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Josh Reviews His Mash-Up Sklar Sweet Spot: The Sweet Jammer

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Josh Reviews His Mash-Up Sklar Sweet Spot: The Sweet Jammer

The Sweet Spot from Bozeman, MT-based Sklar Bikes is a steel hardtail mountain bike designed to be a venerable quiver-killer. Built around 150mm of front suspension, with clearance for up to 29 x 2.8 tires, its geometry embraces builder Adam Sklar’s mantra of “fast is fun, but fun is fun-er.” Sweet Spots were Adam’s first foray into offering a small batch frame design and sizing, which he hopes will make his bikes more accessible and faster to produce.

I picked up a Sweet Spot of my own earlier this spring after many years of searching for the perfect hardtail. Due to a few requests I had to make it even sweeter, it turned into a custom project that retained the established Sweet Spot geometry and material selection. Below, let’s take a closer look at my build in addition to a brief interview with Adam about these bikes and his design/build process!

Introducing the 2022 Bespoked SRAM Inclusivity Scholarship

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Introducing the 2022 Bespoked SRAM Inclusivity Scholarship

Having been a regular exhibitor since 2014, I’m super excited to be running Bespoked for the first time this year. Bespoked is arguably one of the most fun and interesting bike shows on the planet because it centers on handmade bikes and their builders. Bikes designed and built around an individual and their use case scenario as they see it are always going to be fertile ground for discourse, throw in a huge number of capable and dedicated individuals ready to make that magic happen over and over again and you have yourself the makings of a fun weekend.

2021 Philly Bike Expo: Frontier Bikes’ Super Aero Hella Tukt Gravlosuit Bike

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2021 Philly Bike Expo: Frontier Bikes’ Super Aero Hella Tukt Gravlosuit Bike

Maybe you’ve been there — you’re sitting at a buffet, you’ve overloaded your plate, and you’re thinking “what am I going to do now?” Well, Beth Morford of Frontier Bikes has a voracious appetite for work and her plates have been pretty full balancing Olympic level massage with bike shop ownership for some tome now. More recently, she’s added in frame building to her repertoire and managed to put this singlespeed gravel time trial bike together just in the nick of time to be displayed as part of SRAM’s Inclusivity Scholarship Program this year at Philly Bike Expo

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L39ion Into the Lion’s Den

L39ion of Los Angeles has a vision for the future of crit racing, and they put on a showcase in the first Into the Lion’s Den race. SRAM had to be there, of course. In this first episode of SRAMtv, they bring us behind the scenes of an incredible weekend in Sacramento, as host, Jen Whalen chats with members of the peloton and takes you inside the race. Big primes, loud jerseys, and equal prize purses: Into the Lion’s Den is crit racing and L39ion at their best. Can you feel it?

2021 Philly Bike Expo: People’s Choice Winner Jacqueline Mautner Untitled Cycles

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2021 Philly Bike Expo: People’s Choice Winner Jacqueline Mautner Untitled Cycles

2021 brought about the return of the Philly Bike Expo after a year-long hiatus due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve got a lot of coverage on the way sporadically, thanks to Jarrod Bunk of Hope Cyclery but we really want to share the People’s Choice Winner: Jaqueline Mautner from Untitled Cycles‘ Sophie Taeuber-Arp homage gravel bike with SRAM AXS EXPLR, so read on below for a synopsis of this project by Jacqueline Mautner and plenty of beautiful compositions by Jarrod!

Sami’s Fading Megamo Track Full Suspension MTB

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Sami’s Fading Megamo Track Full Suspension MTB

I remember this day like it was yesterday. I had a big meltdown, mentally I was not in the right place. I had spent all day at home and there was only a short amount of time that the government was allowing us to leave the house for sports activities in the afternoon.

It was the 4th of May 2020. I planned a route very meticulously as I wanted to get the best views of the sunset. So, I packed some of my bags and of course remembered a hip bag with my camera and a few lenses, got my MTB ready, checked it and put some oil on the chain, removed the front wheel so it would fit in the elevator, and opened the door to a new adventure…

Squid Bikes Took their Gravtron Gravel Bikes from Reno to Sacramento

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Squid Bikes Took their Gravtron Gravel Bikes from Reno to Sacramento

Today we’ve got a special bit of Reportage from the crew at Squid Bikes showcasing their new handmade in Taiwan steel gravel model, the Gravtron. Read on below for a look at the owners’, Chris and Emily, personal Gravtron builds as well as a friend Nick’s bike loaded down for a trip from Reno to Sacramento with a trip report by Emily. Check it out below!

The RockShox Rudy XPLR Gravel Fork and SRAM AXS XPLR: John Reviews His Sklar Gravel Bike

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The RockShox Rudy XPLR Gravel Fork and SRAM AXS XPLR: John Reviews His Sklar Gravel Bike

We joke that time is a flat circle in cycling all too often. Gravel bikes are just ’90s mountain bikes, etc. Yet, we have to accept that we’re in an era of electronic shifting and yes, suspension forks on gravel bikes. This tech, however, is nothing new especially not for RockShox, who for the 1994 Paris Roubaix unveiled a suspension fork on team Lemond GAN’s bikes. In that same year, Mavic even had some Zap electronic groups on the exact same bikes.

Now, 27 years later, we have my Sklar gravel bike which is familiar to most of you, with a suspension fork and electronic shifting, under the banner of SRAM and RockShox’s new XPLR lineup (explore, not explorer). While I haven’t taken on the Hell of the North, I have spent a lot of time being a weirdo in the woods on this kit and have a really fun review to share with y’all, so read on below.

Ratio’s New 1×12 Road Upgrade Kit Converts 10 or 11 Speed to 12 Speed

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Ratio’s New 1×12 Road Upgrade Kit Converts 10 or 11 Speed to 12 Speed

We recently featured Ratio’s 11-speed to 12-speed conversion kit on John’s Crust Dreamer using Apex shifters and an Eagle GX rear derailleur. But what if you have 10-speed shifters and you want to convert them to 12? Well, that’s where the new Ratio Upgrade kit comes into play! This upgrade kit allows you to pair 10 or 11 speed mechanical SRAM shifters and a 1x-specific Exact Actuation™ derailleur with a 12 speed eTap™ AXS™ cassette and chain. This delivers a greater gear range and closer gear ratios without the expense or weight of electronic shifting…

See more at Ratio and YES, these kits really do work great!

Technological Alluvium: SRAM Wireless Tech Rolls Downhill into GX Eagle AXS

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Technological Alluvium: SRAM Wireless Tech Rolls Downhill into GX Eagle AXS

It’s inundating to keep up with cycling’s technological advancements yet if one development has shifted the paradigm for drivetrains in the past few years, it’s SRAM’s AXS system. While the kit is a dreamy riding experience, the price can be daunting, and that alone is a major reason why many people haven’t had the chance to ride it. Yet, as with all cycling tech, it tends to trickle down like alluvium in the desert.

The new GX Eagle AXS rolled downhill and right into my lap recently, so I decided to put it on the Sklar touring bike because why not? Check out the unveiling below with some initial thoughts on the system and a component breakdown with pricing/availability…

Workbench Review: Ratio’s 11-Speed Road to 12-Speed Eagle Drop Bar Conversion Kit

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Workbench Review: Ratio’s 11-Speed Road to 12-Speed Eagle Drop Bar Conversion Kit

I’ve got this bike. It’s a touring bike. So when it’s loaded down with gear, it can get quite heavy. To remedy this, I built it up with an Eagle GX rear derailleur and cassette, giving me a whopping 10-50t range (the new GX goes to 52t even). To shift this range, I used a barcon shifter from Microshift because as you are well aware, SRAM doesn’t make a cable-actuated road shifter that’s compatible with their MTB mech lineup.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with the Microshift barcon. I was and have been more than pleased with this option but then Ratio, a small startup out of the UK announced a 11-speed road to 12-speed mountain upgrade kit.

I think this is one time when we can ignore that old Eddy Merckx adage “Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades…” Sorry Eddy, Johnnie’s bike needs this.

We posted about Ratio’s kit back in October. I ordered a kit the day the post went up but didn’t get motivated to do the install until I felt like I had a reason to. A few friends here in Santa Fe are taking on an all-road tour in April, and I wanted to get this bike dialed in before that trip, so last week, I swung by Sincere Cycles with the Dreamer and Ratio’s kit with hopes of rolling around on an 11-speed road shifter working with a 12-speed mountain…

Choose to Challenge

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Choose to Challenge

SRAM is hosting four stories by a few of its sponsored athletes including Ayesha McGowan, Renee Hutchens, Lael Wilcox, and Isabeau Courduier over at their website. If you have a few minutes this week, we highly suggest reading one, two, or all of these stories.

SRAM Acquires the Time Pedal Lineup

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SRAM Acquires the Time Pedal Lineup

There are a lot of Time pedal fans out there and with good reason. Time’s design allows for easy shedding of mud or snow and has one of the most secure engagement designs on the market. Last week, SRAM acquired the entire range of road and mountain pedals, cleats, and all related patents of TIME Sport from Rossignol Group. The two companies completed the transaction on February 18, 2021. For Time loyalists, the good news is this means better distribution under the SRAM umbrella and SRAM will keep the Time name going.

Customers will continue to contact TIME for product service and support during the transition phase through mid-year 2021.

The New SRAM Red eTap Derailleur is Now 10-36t Compatible

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The New SRAM Red eTap Derailleur is Now 10-36t Compatible

Good news for those loyal to the SRAM Red eTap group but were less than thrilled with the previous range limitations. Today SRAM announced a new Red rear derailleur, compatible with a 10-36t cassette, similar to the previous Force eTap upgrade. There are two models of derailleur now, a 33t-max and a 36t-max.

-SRAM AXS™ enabled for easy personalization
-Orbit™ chain management technology keeps drivetrain quiet and secure
-Compatible with both 1x and 2x drivetrains
-36t-max derailleur is compatible with 10-36, 10-33, and 10-28 cassettes
-33t-max derailleur is compatible with 10-26, 10-28, and 10-33 cassettes
-Improved motor and signal travel for faster shifting
-Larger X-SYNC™ pulleys and ceramic bearings for increased durability and efficiency
-Compatible with existing eTap® batteries

See more at SRAM.