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Josh’s Amigo Bug Out feat. Ingrid Drivetrain, MRP Baxter Fork, and Industry Nine UL250 Wheelset

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Josh’s Amigo Bug Out feat. Ingrid Drivetrain, MRP Baxter Fork, and Industry Nine UL250 Wheelset

Earlier this year, I purchased a Bug Out, the new “stock” steel frame offering from Zach Small’s framebuilding operation Amigo Frameworks. While visiting Zach in Nashville, we spent a few days building it up in his shop before heading out for first impressions on some springtime Middle Tennessee mixed-terrain riding at the Gosh Darn Gravel Gathering. Since then, I’ve put hundreds of miles on the Bug Out and swapped components a few times to get it where it is now—an intersection of pure enjoyment and mechanical perfection. Genre-wise, this bike pushes a lot of boundaries, and I’m not sure what it is: Dropbar MTB? Adventure bike? ATB? Touring bike? Monster Gravel? At some point, labels stopped mattering, and I realized this might be the most fun bike I’ve owned. Let’s look at the Bug Out, and some build highlights, in detail below and find out why!

Josh Reviews His Mash-Up Sklar Sweet Spot: The Sweet Jammer

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Josh Reviews His Mash-Up Sklar Sweet Spot: The Sweet Jammer

The Sweet Spot from Bozeman, MT-based Sklar Bikes is a steel hardtail mountain bike designed to be a venerable quiver-killer. Built around 150mm of front suspension, with clearance for up to 29 x 2.8 tires, its geometry embraces builder Adam Sklar’s mantra of “fast is fun, but fun is fun-er.” Sweet Spots were Adam’s first foray into offering a small batch frame design and sizing, which he hopes will make his bikes more accessible and faster to produce.

I picked up a Sweet Spot of my own earlier this spring after many years of searching for the perfect hardtail. Due to a few requests I had to make it even sweeter, it turned into a custom project that retained the established Sweet Spot geometry and material selection. Below, let’s take a closer look at my build in addition to a brief interview with Adam about these bikes and his design/build process!

Many Hands in the Mix: the 2020 Sierra Explorer by BTCHN Bikes

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Many Hands in the Mix: the 2020 Sierra Explorer by BTCHN Bikes

As with year’s past, we love featuring this Chico collaboration between Sierra Nevada, Paul Component, and a California-based frame builder. This year’s bike is stunning and with it comes a huge photo gallery documenting this beautiful build. Check the official press release below with all the juicy photos and read on to find out how you can win this bike!

John’s Retrotec As a Singlespeed 27.5+ Using the Phil Wood Eccentric BB

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John’s Retrotec As a Singlespeed 27.5+ Using the Phil Wood Eccentric BB

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!

The Radavist Authors’ Favorite Small Business Products: Ryan Wilson

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The Radavist Authors’ Favorite Small Business Products: Ryan Wilson

Ryan Wilson kicks off a series we’re launching during the pandemic, a shout out to our favorite small businesses in the cycling industry. Here are some of Ryan’s personal favorite products!

Small businesses are the foundation of the outdoor industry and many have been seriously impacted by the pandemic over the last couple of months. While money is understandably tight for a significant portion of people, if you do have the means and are dreaming up your next bike trip or local ride, I wanted to offer up a few suggestions for gear that I believe is worthy of investing in from some of my favorite small businesses in the industry.

Curtis’ Gold Rush Retrotec Funduro 29er

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Curtis’ Gold Rush Retrotec Funduro 29er

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.

Shooting the Sklar Sweet Spot 29er Hardtail in the Mountains of Bozeman

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Shooting the Sklar Sweet Spot 29er Hardtail in the Mountains of Bozeman

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.

Paul Component Engineering: Chim Chim MTB Bar Ends

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Paul Component Engineering: Chim Chim MTB Bar Ends

Those of us who remember MTB bar ends, recalls a different era of the sport. Nowadays, bar ends like this make a lot of sense on a flat bar ‘cross or bikepacking rig, especially when you consider the extra cargo capacity of these new Chim Chim MTB bar ends by Paul Component Engineering. To see what I mean, head to PAUL for more information and see two “in the wild” photos below, showcasing their carrying capacity. ;-)

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Paul Component Engineering: Dropper Trigger

This has been in the works for a while. Paul Component Engineering likes to make the best possible product they can when a new item hits their catalog. The team wanted to make the toughest, most precisely machined, most adjustable dropper trigger on the market. This dropper lever has stacked dual sealed cartridge bearings, two different cable clamp options, a barrel adjuster, and a hinged clamp. Machined by Paul Component Engineering in Chico California to the highest tolerances. These are in stock in three finishes, black, silver, or polished, and are in stock now at Paul Component Engineering.

2018 Grinduro: This Blue Collar Nigel 650G is Perfection!

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2018 Grinduro: This Blue Collar Nigel 650G is Perfection!

Wow. Just wow. Robert from Blue Collar Bikes brought my favorite bike to the 2018 Grinduro Town Hall. Painted to match his iconic van, this Nigel 650G featured components from PAUL, 3T, WTB, White Industries, SRAM, and a Fabric saddle. There are so many NorCal brands on this bike, all within a short trip from Sacramento where Blue Collar is based.

There’s not much else to note about this bike, as it’s a prime example of a bike that tells its own story. My only regret was not taking this photo as well!

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