefines Its Framesets

Radar

Starling Cycles Relaunches and Redefines Its Framesets

Framesets are Starling Cycles’ frame-only collection. They’re the roots of what the UK makers create as a custom, handmade framebuilder and the best-selling side of its business. Sure, they offer custom builds, too, but the framesets keep the lights on at Starling, so to speak.

This caused a moment of pause with how they market these bikes. The frameset relaunch’s intent is to create a clear and concise purpose for each frameset, let’s check out where they landed…

RockShox Introduces 2025 Charger 3.1 Damper and Vivid Coil, and Updates Pike, Lyric, Zeb, and Super Deluxe

Radar

RockShox Introduces 2025 Charger 3.1 Damper and Vivid Coil, and Updates Pike, Lyric, Zeb, and Super Deluxe

SRAM and RockShox always do this. They collect a bunch of minor and major innovations within a given product line, throw in a new model or two, and unleash it all at once on an unsuspecting public. I suppose it beats the alternative. If we had to wait several years for a component to get a top-to-bottom rebuild before any improvements could be made, we’d miss out on the types of innovations RockShox collected today for the 2025 model year. They’ve improved the bushing design on the Pike, Lyric and Zeb forks, revamped the damper in the Super Deluxe air shock, and introduced an entirely new Vivid Air dh-oriented coil shock. They’ve also updated their TrailHead tuning-guide app, which should help with my favorite news of the day, an updated Charger 3.1 damper.

I’ve actually got a new Pike featuring a Charger 3.1 in for test. I just haven’t had enough time on it yet to bring you a thorough review. But on the one ride I’ve managed to squeeze in between installing and writing, it’s already changed my mind a little about the compromises we’re used to making when setting up our suspension. No spoilers, but this is the first fork where I’ve increased high-speed compression damping and not paid for it with a significant increase in harshness. Again, I’ll save that for the review. For now, here’s what’s new in the news.

Charger 3.1 Fork Damper

Yep. Three Point One. For those keeping score, that’s 0.1 more than the Charger 3 that RockShox released two years ago. For those not keeping score, Charger 3 was one of those top-to-bottom rebuilds. For years, Charger dampers contained the shifting volume of oil with a flexible bladder. Charger 3 went to a coil-backed internal floating piston, which offers more consistent performance, better longevity and simpler maintenance. Charger 3 also boasted more independent high- and low-speed compression damping adjustments. Meaning, for example, that adding support for braking and pumping won’t increase harshness over high-speed chatter.

It seems those updates have opened some doors for riders regarding their compression damping settings. And SRAM has heard them asking for more. So, The “0.1” of the Charger damper includes a wider range of usable settings. The low-speed compression adjustment now has a significantly lighter wide-open setting. This is optimal for riders who prioritize comfort and traction over support. And it will probably be welcomed by lighter-weight riders who sometimes feel stock suspension settings to be overdamped.

RockShox sort of made the opposite update to the Charger 3.1’s high-speed circuit, widening its range in the other direction to accommodate aggressive riders who said they wanted more damping during hard hits. This is super interesting because these two updates aren’t necessarily related to serving the same type of rider. They were done to optimize the experience for more people in more situations. And it doesn’t stop there.

There are now $30 aftermarket shim kits for riders who are still at the end of their clicks. Shims are like little flexible washers that bend out of the way to let oil through when your suspension motion reaches a high enough velocity. Riders who are particularly light, heavy, or just picky have long turned to special tuning shops to open up their suspension and fiddle with their shims, but it’s very rare for a mainstream suspension brand like RockShox to offer it themselves. There are two compression shim kits and three rebound kits available, and each comes with the one specialized tool you’ll need to swap them out.

The rebound shim kits work with existing Charger 3.0 dampers, but those who want to tune their compression dampers will need to upgrade to 3.1, which in another uniquely nerdy move, RockShox is offering as an option. If any of the above updates speak to you, the kit is available for $75. A full Charger 3.1 damper assembly is available for $358.

Only top-end aftermarket “Ultimate” and top-end OEM “Select+” forks will feature the new Charger 3.1 dampers, but all 2023 or newer Pikes and Lyrics and all 2021 or newer Zebs can be upgraded to Charger 3.1. Also, going forward, all 2025 Flight Attendant electronically controlled fork dampers will run on Charger 3.1 dampers.

Updated TrailHead App

All these adjustments can be a little overwhelming. And there’s rarely any consistency across different models and different brands as to how many clicks or how many PSI are right for you. The TrailHead app has been RockShox’s solution for a while. It gives you initial setup suspensions based on your body weight and your exact suspension components. For 2025, theRockShox TrailHead app is getting some updates to make it easier to save settings, link to service videos, and integrate with other SRAM components. It’s not a way to bring phones where they’re not wanted. It’s more a way to remove some of the guessing-game sometimes involved with complex systems like Charger 3.1.

Updated 2025 RockShox Pike Ultimate

One fork that will feature the new Charger 3.1 for 2025 is the RockShox Pike Ultimate, which also got a few other tweaks. First, the negative air-spring volume was increased. This is a small self-charging air chamber that works opposite the one that you pump up when setting your preload. It aids in making the fork easier to “break away” when hitting small bumps. A larger negative chamber increases small-bump sensitivity.

The Pike also got some updates to (and around) the bushings that promise lower friction. In fact, so did the bigger-travel Lyrik and bigger-er-travel Zeb. Although it’s only the Ultimate and Select+ models that get the Charger 3.1 damper, every fork gets the new smoother bushings.

Updated 2025 RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate

There were similar flow-focused updates to the Super Deluxe rear shock. Specifically, the compression damper allows for easier oil flow for better sensitivity. Also, the Super Deluxe air can volume has increased, bridging the gap to the gravity-focused Vivid Air shock. The new air can still accommodates volume spacers, so riders who want more late-stroke ramp-up can still tune it in. It’s no huge surprise that the larger air can is available aftermarket, but it’s a kinda-huge surprise that the new compression damper is, too. 2023 Super Deluxe (air and coil) as well as 2024 Vivid Air can be professionally upgraded to a new aftermarket damper. Or, riders who want a more gravity-focused option have an entirely new shock family to choose from.

All-New 2025 RockShox Vivid Coil

A dedicated gravity coil shock, the new Vivid Coil eliminates the climb switch featured on some Super Deluxe Coil shocks. It features the adjustable hydraulic bottom-out resistance featured on top-end Vivid Air and Super Deluxe Coil shocks, but adds a position-sensitive damper. “TouchDown” creates much lighter compression damping for the first 10% of travel. It’ll likely only be seen on dedicated downhill bikes, meaning it’ll likely never be seen here on The Radavist, but we love products that have a dedicated purpose.

See more at RockShox

Otso Cycles Hoot Ti Review: Titanium Hardtail Gets the Last Laugh

Reportage

Otso Cycles Hoot Ti Review: Titanium Hardtail Gets the Last Laugh

Launching today, the Hoot Ti from Otso Cycles is the brand’s first foray into designing a truly modern and progressive hardtail mountain bike. Built around 140 mm of front suspension with short 425mm chainstays across all sizes, the Hoot is meant for demanding trail riding yet is playful enough for riders who like to get airborne. It’s an evolution of where the brand, which has been innovating since day one, is going while also showcasing its ability to deploy new technologies to solve challenging design problems.

Josh has put considerable mileage on the new Hoot over the past few weeks, both in his usual testing grounds of southern Arizona and a big week in the steep mountains of northern New Mexico. Continue reading below for Josh’s review of the Hoot and a peek inside Otso’s Minneapolis, MN-based operations.

Otso Hoot Ti Quick Hits

  • Modern shreddy geometry
  • Frame sizes from small to XL
  • Suspension corrected for 140 mm fork
  • Titanium frame with bead blasted/brushed finish
  • UDH compatible dropouts
  • Elegant 3D-printed elements
  • Four-pack + two-pack mounts on downtube
  • 29 x 2.6 tire clearance
  • Frame weight: 4.08 lb (size XL test bike)
  • Frame+hardware: $3,300 / Frame + fork: $4,200
  • Complete builds: $6,100-9,900 USD

Twin Cities Innovation

Otso Cycles is Wolf Tooth Components’ sibling bike brand. Housed in the same southern Minneapolis facility, bikes are built and shipped right next to where all of Wolf Tooth’s manufacturing takes place. The folks designing Wolf Tooth’s infinitely useful and clever parts are also responsible for Otso bikes.

I was in the Twin Cities last month when the first batch of Hoots arrived. Naturally, I used the serendipitous occurrence to tour Wolf Tooth’s operations for a forthcoming story while also learning more about the Otso side of the house.

Wolf Tooth was launched in 2013 to fill componentry gaps in the cycling industry. Starting with simple chainrings and progressing to complex components like the Resolve dropper made today, founders Mike Pfeiffer, Brendan Moore, and Dan Dittmer have built the brand to be an almost ubiquitous cycling component brand. Wolf Tooth is often the first stop for many riders searching for precision parts that often meet some weird needs with their bikes.

Otso(ide) the Box Design

The leadership team and their engineers have taken a similar approach to making bikes. Otso launched in 2016 with the Voytek fat/hardtail hybrid and Warakin gravel bike. These bikes were fresh takes in their respective categories and still, nearly ten years later, seem ahead of their time. The Voytek, for instance, featured a Q-factor narrower than any other fat bikes on the market and could run a variety of tire sizes and fork types. The Warakin came out when “gravel” was only beginning to gain traction with super wide tire clearance and geometry capable of running a suspension fork.

More recently, the adaptable Fenrir has won over drop-bar adventurers and flat-bar hardtail riders. Multiple Radavist staff have reviewed iterations of the Fenrir over the years, lauding its thoughtful design elements and dirt-focused prowess. It has even found a permanent home in the stable of one of our choosiest writers.

What’s In a Name?

While we’ve seen quite a few versatile yet shreddy mid-travel hardtails released in the past couple of years (Revel Tirade, Esker Japhy, Smokey, and Moots Womble), I’d argue the Hoot is yet another Otso pushing boundaries in its category. Rather than attempting to do many things well enough, Otso doubled down on the shreddy and went light on the versatile.

Using short (425 mm) static chainstays across all frame sizes (rather than longer or adjustable) and a relatively steep seat angle (76 mm), the Hoot isn’t trying to be what some would call a “shred packer.” Sure, you can strap bags to anything, but that isn’t the best use for this bike. It’s called the Hoot, and it’s meant for having fun on the trail.

Mike, Brendan, and Dan are closely involved in everything at Wolf Tooth and Otso, from material sourcing to design and production. They also have talented people working across departments to ensure efficient and innovative processes.

Kyle Alviani was the design lead for the Hoot and brought a lot of personal touches to the frame. I learned he has a reputation for going big and ripping around their undulating local trails and the bigger stuff around Lake Superior’s shorelines. While I was on site, Kyle let me pull aside his prototype Hoot to see how it differed from the production model.

Kyle and his team initially prototyped the Hoot with rear rack mounts and adjustable dropouts. Ultimately, though, after lots of riding and poring over CAD drawings for aesthetic considerations, they determined the production model should instead have unencumbered tubes and put the derailleur in a fixed position. They didn’t take this decision lightly, moving forward based on reliability, appearance, and, ultimately, the target riders for the bike.

Kyle also incorporated some wild componentry in his proto, including the gyro headset and downtube-mounted ReMote 360 dropper lever. It’s like a dirt jumper that can still shred trails.

The Hoot in 3D

3D-printed frame parts are becoming increasingly popular in metal bicycle manufacturing. Rather than cutting, bending, and welding complex frame components, engineers can send a digital drawing to a 3D printing machine that can produce highly complex shapes on the spot. Also referred to as “additive manufacturing,” printing at scale doesn’t really save any cost, as each part is billed per gram of material used. Such practices are often employed to solve problems that are either impossible to do by hand or are so complex that they become cost-prohibitive. This GCN video of designer/builder Tom Sturdy explains the process.

Not everyone embraces this approach to building bicycles, however. Some folks fall into the “purist” side of the conversation, believing 3D printing removes an integral aspect of the frame building craft. To them, physical problem-solving and labor reign supreme over computers and robots. Personally, I’m pretty stoked about both methods these days.

Let’s look at some of Otso’s 3D-printed achievements on the Hoot frame so you can see more of what I’m rambling about.

Chainstay yokes are one of the most challenging parts of a bike to imagine, draw, and build. This is particularly true when attempting to incorporate a lot of seemingly at-odds aspects into a frame. In the case of the Hoot, Otso wanted all frame sizes to fit a 29 x 2.6″ tire with short 425 mm chainstays AND dropper routing that exits behind the bottom bracket shell.

The dropper cable makes this complicated bend thanks to a small bump-out in the yoke for clean visual congruence and operational performance. Integrated guides on the yoke’s underside route brake hose and derailleur cables (when needed) in line with the dropper cable. Building this yoke by hand would have been extremely tricky and cost-prohibitive.

Dropouts are another complicated frame component to consider. After much deliberation over the Hoot’s dropouts, the Otso team again championed performance and elegance over versatility. They knew the bike needed to be UDH compatible, which guided the dropout parameters. While UDH compatibility is not a new concept at this point, their design offers a clean look that is not just functional, but elegant.

Hoot’s dropouts are light yet strong and incorporate a sleek brake mount inside the frame triangle rather than on top of the seatstay, as is the case with some short chainstay frames. Tucked in the frame, the brake caliper is protected from rock strikes and other side impacts. The available real estate around the mounting zone is fairly sparse, so it might be difficult to fit chunkier machined calipers like Paul Klampers or Hope Tech 4.

Design Language and Material

As I mentioned above, titanium hardtails seem to be having a moment, and there is no shortage of really nice ones to choose from right now. Otso seems to have realized this and made the Hoot stand out in the field. Tubing for the front triangle is oversized and stout while also harmonizing with the thin seatstays and chainstays. Visually, this speaks to the Hoot’s stable yet playful ride characteristics, which I’ll discuss below.

Some bikes with low top tubes require a chunky brace at the seat tube junction, but the Hoot’s is minimal and nearly disappears into the frame’s overall appearance. The same holds for the seatstay bridge, which is tucked up into the seat cluster. The down tube/top tube junction is reinforced with a thin laser-cut piece of titanium featuring the Otso insignia.

Branding is minimal and fun, some only appearing after close inspection of the frame. “Otso” and “Hoot” logos are brushed beneath the bead-blasted frame treatment, while other emblems are visible throughout the front triangle.

Like their other titanium offerings, Otso utilized custom diameters of the popular 3AI/2.5V Grade 9 tubing for the Hoot. This particular type of titanium is known for being light, strong, and lively.

Some reviewers go as far as labeling this material as immortal. While I’m not opposed to considering earthly things in ethereal ways, I also view bike tubing as a means to an end. When using titanium, builders can craft a premium product that meets the needs of riders in ways arguably better than other materials (steel can be heavier when it’s engineered to withstand the same forces as titanium; carbon can lack character and feel hollow).

But it comes at a price. The titanium Hoot costs $3,300 for the frame and associated hardware like a headset, seatpost clamp, etc, from Wolf Tooth. It’s on the pricier end compared to similar hardtails from other brands and even some custom builders. But I’d argue none of those have the level of ingenuity and expensive 3D-printed elements of the Hoot. Still, that fact alone doesn’t impact your wallet any less.

Geometry and Ride

Trail-centric hardtails have been taking cues from full-suspension bikes for a while now, and I’m a big fan of where this trend is going. Steep seat angles, long reach, and slack head tubes with long front centers and low bb amount to bikes that are efficient climbers and, on the way down, offer a playful and confident ride.

This is what I think makes hardtails modern and progressive. Bikes with longer rear ends and slacker seat angles handle flowy trails well and offer more comfort for extended periods but, in my opinion, aren’t as capable or as exciting as their rowdier counterparts like the Hoot.

I’m 6′ 1″ tall with long legs (34″ inseam). I often straddle the line between large and XL frames, though lately, I have sized up to XL bikes with around a 500 mm reach and steep-ish seat angles. The Hoot falls right into this category with 502 mm reach and 76° seat angle (measured at 20% sag). It also uses appropriately-sized headtubes across sizes (653 mm stack in XL!), making it easy for riders do dial in a comfortable upright position.

To put this fit into perspective, take my V2 size large Starling Murmur, for example. After getting a feel for longer bikes in recent years, its 77° seat angle paired with 485 mm reach has started to feel cramped when climbing, though I can move around with the seat dropped while descending.

Conversely, I felt more at home on the new XL Pivot Switchblade and some of Travis’ recent review bikes – like the Forbidden Druid and Canyon Spectral – while shooting photos for him (we’re a similar height, and he’s also honed in on the 500 mm reach magic number).

Of course, reach and seat angle aren’t the only numbers that matter, but they allow for other desirable qualities like a slack head tube angle and long wheelbase.

Going Up

But a long reach only makes sense for me if a bike has a fairly steep seat angle and slack head tube. Plus, a long reach helps account for what I lose in the cockpit because I often use handlebars with a bit of back sweep. Such was the combination with the Hoot, and I requested Otso send me the XL to test.

I’m finding this type of geometry in trail bikes is my favorite for the type of riding we have in the southwest US: steep climbs and sustained techy descents. Slacker seat angles, like that of the Sweet Spot I had for a few years, are great for touring and rolling terrain, but I find they limit power and efficiency when the trail gets steep. A forward-seated climbing position gives more front-wheel control over where I want to point it while maintaining rear-wheel traction.

The Hoot’s steep seat angle centers my weight and pedaling force, making micro-adjustments easier as terrain changes. I feel more powerful and efficient in focusing my effort over the bottom bracket rather than behind it. And the lightweight frame, clocking in at just over 4 lbs, feels spritely when grinding up precipitous slopes.

John considers a series of steep switchbacks on Dorothy Stewart Trail in Santa Fe, NM, a litmus test for how well a bike can climb. During a sweeping tour of the area’s trails last week, which included Dorothy Stewart, I pedaled up those features with relative ease. This is despite the short 425 mm chainstays I feared might cause rear traction issues.

At home in AZ, the bike excelled in my favorite punchy proving grounds. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, we have weekly short-track XC-style races at Papago Park in the middle of the Phoenix Valley. The routes change every week but are always punctuated with short yet intense climbs, loose descents, and occasional flat sprints. I was a little worried the Hoot’s steep seat angle might feel like an ass hatchet in the varied terrain, but it proved to be just the opposite. It puts me in an active stance with powerful pedal strokes going up, and then I can quickly maneuver into a descending position.

A potential downside of steep seat tubes can crop up during long, flat-ish seated pedals. With much of a rider’s weight leaned forward on the bars for prolonged periods, hands can become sore and go numb. Bikes with more relaxed positions can mitigate this. On the few flat and sustained rides I’ve gone on out to trailheads, I’ve noticed this a bit with the Hoot. It likes to be pointed up or down and is a big factor in why I wouldn’t want to do long tours on the Hoot or other trail or enduro bikes like it.

Going Down

I’ll say this again: the Hoot’s chainstays are short. At 425 mm, they barely clear a 29 X 2.6″ Teravail Kessel on DT Swiss XMC 1501 30 mm rims. While short chainstays are known to be fun in playful settings like jumping or whipping the bike’s rear end around corners, they can make it difficult to control at high speed. In my time with the Hoot, this was not the case.

The short chain stays are balanced out by a slack head angle, lengthy wheelbase, long front center, and a relatively low bottom bracket. This party in the back/rowdy in the front geometry creates sure-footed steering stability at speed while still feeling playful.

I don’t have much style in the air, especially when a camera is pointed at me. But I can’t help but hit every bump, hip, water bar, natural, or built feature a trail gives me. The Hoot loves to jump, and its planted front end instills a lot of confidence upon landing.

The Hoot’s long reach comes into play when the seat is dropped. While the steep seat angle puts me into an active climbing position, moving the long 200 mm dropper out of the way opens up a lot of room to move around when dropped for descending or jumping. It does well rolling through rocky terrain, popping off rocks, and shredding through sections of baby-head-sized rocks.

When approaching technical sections, I maneuver the short rear end beneath me, which gives me the sensation of scooting over or around steep rocky features rather than bouncing on top of them. Thus far, there have only been a few instances with the Hoot where the trail was so rough that I wished I was on a full suspension; when the rocks were so large that each rollover pushed the bike up into my rear end. For the most part, however, it’s one of the most capable hardtails I’ve ridden.

The Hoot is the kind of bike that is plenty capable “out of the box,” but I suspect it can also help a lot of folks become better riders. For example – partially as a factor of my bad habits, but also due to the Hoot’s long front end – I have to work it around tight turns to keep it from oversteering. While the bike performs well at speed, some deliberate and slower maneuvers can hang me up.

I’m not even close to pushing the Hoot to its limits, yet I’m motivated to improve my banked turn technique and jumping skills, where only confidence dictates how much I want to push it.

Build Kit

No doubt, the Hoot’s trail capabilities are assisted by the 140 mm FOX 36 Performance fork. This custom-length fork is specifically built for the Hoot, as only the Fox 34 is available off-the-shelf with 140 mm travel.  While any 140 mm fork will work with the Hoot, Otso engineers wanted to incorporate the sturdier 36 mm sanctions for aggressive riding.

Lighter than the previous generation of 36 mm Fox forks, yet with the new Grip X Damper and a full suite of tuning features, it’s an appropriate accompaniment to the lightweight yet stout Hoot frameset.

The first batch of titanium Hoots is available in limited quantities. They are sold as frames for $3,300; frame + Fox 36 fork for $4,200; or as full builds starting at $6,100. All options are available through Otso’s Custom Bike Builder.

Since Otso is physically located just feet from the shop where all Wolf Tooth parts are made and/or assembled, the Bike Builder offers full build options from wheels and drivetrain down to color-coordinated headsets, dropper levers, and grips. In an era where we’re seeing fewer brands offering full builds, Otso provides a plethora of customizations and price points. And, if you ask really, really, nicely, they might even purify your frame in the waters of Lake Minnetonka.

My test build, costing around $9,900, was the crème de la crème top-end option with DT Swiss’ new 240 hubs laced to XMC 1501 rims, an SRAM XO Transmission drivetrain, and Shimano XT brakes. This was my first time putting in consistent miles with the top-tier T-Type system, and it’s nothing short of incredible. Shifting is flawless and not impacted in the least following multiple derailleur rock strikes in Santa Fe’s chundery trails.

If you have any specific questions about these primo components, drop them in the comments below. Otherwise, I’m hoping Otso lets me keep the bike for a few more weeks, allowing me to evaluate some of these parts further.

Everything about this bike feels premium, from the custom tubing selection and 3D-printed elements to the components and build options available directly from Wolf Tooth. But If you’re in the market for a shreddy hardtail like this, you don’t have to spend $10k to enjoy it. SLX and GX groups are still available, and they are more than good enough.

Holy B-Rad, Batman

I’ve spent most of this review detailing the Hoot’s innovative design aspects and describing how much I enjoyed riding it. But, I imagine that through all 2700 of those words, you’ve been wondering what the hell is up with all of those B-Rads on the frame?

Well, the XL Hoot only has one mounting point for a water bottle inside the triangle on the downtube. Otso wanted riders to fit as much dropper post travel as possible. The seat tube can fit most 200mm travel droppers fully slammed down to size small frame with room to spare.

Unfortunately, one water bottle isn’t enough for where I live and ride in the Desert Southwest. And wearing a pack with water is one of my least favorite things to do, especially in hot temps.

To allow long dropper insertion, Otso could not add mounts to the Hoot’s already short seat tube. Still, I would have liked to see more mounting options on the downtube or underside of the top tube for bottle cages or gear storage. Thankfully, they did add a 4-pack to the downtube and, determined to carry more than one bottle in the frame, I asked Otso to send a few Wolf Tooth B-Rad configurations along with the bike, and I got creative. There’s also a 2-pack on the downtube’s underside, but I only use this location for water storage rather than quick bottle access because I don’t like drinking dirt or whatever else finds its way to my bottle cap.

Most brands would probably frown on me cluttering their tastefully designed frame with straps, aluminum strips, and zip ties. Still, Otso figured it was a great way to show off the usefulness of their sibling brand’s clever accessories. I fit a B-Rad 2, B-Rad 4, and an Everwhere Base. Now, on the XL frame, I can ride with three water bottles of various sizes and an Accessory Strap with 0.6 L Roll-Top Bag.

Closing Thoughts 乁(ʘ ◊ ʘ)ㄏ

The Hoot Ti is a fun, confident, and engaging hardtail with playful rectrices and planted remiges. The titanium frame and 3D-printed parts feel premium, and the build kits available from Otso are owlpropriately commensurate. While not everyone will give a hoot, it’s a solid option for riders wanting a head-turning, lightweight, and capable trail machine. Additionally, it’s cool to see Otso add a dedicated trail bike to its parliament of adventure and touring models; I’ll be tracking closely, observing where their design wisdom takes flight from here.

Pros

  • Beautifully designed 3D-printed elements
  • Lightweight and stout titanium frame
  • Well-considered playful and shreddy trail geometry
  • Plenty of standover and long dropper fitment
  • Wide variety of factory build options
  • Punny name

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Limited frame mounting points
  • 29 X 2.6 tires fit, but probs too big for muddy conditions
  • Trail-oriented geo might not appeal to everyone

See more at Otso

Radar

Starling Cycles Tackles Pedal Kickback

Is mountain bike pedal kickback a load of rubbish…? Good question. It’s a hot topic in mountain biking, and everyone is obsessed with the idea that our feet are getting blown off the pedals. A lot of bike media will tell you that single pivot bikes are THE WORST for pedal kickback. But is it actually true? Or is pedal kickback something people are worrying about for nothing? Joe from Starling Cycles tackles it all in this informative video.

Pocket Chainsaw Review: Quick Work

Radar

Pocket Chainsaw Review: Quick Work

Weighing in at a scant 6 oz and storing away at the size of your average nutrition bar, John’s been using his trusty 36″ pocket chainsaw to cut down lots of deadfall in Santa Fe this spring, prompting this review. Sparked by Travis’ Silky Pocketboy review earlier this month, these ubiquitous hand-operated chainsaws pack a mighty punch, so let’s look at his buddy Scott and him making quick work of some deadfall below…

Wild Rye Restocked “Ride Fast, Raise Hell” Planned Parenthood Benefit Tee

Radar

Wild Rye Restocked “Ride Fast, Raise Hell” Planned Parenthood Benefit Tee

Wild Rye’s Planned Parenthood benefit tee is finally restocked after selling out after the April launch. The brand sold 350+ units of the RFRH shirt, raising just shy of $10,000 for Planned Parenthood.
In addition, Wild Rye hosted a Sun Valley, ID event with other local women-led fitness studios to offer Idaho residents a free workout with a suggested donation and raffle tickets. Another $2,900 was raised for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which initiates and funds the legal battles at the state level.
Pick up a Ride Fast, Raise Hell shirt at Wild Rye.
Forbidden Druid V2 Review: High-Minded High Pivot

Reportage

Forbidden Druid V2 Review: High-Minded High Pivot

Travis’s praise for the Forbidden Druid may occasionally seem hyperbolic. As if he’s exaggerating the thrills offered by a particular trail in an effort to convince you that it’s totally worth the climb. We understand why that would be a little off-putting if you’re reading this for objective buying advice. It’s hard to trust a bike review that sounds like a Happy Meal commercial. But whenever Travis talked about the Druid, it sounded like some sort of Greek myth that could defy the laws of nature … See? Now he’s got us doing it.

Radar

Wingman: The Tobin & Keegan Story

Tobin Ortenblad and Keegan Swenson are two of the three Santa Cruz Bicycles htSQD riders (Alexis Skarda being the third). And while Keegan’s one of the most powerful long-distance riders in the world in his own right, racing is a team sport… and in team sports, relationships – nay, friendships – are paramount.

Hear the stories, as told by Keegan and Tobin, about racing strategies, competition, psychological warfare, laughter, and camaraderie.

Radar

Industry Nine GRADE 300 V2 is the Brand’s Strongest Wheelset Ever

Industry Nine rolled out an updated big hit wheelset today, the Hydra Grade 300 v2.

The defining feature of this wheelset is an all-new Grade 300 alloy rim with Hollow Bead Wall technology–a triple cavity design that reduces pinch flats and increases impact resistance. Available in 27.5 or 29″, 30 mm internal width (!) and 32 hole lace-up, the Hydra Grade 300 v2 is built to withstand the harshest riding conditions. See more at Industry Nine.