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Longer, Higher, Calmer: Kyle’s Longterm Review of the Myth Zodiac Steel Full Suspension 29er

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Longer, Higher, Calmer: Kyle’s Longterm Review of the Myth Zodiac Steel Full Suspension 29er

We were catching our breath after the short climb from Warner Lake up to the top of Hazzard County. Burro Pass was a riot–we yipped and hollered the entire way down. After a quick sip of our drinks and admiring the view, we got back on the pedals and began the broad, fast winding trail down the open scrub of this famous section of The Whole Enchilada. Popping and jibbing, sliding, and tucking, we were fully in ‘the flow’…until…THWACK! I slowed down and found a spot to pull off and investigate the source of the racket. My wheels were true, the tires firm, fork and shock yet sprung, when the problem revealed itself: I had impacted a loose chunk of sandstone that penetrated the downtube on my carbon frame…

Trail Time with Breadwinner’s Bad Otis: A 160mm Travel 27.5 Shred Sled

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Trail Time with Breadwinner’s Bad Otis: A 160mm Travel 27.5 Shred Sled

Earlier this year, Locke Hassett had the pleasure of spending a few months riding Breadwinner Cycle’s Bad Otis. This modern 27.5-inch wheel hardtail – with snappy short 415mm chainstays, 66° headtube angle, and 160mm of front suspension – presented him with some interesting considerations about mountain bikes, the sport as a whole, and what it means to him. Continue reading below for Locke’s in-depth review of the Bad Otis, along with some other relevant revelations…

Flex Appeal: A Long-term Review of the Passchier Gump Bamboo Handlebar

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Flex Appeal: A Long-term Review of the Passchier Gump Bamboo Handlebar

We’re living in the golden age of handlebar comfort. Never before have we seen such diversity, originality, or inclusivity for riders as right now. For a lucky few, long days behind an ultra-wide curly bar is analogous to lounging in their favourite La-Z-Boy. For others, a backswept alt-bar with more hand positions than the kama sutra offers the perfect perch to grind out those backcountry miles. But for so many riders, comfort on a long ride is still a thing of legend and fairy tales. With the laminated bamboo Gump handlebars, however, Passchier of New Zealand claims to have found the key to both comfort and performance.

Continue reading for our thoughts on how the Gump handlebar holds up after many months of trail riding and touring…

When Mountain Bike Companies Do Gravel Bikes Right: A Revel Rover Review

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When Mountain Bike Companies Do Gravel Bikes Right: A Revel Rover Review

These days, most mountain bike companies have some sort of drop-bar bike in their lineup and, here at The Radavist, we’ve collectively had the opportunity to ride a lot of them. I feel like the impetus for mountain bike brands to develop a drop-bar bike is in direct response to the increasing customer demand for gravel bikes.

When I first saw the prototype Rover, I was intrigued because Revel doesn’t put out shit bikes; but, not being much of a carbon fiber guy, I wasn’t immediately drawn to it. Large-diameter tubing profiles and beefy forks usually imply a chattery, harsh, and stiff ride quality. After riding the Rover on my local digs, though, I was pleasantly surprised. While it’s not without its flaws, the Rover ended up proving my own stereotypes of carbon wrong. Let’s take a closer look below…

A Year with the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo

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A Year with the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo

Finding the right tent for a bike trip is always tricky. It’s all about striking the balance of size, weight, livability, storm-worthiness, and durability that fits you and your plans.  

Before heading to Turkey, I knew I wanted to try to eliminate full-sized panniers from my setup, which meant leaving a few things back home and downsizing a few other pieces of gear to make that possible. The tent was one of the first items I looked at since my Tarptent Stratospire 2, while super bomber and massively spacious, is not the smallest option when packed, and probably a little overkill for this trip.

That’s when I landed on the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo. On paper, at $250 (minus stakes, pole, and seam sealer) and sub-1kg all-in, the Lunar Solo ticked an awful lot of boxes in terms of size, space, and cost, so I gave it a shot.  After a year and countless nights in the mountains of Turkey, the Andean Puna, and the forests of Michigan, I’ve come away impressed.

The Radavist’s Top 10 Articles of 2021

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The Radavist’s Top 10 Articles of 2021

This year’s retrospective includes a look at our highest traffic pieces. These articles really blew up, bringing in a lot of comments, backlinks, social media posts, and traffic. While it should come as no surprise, most are bike reviews but a few of these galleries are seminal bits of Reportage. In this list are nine Reportage articles and one Radar, so let’s jump right in!

Specialized Aethos Review: Shining a Light on Road Riding w/the Aethos Disc Road Bike

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Specialized Aethos Review: Shining a Light on Road Riding w/the Aethos Disc Road Bike

Road bikes. We don’t really talk about them so much over here at the Radavist – anymore. There was a time however where we’d post galleries from road adventures and still to this day, one of my favorite rides I did in California was on all pavement. Still, there have been a few defining reasons for the wane of the road bike’s popularity and it wasn’t until I accepted the offer to review the lightweight Aethos road bike that I began to mull over these reasons. A 16lb road bike is both terrifying (am I going to break this thing?!) and a joy (WOW! this is incredible) to ride but what does the state of road cycling look for me, personally, and how did this review shape my perspective of drop bars after a long hiatus from enjoying the pleasures of road riding? Read on to find out.

The Esker Japhy Review: One Scrappy 29er Hardtail

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The Esker Japhy Review: One Scrappy 29er Hardtail

When one thinks of Esker Cycles, the Hayduke 27.5+ hardtail (reviewed here by Locke Hassett) quickly comes to mind – and in many ways, the Hayduke served as the launchpad for the design of Esker’s latest model, the Japhy.

While the Japhy looks like considerably “less bike” than the 140mm Hayduke with its 120mm fork and 29″ wheels, don’t count it out yet: the Japhy is scrappy and is willing to claw its way through just about anything!

Over the past few months I’ve been riding the Japhy all over our local trails here in Santa Fe and while at first I was hesitant about taking it out on some of the more technical terrain, I found it to be an exceptional climber and a surprisingly fun descender.

So, let’s get into it!

Radar

Critical Interstices: “The Wheel is a Flat Circle” – A Roval + Ultradynamico Review

We don’t usually do video here at the Radavist, usually reserving it for special projects like this one. It’s different and thus, pretty special, so enjoy…

Recorded at the Live Oaks Community Center in January 2020 this presentation was scheduled thanks to the centers call for local participant submissions. Products featured in this presentation include the Roval Terra CLX Evo 650B, The Ultradynamico Rose Race 650B, and the Bistro Graphic Croc. If you like this review and would like to see more please contact @newantarctica to discuss whether or not a in-depth product review is right for you.

Monkey Wrenching with the Esker Cycles Hayduke Hardtail in Arizona

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Monkey Wrenching with the Esker Cycles Hayduke Hardtail in Arizona

Back in 2016, at the end of the #dflthedivide trip, there was a great little 40th-anniversary party at FreeCycles in Missoula to celebrate Adventure Cycling turning 40. At this party, there was a real nifty bikepacking rig from a small company that was right at home in a nonprofit shop. The Advocate Cycles Hayduke. Now, Advocate has transformed into Esker Cycles, and though the road and touring frames are no more, Hayduke Lives! (on). These are my impressions of this nifty hardtail.

The Gravel Antichrist: the Evil Chamois Hagar Gravel Bike Parties Hard

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The Gravel Antichrist: the Evil Chamois Hagar Gravel Bike Parties Hard

Now, I’m not a religious person, but I did grow up in a Christian church, so I am well aware of the characters, entities, and symbolism that exists in the Bible. Using the word “Antichrist” in the title of this review will ruffle some feathers, but hear me out. If we look at the phrase metaphorically, the Antichrist is opposition to the status quo, said to appear before the end of the world. Now, reading the reactions to this bike online, many would have you believe it is the harbinger of doom for the gravel world and ya know what? If that is the case, burn it down because the Chamois Hagar is exactly what the gravel world needs…

Ponied Up with Salsa Cycles’ Rustler 150mm Trail MTB

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Ponied Up with Salsa Cycles’ Rustler 150mm Trail MTB

Alrighty, y’all today we are talking about the Rustler from Salsa Cycles, their new “ultimate trail bike” with 130mm of split pivot rear travel and a 150mm Rock Shox Pike taking care of business out front. Now that’s about enough for numbers for awhile, I ain’t no nerd talking about leverage ratios at an Interbike booth ok? We’re gonna talk about feelings today; how was your ride yesterday? How are you doing today, like actually? Go ahead, tell me what’s good below.

Long Term Review with the Salsa Warroad 650b All Road

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Long Term Review with the Salsa Warroad 650b All Road

When the Salsa Warroad launched, it was marketed as an endurance road bike, to be ridden all day on various surfaces, both paved and dirt, yet I wouldn’t characterize it wholly as a gravel bike. Not by today’s standards. These days, bikes like the Ibis Hakka, the Santa Cruz Stigmata, and the Trek Checkpoint – just naming bikes we’ve reviewed here in the past year or so – fly that banner with their massive tire clearances. Yet, the Warroad has carved a niche in this ever-expanding marketplace where companies are making moves to make you use your wallet. Well, I’d like to think that we offer no-bull reviews here on the Radavist and after spending a considerable amount of time on this bike, I’m ready to do just that…

5.10 Kestrel Boa Pro Review

Radar

5.10 Kestrel Boa Pro Review

A few years ago, I rode the Kokopelli trail with some friends. I decided to take a single pair of shoes to lighten my load on my Knolly Endorphin (which is decidedly not a “bikepacking” bike). That pair of shoes was the 5.10 Kestrel Boa. I spent a few years riding in those shoes. They were stiff, durable, stylish, and sleek. More recently, I’ve given up the power of clipless shoes for the comfort and nuanced control of flat pedals. After a long term review of a carbon hardtail with very large, very sharp flat pedals (the Kona Wah Wah 2), I took a long, hard look at my shins. They are covered in scars and the tops of my socks stained with blood. It was time to see how the skills that flat pedals have shown me translated to clipless riding. I dug around my parts bin and found my old pedals, and then began to look for my old Kestrels. They were gone. I racked my brain and realized I had left them in Mammoth last summer. A week later, I got an email asking me to review the new version of the shoe. I was stoked, to say the least.

Kona Big Honzo CR/DL Carbon: Good Hardtails will Never Die – Locke Hassett

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Kona Big Honzo CR/DL Carbon: Good Hardtails will Never Die – Locke Hassett

Kona Big Honzo CR/DL Carbon: Good Hardtails will Never Die
Words and bike photos by Locke Hassett, action photos by Spencer Harding

Blurred lines seem to be all the rage in the bike industry these days, and with every season, a new category seems to evolve. Gravel, Adventure, Downcountry, trail…yadda yadda. While this constant categorization is overwhelming, it also means that bikes are simply getting better. Then over here in the corner, sipping scotch while the kids play beer pong and try to “find themselves”, is the humble hardtail MTB. This has been elaborated on to a great extent on this site, so I’ll spare you the poetic wax. Sure, a few folks out there are pushing the boundaries of what to expect with hardtail geometry, with huge forks and headtube angles more suited for plowing a field than climbing a fire road, but for the most part, we can look to the hardtail for consistency.

So, what happens when a company known for rowdiness and generally not caring too much about the status quo takes their tried and true hardtail model and releases a version with boxes checked for the modern consumer (read: big tires and carbon?) That’s what I wanted to find out by spending a few months with the Big Honzo CR/DL.

Two Years In… Packing for a Long-Term Bike Tour

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Two Years In… Packing for a Long-Term Bike Tour

Two Years In… Packing for a Long-Term Bike Tour
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson

Packing for a trip that spans multiple years can be a bit daunting.  Especially when you’ll be passing through just about every zone of climate you can possibly imagine, from the humidity and heat of the Peruvian jungle to the bitter cold of winter in the mountains of Patagonia…  Dragging the bike up rugged 16,000ft hiking trails, across remote dirt roads, or even the occasional stretch of asphalt. Walking the fine line between having an excessive amount of stuff or too little is a tricky balance.

My setup has been gradually refined since I first started this trip two years ago, and while it’s far from a “minimal” or “ultralight” setup you might take on a trip that spans a few weeks or less, I think I’ve struck a reasonable balance between having everything I need to live and work on the bike in the long-term, while still being a rig that is fun to ride no matter how rough the terrain gets.

As time has gone on, I’ve found that the overall weight doesn’t really matter as much as how everything is packed.  It’s when bags are bouncing around loosely or swaying back and forth where the size and weight really becomes a burden.  When everything is tight and dialed, it’s just another bike.  “How much does it weigh?” is a question I’ve been asked hundreds of times along the way and to be honest, I don’t have a clue.  Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

There are some things on here that would be overkill for many people (large camera, computer, etc), and some things that would be a bit too minimal for others (clothes, sleeping bag, etc), but this is what works for me at the moment…

A Bike That Really Stands Out: the Santa Cruz Chameleon 27.5+ Hardtail

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A Bike That Really Stands Out: the Santa Cruz Chameleon 27.5+ Hardtail

Chameleons don’t actually change color to “blend” into their surroundings. Contrarily, their colors are used to mark territory, attract mates and display moods, often resulting in these unique lizards “standing out” more than blending in. The Santa Cruz Bicycles Chameleon adheres to this logic, standing out from many of the other production hardtails on the market but before we get ahead of ourselves here, and lizard anecdotes aside, when I first saw the newly-designed Chameleon last year it checked a lot of boxes and left me with a few questions.

Sure, Santa Cruz is saying the chameleon is a master of adaptation, which metaphorically makes a lot of sense. This bike can really do a lot, but isn’t that the nature of hardtails in general? For me, my thoughts on the Chameleon stem from its legacy, its updated design and most importantly, to a lot of people, the cost.

Six Months of Stoke on the Retrotec 27.5+ Funduro

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Six Months of Stoke on the Retrotec 27.5+ Funduro

Say what you will about hardtail mountain bikes. Die hard park rats think they’re antiquated, beginners often times think they’re hard to ride and the most common complaint I hear is that it’s hard getting bucked all over the place without rear suspension. Granted a lot of those common conceptions can have some truth to them, yet with the advent and availability of new rear spacing, dropper posts that work really well and bigger tire sizes, a hardtail can be pretty damn capable and even a lot of fun. For the past six months, I’ve been riding what I consider a new benchmark in hardtail mountain bike design: a 140mm travel, slack and low, 27.5+ hardtail, complete with a dropper post and a 1x drivetrain. This one in particular was built by hand in Napa by Curtis Inglis of Retrotec. So what does the creator of this beast call it? Well, what else? It’s a Funduro.