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The Knolly Fugitive 29er: How a Small, Rider-Focused Brand Stays Ahead of the Game

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The Knolly Fugitive 29er: How a Small, Rider-Focused Brand Stays Ahead of the Game

Modern Modular Boingers, or How a Small, Rider-Focused Brand Stays Ahead of the Game.

Can we all agree that Mountain Bikes are just so damn good these days? Anyone who started out dropping chains on a triple ring rigid MTB back in the day will appreciate how lucky we all are now: brakes stop fast (whether or not your wheels are true); droppers drop; giant cogs for chilling; tubeless tires! Those parts all have to hang on something though, and here’s where we’ve seen leaps and bounds in design in the last five years toward lower, slacker, and longer bikes with short stems, big wheels, and unique suspension designs.

Finally… Easton EA90 Aluminum Cranks – Morgan Taylor

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Finally… Easton EA90 Aluminum Cranks – Morgan Taylor

Finally… Easton EA90 Aluminum Cranks – Morgan Taylor
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

Finally. The day we’ve all been hoping and/or waiting for. You can now buy aluminum cranks from Easton.

This was one of the big pieces of feedback that came from my review of Easton’s super-compact double rings on my EC90 SL cranks last year: people loved the idea of the 46/30 ring combo, the adaptability of the Cinch system, and the option to add a spindle-based power meter – but the price of the carbon crank arms was somewhat prohibitive.

So here’s the deal. EA90 crank arms will run you a cool $120 USD, in comparison to $400 for the EC90 SL arms. You still have to buy a bottom bracket for $50 and choose a chainring setup ($80 for a single ring or $150 for a double). But the bottom line is, you can get into a complete EA90 crank for about half the price of the EC90 SL. Cool.

All Roads with Teravail’s New Rutland Gravel Tires – Morgan Taylor

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All Roads with Teravail’s New Rutland Gravel Tires – Morgan Taylor

Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

Teravail’s Rutland tire is the newest of their gravel-oriented tires, available in 38mm and 42mm sizes for 700c wheels, and 47mm for the 650b wheels – which is what I had the chance to try out for this review.

The Rutland is a relatively chunky dirt road tire, with tightly-spaced knobs in the center section, and more widely spaced intermediate and side knobs. It resembles a scaled-down version of a semi-slick mountain bike tire, and has the manners you’d expect of such a tire: relatively quick on any surface, but with enough bite to give confidence when the going gets loose.

Lilac Dreams and the Velo Orange Polyvalent – Morgan Taylor

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Lilac Dreams and the Velo Orange Polyvalent – Morgan Taylor

Lilac Dreams and the Velo Orange Polyvalent
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

Looks can be deceiving. The Velo Orange Polyvalent looks like a classic randonneuring bike, particularly when dressed in an all-silver build kit. But, after many miles and various tire and bag changes, a different story emerged for me. While its handling characteristics are markedly different, the Polyvalent is a peer – and interesting alternative – to the popular all-steel drop bar adventure bikes out there like the Soma Wolverine, Surly Straggler, Kona Rove, and so on.

Now in its fourth iteration, the Polyvalent for the first time gets disc brakes, and that’s exactly what prompted me to reach out to Velo Orange about doing a review. Over the past few years I’ve been exploring how the widely varying combinations of steel frames and wide tires manifest in ride quality. Yes, I’m still on the hunt for the elusive smooth-riding production disc brake bike. Could the Polyvalent Mk4 be the one?

Why I Love the Porcelain Rocket Meanwhile Basket Bag – Morgan Taylor

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Why I Love the Porcelain Rocket Meanwhile Basket Bag – Morgan Taylor

Why I Love the Porcelain Rocket Meanwhile Basket Bag
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

Porcelain Rocket’s Meanwhile basket bag has a lot going for it. It’s lighter than their previous basket bag, fully waterproof rather than mostly water resistant, has tote handles for off-the-bike use, and costs less to produce. Hello, progress! I ordered one for my Wald 137 basket as soon as they became available. Yet, when I started using the bag, I wasn’t immediately taken with it.

Beyond Mountain Bikes with the Rocky Mountain Solo 70 – Morgan Taylor

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Beyond Mountain Bikes with the Rocky Mountain Solo 70 – Morgan Taylor

Beyond Mountain Bikes with the Rocky Mountain Solo 70 – Morgan Taylor
Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

When you think Rocky Mountain, you think mountain bikes. That’s where their focus lies and for that reason you may not even be aware that they’ve made a handful of drop bar bikes over their nearly 40 years in business.

The Solo has been in the BC-based brand’s lineup a long time – as both a cyclocross and a road race platform – but this most recent iteration skews more toward fat tires, cargo carrying, and, well, slotting a bike into the current hot niche in the drop bar world. It’s a step that, in my opinion, aligns this bike more with the others in the current Rocky Mountain lineup.

Review: OneUp Components’ EDC Tool System Fits in a Pump

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Review: OneUp Components’ EDC Tool System Fits in a Pump

Photos and words by Morgan Taylor

OneUp Components‘ EDC Tool System made waves when it launched due to its sleek installation inside mountain bike steerer tubes. Pull your star nut out, tap your fork steerer, install OneUp’s hollow top cap, and the tool system slides in from the top: always there, always ready. If you only ride one bike.

It’s a cool idea, but I switch between a number of bikes, most of which have steel forks, and the EDC system wasn’t going to work with any of those. And I always need a pump anyway. Well, it just so happens OneUp also makes a pump that the tool fits into. So we’re looking at both of those here. 

Throwing Touring Tradition out the Window with the Kona Sutra LTD – Morgan Taylor

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Throwing Touring Tradition out the Window with the Kona Sutra LTD – Morgan Taylor

The touring world is changing, no doubt about it. Steel frames are still the norm for obvious reasons, but disc brakes are now widely accepted and people are venturing far and wide with component choices that only a few years ago may have been considered imprudent.

One group doing this is the young and adventurous among us, arguably oblivious to their equipment’s lack of serviceability. Under these pioneers, bikes go into the wild with sometimes ugly, yet highly functional home-hacked solutions that get the job done. They are out there for the pure experience, pushing the boundaries of equipment that only a few years ago was considered cutting-edge technology.

Another side of this coin is people at bike companies, with access to the newest stuff before it hits the market, building custom bikes to their own specs to push the limits. It’s not uncommon to see mountain drivetrains on road frames, tires that are too big to pass safety standards, and so on. These bikes, however, rarely make it past the engineers’ and product managers’ personal collections.

When product managers spec bikes, they are held to account by bean counters making sure bikes will sell through – and that means sticking to tradition and not taking chances. I love it when companies have the guts to spec a bike in a way that’s pointed at radness rather than tradition. When I see a production bike deviate from industry norms in this way, my eyes light up; the Kona Sutra LTD is one of those bikes.

Do I Have to Send it Back Already? the Elephant Bikes National Forest Explorer with Gevenalle Shifting

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Do I Have to Send it Back Already? the Elephant Bikes National Forest Explorer with Gevenalle Shifting

While we took a look at my own touring bike yesterday, I will say this with confidence: had I ridden the Elephant Bikes National Forest Explorer prior to ordering my Woodville two years ago, I would have drastically changed my views on 650b, disc brakes and trail.

The National Forest Explorer is a low-trail, 650b bike with disc brakes and a decent, not copious amount of tire clearance. These NFE’s are made by Glen Copus in Spokane, WA and pack quite the wallop of versatility in a beautiful, forest service green package. They’re made from lightweight steel for just the amount of liveliness.