While most review bikes go back into a company’s demo fleet pretty quickly, the Fairlight Secan that Morgan Taylor reviewed back in 2022 has gone on to live an illustrious life of ultra-distance riding, mostly of the randonneuring variety, with their friend Andrew. In this re-review, Morgan and Andrew consider the Secan’s updated build and speak to the easy wins and marginal gains of preparing both bike and rider for very long days in the saddle.
I’m in Germany for the 2023 Bespoked Handmade Bicycle Show, which is taking place this weekend, October 13-15 in Dresden. Prior to traveling to Dresden, I was in Berlin with Flo and Tine of Fern/Allygn Bicycles and Gramm Tourpacking where we had an action-packed day visiting various makers around their workshop in the east side of the city. One of our visits was to meet Dan Pleikies of Wheeldan Custom Bicycles. Dan isn’t able to make it to Bespoked, BUT I was able to pull aside a client’s stunning randonneur bike he had on hand to document. Let’s check it out below!
After spending years swapping the same worn-out parts between vintage steel frames, I was ready to build my ideal “road” bike in 2020. I wanted something that was comfortable, versatile, and beautiful, and after much deliberation, I settled on the Soma Grand Randonneur. Read on to learn why I chose the Grand Randonneur and my thoughts on the bike after two tours, a gravel race, and many long days on country roads.
Our Radar Roundup compiles products and videos from the ‘net in an easy-to-digest format. Read on below for today’s findings…
Earlier this year, Lael and Jan set out to FKT on the Oregon Outback. Things didn’t work out for Jan on that run, so he returned before the season ended and it worked out in his favor:
Jan set a new FKT (Fastest Known Time) on the epic Oregon Outback course. Riding unsupported and alone, he covered the 585 km (363 miles) of rough gravel (and some pavement) in 26:13 hours, taking more than an hour off the previous best. Jan averaged 13.8 mph (22.3 km/h) – stops included. It was a beautiful ride, traversing some of the country’s most spectacular scenery. It was also a great test for the concept of the all-road bike – a bike that can travel on rough gravel with road bike speed and road bike fun. Jan was riding a custom-built Rene Herse steel bike, equipped with 26” x 2.3” Rene Herse Rat Trap Pass Extralight tires. Flexible fork blades helped with comfort and speed on the notoriously rough surfaces of the Oregon Outback. Wind tunnel-tested aero fenders helped tackle the infamous winds on the approach to the Columbia Gorge. Jan observed at the finish: “The gravel roads of eastern Oregon will always be rough, but this is as good as it gets. It was fun!”
A full track of the FKT ride is at Trackleaders.
This week’s Readers’ Rides comes from Ben and features his beautiful Bantam Randonneurring machine. Check it out below with a full build spec and with words by Ben!
This pandemic has us scouring social media for videos to share, in an attempt to transport us back to the time when group rides were the norm and our calendars were filled with fun rides. That’s what brought me to find this recap video from the 2019 Nutmeg Nor’Easter.
Perhaps you remember Stefan’s coverage of last year’s Paris – Brest – Paris? That moody 35mm photo gallery that captured the event in a way so uniquely really struck me as beautiful documentation of one of the most intense endurance races. Well, this is the bike that Stefan pedaled during the event and as many of you expressed an interest in seeing better photos, we figured we’d feature it here at the site. So read on below for all the interesting tidbits, with words by Stefan…
Brooklyn’s Johnny Coast knows how to build a classic randonneuring bike. Every year, Johnny brings a classic example of these elegant machines, with so many details from his custom fillet stem, custom fabricated seat cluster lug, bi-lam construction, custom decaluer, an elegant fork, custom front rack, and as always, a paint job to dream about.
Coast’s randonneur takes a different approach with a 700c wheel in a world dominated and encouraged by the 650b platform. He built this beaut with NOS Campy 10 speed, vintage Stronglight crank arms with new TA Pro Vis chainrings.
The lines are the most striking and that’s thanks to Johnny’s use of Japanese KAISEI traditional 1” tubing.
Kalamaja 2001 is a video showcasing a bikepacking adventure ride from St. Pauli, Germany to Kalamaja, an old part of town in Tallinn/Estonia. This trip took three riders the entire 1900 kilometres in 8 days through six countries to the beautiful east in northern Europe.
When I quit cycling for the first time in my life I was 21 years old. I´ve been loving it for some 18 years or so. But by that time, I was completely exhausted by a bicycle messenger scheme here in Germany that left me on the edge of homelessness. This was already ten years after I decided that the testosterone-fueled parental/official road cycling system of the same country was nothing for me…
What do you get when Bené, aka Ultra Romance, aka Ronnie McFly, aka Glistening Gandolf coerces an XC/roadie racer boi into embracing the long and slow lifestyle? Well, you’re about to find out. While Benedict and Sean from Team Dream were working closely on those nifty merino wool bib shorts, Benedict convinced Sean with his silver tongue to build up a dream bike. A veritable ex-roadie 2.0 cruiser, complete with all the iconic componentry of MTB and randonneuring’s heyday, which pinch me if I’m wrong, is always the present time. What you see here is the result of much toodlin’ and many man hours spent scrounging for parts. All aboard a Crust Bikes Lightning Bolt.
Last year, our friends Erik and Rita, along with 128 other racers, took on the North Cape 4000, highlighted in this video.
Writing product description takes finesse, yet clearly, Matt from Crust Bikes really enjoyed writing about their newest frameset, the Lightning Bolt:
“The Lightning bolt is a dedicated low trail randonneur frame. Unlike the rest of our frames this one is designed with pavement in mind. Max tire clearance is 650b X 48c. Compatible with both 1X, 2X or even triple chainring set up. Main tubes are made from some pretty thin wall Renoylds 853, which I noticed a bunch of people wanted the Romanceur to be, so here it is. Will it plane I hear you ask? It flexes in such a harmonic resonance, you will think you are surfing Kelly slaters wave pool riding a Mick Mackie flex tail fish, doing the smoothest high lines this side of Derek Hynd at J.Bay, it just planes that good! What am I talking about I hear you ask? Contact Jan Heine to find out, be sure to mention Kelly Slaters wave pool, I mean come on people! How is no one else trying to make a bike ride like a surfboard on an artificial wave?”
See more at Crust Bikes!
Jotunheimen Super Randonnée
Words and photos by Johan Björklund
In late July it was finally warm and dry in Sweden, so we decided to go to cold and wet Norway and ride the Jotunheimen Super Randonnee, 600km with 10 600 meters of elevation. We had been talking about it for the last two years when Daniel, Even and I suddenly decided to ride it without doing any real planning.
A Super Randonnee is a 600km brevet, but with a minimum of 10 000 meters of elevation gain. In return, you get a more generous time limit, from 2017 and forward 60 hours and before that 50 hours plus one extra hour per additional 1000 meters of elevation. They’re run as permanents, so you can ride it when you want with the permission from the local organizer. The regular brevet card for stamping at gas stations is partly replaced by awkward staged photos where the bikes of all riders with an attached plastic sign have to be visible at specific locations.
Editor’s Note: When I lived in Austin, Texas, I wanted to bring my friends who were accustomed to racing a training on a weekend outing of camping and riding dirt roads. Since this time of year in Texas, the parks are often crowded, I decided that Super Bowl Weekend would be ideal, since everyone in Texas would be glued to their televisions and not driving their RVs to campsites around the state. Over the past few years, the ride has continued, further morphing into this year’s Seattle-Austin exchange program… Check out the first Super Bro Weekend photoset in our archives.
Part I: Central Texas Excursion (Code name: Vitamin D)
In the past few years, a tradition has formed in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, where the adventurous souls of Beat The Clock Cycling go out to explore the far edges of the cycling universe. This year’s edition brought with it a special layer of stoke. Through a conversation between delegates from Seattle-based Swift Industries and Austin-based Beat The Clock, an idea began to percolate. The delegates were discussing a future trip up to Washington when the idea of a cycling exchange program was born. For the Northwesterners, the pull of the warm Texas winter was too much to resist, and it was decided that the Cascadia contingent would join forces with the Texans. This idea turned into Super Stoke Weekend, where the visitors could experience firsthand what the Texas Hill Country had to offer. Anticipating a sprightly and somewhat daunting 300 miles of mixed surface riding for the weekend, the Seattle crew began an intense training regimen of weekly randos/taco cleanses.
If you’ve been eyeing up an Ocean Air Cycles Docena rando bag, now is the time. The first pre-order of 2016 is live until Sunday, March 13th. Sewn in Seattle by Swift Industries, the Docena bridges the gap between a tall rando style front bag and a full sized porteur bag, with a ton of well thought out features.
Check out a few more photos below, and get the details at Ocean Air Cycles.
Twin Six has been working on these two framesets for well over a year, with both their team riding them and Kevin Sparrow, a writer here at the Radavist. Alongside the Ti Rando is their new Ti Road disc frameset. Both are now available for pre-order now at Twin Six and pricing starts at $1,700.