The Trail Pistol is Guerrilla Gravity’s short travel trail bike with 29″ wheels and 120mm of travel. It’s the type of bike that seemed to fit my riding style, and I was super excited for the opportunity to spend some time with one for a long-term review. Since the factory where these bikes are made is just a short drive from where I currently live, it made sense to combine the review with a more in-depth look at the brand, their manufacturing process, and the modularity of their bikes. The original article was close to 6500 words, so we decided to split it up a bit for everyone’s sake. Next week, we’ll share a slightly shorter article that takes a look at the modular frame platform, new paint schemes for the brand, and the next-gen Gnarvana, which is GG’s long travel enduro bike. Let’s get to it!
I’ve always wondered if there was something special about the water in Fort Collins that makes it a hotbed for legendary bicycle frame builders. Is the Poudre River’s clean mountain water that so famously supplies New Belgium, Odell, and numerous other local breweries in some way responsible for the wildly beautiful frames made by the likes of Black Sheep Bikes, Oddity Cycles, or Moonmen Bikes? Well, the answer is probably not, but Fort Collins’ water is delicious and it’s a great place to build bikes. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting with the Choice City’s newest framebuilder, Will Bender, of Bender Bicycle Company. Will has been making frames part-time for a handful of years now, with some truly beautiful machines under his belt, and he just recently moved into a new shop space to start building full-time.
Below, let’s take a look at Bender Bicycle Company as well as some of Will’s recent customer builds!
Back in June of 2021, I found myself way up north in Duluth, Minnesota. I was there with my teammate Kait Boyle for a Backcountry Bike Challenge fundraising event for the local advocacy organization, Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS) and to ride the Duluth Traverse. COGGS had been working on the 45-mile-long Duluth Traverse for years, building and linking together trails on the highlands above town, and we wanted to experience what they had created. But this was also a trip back to where I spent quite a bit of time as a kid that grew up just a couple hours to the south near Minneapolis, albeit in a decade when there were far, far fewer trails in the area. I’ll save the story of just how impressive the Duluth Traverse is for another time since you’re probably here to read about Wildflower Bicycles’ beautiful bikes rather than beautiful trails. But first, let me share why I was especially excited to visit the shop of a new-to-the-Midwest frame builder and the only one in the Duluth-Superior area.
You might recall seeing the half-frame bag from Vernacular Sewn Storage (VRNCLR) on the prototype Super Something gravel bike Adam Sklar had at Ruta del Jefe. VRNCLR is the Oakland, CA – based bag company of maker Tom Gilpatrick. Tom has been working in sew business for some time now, currently focusing on bags for bikes and also Go Fast Campers (GFC). Earlier this summer I was in the Bay Area with filmmaker Justin Balog and we had a slice of time before heading to the airport to catch flights home, so stopped in to visit with Tom and check out his space in the eclectic O2 Artisans Aggregate.
I met Alex when he was probably 15 or 16 years old in our local Santa Barbara bike shop Velo Pro. I had recognized him from punk/hardcore shows and I vividly remember him wearing a Minderaser shirt. He came up and was like “what’s up dude I’ve seen you at shows I had no idea you were into bikes!” After that he and I became close friends and over the past 10 or so years I’ve watched him and his wife Erin get married, open two businesses, and have a child. These two not only have, but live, that DIY lifestyle they are no bullshit about anything and it’s been awesome to watch. As soon as they told me they were opening a bike shop next to their barbershop I knew it would be something special. They’ve curated a style unlike anything seen in Santa Barbara and have built an entire community around the bike shop. It doesn’t matter if you’re a gravel grinder, BMX wheelie kid, or a commuter you will be welcomed into the Boom Boom family. If you’ve never been to Boom Boom Bike Room just imagine the video of Bad Brains playing CBGB in 1982 as the intro to The Big Take Over is starting and then the entire room explodes. That’s the energy that Boom Boom is putting out in our community!
When I started working here at The Radavist full-time last fall, one of my first projects was collaborating with Jarrod Bunk on the builder galleries he photographed at the 2021 Philly Bike Expo. It was a great project for me at the time, as I got to interview many of the builders about the bikes they showcased and, more generally, their individual framebuilding ethos. Designing and building bicycle frames is, for the most part, an individualistic pursuit and I always enjoy learning about how builders’ personal backgrounds and experiences become physically manifested in their craft. As alphabetical order would have it, the file folder labeled Amigo Bug Out was the first I opened and I instantly fell in love with the bike I found inside. The Bug Out had everything I’d been looking for: shreddy geo, setup versatility, innovative design solutions, beefy tire clearance, and badass artwork from my buddy Casey Robertson.
After a few emails and brief phone calls with builder Zach Small of Nashville-based Amigo Frameworks, I was more than stoked to put my name on the list for the initial run of Bug Outs. Zach and I ended up talking even more over the following weeks and when we determined the bike would be built and painted in time for the annual Gosh Darn Gravel Gathering, we hatched a ridiculous plan for me to travel to Nashville, build up my bike in his shop, and then ride GDGG together. Ergo, from the coverage we’ve already shared, I had a great and productive time with Zach and I not only returned home with a hellova fresh bike, but also a new friend… or I should say amigo.
Continue reading below for an immersive look inside Amigo Frameworks and to hear more about Zach’s path toward becoming a full-time framebuilder!
Editing the photos from my visit to Baum Cycles this February, an eerie feeling came over me. I knew it’d been some time since I last took photos with the ‘big camera’ at 7 Seabright St, North Shore. For some reason, it felt like a precise period of time. My suspicion was confirmed. 10 years.
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!