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!
What else can I say? Path Less Pedaled takes a look at what makes Sklar Bikes tick. Also, I’m stoked to be in Bozeman this week!
This year, I’ll be covering the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship’s Triple Crown events: Lost & Found, Grinduro, and the Downieville Classic. My intent with this is to grow the Stweardship’s presence, help them raise money and spread the stoke for the Lost Sierra. Jumping on board with this project is just the icing on the dirt cake!
“Custom frame makers Sklar, Stinner, Mosaic, and McGovern have teamed up with world-class component makers ENVE, Chris King, SRAM and WTB to create four unique and beautiful custom bicycles that will be raffled after the gun goes off for the Lost and Found Gravel race. All proceeds will benefit the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship.
Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship is a non-profit organization that builds and maintains multi-use trails in the Sierra Buttes, Tahoe, Plumas and Lassen national forests. Their mission is building sustainable recreation-based communities through stewardship, job creation and hosting world-class events. SBTS has donated an estimated 72,000 hours of volunteer labor, maintained over 800 miles of shared use trails and created nearly 80 miles of new trails since 2003.
The bikes will be exhibited at the Lost and Found gravel race and the raffle will be live, with $20 tickets, from June 2nd through June 15th, hosted by The Pro’s Closet. All donations and raffle ticket purchases are tax deductible.”
Check out more details on these bikes and how to buy a raffle ticket below!
While we tend to see a lot of experimentation with MTB geometry, specifically hardtails here on the Radavist, I feel like the good ol’ all-road and ‘cross bike geometries, for the most part, stay mostly the same. Sure, head tubes might steepen or slacken a half or so degree, and bottom bracket height can vary, along with seat tube angle, but for the most part, these bikes all look similar in profile. Is it a by-product of design perfection or longevity? Who knows but the bottom line is; I rarely see a road bike geometry that piques my interest and begs the question; I wonder how THAT rides.
Then Adam Sklar sent me an email, asking if I had any desire to review one of his “team” MX all road bikes. I glanced at the geometry, saw the top tube length and thought it was going to be too long for me, especially for how I’d use it. Adam informed me of this bike’s design philosophy, which is part ‘cross geo and part modern MTB. Paradoxically, in short, Adam lengthened the bike’s top tube, slackened the head tube and lowered the bottom bracket. The bike is designed to run a shorter stem, a 70mm, versus a 110mm and with a longer head tube, puts the riding position a bit more upright.
Bikes. People love seeing bikes. Especially ones made by this feller, Adam Sklar. I’m going with my gut here, which is telling me to share this bike, before the story of how we got to where this unique shred sled was photographed. I’m assuming you’ve probably figured out that we spent last week in the Moab, Utah area, which is where we linked up with some people from Bozeman, Minneapolis, Tuscon, Philly and Los Angeles.
We initially rolled through Fruita, then out to Klondike Bluff, a singletrack area between Moab and Green River, to ride trails, check out dinosaur tracks, rock hound, and enjoy all that Utah has to offer. It was here, that I shot one of the wildest Sklars to date – sorry Benedict!
Sklar Doggy has made some damn beautiful bicycles over the few years he’s been building in Bozeman, Montana. Yet, in recent months, he’s been jonesin’ to work with a new material. Steel is indeed, real, but Adam really wanted to work with titanium. A lot of builders have been making this transition as of late. In short, it offers their clients with a superior frame material and perhaps another draw is more profit for the builders. Or at least that’s what people think is the motivation.
After talking and shredding with Adam in the Angeles National Forest, where he got #ANFAF, Adam wax poetic’d all afternoon about how difficult titanium is to work with, stating it took him almost four times as long per frame. Right now, he’s got two frames under his belt, one for himself, and one for Colin, which is replacing Colin’s steel hardtail – consequently, he’s selling that frameset now. I was surprised to hear titanium was that much more difficult to work with, because I always assumed that the draw of the material was profit margins. Turns out, the experience of working with the material takes time and yeah, time is money…
For Adam, once he made a frame, he needed parts. Unfortunately, that meant scavenging parts from his NAHBS bike this year. You might notice the tight squeeze on the fork – all he had was a 27.5+ fork, not a 29+ fork. Run what you brung, indeed! For what it’s worth, these frames are designed to run a 27.5+ tire, or a 29 x 2.6″ – so it’s not exactly a “+” 29er.
While he’s already taken a few more orders on titanium frames, Adam is eager to master this material, resulting in a faster process and ultimately, making the best frame he can. I can’t wait to see where this new material takes Sklar Bikes and hopefully, I’ll get to ride one at some point. Thanks for hangin’, Adam! If you’d like a ti Sklar, holler at Adam!
I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing a lot of disc brake-equipped, drop bar bikes at NAHBS with clearances for bigger tires and while I’m not a huge fan of the nomenclature I’ve adopted, I can honestly say I’ve thought about other alternatives to “all-road.” As we were going out to shoot this bike yesterday, Adam and I had a discussion. The gist of it was that I look at a bike’s geometry, not it’s build kit in determining its “type.” So, for instance, if a bike has the geometry of a road bike and fits big tires, I call them road bikes. People get hung up on this though, because of the tire spec. Yet, if one of these bikes has the geometry of a ‘cross bike, it’s still just a cross bike, flat bars, drop bars, 1x, 2x, SS, it doesn’t matter, ATMO anyway.
So you’ll have to giggle when you read my titles for NAHBS bikes this year, as it’s taken me a good amount of time to figure out what the hell these things are, without using the oversaturated keywords being lobbed all over the cycling industry: gravel and adventure. It’s just a damn road bike.
Ok, enough of the rant, let’s check out this bike’s build kit. It’s built with Force CX1, Industry Nine AR25 wheels, Sim Works cockpit, Thomson post and some big ol’ fatty WTB Riddler tires. Once this 56cm beaut finishes making the rounds at NAHBS, it’ll be for sale too. Email Sklar for details.
I wish I could keep shooting bikes in the Moab desert, but alas, I’m in Salt Lake City as you’re reading this, firing away in the Salt Palace.