Today on the Radavist, we’re featuring a bit of unobtainium. Those of you who might have heard about this brand before know that the first batch of frames already sold out. For those of you unfamiliar with Rangefinder, it’s a collaboration be Adam Sklar of Sklar Bikes, Hubert d’Autremont from Madrean Fabrication, and the painter Jonathan Pucci from Cicli Pucci. While the frames are gone, the process is what’s important and that process was documented with 35mm rangefinder cameras. We’re featuring the Mystic Project book which has over 100 images, slides, project text from Nicholas Haig-Arack, and final bike photos in a really special Reportage, so enjoy.
Each year I like to look at our content in its entirety and reflect back on bikes that took you, the readers of this website, by storm. Back in the mid to late 2000’s it was all fixed gears, then came the gravel bikes, the tourers, the MTBs, and the kooky, eccentric builds you’ve come to enjoy checking out in full-res detail. We’ve got some incredibly talented individuals contributing to this site and their hard work is something I cannot express my gratitude for enough. Going back through the 2020 content here at the Radavist, I am amazed at what we were able to accomplish all things considered.
For this year’s Top Beautiful Bicycles of 2020, we have compiled a great list of ten bikes, ranging from rim brakes to fixed gears, basket bikes, and more. This list is based on web traffic, commentary, and social media chatter, and each of these builds really brought something unique to our content. We omitted bike reviews here but included production bikes. Oh and I hope you like baskets!
Let’s jump right in!
Last year, ENVE opened its doors to the public for an Open House event. Once inside, visitors took a tour of its Ogden, Utah facilities and were greeted by two-dozen custom bikes from builders across the globe. This year the pandemic forced ENVE to pivot a bit, holding a virtual tour and framebuilder showcase they’re calling the Builder Round-Up. We’re pleased to once again host this showcase, with two-part coverage, so read on below for part two of a full breakdown on these Beautiful Bicycles along with a few teasers of new ENVE product…
The seasons are dramatic in Montana. Long dark days of winter stand in stark contrast to the euphoric long and pleasant days of summer. As I near a decade of living in this place that once felt so quiet and remote, I sometimes wonder how life would be different if I lived in a more moderate place. Would I get used to it and only ride on the most perfect days? Or would I get out every day like I do when the weather finally turns in Montana, working myself to a point where snowed-in trails are almost welcome after five months of manic riding? Whatever the answer, it is hard to explain the motivation that comes after a 6-month long winter. The dreaming, planning, and longing for those special Montana Summer days just might be worth the wait.
Announced today, the follow-up to ENVE’s OG mountain fork is their new Boost Mountain fork. This fork has a few clever details, with some welcomed additions that make it a great ally for your bikepacking setup. Read on below for a deep dive using John’s Sklar 29+ desert rat rig as a model…
Something happened down in the Sonoran Desert this winter. Maybe it was Ronnie’s influence but people began riding gravel roads on fixed gear bikes. These bikes aren’t like the street track bikes, popularized by MASH and the like in the mid-2000s, yet they utilize a gravel bike’s geometry, down to the tire clearance, yet they just don’t have gears, or in this case, brakes. This type of machine is great for developing a smooth pedaling cadence and perhaps its the long and low rolling hills of the grasslands found around Patagonia, Arizona. Yesterday we looked at Ronnie’s Madrean and today, we look at Adam Sklar‘s own bike.
This bike is the direct result of many experiences, beginning with my 44 Bikes touring bike and culminating with the Moots Baxter I spent a great deal of time on last year both fully-loaded and set up in what I could call expedition mode. After a lot of back and forth, I realized that I like 29+ bikes for bikepacking and yeah, titanium is really nice for desert riding. These mental musings came to the full realization after spending some time talking with Adam from Sklar Bikes this summer in Bozeman.
This is the tenth layout of the Radavist 2019 Calendar, entitled “Sandstone Sunset” shot with a Canon 5D and a 24-70mm lens in Bryce, Utah.
“Bryce Canyon and the northern region of the Colorado Plateau has been home to the Paiute since 1200 A.D. and before them, the Fremont and Anasazi (a weighted name with indigenous propaganda roots) since 200 A.D. Not much information is out there regarding the creation of Thunder Mountain. Sure the National Forest service made the trail, but did this area have previous navigation lines? What we do know is that indigenous peoples have long called this part of the Colorado Plateau home and it has great spiritual energy for the First Nations even today:
“Before there were humans, the Legend People, To-when-an-ung-wa, lived in that place. There were many of them. They were of many kinds – birds, animals, lizards, and such things, but they looked like people. They were not people. They had the power to make themselves look that way. For some reason the Legend People in that place were bad; they did something that was not good, perhaps a fight, perhaps some stole something….the tale is not clear at this point. Because they were bad, Coyote turned them all into rocks. You can see them in that place now all turned into rocks; some standing in rows, some sitting down, some holding onto others. You can see their faces, with paint on them just as they were before they became rocks. The name of that place is Angka-ku-wass-a-wits (red painted faces). This is the story the people tell.” – NPS”
For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2019 Calendar – October. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)
The mobile background this month is also from Bryce. Click here to download October’s Mobile Wallpaper.
Over the years, I’ve had the honor to throw my leg over many bikes, try them out, write a review, and then send them back. While the bikes return to their companies, the experience stays with me, and in the time I’ve been running this website, I’ve developed my own belief for what the perfect geometry for a hardtail mountain bike is. About a year ago, I began talking with Adam Sklar and Colin Frazer, who were about to launch a new production, US-made frame company called Mystic. We wanted to test the waters with a Radavist edition frame, dubbed the Alluvium. After chatting about numbers and branding, we felt like we were getting closer to releasing this frame. Then the reality of such an undertaking took hold and we killed the project.
If a trail is made by humans, versus game or erosion, does it carry along with it historical remnants of the trail builder’s psyche? Humans use tools to create trails and these tools are guided by feats of strength, both physical and mental. What happens when strength is combined with emotion? Are those emotional remnants carried along the path, forever altering the harmony of its intentional meanderment? Trails are all about control. Direction. Intention. Is there a marking of metaphysical energy within them?
Bozeman, Montana is a magical place to mountain bike in the summertime. Last year’s trip was epic, so this year we wanted to re-visit this quaint little mountain town. While we were there last month, I was able to shoot Adam Sklar’s latest project, the Sweet Spot 29er MTB. While Adam usually takes on custom bikes, the Sweet Spot will be the brand’s first production model. The Sweet Spot is made in Bozeman, Montana, just like all Sklar Bikes. The aim here is to lower wait times, while not sacrificing quality. It also enables Adam to sell a model that is in-line with his philosophy on mountain bikes.
Trail dogs are the best! This morning our friend Mason Griffin went neck and neck with Tulip, the trail running puppers, as we careened down the Leverich trail.
Friday is payday! Spend $10 of your hard earned money for the chance to win a balleur custom bike from Mosaic Cycles, Stinner Frameworks, Argonaut Cycles, Sklar Bikes, and McGovern Cycles! Today is the last day – the fundraiser ends at Noon PST – so head on over to the Builders for Builders fundraiser for more information and check out these dream builds in our Reportage!
Once again, the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship is the beneficiary of Builders for Builders. Bicycle frame builders for bicycle trail builders. The formula is simple and effective! This year at the 2019 Lost and Found gravel race in Portola, California, the Builders for Builders raffle and fundraiser returned, bringing in the five builders offering up the winner of the raffle a decked-out, custom frame of their choice. You have from now until June 7th to donate $10. This donation enters you to win a custom bicycle from your pick of builder: Mosaic Cycles, Stinner Frameworks, Argonaut Cycles, Sklar Bikes, and McGovern Cycles.
Wow. Where do I even begin here. This is the first post to come from a four-day ride from Tropic to Green River, Utah, traversing the Grand Staircase, down to Lake Powell and through the plateau leading out to Barrier Canyon, now known as Horseshoe Canyon with Machines for Freedom. The route was mixed terrain, ranging from smooth bitumen to sand and hardpack. Each rider on this journey had various setups, which we’ll go over later, but right now I wanted to showcase Alter Cycles co-owner Mason Griffith’s Pucci Cicli painted Sklar all road.
One of our favorite podcasts, We Got to Hang out, just posted their discussion with Adam from Sklar Bikes. It’s worth the listen, so give it a spin!
Riding bikes, soaking in the Northern Rocky Mountains, and documenting everything in between. Expect lots of fun to come!