The last time we reported from the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival was in November of 2021 and conditions were perfect with sunny skies, warm days, and cool nights. Bike demos and clinics were abundant; everything went according to plan. This year, however, with the festival back on its spring schedule during the first week of March, the weather wasn’t so cooperative. After a sizeable snowstorm caused the first day of the festival to be canceled, Josh and Spencer ventured up to the land of red dirt and vortexes to see how the subsequent days would be salvaged. Thankfully the event organizers, vendors, and festival-goers made the best of things and there were still plenty of bikes and products to show off along with abundant festivities to partake in. Let’s take a look below at what we found!
Unlike the bike expos and builder showcases we are fortunate to document on this site, such as the recent Philly Bike Expo and Bespoked UK, the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival is not typically the event to attend if you’re interested in encountering custom frames or ogling otherwise unique bike builds on display. Instead, group rides, production bike demos, and other community-building shenanigans are the focus.
This year, however, there was much ogling to be done. Thomson featured two bikes from builders they often partner with – Oddity Cycles and MONē Bikes – in addition to a couple of their own Hooches available to demo; Why Cycles had a booth connected their sister brand, Revel Bikes, offering demos in addition to showcasing two head-turning builds; Celilo Cycles had a collection of their handmade wooden bikes on display; and Atherton Cycles sent a custom 3D printed enduro bike with a friend from the UK to show off at the event.
Continue reading below for an in-depth look at these marvelous machines and be sure to scroll all the way through to the last one — it’s a trip!
The mountain biking in Sedona is exceptional. Full stop. Seemingly endless trail systems spiderweb right out from the center of town, winding in, out, and around the uniquely hematite-hued geologic formations at the base of the massive Mogollon Rim escarpment. Like other mountain bike destinations along the Colorado Plateau, Sedona trails take advantage of slickrock sandstone slabs and porous dirt that becomes tacky with precipitation long before it gets muddy.
You might remember John’s musings on Sedona’s legendary Red Velcro. Sedona also benefits from ideal riding temperatures in late fall and early spring, when many other locales remain unridable during shoulder seasons. It’s close to Phoenix and Flagstaff (which makes travel fairly easy), features a picturesque perennially flowing stream, and some stellar dining options. If you can get past the limits on dispersed camping and ever-increasing cost of resort town lodging, Sedona is tough to beat.
With cooler temps approaching, I really wanted to circle back around to our late spring trip to Sedona. Colin and I bugged out for a bit, camping just outside of town, riding bikes, 4-wheeling, and enjoying the local cuisine. While this isn’t necessarily a “Guide to Sedona” nor will it dive into history, both colonial and indigenous, it is meant to spark a desire to ride in this veritable mountain bike theme park.
Chris Cocalis, the owner of Pivot Cycles, knows a thing or two about bicycle design and the popularity of his bikes prove just that. I’ve reviewed a lot of full-suspension bikes over the years and am accustomed to people’s reactions at the trailhead or on the trails but no bike received such trail accolades as the Mach 6 Carbon. Before I had even gotten to ride the bike, it seemed like everyone had something to say about it. Which, as someone trying to approach reviews without any bias, can be a bit much to handle. Yet, here we are, with a month on the bike and a month since I’ve ridden the bike, ready to talk about the Mach 6. Does it live up to the lore? Read on below.
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.
This is the sixth layout of the Radavist 2019 Calendar, entitled “Red Velcro” shot with a Canon 5D and a 24-70mmm lens in Sedona, Arizona.
“Rain in the desert can be an exhilarating experience, teetering on terror and joy depending on your locale. Water, for that matter, is responsible for racking up deaths in the Four Corners, be it from dehydration, or flash floods. This yin and yang of water is something desert creatures learn to live symbiotically with. As cyclists, we reap the benefits of drained soil, striking when the tackiness is at its peak. Red velcro.”
For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2019 Calendar – June. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)
The mobile background this month is a portrait version of this shot. Click here to download June’s Mobile Wallpaper.
Sedona. One of the Four Corner’s MTB meccas. South of Flagstaff and North of Phoenix, it’s nestled in a red rock enclave, a bastion against the sprawl of both western cities, firmly planted in its history and individuality. While there is a greater story to be told of the area, which we’ll get to later, I found myself here yet again for a press camp. Adult daycare for journalists, press camps, when embraced properly are a great way to see the local trails, sample the local cuisine, and gain a better understanding of the locale.
When REI pinged me, asking if I’d be interested in attending the camp for their new DRT 3.2 full suspension MTB, I couldn’t resist. Turns out, I was already planning on being in Flagstaff the weekend prior, so it worked out perfectly.
Buzzworms, as Ed Abbey called them, get a bad rap, yet these beautiful to some, horrific to others, cold-blooded creatures are essential blocks in the biologic pyramids, especially in the desert. With warmer weather upon us, don’t be surprised to see any number of exothermic animals basking in sunlight, sometimes right in the middle of the trail. Many times, however, these snakes will be coiled up in the shade right next to the trail. In either case, give these ancient animals space and allow them to move off the trail. Don’t molest them, and don’t tread on them. They’re crucial elements in the ecosystem and don’t view you as food. In fact, they just want to be left alone. Snakes won’t chase you, they won’t bite you, unless they feel threatened. If you’re curious, maintain a safe distance and watch them from 10′ away. Snakes like this can strike up to half the length of their bodies. Don’t underestimate the speed of their strike!
While in Sedona, we came across this stunning Blacktail Rattlesnake – Crotalus molossus – while riding Hiline. It was one of my favorite moments on the trip. Expect more Reportage from Sedona later this week!
We’re taking Memorial Day off to ride our bikes but we’ll be back tomorrow with some fresh content.
I just finished up a short press camp in Sedona, where we rode REI’s new DRT 3.2 full suspension MTB for two days on some of the areas most iconic trails. The DRT 3.2 has a price tag of $2400. So… how well does this bike ride? Stay tuned next week for a full review!
The Four Corners of the Western United States got engulfed in one last winter storm system last weekend, which has resulted in some magnificent dirt here in Sedona.
Would I ride it? Probably not!
The Shredona MTB Festival
Photos and words by Locke Hassett
A few weeks back, some of the biggest names in the dirt cycling industry gathered for a long weekend in Sedona, AZ, one of the world’s top destinations for off-road radness for the Sedona MTB Festival. This gathering truly felt like a festival as opposed to an expo or trade show. Live music, food carts, beer gardens and group rides took up much more time than showing off their product. A few familiar faces and plenty of absolutely gorgeous bikes abound. Group rides with local framebuilder Richard of Moustache Cycles, Sam Schultz (another Montana boy) with Rocky Mountain and Kitsbow, a huge group of lady shredders, and a skills clinic taught by Krista Rust made for plenty of fantastic riding and conversation over everything from flow trail to sandstone rock gardens and creek beds.
If you are looking for a trade show that helps build stoke in the MTB community, the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival should be at the top of your list. Ride the latest offerings of MTB tech on world class trails, eat the best damn breakfast burritos in AZ (Thanks 3s in the Trees!), meet local makers (Rogue Panda, Guerrilla Gravity, Moustache Cycles), and soak in spring in the desert. What’s not to love?
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I don’t even know what to say here…
The desert is a destination for many, who seek its healing potential and spiritual homeostasis. For us, we just wanted the red sands of Sedona, Arizona to cleanse us from Las Vegas and Interbike.
When I mentioned to Ty that Sean and I were driving back to Texas after the tradeshow, he was stoked for us. Then, when I said “yeah, I’m thinking we’ll head through Sedona for a quick ride”, he immediately wanted in.
That’s why I love Ty so much. Hell, that’s why I love my friends so much. They’re willing to go 7 hours out of their way to ride bikes for 3 hours. Ok, ride bikes for 2 hours and shoot photos, fuck off, play with snakes for an hour.
We rolled into town and couldn’t find an open camp site, so we set up at a hotel next to the Bike and Bean, a local MTB establishment at the trailhead. The guys were super friendly and then, out of the blue, a local named Duff asked us if he could join us. Uh, sure!
It turned out to be a short, but sweet trek through the desert and I’ll definitely be returning!